What playing style is easiest on the knees?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by corners, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    It's FM (****ing magic). Not seen any in-depth explanations -- only bits & pieces here & there. There's a little bit on page 14 of the following page. This guy talks about 3 brands of tape (have only seen 2 so far). I believe that it was written in the past 2 months so it is fairly current.

    Azata.net/meetings/winter2010/BACAElasticTherapeuticTaping2.pdf
    .
     
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  2. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    I've lengthened my handle to the legal limit and got used to hitting left-handed with an incredible swing weight. My right hand is always choked up -- almost a normal swing weight (that's my preferred hand for volleys). Thus, my ready position has both hands in their forehand positions; to hit, I just drop one or the other.

    Another thought. When you were just starting out, you'd use your legs to compensate for bad strokes -- e.g. running around your backhand. Now, you have to use your superior strokes to compensate for bad legs. It's not the number of steps that's really the problem for bad knees; rather, it's hard acceleration, hard deceleration, and abrupt changes in direction. The more time you have, and the less far you have to travel, the gentler you can be wrt starting, stopping and turning.

    This means not only that you hit the ball with your closest stroke rather than with your strongest stroke, but also that you hit the ball to whichever side minimizes the distance you have to travel to prepare for the return. If the ball you're returning is in the corner, then you hit cross-court. This is analogous to the net player's preference for the down-the-line. In both cases, you make it easier to prepare for the next shot. You only break that rule when you can hit the ball so strongly that your opponent will be lucky to get his racket on it. (So that, even if the shot is not an outright winner, he won't be able to take advantage of your poor positioning.)

    When the ball is at the middle of your baseline, then you'll prefer the inside-out shot. That's because, if the ball is in the dead middle, to hit it you'll already be standing a bit to one side of it or the other. Hitting inside out means you're already in position for the next shot. So you need to be able to hit your backhand inside-out just like your forehand.

    If your opponent takes advantage of knowing where you're hitting it to prepare early, wind up, and blast a down-the-line winner, then he's too good for you (considering your condition). But at least you'll lose the point without hurting yourself. If your opponent can't do that, or if he makes too many errors, then you can win.

    That's the goal -- to be able to play without hurting yourself, and to make your opponent show some real ability if hopes to beat you.
     
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  3. flynhi

    flynhi New User

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    It's a good idea, but bad for your doubles partner:)
     
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  4. corners

    corners Legend

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    Thanks for your replies to my questions earlier in the thread and for the above as well!

    You mentioned that lunges and stairclimbing are no-nos for knee OA. What exercises are considered safe for strengthening the legs in the manner required for stabilizing the knees?
     
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  5. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Im addition to page 14, also be sure to take a look at pages 17 thru 23 to get a better idea on how these kinesiology therapeutic (KT) tapes work.

    The fact that these various types of KT tapes can stretch to 140% of their relaxed length is part of why these tapes work the way they do. In some cases the tape is applied fully stretched to the skin to reposition the skin & underlying muscles. In other cases, the tape is applied partially stretched or not stretched at all. In these latter cases, the limbs or muscles are contracted or extended when the tape is applied.

    Another feature of the various elastic tapes is the unique ripple pattern that can be observed you look at the underside of the tape. This pattern allows the adhesive on the tape to lift the skin a bit away from the tissue to promote circulation, reduce inflammation, etc.

    After wearing the tape for several days now (shoulder and shin), I can get a little better sense of how the tape works and I can attest to its effectiveness. It is still a bit of a mystery to me, however. I tend to be a highly skeptical person when it comes to these kind of things -- so the placebo effect is rarely a factor with me. There are many other things that I've tried (including supplements) that I really wanted to work but have not experienced any significant results. This is further testament to the ineffectiveness of the placebo effect for me.

    I can definitely see/"feel" the biofeedback quality that is claimed for these elastic KT tapes. My suggestion is to forgo your skepticism or lack of understanding and give it a try. The KT tape (brand) that is available at places like Sports Authority, Target & Dick's is only $13 (good for 10-20 applications) and is fairly easy to use. SpiderTech tape is the easiest to use but it is quite a bit more expensive. Kinesio Tape has been around the longest and has the most documentation available (for a multitude of applications) but it really requires a high degree of expertise to use.
     
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  6. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    SA- Self-applying the tape properly seems like it could be problematic, particularly with certain types of problems. My view is this limits its appeal to club players since most won't have the motivation to do the research and learn about it.

    Since you've used it, what specifically did you use it for? Also, I frequently tape my knees and wrist with standard athletic tape, primarily to provide some degree of support. Can this tape be used to accomplish the same goal?
     
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  7. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I've not yet tried it for my knees (arthritis from some previous meniscus damage?) since my greatest pains and limitations right now are with my left shoulder and "shin splints" on my left leg. My shoulder limitation is primarily with external rotation and shoulder flexion. The KT tape does not use compression and does not limit ROM at all.

    There is some minor improvement in ROM for my shoulder. However, the greatest benefit has been the lack of pain in my shoulder and shin during & after tennis & badminton.

    The application to my shoulder required some assistance from another person. However, the shin application was very easy to perform on myself. I suspect that application to the knee and wrist should also be fairly easy to self-administer. Look over the pertinent printed material and watch the appropriate videos 2 or 3x and you should be able to perform the application. Even if your first attempt is not "perfect", you should derive significant benefit from the tape application.

    The KT tape does not provide support in the same manner (primarily compression) that conventional athletic tape does. Instead, it sets up your skin, muscles & joints so that your own anatomy provides that support as well as improved function.
     
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  8. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    It's hard for me to believe that the kinesio tapes either improve function or decreases joint/tendon/muscle inflammation.

    They probably have a skin surface effect similar to Ben-Gay, TENS units or capsaicin cream. That is, there a lot of pain and touch nerve endings at the skin surface level, and stimulation of these superficial nerve endings disguises the pain at a deeper level, perhaps either because of the gate control theory or endorphin release.

    And what is so bad about getting some pain relief?

    Probably only good will come of it, unless you continue to ignore pain as the body's indication of inflammation and overdo it.
     
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  9. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Don't knock it unless you've really researched it and tried it.

    It is much more than just a "skin surface effect". It is not a counter-irritant at all. It does provide an anti-inflammatory effect according to several resources that I've seen. The biofeedback, repositioning, "support" and other aspects that elastic (KT) tape provides, enable you to use your muscle & joints in a biomechanically correct and non-destructive manner.

    "The tape is used in therapy to relax overused muscles and in rehabilitation to facilitate underused muscles. The wave pattern found on the tape's adhesive has a lifting effect on the skin which can reduce swelling and inflammation by improving circulation... "

    I've not seen studies yet that indicate that KT taping has any destructive or detrimental effects on the body. Note that Kinesio tape has been in use in Japan for some 30 years now. It has gained popularity in the US in just the past 3-4 years with tennis players & Olympic athletes, particularly at the Beijing Olympics and recent Winter Olympics.
     
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  10. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Note that the lack of pain that I experience after tennis or badminton is not due to any active analgesic effect or masking of pain. Less stress is placed on my shoulder/rotator and shin due to the use of the KT tape.

    CharlieF, if you can dig up some reputable sources that indicate that KT taping does harm to the body, please bring them to light.
     
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  11. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    SA, I really value your input. I have no doubt that Kinesio Tape has helped you, and has the potetial to help others as well. I do not think that Kinesio tape causes any harm. But in a recent TT thread http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=4453260
    I did a little research on kinesio tape because it doesn't make a lot of sense to me that external flexible tape could have as big an effect as some of its adherents claim.
    This is what I found:

    "I am here to learn, though, and the manufacturers to educate. Here’s what they say it can do.

    • Re-educate the neuromuscular system
    • Reduce pain
    • Enhance performance
    • Prevent injury
    • Promote good circulation and healing

    And how does it do all that? Well, it:

    • Creates a lifting effect which improves circulation and relieves pain
    • Tension on tape has the ability to relax or stimulate muscles

    Got that? Nah, me neither. As explanations go, it’s a bit scant. Supposedly, the tape lifts the skin, and then all these wonderful benefits follow from said lifting action.

    Actually, at this point, I’m even unclear as to how it can lift anything. It’s tape, it is stuck directly to the skin, and it just sits there. Is it an antigravity tape? That would lift the skin. Maybe they mean that it lifts the skin when you have to take it off, but before that, one has to wear the tape for the suggested 3 to 4 days and look like a bit of a tit. What the tape does do, if it is stretched before applying to the skin, is provide “a constant pulling (shear) force to the skin over which it is applied.” Fine, but I’d want a wee bit more proof before believing it can therefore ‘re-educate the neuromuscular system’.

    Kinesio tape doesn’t have any clinical study evidence for all these marvellous benefits, at least according to to one physical therapist who regularly uses it. He goes on to give this far from ringing endorsement: “I mean it works for some people and it doesn’t work for others. I’ve put it on patients and they’ve felt an immediate difference. I’ve put it on patients and they haven’t felt a single thing.” In other words, some people fall for it, and some people don’t."
    http://plausibility.net/tag/kinesio-tape/

    "Hey, i am a sports physiotherapist (or as they are known in americia-physical therapist), i work with australian athletics & other national & state sports/teams in Australia. Im just goin to start & say, you should be using rigid support sports tape. In Australia no one anywhere uses kinesio tape, i dont even think its sold in Australia at all & the only recognised use for it in Australia is to improve posture at the shoulders by providing feedback to you of your shoulder position (a use which we currently use rigid sports tape for anyway). Im sure the manufacturers & people who are trained in it, say it does lots of other stuff, but of course they are, they want to make money. But until we see large scale high quality research conducted by independent bodies like National institutes of sport, then we are not going to use it for any other uses."
    http://forum.slowtwitch.com/Slowtwitch_Forums_C1/Triathlon_Forum_F1/kinesio_taping_P2169908/

    But again, as I said in my post above, I am all for relieving pain. And if Kinesio Tape is doing that for you and others, I am all for it. I just wonder about the mechanism involvolved in that pain relief, especially whether there is really any decrease in inflammation or change in musclulature contraction. Also, I'll do some more research.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2010
    #61
  12. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Arm chair tennis is the easiest on the body... but if you are going to insist on playing tennis there probably isn't really a style of play that is going to be easy on your body.

    I also feel it depends on the level of play as well, S&V can be hard on the body because of the quick changes and lunging you may have to do with well hit passing shots. The points might be quicker but the quicker jarring motions could be tougher on your body. Being on the baseline provides a more comfortable situation where you can just float on the baseline hitting balls, but naturally the points would be longer. And an all-court game is somewhere inbetween as you are actively trying to end the point.

    Tennis is not an easy sport on the body if you are playing competitively, especially for a non-contact sport. With all the changing of direction it is hard on every joint.
     
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  13. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    I checked some other references on Kinesio Tape, and most come to the same conclusion as in this article published last week:

    "According to the Scientific Explanation of Kinesio® Tex Tape, the taping method is “based on a simple principle that the body has built-in healing mechanisms healthcare practitioners can help to positively influence their efficiency by removing barriers that impede them.” The tape provides prolonged soft tissue manipulation because the tape can be worn for several days at a time. The proposed results of application include increased fluid flow through an injured area, better control of muscle contraction, increased proprioception through increased stimulation to skin mechanoreceptors, and reduced pain.

    Theoretically, these effects are certainly plausible. However, as correctly identified by Dr. Jay Williams of The Science of Soccer Online, the research is lacking in blinded, peer-reviewed studies of the tape’s effectiveness. Couple that with an athlete’s susceptibility to the placebo effect, and it becomes increasingly difficult to tease out the actual effects of the treatment.

    Most of the studies listed on kinesiotaping.com are preliminary, and don’t include essential features of quality scientific studies: such as control groups, blinded researchers and subjects, and large sample sizes.

    One study, titled The Clinical Efficacy of Kinesio Tape for Shoulder Pain: A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Clinical Trial from the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy is one of the more complete studies of Kinesio tape. The researchers randomly assigned 42 subjects with shoulder pain to two groups: one received the Kinesio taping method, while the other received a sham tape application (to control for placebo effect).

    Results of the study showed an immediate decrease in pain-free shoulder abduction for the group that received Kinesio tape, with no differences for the other measures of self-reported pain and disability and pain-free active ranges of motion.

    Although the results did show some significance, the concluded effects were no where near the claims made by the company’s marketing materials. And while there is no shortage of anecdotal support, the scientific evidence does not support the hype surrounding the Kinesio taping method.

    In my opinion, if you want to use Kinesio tape because you think it will give you a performance advantage, increase range of motion, and decrease pain, go right ahead. But make an attempt to understand the science behind the claims and limitations of this- and other athletic products."
    http://www.kastawayswimwear.com/Blo...s-wear-kinesio-tape-in-big-ten-championships/

    But that recent study on shoulder pain is finally some real scientific evidence that the tape may be of benifit for the type of pain Systemic Anomoly is suffering, even if there is still a dearth of evidence to prove how that pain is relieved:

    RESULTS: The therapeutic KT group showed immediate improvement in pain-free shoulder abduction (mean ± SD increase, 16.9° ± 23.2°; P = .005) after tape application. No other differences between groups regarding ROM, pain, or disability scores at any time interval were found. CONCLUSION: KT may be of some assistance to clinicians in improving pain-free active ROM immediately after tape application for patients with shoulder pain. Utilization of KT for decreasing pain intensity or disability for young patients with suspected shoulder tendonitis/impingement is not supported. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapy, level 1b-.

    J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2008;38(7):389-395, published online 29 May 2008. doi:10.2519/jospt.2008.2791
    http://www.jospt.org/issues/articleID.1422,type.1/article_detail.asp"

    I still am all for relieving pain!
     
    #63
  14. EKnee08

    EKnee08 Professional

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    Corners, the best thing to do is to speak to your orthopedist and/or a physical therapist. I am no physical therapist. I just know what works for me based on my condition.
     
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  15. mlktennis

    mlktennis Semi-Pro

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    how much do you weigh? Can you stand to lose a few lbs? You would be surprised how much 10-15lbs less will help keep those knees healthier.
     
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  16. mlktennis

    mlktennis Semi-Pro

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    Also I recommend lots of core exercises. For me a strong core keeps me in better balance and makes me more fluid/smooth on the court which translates to less jarring steps and off balanced hitting/ lunging/ recovery steps.

    Pilates and band work for me- gets me in shape AND low impact...saving all the impact for the courts!
     
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  17. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks for the detailed feedback, charliefedererer. I will respond to some of the points that you brought up in my next post (when I have a bit more time).

    I was able to go 5 full days with each application of the KT tape that I used. On the 5th day of use I experienced a hint of pain in my shoulder after playing tennis (and some earlier badminton). I replaced the shoulder tape on Wed morning and found that I was pain free after playing (both tennis & badminton again). Still no pain in the shin after 5 days of use, but the tape is starting to lose its adhesiveness (so I will replace it on Thurs).
     
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  18. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    SA,
    I would use Kinesio Tape just on your say-so.
    I hope you don't take my crazy interest in how and why things work as questioning your assessment that it does work. I tend to easily fall under the spell of skeptics.
     
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  19. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Wish I knew more. My inquiring/skeptical mind would like to know more about the how/why as well. The info out there seems to be rather sketchy. Perhaps the meaty information is in Japanese. After seeing & experiencing the tape, however, I've developed a vague sense of how it lifts the skin and provides some biofeedback. Have you seen RockTape? Claims to be an uber-tape (not sure what to make of that yet):

    ♦ Delays onset of fatigue
    ♦ Increases blood flow to working muscles
    ♦ Improves neuromuscular efficiency
    ♦ Enhances muscle activation
    ♦ Reduces muscle vibration
    ♦ Supports muscles and joints without restricting range of motion
    ♦ Accelerates removal of lactic acid
    ♦ Improves endurance, strength and power
    ♦ Increases lymphatic drainage, reducing swelling and inflammation

    http://www.theratape.com/rocktape


    [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=trebuchet ms,geneva][/FONT][/FONT]
     
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  20. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ You can put me in the skeptical corner with CF on this one. That said, I'm more than willing to try it out to see for myself. I just don't see anything compelling or coherent enough to convince me this stuff is legit.
     
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  21. corners

    corners Legend

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    Well, I see this thread has now become the k tape debate thread. Thanks to everyone for your help regarding playing styles and knee health.

    And I'm with jrod in the skeptical camp on the tape. I used to tape my feet using a very common and time-honored method used internationally by podiatrists and PTs - the "low-dye". The tape is supposed to reduce pronation by "supporting" the medial longitudinal arch. But studies recently have shown that the tape elongates beyond the point of serving any supporting role 10 minutes after weightbearing. But there still seems to be some - albeit minor - alteration in lower extremity kinematics, probably due to inputs to the skins mechanoreceptors, or something.

    I haven't done any reading on k t tape, so I really shouldn't comment, but I would suspect that this is a valiant attempt by PTs to influence joint function - something that is actually quite difficult to do, especially from the poorly leveraged skin-level position - and that there is more than a little placebo going on. Not that that's a bad thing, necessarily. Placebo always helps, even if it's the only thing that's helping.
     
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  22. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Not buying into the placebo effect argument. I am a highly skeptical individual and am not readily susceptible to the placebo effect. If I was, then I'm wondering why the half dozen or more other countermeasures that I've tried for my shoulder & shin have not produced better results by way of a placebo effect.
     
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  23. ahile02

    ahile02 Rookie

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    Serve and volley, or aggressive, strike-as-early-as-possible-go-for-the-winner baseline game.
     
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  24. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Honestly the best approach is to forget this question and focus on off-court training/physical therapy work. Keeping your weight down,your flexiblitiy high and your muscles perfectly balanced will curtail almost all those knee problems.

    I had some issues with my knees like 7 or 8 years ago and just a little gym work helped alot. But you could kick it up a ton more then I have if needed..

    FWIW - S and V is alot more work then baseline play if your a lower level player. If your great maybe then the S and V guys have a point. But for anything under 5.0 I would say baseline play is easier. With good anticipation and positioning players won't really be able to run you that hard..

    S and V as a low level - hella work. You will be chargin in off fault serves - when you do get in people will almost always lob over your head.. and you will have to scramble back...
     
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  25. corners

    corners Legend

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    Good points about S&V at lower levels. I'm sub-5.0, and short, so that definitely pertains to me.

    Regarding muscular power and balance, what exercises did you do in the gym to get your legs/knees performing optimally?
     
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  26. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    IMO working hard to stay as quick as possible is the key to me. If you are quick enough you can avoid putting lots of stress on your knees by getting there on time and not having to make hard cuts to get back in position. Float around don't lunge into your movements. Light and nimble not hard and heavy. Jump rope, run stairs and keep the ankles, thighs and calves strong as you can.
     
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  27. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I've got bad knees and I'm trying to coax as many years as possible out of them.

    Two things seem to be paying off. Obviously, you have to keep your legs crazy strong. Goes without saying.

    Learning to take the net has been key for me. I simply cannot get into long rallies and stay back. I play mostly doubles, and you will not find me in endless crosscourt rallies. I have been working hard on my groundstrokes (the better to get a floater or short ball) and approach volley. The movement to cut off one passing shot is far less demanding than the movement to run down a ball at the baseline.

    When I run into pushers or lobbers, taking the net shortens the point and spares my knees. And if I have to hit more than a couple of groundies, I will do *something* -- go DTL, lob, reckless charge to the net.
     
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  28. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    That's a good strategy for doubles. Unfortunately, in singles I don't think a person with bad knees will be able to cover the entire net by himself. I suspect that, if he can play singles at all, it will be by hitting heavy, deep, carefully directed ground strokes -- with ground stroke winners hit at every good opportunity. He'll have to play people who are technically weaker than him, to ensure that they cannot place the ball where it is difficult for him to reach.
     
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  29. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, I agree. Even the pros aren't especially successful with S&V in singles.

    That said, I do think crashing the net in singles is a very good idea once you have the opponent in trouble. When I watch lower-level singles, I am always surprised to see what a player does when she has hit a great shot and the other player is at full stretch. Most do nothing.
     
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  30. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Well, to be fair, it's not like they actually know how to hit an overhead or something (if 3.5 women in your area are at all like I've seen here).
     
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  31. 10ACE

    10ACE Professional

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    Great serve and a 1 2 punch- end the point as soon as possible and hope your oppenent is not fast and cannot return your genius 1 2 punch
     
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  32. bertrevert

    bertrevert Hall of Fame

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    Big serving won't go easy on your lower back or your shoulder but if you have no issue with those then fine. Should help.

    I'm starting to get a lot of knee niggles.

    I play on artificial grass so there is plenty of sliding.

    I can't work out if a certain looseness underfoot is a good or a bad thing for the knees.

    It would seem commonsense that sliding on grass and clay is a good thing (less resistance) but the looseness can play out in other ways such as hyper-extensions within slides, or groin issues due to sliding and then having to recover and change direction without grip.

    You also have to stay low for the low bounce on fake grass. It means I strengthen thighs with squats etc.

    All court if you can manage it is athletic and fast. But on a loose surface it can be very taxing. I think hard court is easier for the all court style for the reasons mentioned above..

    I'm of the view that for lower level play then baseline is fine.
     
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  33. mb73

    mb73 New User

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    I am not the most qualified to answer this, but I would think a serve and volley game would lead to shorter points and therefore less running.
     
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  34. x Southpaw x

    x Southpaw x Semi-Pro

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    Serve and volley is awesome, I'm with everyone here. That plus flatter grips for ur groundies and a great half volley slash on-the-rise game will be recipe for a great game all the way to old age
     
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  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    That, coupled with the ability and WILLINGNESS to allow some winners by, based on how much effort for a losing cause you can afford to work to stay in the point.
    "Nice shot"......
     
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  36. Pioneer

    Pioneer Professional

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    Jan 26, 2010
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    1,271
    Serve and volley stresses the body much more than a baseline game. 10 Ace has it - 1 2 punch. Just have a weapon, doesn't matter which shot it is going to be, and concentrate on winning with that weapon
     
    #86
  37. new_tennis_player

    new_tennis_player Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Messages:
    954
    I have to be careful about my knees too.

    Interestingly, I don't see young adults playing recreational tennis at the courts I play it: it's either teens or middle aged adults. I gotta find out what their secret is.
     
    #87

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