Your feet are everything. Try to imagine not having them and what that might do to your tennis game. Not a pretty sight, is it? Your feet and their health are that important, not only to your personal safety and movement but your performance on the tennis court. A slight improvement in the choice of footwear can make a world of difference.
Did you know that every single time you step your foot on the ground it puts 2X the amount of weight in your body in pounds of pressure on your feet? When you run it goes up to 3-5x your weight in pressure. So someone weighing 150 pounds can exert up to 750 pounds of pressure on their feet when they run! That is a lot of weight to put on your joints, body as a whole and especially your feet.
With a sport like tennis, movement and footwork is essential to success. Without the proper shoes to cushion and support your feet, improving your game is like pushing a boulder up hill. You could hurt yourself, number one, and it also affects your performance every single time you put your foot down on the court. Pivoting with supported feet is much better than pivoting without support.
Many people suffer from improper imbalance, from the bottom of their feet all the way up to the top of their heads. The spine is not only effected by the muscles of the torso but also all the muscles that shoot straight down from the pelvic region. The body works as a kinetic chain, with every muscle group and the entire skeletal structure working together in perfect synergy.
When one piece of this synergy is off, it can reverberate all the way through the entire system. Having the proper footwear can ensure that at least that portion of the whole is secure and strong. Once you set up your feet with the right fit, the right shoe, you can begin to play tennis like never before. Your recovery time will be lessened because you will have less impact injuries and less jarring on your frame.
Imagine wrestling without wrestling shoes. It would not happen. The proper footwear is required in that sport. The same is true with skiing. Imagine trying to hit the slopes without ski boots. It wouldn’t be a fun day at the slopes, believe me. And no self respecting track star would run the 100 yard dash or any other events without cleats and neither would football players.
Tennis is no different from these other sports in this regard. Quickness, reacting to the movement of the ball and keeping pace with your opponent is an important key to success in tennis. Reaction times, pivoting, changing direction- sometimes in mid-air!- is part of what makes a good tennis player. Those crucial seconds are sometimes the difference between winning and losing.
A high level of activity can wear out your body. All that jumping from side to side, banging around on your feet, your ankles, all the way up to your back and neck and shoulders, it really starts to take a toll on your whole body after hours and hours on the court. Not everyone who plays tennis is a hardcore competitor, of course. Some simply like to play for fun. But year after year, if your feet do not have the right fit or right density on the sole of your shoe, it can play havoc with your body at some point.
A foot specialist can help determine what fit is best for you and even a personal trainer or physical therapist can look at your alignment and figure out what type of shoe would work the best. Go to them and get it straightened out before you hit the court. These experts can give you the best information to get you started and suited up with the right footwear so you’ll be at your best.