Different sports have an array of different demands placed on the body. If you are serious about your particular sport, I’m sure you’d want to maximize your bodies potential, whilst minimizing your injury risk. So, as part of the successful Precision Athletica Tennis program, we created a highly targeted Tennis specific screening.
What does the Tennis screening involve?
To put it simply we measure the mobility, control and strength of each athlete, and based on the most up to date research available, we are able to assess players suitability and potential to maximise their physical capabilities for tennis performance.
Over the next couple of articles, I will breakdown each specific area that we look at, starting with the Shoulder.
So, let’s have a look at what we assess in the shoulder region. Statistically the shoulder is the second most common area for tennis injuries, it is also the most common area of injury in the upper body. During our screening we look at a couple of different aspects of the shoulder.
Observation and Posture
This starts with the athlete in standing, and goes on to include the use of the hands-on-hips position to evaluate the prominence of the scapula (shoulder blade) against the thoracic wall. Looking at the position of the shoulder height and muscle bulk in the shoulder region.
Fact: Did you know that the dominant shoulder is visibly lower in male ATP professional tennis players 82% of the time!
Range of Motion and Quality of Movement
There is a fair amount of overhead movement required in tennis which requires good range of motion in certain directions. We look at the total rotation of the glenohumeral joint (GHJ) – this is a combination of shoulder external rotation and internal rotation. We compare the dominant arm to the non-dominant arm and look for symmetry. Big differences in total GHJ rotation between sides, in particular – internal rotation can potentially alter the biomechanics of a player and increase the force applied to the shoulder region.
This refers to the interaction between the shoulder blade (scapula) and arm (humerus). As the shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the human body, how you move in each direction matters. Reduced quality of movement here, can have biomechanical implications putting the shoulder at risk of injury.
Shoulder strength matters! In particular the strength between your shoulder internal rotators vs external rotators. We measure the strength using a hand held dynamometer and measure in each direction. We also measure it two different positions – in neutral and with the shoulder in 90° of abduction, as these are tennis specific shoulder positions. The internal rotators of the shoulder should be stronger than your external rotators, but if the difference is too large this can be detrimental to your performance and potentially increase your injury risk!
The Rest of the Kinetic Chain
Often injuries in a particular body region (such as the shoulder) are the result of deficiencies in other areas of the body. For example; lack of hip internal rotation has been linked to shoulder injuries in sports requiring repetitive overhead movements, such as tennis and baseball. Thus, it is important we identify restrictions to the rest of the body and link them accordingly as it may change the biomechanics of particular movements.
Hopefully you found this article by Tennis Physio – Joe Marnicel, useful.
If you are a Tennis player with an injury or looking to increase your Tennis performance, please get in contact with us. We treat tennis players of all different ages, abilities and athletic levels, and would be happy to answer any questions, offer advice or carry out an assessment.