March 23, 2017
Let’s get started with the first aspect I look at when someone tells me they are suffering from tennis elbow!
The Two strokes to Watch
When it comes to tennis elbow, all strokes are not created equal. Two strokes in particular seem to be the biggest reason for injury to the forearm; the forehand and the serve. The reason I did not mention the backhand is that a player has to naturally turn to hit the ball on their backhand side, allowing for impact of the ball to be absorbed by the core and shoulders. A forehand does not do this. You can just as easily use your arm for a forehand rather than turn your body. You can test this on your own. When you are hitting your forehand, check to see I you are looking over your non dominant shoulder (so for righties it is your left shoulder) when you take the racquet back. If you are not, the shoulders and stomach are not engaged. Even if you are turning to hit your forehand correctly, it doesn’t mean you are using your core and shoulders correctly. Check this by seeing if you are looking over your dominant shoulder (so for righties its your right shoulder) after you hit the tennis ball. This will mean you did a full rotation into the ball.
The serve is equally easy to hit a ball without using your shoulders. Players often miss the connection between the arm tossing the ball and the arm with the racquet. To get the type of power you are looking for without hurting yourself requires you to swing with your shoulders rather than your arm. The only way to do this is to keep that tossing arm up longer until you start to swing at the ball.
How to Practice This
For your forehand, pretend your hands are tied together on the forehand. As you take your forehand back for the swing, the non-dominant arm has to follow to initiate the core turn. Take it a step further and actually tie your hands together (Leaving about 15 inches of gap between arms) to help use your arm correctly. This isn’t going to give you the best technique but it will help you with your turn.
For your serve, try to keep your tossing arm up long enough so you hit it with your other arm as you swing and hit the ball. Although you want to get the tossing arm out of the way before you make contact, it will help reinforce the fact that you need to keep that arm up longer than you are doing.
The Next Blog
I will go over another equally important part of protecting your body from getting tennis elbow. Until then, see below on what my players did to work on their rotation of their forehands and serves to protect from tennis elbow. This video was taken at Chris Langdon’s tennis academy.