In 2010, Rafael Nadal was rated #1 tennis player in the world. In 2012, he was rated #4. In 2017, he was rated #5. But Nadal has had a long history of knee problems. In 2012, he suffered from what was reported as a 'chair injury'. According to Rafael, he was sitting down and when he rose from the chair he heard a crack in his knee followed by pain that limited how he could move his knee.
Tennis players need endurance, speed and consistency in their game. They need to set up their backhand and forehand with equal speed and fluidity. These essential abilities revolve around bio mechanics (the study of movement in living beings).
If the body moves in a straight line fashion (due to linear mechanics) it’s able to reach its’ ultimate power, endurance and performance. But if the body moves in a twisting fashion (due to torsional mechanics) it will be prevented from reaching its’ optimum performance, regardless of how much the tennis player trains. In greater detail:
If your biomechanics are linear, your muscles and joints revolve around their anatomical neutral position (where they function most optimally). This means that, as you move, there’s less stress and strain on your muscles and joints. The less strain and strain, the less prone you are to repetitive overuse injuries. And – if you have linear mechanics - if your body does become injured, it will heal within a reasonable period of time.
If your biomechanics are torsional, your muscles and joints do not revolve around their anatomical neutral position. So as you move, there’s an inordinate amount of stress and strain on your muscles and joints. With more stress and strain, the more prone you are to repetitive overuse injuries. And – if you have torsional mechanics - if your body becomes injured (it probably does so frequently) often it will never completely heal.
The repetitive and/or overuse injuries that tennis players often face are of the elbow, wrist, knee, foot. All of these can potentially end your career.
How Torsional Mechanics Limits Your Game
If you have torsional mechanics; as you move on the court, you will be slower moving either to the right or to the left. You will not have equal speed and fluidity to both forehand and backhand. Your opponent will see your weakness and exploit them.
Let’s look at an example of torsional mechanics in a well known tennis player, Rafael Nadal:
Nadal's knee problems are random and becoming more frequent. So far, all therapy has been directed towards controlling the pain and treating the knee directly. Apparently, no effort has been to determine the cause of his continual knee problems.
Looking at Rafael’s game, I can see by the way that he moves that he most likely has a PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity – a severe foot structure which causes torsional body mechanics and resulting injuries that will not heal. If Rafael continues to ignore this problem, his game will continue to deteriorate, or he will have an injury that he will not be able to resolve and this will end or severely limit his career.
Improving Biomechanics Allows Injuries to Quickly Heal And Improves Performance On The Court
Abnormal foot structures such as the Rothbarts Foot and PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity cause torsional body mechanics. Torsional mechanics result in injuries that don’t heal.
Torsional mechanics can be attenuated or completely eliminated using Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy, which will straighten the posture and realign the body so that it moves linearly. Not only will your game greatly improve, but your body will last longer in your sport and you will be far less prone to repetitive and/or overuse injuries.
In tennis – speed, fluidity and consistency in your performance is what counts. Biomechanics is what defines the difference in performance – the difference between being very good and being the best.