As many dedicated players know, tennis is tough on the body. The game requires strength, flexibility and mental concentration. Many tennis players, from the amateurs to the pros, have discovered that the combination of yoga and tennis makes for a win-win situation.Unlike sports such as running and cycling, where you move primarily in one plane, tennis players use the same arm for forehand and backhand strokes, which creates imbalances in muscle development on the left and right sides. Yoga can help build balance and symmetry on both sides of the body making players stronger and less prone to injury.
Tennis is also a game of strategy, being calm, centered and focused, are vital for success in a match. The focus on breathing and the mind-body connection in yoga helps athletes develop mental acuity and focus. When you practice yoga regularly, you bring energy into the body which can help players feel better instead of depleted after a match.
Still not enough to convince you to strike a pose?
Yoga can help your tennis game by developing:
- Flexibility in the hips, back, ankles, shoulders, and wrists
- Better range of motion to enable more strength and racquet speed
- Better balance and core strength
- Stronger, injury-prone joints
You'll be more likely to keep on trucking if you practice yoga poses off the court. Try these three poses to up your game.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
This pose strengthens the shoulders, arms, and wrists, which will steady the racquet against the impact of the ball. It also stretches tight hamstrings, which can be caused by hours spent on the court with bent legs.
Directions:Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers slightly turned out, and turn your toes under. Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor.
At first, keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lift the buttock bones toward the ceiling. With an exhalation, push your top thighs back into your hamstrings and stretch your heels down toward the floor. Straighten your knees. Stay for 15 seconds to one minute breathing evenly.