When patients come to me, they're often desperate for relief, with wear-and-tear injuries that've developed over years, sometimes decades. But as every good player and coach knows, with good training and consistent recovery (Relax, Rebalance, Reactivate, people!), most wear-and-tear injuries can be prevented.
With that in mind, I approached tennis superstars Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, and Maria's coach Sven Groeneveld with just one question: "What do you do to prevent injuries?"
Here's what they said:
"Prevention, looking after yourself and your body, sometimes is even more important than the actual work that we do on the court and in the gym.
[For] warm ups, it's not about taking a couple laps around the court, but it's committing 20-30 minutes of warm up before you get into any kind of training or vigorous movement. A lot of kids come on the court and just want to play. And that's great, except if you keep doing that for years on end and don't take care of your body, it will eventually break down." [Edited for clarity]
"To keep my shoulder together for as long as they did, I had a myriad of shoulder exercises, probably three or four small weights [at a] high rep, [and] resistance bands. And I had a routine of about 15 to 20 minutes every day, [and] I just did it. It's just a matter of doing it day in and day out... and it can get mundane and boring sometimes. But I really do feel like that's the biggest preventative thing you can do." [Edited for clarity]
"I think there are three elements that are really important for injury prevention: hydration, good nutrition, and sleep. All three of them are major causes of injuries, especially when you are traveling the world and you're under a lot of stress. These three elements will give you a good base. Besides that, obviously stretching, and the warm up and cool down after each practice match. " [Edited for clarity]