View Full Version : Mixed Doubles Hurts My Elbow, Ladies' Doubles Doesn't

10-02-2007, 02:34 PM
I thought I had licked tennis elbow, but it is back after my first 7.0 mixed doubles match.

I'm changing my strings (erm, one of my rackets has strings from 7/2006 and the other from 1/2007 -- I guess I didn't stay on top of that). I'm icing. I'm resting some. I'm gulping Advil.

Is it normal to have a flare-up if my opponents are hitting to me harder in mixed? If so, can anything be done about this? Part of the trouble is I know I'm supposed to use my body more to reduce the stress on the arm, but . . . the balls are coming to me so darn fast that many times all I can do is hack at it.

Cindy -- who has 10 more matches to play this year and needs to sort this out

10-02-2007, 03:14 PM
1. work on your technique.

2. stand back some.

Good luck!

10-02-2007, 03:36 PM
Cindy, when I was having tennis elbow problems, it was usually caused by my backhand, or lack thereof. If you are hitting more backhands in mixed, they are likly coming at you with more pace and spin. A softer string might hlep. And ther are some weight resistance excercises that can strengthen the arm. If it gets bad, just some time off usually allows the inflamation and pain to subside. You are already using ice, good.

And as Drak says, good luck. We all have it from time to time.

10-02-2007, 03:59 PM
Harder hits mean more power and potentially more vibration transmitted from ball to racquet to arm. Also, it probably means more off centered hits, which is even more vibration. So all that is naturally going to result in a less elbow friendly condition that might push your elbow over the edge.

As mentioned, good technique is important. You might also be able to mitigate some of that by using a more elbow friendly racquet frame and more friendly strings. Lower string tensions should help as well as softer strings (gut-like is best). Some frames (especially the stiff ones) are just harsh on the arm.

10-02-2007, 04:10 PM
I'm a 3.0 with AeroPro drive with Wilson Sensation strings. Can't remember the tension, but it is probably middle of the road. You know, the sort of thing you'd sell a middle-aged 3.0. I go to a *Real Tennis Store* for the stringing, and that's what they recommended.

Good enough?

10-02-2007, 04:32 PM
I don't really know enough about Babolats to give you any opinion on it in regard to elbow friendlyness. Sensation is a multi that is listed as "arm friendly" so that's a plus.

Of course, different set ups will feel different to different people so it's subjective to some extent. I've recently played with a racquet set up that felt great and a few days later tried the same string setup on a newer model version of the same racquet and my arm was aching badly after using the newer model after a hard hitting session. Even with softer strings that newer model hurt. LOL!

So even though I liked some of the play characteristics of the new model racquet, it wasn't for me from the elbow perspective. So based on that, if I were you, I'd demo some racquets (start by borrowing some frames from your tennis buddies if they don't mind) to see if your elbow likes different setups.

10-02-2007, 04:43 PM
It is not the speed "hardness" of the hitting that is affecting your elbow, but, rather, the speed and extra kick will result in your hitting late and or off-center-- and this will aggrivate the condition.

In addition to working on form- etc., as mentioned above, consider one of the Pro Kennex rackets-- especially look for something with medium flex. medium weight, head light and plenty of sweet spot.

Good luck,


10-02-2007, 04:46 PM
Oh, my goodness no!

I just popped a bit under $400 total for these rackets last year. Demo'd my head off, bought one, used it a while to make sure, then bought the second one. I will go to my grave with these rackets. How do I know? My husband told me so!! :)

Hey, I asked the guy to do Wilson sensation for the one he's stringing. When I take the second one in tomorrow, does it make sense to get different extra-gentle strings and use that one for mixed and the Wilson Sensation one for everything else? Or will that just confuse my brain and elbow both?

Cindy -- who is going to start asking DH how come he needs so many putters

10-02-2007, 04:59 PM
...happening, but, IMHO, what it most likely comes down to is faulty technique. If you're doing something funky, it's probably not going to show up until you get some pace thrown at you...for example, in mixed doubles.

You *really* need to get some video going of your strokes, because it's really hard to give much advice, technically, without knowing what your swing patterns look like.

Second, having said all that good stuff, I am *not* a big Babolat fan, especially if you're looking for arm friendly rackets. I know...you get people who swear by, and swear at, everything out there. All I can tell you is that I've hit with about everything made by the major manufacturers over the last couple of years, and I get very little feel from Babolat.

Third, strings make a huge difference, and you're probably okay with the Wilsons you're using, but I really cannot *believe* you are still playing with a set of strings from the Summer of 2006. 10 to 12 hours, max, is all I expect to get from a set of strings. After that, if I haven't broken a string, they're totally flat, which means they have no resiliency left, no feel, no cushioning, and I have to come up with a bunch of Unnatural Acts with my strokes to make things happen, which is inevitably tough on the elbow, among other things. Wilson Sensation is okay; I strongly recommend you shell out for something high-end, like TechniFibre X-1 BiPhase 17 guage, which is what I use. I think you'll see a major-league difference in control, power, and arm friendliness...

10-02-2007, 05:24 PM
DH is just a putter addict. You can't help him unless he's willing to fess up. LOL!

Your racquet might just be fine for you especially since you've playtested it so throughly. It was just a possibility (and a small one at that) so I wouldn't toss out that $400 worth of toys especially since you're destined to use them for the rest of your life anyway.

As far as how you should have your 2nd racquet strung. You should also ask yourself if you've experimented with tensions enough to be "hooked" on a particular tension and type of string. If you aren't, here's your chance to experiment a little. Perhaps you should talk to your stringer about what he'd recommend with your elbow issues in mind. Typically lower tensions are better for the arm. You'll also get more power out of the racquet though at the cost of some control loss.

As for whether or not it will be confusing to play with racquets strung differently. Well, it might, but then it might not (if you're adaptable, you might not even care). It's really a personal thing. There are pros and cons to it. Sure it's nice to have two racquets that are "the same" in case you break a string, but in some circumstances, it's nice to be able to turn to a racquet with a little more power (or control) at times. To cover all bases, you should tell your husband you now need another 3 racquets. That's only another $600. LOL!

Also, the next time you play mixed doubles, you might try to pay attention to your elbow "comfort" and figure out what it is that is causing that extra shock to your elbow. That is, is it a particular mishit, an awkward shot, etc. that is causing this issue to come up in mixed doubles. If you can pinpoint a particular event that's causing the problem you can go to your tennis instructor about it. He might be able to give you some good tips to help protect your elbow especially if it turns out to be a technique sort of issue.

Good luck. I hope you figure it out because I know tennis elbow isn't a good thing for an addict like you!

10-02-2007, 09:01 PM
Actually, I've found more comfort with a 3rd generation poly, MSV focus hex 1.18 (google guts and glory tennis). TW does not have it yet. I couldn't stand Big Banger or other earlier polys. Strung at 50 #, even in a stiff frame, it grips the ball and prevents racquet twisting providing cake (extra spin, no string movement) you can have and eat too. I use it in my regular and backup racquets which are both stiff (Becker V1 MP, 03 Prince Red) and it is more comfortable than X1-Biphase or Prince Multifilament Synthetic gut.

10-03-2007, 03:50 AM
Yeah, I'm pretty embarrassed that I didn't think to change my strings. I change my shoes like crazy. Go figure.

OK, I'll ask the stringer to string the second racket in some way to help with the elbow, and I'll use that one for mixed matches.

And I'll resolve to hit the ball better. I think part of the problem is that I miss the sweet spot so much in mixed that I try to compensate by hitting harder.

10-03-2007, 06:28 AM
Tennis elbow is usually due to unnecessary movement of the elbow. Even on frames my arm/elbow doesn't have that much pain, because I'm not hitting with the arm, but with the drive of my shoulder/hips/legs.

Try concentrating on hitting the ball with your body rather then your arm. If you have a two handed backhand, the culprit is more then likely your forehand/serve. If you feel like it's your forehand, incorporate the double bend technique. It's a common problem to roll with the elbow too much on their forehand, resulting in unnecessary movement of the forehand.

However if you feel like it's your serve, one of the biggest problems that most people don't realize is that they don't get full extension and do not properly follow through.

Post videoes of your strokes/serve and we could help you out. Most tennis elbow is not severe, it usually goes away about an hour or two after playing tennis. Those with true tennis elbow just have to go to a doctor to get that fixed.

10-03-2007, 07:22 AM
You may be hitting late and off center against the guys harder shots. Cut back on mixed until your elbow feels better. Try to prepare earlier and use shorter takeback so you aren't hitting so late. Back up a little more to give yourself more time.

Lower tension strings, less stiff racquet can help, but hitting off center and late against big hitters is the main issue.

Do you think it's when you hit forehand, backhand, or volley? A pro may be able to help with better technique to put less stress on elbow than your current form. Are you trying to hit with alot of topspin or do you keep it simple and fairly flat?

I don't think it's your old strings so much as hitting late since older strings lose tension which should be easier on the arm. Hitting late and off center with poor technique against hard hitters is my guess. Also don't play quite so much, rest your elbow more. How often are you playing each week?

10-03-2007, 05:24 PM
How much am I playing, or how much am I telling my husband I'm playing? :)

Eh, 4 times a week, I'd guess.

Yeah, this is very likely stroke mechanics, probably on the forehand. My pro has been after me for a year to use my body more, and we're working on it. It's going to take time, though, 'cause it's not easy and there's a lot to it. You can't use your body if your footwork stinks and you don't get the ball in your strike zone. My previous elbow problems, he diagnosed, were due to dropping the racket head by breaking the wrist on the take-back. I fixed that habit and the elbow problems went away. Best advice I ever got! So there is hope here.

I asked that the second racket be strung at 55 rather than 58, and I'll use that one for mixed. The stringer thought the bigger sweet spot would help me get less vibration with my errant shots.

I don't have any video equipment, but my pro said he was going to film one of our lessons. We shall see if this happens. . . . Maybe I could be coaxed into posting it, if it doesn't make my butt look big. :)

Thanks, everyone!