Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

A Guide to Less Arm Pain

August 23, 2010

So You Have Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, commonly shorted to TE, has been a plague that has beset the tennis nation more and more. Increasing numbers of players complain of this pain that seems to come from around the elbow. “It hurts,” says one. “After I play tennis, I need copious amounts of ice,” complains another. What can you do?

First of all, if you’ve been having serious pain for any serious length of time (one week or more), stop and put away your rackets. Playing while injured in ANY sport is not a good thing. Tennis is no different. If you’ve been suffering from tennis elbow consistently, STOP. Let your arm heal. The only way to do that is to STOP HITTING. It’s not pleasant and you may miss the sport, but do your arm and your body a favor. Take a month long break.

Fact of the matter is, technique is the NUMBER ONE CONTRIBUTOR to tennis elbow. If you have shoddy technique, you are a very likely candidate for tennis elbow. Stopping the racket mid swing, not swinging out, hitting too close to the body, arming the ball, etc are all indicative of poor technique that can lead to arm pain. After taking a break, see the nearest pro and have them critique your technique.

So now you’ve been to your local pro and he tells you that your technique is fine. After giving you a pointer or two on how to better hit that pesky inside out forehand approach into the corner, you come onto the court the following day… and continue to have arm pain! The next things for you to look at are your strings. Are you using polyester strings? Are you using kevlar strings? If the answer is YES to either of these, get rid of them! Polyester and kevlar strings are stiff and a major contributor to tennis elbow. If you absolutely INSIST on keeping polyester in your frame (and you really shouldn’t), then switch to an arm friendly polyester. Something like Babolat Pro Hurricane, Pro Supex Big Ace, Genesis Black Magic, etc. A much better and more arm friendly option is to switch to either a synthetic gut (if your wallet has been taking a pounding), a multifilament, or a natural gut (if you care to splurge). These much softer options are far more arm friendly. The best string if you have tennis elbow is natural gut (a particularly soft and comfortable one is Pacific Prime, although even the cheapest/worst gut is better than any multi in terms of elbow friendliness). Natural gut is the most comfortable, the least stiff, the absolutely best string for anybody suffering from arm pain. If you can’t afford a full bed of natural gut, consider a hybrid of natural gut and synthetic gut. The natural gut in the mains will contribute most of the feel and softness and arm friendliness of the gut, while the synthetic in the crosses sharply decreases the overall cost of the string bed.  If this hybrid stuff confuses you, just remember this: natural is good.  The more natural, the better.

Next, what tension are you stringing your strings at? If you’re one of THOSE people that strings Luxilon Alu Rough at 75 pounds in your Pure Drive and wonders why your arm is in a sling… STOP! Unless you have arms of steel, do not string Luxilon in the 70’s! The lower the tension, the better off your arm is. Lower tensions absorb more of the impact from the ball hitting the strings, and less power/shock is transferred to your arm. A good starting point for anybody suffering from mild arm pain/discomfort is to lower your tension by 3 pounds. If that’s not enough, try lowering 2 more pounds. If that’s still not enough, then you need to switch strings.

Grip size is rarely mentioned as a contributor to tennis elbow, but it is a contributor nevertheless. Try to avoid playing with anything too small, as the twisting of the racket in your hands doesn’t make your arm happy. Playing with something too big may strain your hand too much and you may not be able to hold onto the racket properly, again damaging your elbow. Don’t be stupid and try to emulate the pros with their smaller grip sizes. They’re pros and they’re able to generate massive amounts of speed that makes the twisting of the racket much less of an issue. Unless you can generate headspeed like Nadal, don’t imitate him by using an overly small grip.

Next on the chopping block is your racket. There are some rackets that are simply menaces. That’s not to say that they’re not great rackets for some people. However, rackets that are overly stiff and overly light kill the arms. Light rackets aren’t good for the simple reason that the lighter the racket, the greater the impulse that is transmitted to your arm. Brining elementary physics into the picture, the momentum of the ball has to go somewhere. That “somewhere” is dependent upon mass. If you’ve got a feather for a racket, then virtually all of that momentum goes straight up your arm. Stiff rackets are likewise horrible for your arm. The stiffer a racket, the greater the shock that is transmitted through the racket into your arm. The more flexible, the less. Thus, rackets that extremely light and extremely stiff should be avoided at all costs. Other rackets that are often cited for causing arm problems include the Babolat Pure Drive, Babolat Aero Pro Drives, Head Extremes, Wilson 6.1 95’s, and others. If you’ve made sure your technique is good, your strings are soft, your tension is low and your grip size is right for you and you’re STILL having arm pain, it’s time to switch. Switch to something that’s flexible, and preferably somewhat hefty. Good advice with regards to weight is to use something that’s as heavy as you can handle. Prokennex makes excellent rackets that are extremely arm friendly. Find something that catches your eye and try it out! Another racket/family of rackets that is very arm friendly is the V1 line by Volkl/Becker. Both the MP and OS versions are excellent arm friendly rackets that provide some nice oomph.

Tennis elbow is something that’s extremely unpleasant. It’s also something that doesn’t necessarily reflect the immediate. If you used to play with something extremely stiff a few months ago but then switched, pain might not manifest for a few months. Keep this in mind when your arm starts to hurt. Take a while off, and then find what exactly it is that is causing you arm pain.

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Changing of the guard at Wimbledon!

July 4, 2010

It was a bittersweet championship Sunday at Wimbledon that saw Rafeal Nadal dominate Tomas Berdych, to cement his hold over the number one world ranking and make it crystal clear that he has taken over as the dominant force in men’s tennis, no matter the surface. The sadness I felt was that for the second grand slam in a row and the first time since 2002 Roger Federer was missing from championship Sunday.

This tournament represents to changing of the guard in men’s tennis. Federer, for the second grand slam in a row failed to break through the quarter finals. Before the French he had reached a record 23 consecutive grand slam semis. After 7 years of sheer dominance Federer, while still a great player and a contender for every big tournament, is clearly on the downside of his career and may even consider his desire to continue competing.

I have to question the desire to continue to fight. For someone who had the run that Federer had winning 16 grand slams, achieving the career slam, and pretty much holding every record worth holding. What else is there for him to do, and why should he put himself through the necessary to regain his number one form, if that is even possible.

It is not often that a player retires at, or close to the top of his game, and rides of into the sunset remembered as a great champion and nothing else. Federer has an opportunity to finish out this year and play one more as a farewell tour, then retire with his wife, kids, and his millions in winnings, and go down as the greatest player in the history of tennis. Or he can continue chasing grand slams and possible taint his almost flawless record with good but not great results. It hurts me every time I see Federer lose an early round match to someone he has beaten every time they played before.

On the opposite side of sorrow for Federer, this Wimbledon saw consistent strong play from the younger generation of top tennis players. Nadal (24) and Berdych (24) play in the finals. The semi finals saw Andy Murry (23) and Novak Djokovic (23). All four players are under the age of 25 and with the exception of Berdych, 13 overall but will move up with his victory, ranked in the top 5 in the world.

What this tells me is that the future of tennis is looking up with additional young players Robin Soderling (25), Juan Martin del Potro (21), Jo-Wilfreid Tsonga (25), and Marin Cilic (21), all ranked inside the top 15 in the world. With Federer on the downside of his career there are young dynamic players to take his place in the spotlight at the top of the rankings. And they will all be fighting for a shot at Nadal in New York City and other cities around the U.S. as the US Open Series heats up throughout the summer. In my opinion one of the most fun stretches of tennis in the year.

School v. Athletics: the balance to greatness

April 13, 2010

                  V.               

I have been working as a high performance tennis coach for the past six years and the biggest challenge when working with high level players is to create the same sense of urgency to be successful in the sport they are pursuing as they put into their education.

In the United States, education is required; every child is expected to start school in kindergarten or first grade and continue to go until they graduate from high school 12 years later. In addition to education, an emphasis is placed on other cultural enhancements, choir, playing an instrument, or debate team. On the other hand, sports and athletics are a leisure activity, participated in to round out the transcript or to teach a child “life lessons.” What parents need to understand is, if they want their child to succeed in their athletic career, the same level of commitment needs to be placed on practice, competition, and sports related homework, as is placed on education and cultural activities.

                                            

Parents will take great pride in their child’s attendance record and deans list awards at school, but think nothing of canceling a tennis lesson because their child has a play date, an important test, or the parent has something else on their schedule. This is problematic for a couple reasons. First, being that parents will cancel that tennis lesson but then put the same level of pressure on the child to succeed when in competition. Secondly, the child will not put the same level of effort into achieving success on the athletic field as they do in an academic setting.

                               

The second reason is the area that I find most troubling. Many times I will ask a kid to tell me their effort level on a scale of 1-10 or what percentage out of 100 they are trying. To often the answer is 5 out of 10 or under 100%. How is it possible for a child to expect success when they are only trying to succeed half of their max level?    

This mentality by parents creates distorted expectations and an unfair level of pressure on the children. A disconnect is created when the level of commitment is not the same for athletics as it is for school. Children are shown that it is not as important to maintain their level of focus and commitment in sport but they are then expected to excel nonetheless.

Most parents expect their children to receive A’s in school, and insure they are doing their homework and study for their tests. In the same breath, they expect their children to excel in sports but don’t make sure they stretch before working out, ice after, or allow them to work out at all. This mentality is one of the major factors limiting American.     

Pro Supex Nano Energy Tennis Racquet

Along the same lines, parents need to create a support system with their children to ensure success. A parent would never think of sending their child to school without the proper school books, but they would send them to practice without the correct racquet. A parent would make sure a child struggling academically would receive a tutor; a struggling athlete may be expected to perform without additional help.

While I understand academics are considered the most important thing as a child. I was home schooled and feel that athletics were just as much a part of my education as book learning. I believe they way to well rounded children is excellence in all areas of life.

Natural Gut

March 27, 2010

My post today will be about the elite strings of the tennis world: natural gut.

Natural gut has been in use for a very, very long time. Back in 1875, Babolat first introduced their natural gut. Since then, various other companies have adopted natural gut for their own uses, and has risen to own the top of the tennis strings pyramid. Natural gut, as the name implies, is made from natural fibers, namely serosa (part of the intestine). Most natural guts are made using cattle serosa, although natural gut made of sheep serosa does exist.  These strings have a LOT of benefits.  They have excellent feel, give great touch, are very powerful, are some of the world’s most arm friendly strings, just to name a few.

Being a natural product, natural gut varies all over the place. Babolat, then and now, is the elite. VS natural gut is the best string on this planet, and commands a $42 price tag. Other manufacturers, including Klip, Pacific, BDE, and Bow Brand also produce natural guts that are of very fine quality. Klip and Pacific natural guts are widely used today for their wonderful feel at a relatively low price.

In the past years however, lower quality guts have entered the market. These guts include Global, Gaucho, Unifiber, and others. These guts are cheap: cheaper than a good multi. Today, one can get individual sets of Global or Gaucho (the two most popular low end natural guts) for around $15, while one can generally get ten sets for around $100.

So, the question always comes up… is it worth it? After all, the cheapest higher end gut comes in at $26 (Klip Legend). Is Klip justified the extra $11?

My answer is a resounding… maybe. There’s no denying that Global/Gaucho is a decent string- it feels very nice, and definitely feels like gut. However, Global/Gaucho is VERY prone to snapping on the machine (greater than a 10-15% snap rate has been reported), doesn’t know what in the world gauge consistency means (my sets varied from can’t-get-the-string-through-the-grommets large to under 1.20mm), has an abysmal coating, is an absolute pain to string up, and frays like nothing I’ve seen. As soon as the gut touches water, the stuff drastically loses tension and the chance of snapping increases tenfold (if you do use decide to use Global/Gaucho, do NOT use it when it’s humid or raining). Stringing the stuff is downright dangerous, since the string isn’t well coated at all and unravels a ton.

This all being said though, the stuff feels great! You get the feel of natural gut for the price of a multi. That great feel that is so often talked about with natural gut is definitely there. Your arm will also definitely be thanking you for using this string (it’s very arm friendly). You can even reduce the fraying by sticking some string savers in the string bed, so that eliminates one of my complaints. Unfortunately, Global/Gaucho isn’t for everyone. The fact of the matter is, it IS a low end option. The stuff snaps, frays, and doesn’t have a coating like that of better guts. Unless you’re going to be stringing this stuff for yourself, I would not recommend this string. The chance of it snapping is too high, and in the end, your reputation is far more important than the ability to offer a cheaper gut. If your customer really wants a cheaper option that feels like gut, recommend that they go with a natural gut/synthetic gut hybrid. A hybrid of Klip Legend 16 and Forten Sweet 16 comes out to under $15 (what it costs for Global/Gaucho), feels great, and works very well.

From Sportsmen to Athlete: a Transition in Tennis

March 22, 2010

When tennis started on the finely manicured lawns of Wimbledon, the players hit the ball back and forth nicely in long white pants and skirts, with wooden racquets, and short stokes. Tennis was a gentlemen’s game, a thinking game, and the players were more sportsman than athletes.

Fast forward to modern day…Tennis is now a high powered, supremely athletic, fist pumping, in your face game, and the toughest person wins. The ball travels faster, players are stronger, racquets and string provide more power, and the courts and balls are sped up to enhance the athletic prowess of the modern player.

Understanding this dynamic change in tennis has increased the importance of off court training for all levels of tennis players, both in the gym and with dynamic and plyometric movements. I have been a high performance coach for the last eight years, working with top level juniors and top 100 ranked WTA players. It is always a struggle to get players and parents alike to understand that it is not all about how well you hit the tennis ball.

Once you reach a certain level everyone can hit the ball well. The separation at the highest level is fitness, strength, and ability to create from defensive positions. This separation can be closed with proper training off the court.

The best way to bridge the gap between hitting balls and learning the proper movements is to build the understanding at the earliest age possible. I try to talk to the students and the parents as soon as they decide tennis is the sport for their child to pursue.

When working with young children the most important thing is to begin teaching them to use their legs at an early age. As they grow stronger, the more specific, more taxing movements will be easier to achieve if they learn to bend and load with their legs right from the outset of their training. In the beginning they may not understand the movements but they will be building the base for bigger and better things in the future.

With young children there are a few movements that if taught at the beginning of their development will pay great dividends later in their career.

These movements are:

  • Squat
    • Make sure legs are wider than shoulder with apart
    • Shoulders are over the knees
    • Knees are over the toes
    • Feet are parallel to each other and pointed straight at the net
      • Teach as split step/ready position
  • Front lunge
    • From ready position, step one leg straight forward and back knee is dropped to the ground
    • Front leg is bent at a 90 degree angle
    • Stop one tennis ball length from the ground
    • Make sure front knee does not pass in front of front toe
    • Front foot flat on the ground back foot the weight is on the ball
  • Side lunge/load position
    • From ready position, turn to one side and step out with that foot parallel to the baseline.
    • Weight is placed on leg that steps and front lunge position is achieved
      • Teach in simulation with forehands and backhands

These three basic movements will allow your students to get the basic understanding of the leg movements that will allow them to reach a higher level when they fully develop their game. I have found that students who have played other sports before turning to tennis have picked up the movements quickly. However, any student can learn the proper movements and enhance their tennis game through these basic kinetic movements.

High or low the tension question?

March 14, 2010

For players in cold weather climates the best time of the year is coming…spring. Time to put away your cold weather clothes get out you short sleeves and play tennis outdoors! With the change from indoors to out, it is a great time to try lowering the tension in your racquets.

When you play indoors there are no elements to contend with, no sun, no wind, and no weather at all. As you move outdoors for the new season, the first thing you realize is that it is harder to get the ball deeper in the court. One quick and easy fix is to try dropping the tension in your racquet

With advances in string and racquet technology, players are able to take bigger and faster swings while still being able to control the ball. Many players have copied the pros and taken to using some form of polyester and co-polyester strings. The advantage of polyester fibers is the ability to create tremendous amounts of spin and power without losing control of the ball.

The main issues with polyester type strings are shoulder, elbow, and wrist pain. In addition to arm issues, polyester strings are their most dynamic at lower tensions, most companies recommend stringing polyester strings at 10% lower tensions than your normal string.

For many of the players I work with, especially juniors, they do not know what tension they should be stringing their racquets at for optimum performance. Many follow the recommend tension levels which tend to be on the high side. I feel than once a player achieves a competent playing level the more they can drop their tension the better they will play.

The best way to approach this change is gradually, I discuss it with the client, let them know it’s not going to be anything major, and that we can always change back. Start by dropping 2-5 pounds, 60 to 56 is my favorite drop. Once they have gotten used to 56 try 54 or a hybrid tension such as 53/57. Than continue to play with the tensions until you find the perfect spot. For top level players I would see how low you can go while still keeping the control. I have a former touring professional who I string a 16/19 98 sq in racquet with a poly/synthetic blend at 44/48 and he feels that he doesn’t even have to swing to generate power on the ball.

The three main reasons to lower tension are the dynamic increase of the string, decreasing the chances of arm pain, and added power when moving outdoors.

The dynamic power of polyester is wasted at high tensions. Many players sour quickly on polyester strings because they feel pain which can easily be avoided by lower the string tension to a more manageable level. Finally, in the move from climate controlled indoor courts to more variable outdoor courts you will find the added power and feel a welcomed benefit to lowering the tension in your racquets. In the years since I graduated college I have dropped my personal tension from 60/62 to 51/53 with similar string set ups and I cannot be happier.

Black Magic or Spin X?

March 12, 2010

A few days… weeks… alright, months ago, an unknown string company entered the tennis string market. It was a small company that decided to introduce just two strings for its debut into the highly competitive tennis string market. Now, most companies like a nice balance of synthetic guts, multis and polyesters. Not this company. Judging from its first offerings, Genesis seems to be choosing the all-one-type-of-string route. They introduced two polyesters. EXCELLENT polyesters.

You’ve probably realized by now that I’m talking about Genesis. In the 9 months or so since Genesis strings hit the market, many players have fallen deeply in love. These polyesters bite hard, maintain their tension extraordinarily well, and are extremely comfortable. For most of us mere mortals, this is EXACTLY what we’re looking for in a third generation polyester.

But the problem is… which one? Do I choose Black Magic or Spin X? These strings fall right into the ever-growing category of sub-$100 reel polyesters, making them both very wallet friendly as well. Deciding on these strings based on price… well, it’s hard.

Let’s start with the Spin X. Spin X is textured. What that means is that Genesis manufactured these strings with a non-round shape, causing the string to BITE into the ball and created increased spin. As with all polyesters, Spin X generates an amazing amount of spin. It differs from most other textured polys (specifically MSV Hex, Blue Gear, among others) in that it maintains an excellent feel and allows you to feel connected to the ball. There’s a noticeable ball pocketing effect that just gives you this added smidge of confidence. There are two colors of this string, and it’s been reported that there’s a bit of difference. The pink/red string is slightly softer than its silver-colored brother. Both maintain tension well, and both have a nice feel, but the silver is for those looking to more closely replicate the feel of Luxilon Alu Rough (albeit it lacks the price tag and the pesky couple-of-hours-before-it-dies factor). It should be noted that with Spin X, there is a relatively steep tension drop in the first 24 hours after stringing, but then settles in and maintains that post-drop tension practically until it breaks.

Black Magic, on the other hand, is a smooth poly. It’s similar to Spin X, but it doesn’t give quite as much spin. I suppose you could say that Black Magic is similar to Big Ace, albeit stiffer and has less of a plasticky feel. Compared to Spin X, Black Magic has better feel. It’s a little more full-bodied, and is really quite enjoyable. Can you say that Black Magic is a better string? That would be pretty hard. They’re both excellent strings, and it would really be difficult to say which one is better.

Now, I’m not too sure whether or not I actually shifted your opinion one way or another. At the end of the day, they’re both excellent strings that come under $6 a set in reel form. Compare that to higher priced polys that come in at $15, $20 a set, and I’m left wondering how long Genesis is going to keep their prices this low. These are really excellent polyesters that can hang with the “Big Boys”. I recommend you hope on over to The Tennis Depot to try out a set of each and see which one YOU prefer.

To string or not to string?

January 5, 2010

I still remember the feeling of satisfaction on that warm summer day when I heard that loud twang telling me that I had broken my first string…One month, and fifteen broken strings later I was beginning to dread that same sound that had excited me hearing it for the first time.

See full size image

The first broken string carries a sense of accomplishment that one has arrived as a player, a coming of age if you will. What you come to find later, with that accomplishment comes a cost. Once a broken string is no longer an accomplishment it becomes a nuisance, both financially and logistically. 

                                             

Every broken string means that you have to take the time to find someone to string your racquet, pay the cost of labor and string, and be without your racquet for some time, sometimes up to two weeks! For me, after I started breaking strings almost daily I started thinking about purchasing my own stringer.

                                                 Alpha Revo 4000 Stringing Machine

The main things to consider when looking at buying a stringer are how many racquets are you breaking? How much are you paying for the restring job? And do you have time available to string your own? One other concern with giving your racquet to someone else is that you do not know how they are treating your racquet.

The formula is, cost to restring + number of broken racquets vs. cost of stringer + available time to string.

  • Figure between $12-$25 per racquet in labor.
  • You break one racquet per week or more
    • At least 50 per year, 50 x 20 = $1000
  • You can get a serviceable stringer anywhere from $150 to $1000.

Once you decide that it makes sense to purchase your own stringer it is time to decide which one. There are three main types of stringing machines, drop-weight, Manual crank, and electric. The two I am going to focus on are drop-weight and manual because they are more affordable for the first time owner.

                                      Alpha Pioneer DC Plus Stringing Machine

Drop-weight is a very accurate and simple system, but tend to be the slowest method of stringing and can be difficult for the first time user. The drop-weight machine uses a gravity system, a weight is attached to an arm, the string is clamped into the arm, and the arm is then dropped to level with the ground where the desired tension is met. An issue is that if the desired tension is not met the process must be restarted each time. An example is the Alpha Pioneer DC Plus.  

                                               Alpha Axis Pro Stringing Machine

Crank stringers use a spring tensioning system where a spring is wound to set the desired tension, the string is placed in the gripper, and the crank is pulled. The spring locks out at the desired tension. This is a fast and simple stringer but is not as accurate as a drop-weight if both are used correctly. An example is the Alpha Axis Pro.

The difference in accuracy is that drop-weight stringers continue to hold tension until the string is clamped whereas the lockout machine stops pulling tension the second the spring locks. The accuracy of a drop-weight is closest to the actual tension set. Both systems if used correctly will provide an even string bed in the hands of a capable stringer.

The second thing to look at is the difference in bells and whistles, clamps, mounting points, stands, extras, etc…there are two different types of clamps, fixed and swivel.

                                        

  • Fixed clamps are mounted on two bars and move laterally up and down and side-to-side. These clamps hold tension well, but have to be moved when going from mains to crosses when stringing racquets adding time to the string job.
  • Swivel clamps are attached to a moving base that moves laterally and also in 360-degree rotation to accommodate all strings without adjustments. These are the faster type of clamp but some people believe that they do not hold tension as well as fixed clamps because they have the capability to move more.

Mounting points are the different ways to mount the racquet on the stringer. Two point and six point are the most common.

                            

  • Two point systems will attach at 6 and 12 o’clock on the frame and is the quickest method because it limits potential blockage of stringing holes.
  • Six point systems attach at 6 and 12 as well as 4, 8, 10, and 2. This method protects from potential warping but can be cumbersome when trying to reach blocked grommet holes.

The third thing to look at is table top or upright stringer. The difference is that a table top has a base that can be placed onto something to achieve a desired hight. This is more portable and flexible, but is not as stable as an upright. An upright stringer has the stand built onto the machince and is not portable once set up.   

The last thing is extras; many companies will give you tools, string, and dvds to assist in your new stringing skill. The other benifit of having your own stringer is the abilty to playtest and sample new and different strings.

Once you decide to take the plunge you will need to figure on what tools to get, what strings to buy, and how to grow past a personal stringer. Check www.thetennisdepot.com for all of these items. I will be discussing these topics in further posts in the next couple weeks.

The miracles of non-modern medicine: highlighting homeopathic treatments

November 29, 2009

                                      

Before reading this article look at the two choices before you and decide which you would prefer to put into your body.

Choice 1.

  • Chest pain, weakness, shortness of breath, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance
  • Nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Upset stomach, mild heartburn, diarrhea, constipation
  • Drowsiness or headache

Choice 2.

  • All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects
    • Mild redness or irritation of the skin

Every athlete, serious or not, is going to find themselves waking up in the morning with some aches and pains that hamper their everyday activity. Many other athletes feel they need something to allow them to play up to their top level.

A majority of those people reach for some type of anti-inflammatory or pain killer found in pharmacies, supermarkets, and convenience stores around the country. A few popular choices are Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Motrin. However, there are other, better, options that people are not familiar with, to help stave off those nagging injuries.

At the beginning of the article I provided a list of potential side effects of two different medicines.  Choice 1 lists side effects of commonly used pain killers and anti-inflammatory’s such as Motrin and Aspirin.

Choice 2 is the one potential side effect listed for the homeopathic medicine Arnica Montana.

Both lists were compiled from the website www.drugs.com. To be fair, on other websites I did see other possible side effects listed but all said that in diluted doses Arnica was considered safe for use with little potential for side effects.

Looking at those two lists again which would you rather use?

My experience with medicines as a top level junior and division 1 college player consisted predominately of homeopathic medicines. I used a combination of products to assist with daily pain, bumps and bruises, and more serious sprains and strains.

The two main ingredients I use in place of the common medicines are Arnica Montana and Calendula Officinalis.

Arnica is an everyday remedy used for bumps, bruises, swelling, and muscle stiffness. It is a great pain reliever for tennis elbow, sprained ankles, and knee tendonitis.

Calendula is used for burns, rashes, and blisters. Great for sore fingers or toes and after that summer day you forgot to use sunscreen.

Many people will have concerns when using products they are unfamiliar with and something their doctor didn’t recommend. The two things two understand is that, for one, there are no major side effects, and two, there are many different types, gels, creams, pills, tinctures, if one does not work there will be others to try and they are all natural and plant based for limited health risks.

Heel-BHI Traumeel Ointment (50g)

For anyone on the fence, free samples of Heel-BHI Traumeel, a muscle pain and anti-inflammatory cream with both Arnica and Calendula, is available from www.thetennisdepot.com.

I would suggest anyone looking for an alternative to modern medicine give Traumeel a try. Or any other Arnica based product they might find.

Message Board Status

September 1, 2009

In the last couple of weeks, we have received numerous requests regarding the status of our message board. We understand the important of interaction between tennis players and are doing our best to get a message board working. However, as you may know, here at The Tennis Depot we prefer to do things right rather than rush through and then change certain aspects. Ideally, we would like to offer a solution where you can use the same login credentials both on our website and on the forum. What this provides is convenience and flexibility. Rather than creating two accounts (one for online store and one for message board), you can use one account for both. A solution like this is not available at the moment. Therefore, we have pushed back the development of the message board to a later date. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

At the moment, we urge customers to interact with each other through our Facebook page. You are free to create your very own discussion boards and post on our wall. We understand this does not provide the same user experience as a full blown message board, but this is a temporary solution.

As always, if you ever have any questions, feel free to let us know.