How to Cope with an Injury in Tennis
Injuries in tennis can be significant blows to a tennis players psyche and a challenging experience to navigate.
Injuries are difficult for a tennis player for several reasons:
- Identity – You probably identify yourself as a tennis player first and foremost. That means, when someone asks about you, you probably say, “I’m a tennis player”. So when you can’t play due to an injury, it feels like a part of you has been taken away. Also, it can be emotionally difficult to be away from your teammates, who are most likely, some of your closest friends.
- Goals – Accomplishing your seasonal goals could be in jeopardy. When you are injured and spent a lot of time training and practicing up to that point, having to re-adjust your goals can feel like failure.
- Rehab – Rehab can be painful, physically and mentally. Scheduling physical therapy sessions and performing rehab exercises on your own are often difficult to fit into your schedule. In addition, mentally wondering when you will be strong enough to compete and return to competition can weigh heavily on your mind, adding to the already stressful injury experience.
- Competing – Returning to competition is often filled with anxiety. Fear of re-injury or not playing to your previous standards can be nerve-wracking and frustrating for many tennis players.
For these reasons, some tennis players will rush back from injury or set unrealistic expectations for themselves when they return to competition. All the built up anxiety prevents or prolongs returning to your former level of play.
As difficult as it is to hear, patience and tempered expectations aid in a quicker and more successful return to the court, than rushing back too early from your injury.
This was the exact dilemma top-ranked British tennis player Kyle Edmund had to face. Edmund has been dealing with a nagging knee injury ever since he withdrew from the 2018 Paris Masters.
Throughout the 2019 season, Edmund’s knee injury has impeded his play on the court and caused Edmund to withdraw in the second round of the 2019 French Open.
Edmund talked about the challenges of working through his knee injury.
EDMUND: “It’s always not nice and frustrating that you can’t play. Sometimes it’s a little bit out of your control. The body is a funny thing. It will go at its own pace. You can obviously help it and speed it up slightly, but there is only to a point you can speed up things. So you kind of have to let it work itself out and heal itself.”
It is difficult to be patient with both the rehab and the level of your play when you return to the court but some injuries take time.
In order to stay positive, it is important that you celebrate little successes when dealing with an jury such as: progress in your rehab, getting back into playing shape, and returning to competitive matches or playing strong for small stretches during matches.
Coping with Tennis Injuries
Set reasonable goals. When it comes to injuries, it is best to set small weekly goals.
Small goals could be less pain, increased range of motion, returning to practice, a stronger mental game or a winning a string of points during a match.
Remember that it’s normal to have some doubts or less confidence when you return to play after injuries. You also have to learn to trust your body will hold up in matches.
Learn Proven Tennis Mental Game Strategies To Perform Your Best On The Court!
Are you (or your players) performing up to your ability in competition?
Do you bring your best and most confident game to matches?
I often hear players complain about the following problems when they play in matches…
“I get so tight or tense before matches that I can’t think straight or have any rhythm in my game.”
“I get so frustrated with hitting bad shots or with errors and it snowballs.”
“I expect so much when I play that I unravel and lose confidence when the match does not go as planned.”
“My confidence seems to disappear when I go from practice to matches and I don’t know why.”
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Click here to download your FREE report today: Six Unforced ‘Mental Game’ Errors Tennis Players Make Between Points