In the last year, we saw something pretty remarkable in terms of Roger Federer's career. He took extensive time away from the game then came back to win 5 titles including 2 Majors and 2 Masters 1000s. Federer's time away had to do with his age (he's now 36!) and some recurring injuries that were impacting his ability to perform at his best. And his decision to decrease his playing schedule is starting to trickle down to others on the tour, including Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, as well as players at the entry level of the professional game.
If things continue as they have in the past, we will likely start to see these types of extended breaks from training and competing trickle down to college and maybe even junior tennis. And, according to this week's guest, that is a very good thing.
Your kid can't play if he/she is injured. So, what can we parents and coaches do to help prevent the most common injuries in our young players?
Dr. Neeru Jayanthi of the Emory Tennis Medicine Center offers some valuable insights into how we can use early screenings and other methods to reduce or even prevent injury from over-use and over-training.
Dr. J shares information on his STAY (Specialized Training Assessments in Young Tennis Players) screenings and how he's using the data he's collecting to help coaches at all levels better train their young athletes. He also discusses his opinions on how our current ranking structure feeds the need to over-train and over-play, leading to a high attrition rate in our sport as young as age 13.
The goal, according to Dr. J, is to keep our kids playing tennis beyond their junior or college years so that it truly is a sport for their lifetime. Through early assessment and smart scheduling we can help them prevent the injuries and burnout that may take them out of the game prematurely.