Waiting to Play Tennis? Stay Ready with Off-Court Options
While the fitness industry experienced a 14 billion dollar loss in 2020 due to Covid-19, tennis experienced a boom. Tennis racket sales were up 22%, and tennis participation jumped from 6.7% to 10.08% of the U.S. population. Tennis was deemed a “green-go” sport … a non-contact sport that allows players to stay 6 feet apart at all times. Even at 6 feet apart, tennis provides extensive social interaction, difficult to come by during lockdown despite never-ending Zoom meetings. Plus tennis is a full body workout and gives relief to numerous walks to the refrigerator. Still, many people chose NOT to play tennis during Covid-19 restrictions.
There are a number of things that you can do to benefit your tennis even if you take a break from being on the court. There are general fitness options, such as purchasing an inexpensive exercise bike. But there are more creative indoor exercise options as well. In a typical February, I would likely be playing tennis at a tournament somewhere warm with one of my tennis friends from around the country, but with competition paused early in 2021, fellow USTA competitors Wendy McColskey, Dale McColskey, Brenda Carter, Carol Clay and I found another way to be together while competition was paused: a group Zoom fitness hour. Wendy had worked with an individual trainer from Empower Personalized Fitness in Durham, NC, over the last few years, and she created a Zoom workout that we could do with the trainer inside our home using various props and limited space. The workouts are tennis specific and vary each session. It’s a great way to see friends and stay motivated.
I also signed up for a video program called Total Tennis Home Workout (part of the Martin Method Tennis Fitness program), which highlights exercises and drills that are tennis-specific. Since I registered for the program, I use it whenever I want another workout. The website lists other tennis workouts that I have not tried, including Singles and Doubles Tennis Speed, Agility and Reaction and Tennis High Performance Strength and Conditioning. I have found the Total Tennis Home Workout to be a great addition to my other routines, so I have become an affiliate, so please click on the program name if you want to learn more or sign up.
A project I have been working on with George Forman allows you to practice tennis technique indoors on your TV, computer, laptop, or smart tablet (see picture on left). Coach In the Mirror is designed to use your computer’s camera to allow you to view yourself, and compare your strokes or footwork side by side with a tennis pro. Visit the main page, Coach In the Mirror, and click on the tab for Clips. Note that there are buttons under the video that allow the viewer to reverse the image or reverse your camera, so that you can synchronize the movements. Also, pointing to the video will display sound control.
Here are a couple direct links you may want to try:
Forehand demonstration: https://www.coachinthemirror.com/playlists/179
Proper loading to hit a forehand: https://coachinthemirror.com/clips/17/play/front
We are seeking feedback for this work in progress — email George at GEForman@aol.com.
Finally, watching tennis is a great way to keep yourself in the game. While waiting for the Australian Open to begin, I roam around the archives to find highlighted matches from the past. I am a tennis junky and never get tired of watching these matches, and, in some cases, still hoping for a different outcome. At this writing, over 70 players at the Australian Open were exposed to Covid-19. Players quarantined in their hotel rooms without the ability to warm up for one of the most important tournaments of their year. I read that one player put his mattress against a wall to practice his serve, and while I do not recommend doing this, check out the link below, which shows how some of the pros handled being indoors: