Tennis players are prone to suffering from cramps during long matches. In this piece we will look at the possible causes of cramps during tennis matches and the ways in which players can overcome it to make things easier for themselves as compared to their opponents.
Muscle cramps occur when a muscle contracts more forcefully than normal, causing minor tears within the tissue. These tears cause muscle fibers to release chemicals that trigger a painful response, which usually includes pain, soreness and swelling.
When tennis players cramp up, it’s usually during the latter stages of a match.
A cramp can occur in any muscle group, but the most common areas are in the legs and feet. It’s not uncommon for players to be visibly in pain when they’re experiencing a muscle cramp during a match.
Causes of Cramps in Tennis
Tennis players can get cramps anywhere that requires intense muscle contraction. Since this sport is a marathon of endurance, a lot of factors can lead to a cramp. Following are some of the most common reasons:
It’s important to stay hydrated when playing tennis for long periods of time because it helps prevent muscle cramps. If you’re not drinking enough water or sports drinks, you will likely suffer from dehydration and cramping sooner or later.
Playing in high temperatures can make you more prone to muscle cramps because it causes your body temperature to increase, which increases your blood flow and makes you sweat more than usual.
This puts additional pressure on your heart and makes it work harder than normal, which can result in muscle cramping.
Lack of Electrolytes
When playing tennis for an extended period of time, it’s important that you eat healthy foods that contain electrolytes like potassium, sodium and magnesium so that your cells have sufficient amounts of these nutrients to function properly.
If they don’t have enough electrolytes, they may not be able to absorb enough oxygen from the bloodstream which can cause them to become fatigued faster than usual
When you exercise intensely for long periods of time without adequate rest between bouts of activity, your muscles can become fatigued and prone to cramping. This is especially true if your muscles are already weak from injury or illness (such as influenza).
Exercising on an Empty Stomach
If you don’t eat before exercising, your body gets its energy from glycogen stored in your muscles and liver.
This glycogen is limited, so if you exercise without eating beforehand (as many people do), then your body will burn through its supply quickly — leading to fatigue and muscle weakness that can lead to cramping later on in your workout or match.
Eating 30 minutes before exercise helps prolong your glycogen stores so that they last longer — preventing fatigue and muscle weakness later on.
Remedies to Overcome Tennis Cramps
In order to get that edge over their opponents, tennis players need to ensure they can prevent cramps. Below mentioned is a list of ways by which tennis players avoid getting themselves affected by cramps.
Dehydration can severely affect the body and reduce muscle strength. As a tennis player, this is anything but ideal. You need all the strength you can get when playing against another player who may be just as strong as or stronger than you!
Dehydration not only causes muscle cramps but also makes you more prone to injury because it reduces blood flow and increases the risk for muscle fatigue. Drinking water before and during practice will keep your muscles from cramping up in the first place.
Here’s a piece on what tennis players drink during a match.
Massage is one of the most effective ways to overcome tennis cramps. To massage your calf muscles, use your fingers or a massage tool such as a foam roller.
Another great method of self-massage is using a tennis ball. This can be done by lying on the floor with your affected leg extended and massaging just above where you feel the cramp (usually in the calf).
Roll up and down slowly until you have worked out all of the tightness in that area. If you are unable to get rid of it this way, try rolling over something else like a golf ball instead!
Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt baths, also called magnesium sulphate baths, are a simple, natural remedy for cramps, soreness, and other aches and pains.
The salts have the ability to absorb water and expand into a gel-like substance that surrounds your body while you soak in the tub. This provides temporary relief from muscle stiffness.
Epsom salts can also relieve constipation by drawing fluids into the intestines and softening stool (this is why they’re sometimes recommended as a remedy for diarrhoea).
This can be added directly to bathwater or dissolved in a few drops of water before adding it to your bathtub or foot spa.
Adding Epsom salts directly can cause damage if they’re too hot; therefore it’s best to dissolve them first so that their temperature is safe enough not only for your skin but also for any pipes leading into your home’s plumbing system!
Pickle juice is believed to help ease muscle cramps, especially those related to exercise. It contains sodium, which can help replenish what your body loses during a workout.
The vinegar in pickle juice may also reduce muscle cramps by increasing the amount of potassium in your body. Potassium helps regulate the balance between sodium and potassium, both of which are essential electrolytes (minerals that carry an electric charge).
A deficiency in either can lead to dehydration, which makes muscle cramps more likely.
Here’s our explanation on why tennis players drink pickle juice.
Stretching is a vital part of any tennis player’s warm-up routine. It helps to prevent cramping, improve performance, and prevent injury.
If you are competing in a match or tournament and are experiencing cramps, it is important to try stretching the muscles that are affected.
If the cramp does not go away within 10 minutes then you should seek medical attention immediately as this can be indicative of more serious underlying conditions such as heat stroke or dehydration.
Final Words on Cramps in Tennis
If you are a tennis player then muscle cramping is something that you just can’t ignore.
That’s especially true for the pros who need to be on top of their game all of the time to make it big in such an aggressive sport. Simple things like avoiding dehydration, consuming enough water and salt, and stretching before a match can make a huge difference.
But if you’re still experiencing frequent muscle cramps then you might consider seeing a sports doctor.