Pre-Participation Evaluation for Tennis Players (Part 1)
Part I – General Introductory Concepts
This article is an introduction to a series of articles describing the different aspects and importance of a proper pre participation profiling for tennis.
Pre-participation evaluation of an athlete prior to sports participation is extremely important and often undervalued at the junior and even at the professional level.
The main evaluation goals are for the safe participation in sports, injury prevention and performance enhancement. From the test results health issues may be identified and or prevented, determine which fitness areas need to be improved in order to improve performance and reduce the risks for injury.
Three main areas include:
1-Pre-participation medical exam . Before an athlete engages the rigors of elite tennis training, his or her health must be evaluated by qualified medical personnel. This type of exams may detect conditions that predispose the athlete to injury or illness and can provide strategies for injury prevention. Such an examination should help determine whether the athlete is medically cleared to engage in the sport.
2-Injury prevention – High performance tennis playing demands large number of practice hours and tournaments which result in muscular imbalances in the shoulder and trunk as well as postural changes such as depression of the dominant shoulder among others. The goal of testing protocols is to identify these musculoskeletal imbalances early and implement corrective exercises and other techniques.
3-Performance improvement strategies – Tennis has become a more physical sport where superior conditioning and fitness are essential to achieve results. Fatigue has detrimental effects on a player’s biomechanics and timing, decreasing the quality of stroke production and movement. Lost of performance may result not only in the lost of a match but also in the development of injuries. Practice sessions should challenge the same energy systems, muscle groups and movement patterns stressed in competitive play. At the same time, adequate measurement and documentation of the athlete’s physiological and musculoskeletal variables must be recorded in order to assess for progress.
Pre participation sports evaluation- Am Fam Physician 2015;92(5):371-376.