Jay Clayton Wilson
Remember when the University of Arizona tennis teams visited our courts for the Skin Cancer Research Fundraiser? Remember how the players did that rather awkward looking, seemingly uncoordinated dance around the court before they started hitting? That dance is what this article is all about. It will be called the Dynamic Dance and there is a reason for that.
Ever since our high school days we began our athletic activity with a series of warm up stretches that involved touching our toes, bending against a wall with one foot planted to the rear, invisible chairs, jumping jacks and pushups. That’s how we used to warm up in hopes that we would not strain or tear our muscles and tendons. Modern science has examined those exercises and determined that some of them neither warm us up properly nor serve to prevent injuries. In fact, specialists have determined that some of them actually detracted from our physical abilities. Those now abandoned exercises are called ‘static’ and they have been replaced with ‘dynamic’ movements. Thus, the Dynamic Dance.
Here’s how it works.
Dynamic stretching is merely the continuous, controlled, active movement of muscles. It is the opposite of the old static stretch in which muscles were held firmly at an extended position for several seconds. The thought is that warm up should actually move our muscles in the way they will move during the match. Of importance, dynamic warm up must be done within 20 minutes of play. Longer than that diminishes the effect for which we strive.
Helen Howard, a certified physical therapist at the DesertView Fitness Center, notes that those seemingly awkward, uncoordinated dances we watched actually mimicked the movement that tennis players will use as soon as the match began. Side stepping, Frankenstein march, cross leg stepping, skipping around with arms flailing and the controlled rotations of body parts are really a Dynamic Dance that prepares our muscles for show time.
In a future article we will explain and provide examples of the exact warm up exercises we should be doing to ready ourselves for safe tennis play.
Until then, try this: Google the term ‘dynamic warmup for tennis’. Watch some of the videos. Perhaps watch: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztN66R_hgOs or www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWa_r2dzY-g for some prime examples that you can do right on the court before play. Yeah, there’s a lot of advertising on some of the sites. Just look at all of them. Memorize the best of them. Then attempt the Dynamic Dance on the court immediately before play. It is as important as hitting warm up shots.
So, act like players on the U of A tennis teams. Do the Dynamic Dance around the court. Don’t be shy. Don’t be self-conscious. Instead. Urge every STC member to join you. Yeah, use your iPhone ear buds. Dance on!