by Casey Chan, DC, QME
The United States Tennis Association is encouraging tennis players to improve their game through the Sports Science Department’s High Performance Profile. The profile includes tests that are outside of those typical of fitness assessments. When performed by a qualified and capable healthcare provider (orthopedist, physical therapist, athletic trainer, or chiropractor), a player’s “profile” may be assessed to identify areas of improvement in biomechanics, strength, flexibility, coordination and balance. Your healthcare provider should follow up the profile results with recommended exercises and/or treatment. It is suggested by the USTA that the profile test be performed every 3 to 4 months so that the athlete and healthcare provider may monitor his/her progress.
The High Performance Profile is composed of 10 different tests:
1. Scapular Stabilization Test – Shoulder movement is assessed for proper biomechanics while lifting light weights.
2. External Rotation Strength Test – Strength of the rotator cuff muscles is assessed while resisting the doctor’s external force. The rotator cuff muscles are very important for the stability of the shoulder. Being small in size, the rotator cuff muscles are easily injured especially during the over head service motion.
3. Grip Strength Test – Forearm, wrist and hand grip strength is tested using a Hand Grip Dynamometer. The subject squeezes the device to measure the amount of pressure elicited. Good grip strength is necessary to hold the racket firmly to strike the ball well.
4. Shoulder Internal/External Rotation Test in Active Range of Motion – Using a goniometer (a tool used to accurately measure the degree of motion), the shoulder’s flexibility in internal and external rotation is assessed.
5. Hip and Leg Strength (One-leg Stability Test) – One legged squats are performed to assess core and lower body strength, coordination and balance.
6. Hip External Rotation (Patrick Fabere’s Test) – Flexibility of the hip in external rotation is measured.
7. Hip Flexor Flexibility – Flexibility of the hip is measured. The hip’s movement may be limited due to the hip’s bony structure, damaged cartilage, ligaments, and hip flexor and quadriceps muscles.
8. Hamstring Flexibility (Straight Leg Raise) – The hamstring muscles’ flexibility is measured by a goniometer.
9. Quadriceps Flexibility – The quadriceps muscle’s flexibility is measured by a goniometer.
10. Core Stabilization Strength (Blood Pressure Cuff Test) – The core ‘s strength, primarily the abdominal muscles and low back muscles, is assessed.
When weaknesses are identified through the High Performance Profile, specific exercises and treatment may be prescribed to reduce and remove these weaknesses. At Chan Chiropractic these may include specific strength exercises for the shoulder, shoulder blade, core muscles and legs; stretching; balance exercises; plyometric exercises; fitness training; and various forms of chiropractic treatment.
While the tests of the High Performance Profile don’t evaluate every fitness or performance component needed to play optimally, the selected tests are unique to tennis, helping tennis players improve their performance.
Dr. Casey Chan helps tennis athletes using the USTA High Performance Profile in her Rancho Penasquitos and Kearny Mesa clinics in San Diego. Dr. Casey is an experienced practitioner treating tennis athletes in all age groups from the recreational to competitive player. She has served as the medical staff at local USTA Tennis Tournaments. She also has experience coaching and teaching children tennis through the Strawberry Canyon Youth Sports Program at the University of California, Berkeley. Please email her office for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org