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How to avoid tennis elbow

by Jonas Eriksson

I keep getting a lot of comments from players who suffer from some kind of arm issues so I’d thought I’d tackle this issue one more time. How do you avoid tennis elbow?

There are several things you need to think about to make sure you stay healthy on the tennis court and I really recommend you to make sure this remains a priority so you can keep enjoying our beautiful sport for years to come.

  1. Stay fit. This will help your tennis in every possible way so it’s really a no-brainer. It’s also a great “life-hack”.
  2. Warm up. Starting to hit tennis balls at 150 km/h as soon as you enter the court is rarely a great idea. Make sure you jog a little, do some stretching and start up by hitting balls at a really slow pace before you get going with points play. If you look at the warm-up session of most tennis professionals they start hitting pretty much at “snail pace” before the real action commences.
  3. Don’t be a “hero”. It’s a great feeling to smack a ball on the line for a winner and some racquets will help you do that with less effort than others, but a racquet with massive power might not be your best friend when it comes to avoiding tennis elbow. In tennis, power often means “stiff” which means the racquet will deliver a load of vibrations from the ball impact straight to your arm. It’s better for your health to play with a less stiff racquet and try to use your legs and upper body to generate the power.
  4. You’re not a pro. So you might not need poly strings which is quite a bit stiffer and doesn’t “break naturally” but instead goes dead and helps to send shock to your arm. There are plenty of good multifilament strings out there and you can also try to do a hybrid setup with poly and natural or synthetic gut.
  5. Play sensibly. If you’re feeling arm pain after a session, think about why that might be. Can it be the racquet? Is it something in your technique? Do you need to rest from tennis a bit? Tennis is highly addictive so playing too much can become an issue for us tennis nerds. Don’t forget to rest and recuperate!

Here’s more information around arm-friendly tennis racquets. Remember that you can generate your own power!

Racquet buying guides

Here is a great racquet buying guide to get you started.
What tennis racquet should I buy?
Top tennis racquets to buy right now
The Gear of the Year 2016
Tennis racquets for juniors
Tennis racquets for kids

Places where you can buy arm-friendly tennis racquets

Racquet Depot
Pro Direct Tennis

Tennis Express
Do It Tennis

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Vova October 10, 2017 - 16:44

HI Jonas,

I have some trouble with lower back (frequent problem in tennis) and i would know which rac. is good for sparing back (exist something like that?:-)). When is too flexible you need generate power more from rotating trunk-lower back….but too stiff not absorbe shock? ….i know good technique is no.1 but a think some rac. can help with healing back.
THX for short answer.

Tennisnerd October 10, 2017 - 17:19

Hi Vova,
I’m not sure a racquet will help that much, I would focus on strengthening the lower back by stretching and exercise (used to have the same issues in the past). But regarding the racquet question I think you’d like a lighter racquet, maybe a tweener racquet like Yonex AI/DR 98, Wilson Blade 98 or Prince Textreme Tour 100P and not something too heavy…

Let me know how it goes! Cheers / Jonas


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