Looking for a good way to stay in shape and have fun? Try tennis. Whether you're a member of a club with an organized league or just like to head out to the public courts once in a while, tennis is an easy game to get started playing. Just get yourself some tennis shoes, a racquet, and a friend, and you're ready to go.

These safety tips can help protect you from injuries while playing tennis.

Safe Tennis Gear

The right gear can help prevent injuries.

Racquet. Talk to a trained professional at a tennis specialty store to make sure you get a racquet that's right for your size and skill level. Using a racquet that is too light or too heavy can increase your risk of shoulder and elbow injuries. Likewise, a racquet with the wrong grip size or the wrong amount of tension in the strings can be hard on your wrists and arms.

Sneakers. Be sure to get shoes specifically designed for tennis and the court surface. Tennis shoes should support your heel and help keep your ankle from rolling or sliding side to side. Also, if you play on courts made of asphalt, concrete, or other hard surfaces, heel inserts may decrease the stress on your lower back.

Socks. Choose socks made from synthetic fabrics rather than cotton, as these will help keep your feet dry and prevent blisters. For added support, consider wearing two pairs of socks or specially padded tennis socks.

Safe Tennis Training

To prevent injuries during training:

  • Get a sports physical before starting any training program.
  • Be in good shape before playing tennis.
  • Always warm up and stretch before practice and matches.
  • Use proper technique. If you have questions about your technique, take a lesson from a trained instructor.
  • Stop training if you get hurt or feel pain. Get checked by an athletic trainer, coach, doctor, or nurse before going back to training.
  • Play different sports throughout the year to prevent overuse injuries.

Safe Play

To play it safe:

  • Know the rules of the game.
  • Make sure the court is in good condition and isn't wet.
  • Have a first-aid kit available at all practices and games.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater and wear a hat if you play outside.
  • Drink plenty of water during and after play.
  • Give yourself time off to rest between matches and training sessions to avoid overuse injuries.
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