DO YOGA PLAY TENNIS

Exciting times with the Championships on at Wimbledon! So much tennis to watch, so many tennis fans around, maybe the best time of the year in SW19?

I have a passion for Yoga for Sports, and my favourite sport is tennis. Feeling super-lucky to be in this environment right now!  In this article I thought I’d give you some idea of how yoga can be beneficial for tennis players.

From watching the Championships live or on TV, you might have noticed how the players do multi-dimensional movements on court. It is easy to see that they need to be strong and flexible, and also require the ability for concentration over a long period of time to win a match – especially in the current sunny weather with around 30 degrees on court!  Also, with players being either a right-hander or left-hander, how easy isn’t it to over-develop one side of the body? Here is where yoga can help: create symmetry and alignment in the body, keep the body flexible and strong, help the player to move with fluidity, and bring a state of calm within through breath awareness.

If you are playing tennis, how about focusing on the following in your yoga practice:

  • Stretching hamstrings and increasing flexibility in hips and back to help the fast lunging, swinging and twisting on court
  • Increasing leg strength to build more stamina and sense of steadiness on court
  • Lengthening and increasing flexibility in the spine to improve rotation and racket speed in groundstrokes
  • Opening chest, shoulders and back to counterbalance the action of the groundstrokes
  • Improving full body coordination to help the precise timing when hitting the ball
  • Developing strength and length evenly on both sides of the body to counterbalance what happens on court

I also wanted to provide you with suggestions to yoga postures targeting what is mentioned above. Some of them counterbalance movements on court, some of them enhance these movements, and some of the postures do both. Here they are:

  • Downward-Facing Dog: to open shoulder and back, and stretch back of legs
  • Balancing Warrior: to stretch hip flexors and improve balance
  • Locust Pose: to open the chest and shoulders, and strengthen muscles in arms, legs and back
  • Chair Pose: to create space throughout the ankle and knee joint, and between vertebrae, and to stabilise lower spine
  • Plank Pose: to work on the serratus anterior, stabilising shoulders and helping for deeper and lower breaths into lungs
  • Warrior II: to strengthen legs, open hips, chest and upper back, as well as developing balance
  • Tree Pose: to improve balance and coordination, and opening hips
  • Half Moon Pose: to improve coordination and sense of balance, plus stretching and strenghthening lower and upper body
  • Revolved Belly: to stretch muscles around the spine and increase circulation to the spine
  • Lord of the Fishes: to keep spine, hips and shoulder joints flexible
  • Pretzel Pose: to stretch the piriformis

As you may know, absolutely no need to be a professional tennis players to benefit from yoga practice! These are poses I regularly include in my Yoga for Sports classes. I teach yoga in Wimbledon, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at annettewiikyoga@gmail.com if you would like to see what yoga can do for your tennis. And whether you practice yoga or not, before playing tennis, perhaps making the decision to always include some kind of warm-up to prepare the joints and the spine for your body to stay well, on and off court. Wishing you well, and enjoy your tennis and the rest of this fortnight!🎾

 

Posted in

Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children and live in Wimbledon.