The importance of the tennis cool down
Very few tennis players actually take the time to warm up properly which as we know can cause injuries. Even fewer take the time from their schedule to cool down properly. Failure to cool down properly can leave lactic in muscles and the following day they can be sore and achy. When we think about it tennis is an all body workout. We use our legs to move around the court and propel ourselves into the ball. We need a strong core to keep us balanced when we hit our shots. Ofcourse we need strong arms and upper body muscles to hit the ball. So our cool down should be similarly tailored so that we can reduce our recovery period.
Is it important?
When you have been on court and your muscles are warm and body sweat it is an ideal time to do some stretching and loosen out the muscles. It has been proven that static stretching can reduce the strength of muscles by around 30%. Probably best to do this type of stretching post training in this instance. The stretching will loosen your body right out and remove the soreness and tightness in muscles. Depending on the session it won’t remove it all but it will help.
What to do?
A gentle jog will help get the lactic from your muscles perhaps 2-3 minutes will suffice. Then do some gentle stretching. Start with the neck, then shoulders, arms, hips and finally the legs. If you have access to an exercise bike a gentle spin will have the same effect. If there is anything particularly stiff focus on that area. Do several stretches to ensure you cover all major parts of the body.
A roller is also a great tool for the tennis player. These foam tools are great for accessing those hard to get areas. Use your body weight to act as the resistance. Rollers are especially good for legs and backs. They stimulate the blood flow in the body and improve oxygen.