I’m a lucky girl. I get to come to work every day and hang out with the playtesters you see on the videos. Beat them at tennis, make jokes at their expense, force them to workout with me in the gym, make them edit my blogs, listen to me sing with my headphones in at my desk (only Jason gets to hear that, I should start singing louder)… You get the point. I did a little bit of math, and I figured out that the percentage that I know about them all is excessively larger than what the rest of you get to experience, so I thought, “Hey, why not write about them in my blogs?” I get to show you guys how cool they are, I get to make more jokes about them, and I get to talk about tennis even more than I usually do. Win win win.
Except for myself (I am the youngest player in the group), everyone is aging rapidly, getting grey hair (or no hair) and dealing with injuries. Some seriousness for a second, tennis is a harsh sport that takes a toll on your body. Despite being non-contact, injuries are abundant, and if you can’t prevent them in the first place, you have to deal with them. Like I said, our group (myself included) has injuries to deal with on a daily basis. Here’s a little insight to what’s giving them pain, and how they deal with it.
Jason is the biggest fan of Kinesio TEX Gold Tape. When I asked him about it he said, “I use Kinesio tape to help me play with and through injuries. I’ve used it for my shoulder, elbow, wrist and knees.”
Kinesio TEX Gold Tape is an elastic therapeutic tape, which is used to tape over and around muscles to correct muscle function, relieve pain, improve circulation and reposition joints. In short, it works differently than normal tape. It has 140 percent elasticity (the same as human skin), which means it allows you to move as freely as you like, while still working to support the injury. How does it help Jason? “Depending on how I tape up, it can either help support a movement or restrict it.”
I asked him if he had any special tips about how to use it, (because not all of you have him at your beck and call to tape our achilles *cough* me). He said, “Learning how to tape isn’t too difficult, thanks to the internet. We have a few videos on our site that will teach people how to tape for the most common tennis injuries, but a quick Youtube search will get you more videos that we don’t have. I don’t know if it actually does what the manufacturers say it does or if it’s a placebo effect [get out of your head, Jay, it’s dark and lonely in there!], but I do know it helps me with my injuries.”
Any last words, Jason? “Not only that, but it comes in a multitude of colors that can match any outfit and that makes me feel pretty.” And he’s right. The Kinesio TEX Gold Original comes in skin tone, blue, black and pink. And yes, the blue makes his eyes sparkle.
I couldn’t stop Spencer talking about his feet when I asked him if he took any injury/preventative measures. “Superfeet Premium Insoles Green is what I used when I had Plantar Fasciitis, and what it does is that it offers a rigid arch support, keeping the plantar tendon stretched.” Pain relief, do I hear you say? Yes, pain relief!
These insoles offer the best arch and foot support because sometimes shoes don’t quite fit the unique shape of your foot. It has technology called Encapsulating Stabilizer System (ESS) that provides the ideal biomechanical support by putting your feet in their optimal functioning position. They have high-density foam that is a shock absorber as well as supporter, and they work to increase blood flow that in turn increases circulation. The center heel holds and balances your body’s weight, so the insoles not only support your feet, but also reduce joint and muscle stress. Technological, I know, but anyone who’s tried insoles before can vouch for their success (yours truly included, after ankle sprains and surgery). They come in four different colors, which distinguish between the levels of support and cushioning, and come in all different sizes for both men and women.
The green insoles are ideal for medium to high arched feet, and as Spencer explained, “You should go wth something as high as your feet can tolerate.” He told me, “Over time, using the Superfeet helps ‘heal the heel,’ if you will. That, along with icing, ibuprofen and rest, of course.” He’s like a bottomless well of knowledge!
Granville was a story of bad ankles. “After a broken ankle in college and several sprains on the tennis court since, I wear ankle braces as a preventative measure.” As a man of quality, I asked Gran how he found the best ankle brace for support. He replied, “Over the years I’ve worn several types from the lace-up to the lace-up with the plastic inserts on the outside to reduce roll-over, but I have found the best brace to be the Hely-Weber Zap Ankle Braces. They use nylon straps and Velcro panels to offer a very tight and supportive wrap. These are the closest braces I’ve found to a ‘wrapped’ ankle with a foam under layer and tape.”
The Hely-Weber Ankle is a popular ankle brace style among tennis players because it uses figure-eight stabilizing straps to replicate traditional ankle taping like Granville described. This not only provides the support you need, but it also still allows you to flex and extend your foot to move efficiently. We actually have the brace in black and white, but also with the TW logo too for a little bit of love and support for your favorite tennis company. Granville told me he uses the brace primarily for injury prevention because unlike the rest of us he “tries not to play in pain!” What? Pain free tennis? You go too far, sir!!!
“I wear it because I think it makes me look bad ass,” explains Chris, who wears Skin Sports Sleeves despite being a hardy Englishman. We currently don’t stock it, but we have in the past, and… You guessed it, we’re bringing it back!!! Why does he wear the Skins Sleeves?
He followed with, “Actually, I like the support it gives my muscles and it feels like I warm up quicker. I also really like the recovery gear as I find I don’t feel as sore the next day if I wear it after I play. The sleeves really help when I have multiple hits in one day — like a tournament situation as I warm up quicker and don’t feel as tight for my next match.”
The Skins Sport Sleeves provide compression to improve circulation, and the seams on the sleeve are anchor points that reduce muscle vibration, resulting in less soreness the next day. You can also wear them after tennis to relieve pain and reduce fatigue. In a nutshell? They compress: enhancing circulation and delivering more oxygen to active muscles. This reduces lactic acid build-up and other metabolic wastes so you can go harder for longer and recover faster. Keep an eye out for them when we bring them back and aid your own recovery with a sleeve.
That’s it for today, now you know a little more about some of the boys on the team, and how they prevent and deal with their injuries. See ya, I’m off to have a hit with Carol!