Tennis Fitness: Improve your Flexibility with PNF Exercises

Tennis Fitness: Improve your Flexibility with PNF Exercises

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about fitness and exercise and its benefits. One of the major misconceptions is stretching and its benefits to the athlete, whether recreational or competitive. We all thought that there is only one kind of stretching (one that we grew up with in our PE and varsity classes), where we stretch from head-to-toe stretching one particular muscle group and counting to twenty. That type of stretching is called the Static Stretch. Often our coaches and PE teachers boast of its health benefits from strengthening your muscles, avoiding injuries, as a perfect warm-up routine up to increasing your flexibility. Scientific research proves that Static Stretching does not provide any of these ‘claimed’ benefits to the body, it even weakens your muscles if you use this type of stretching before a workout. To further understand, the different types of stretching are Dynamic Stretching (Warm-up), Ballistic (Improve range of motion), Static (post-workout to relax tight and sore muscles)and PNF (Improve Flexibility).

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What is PNF?

PNF stands for Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. In more simple terms, PNF exercises are used to enhance both the active and passive range of motion to help athletes improve performance.

You start by going to the maximum level of flexibility (relaxed stretch), then you contract the muscle involved in the stretch, and finally you stretch to your new maximum. (photo shown below)

Reminders on doing PNF Stretching

-          It should not be combined with another workout. It is a workout on its own

-          Not recommended to be done every day. Allow your body to rest and recuperate. Ideally PNF stretching should be done every other day

-          Don’t forget to warm up before doing PNF exercises

-          Use only one PNF stretch per muscle group

-          Use PNF only on big muscle groups (quadriceps, hips, back)

-          Seek professional advice from licensed trainers and physiotherapists before undergoing a PNF workout.

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Racket Stringing: The Pros and Cons of stringing your own racket

Stringing a tennis racket for most of us means taking the racket to be strung to your local sports shop like Toby’s, Chris Sports, or if your local club had a stringing machine, leaving it there and then getting it back a few hours later or even the next day. For players who break their strings twice or thrice a year, this would be the perfect solution. But for more advanced players, or junior, or collegiate players, who break their strings once or even twice a week, paying someone to string your rackets can be a costly and time consuming endeavor. Let’s compute the cost of having your racket strung at the nearest sports shop at the nearby malls:


Transportation Cost:       30-40 pesos (By bus, jeep, or MRT/LRT)

Actual Stringing Cost:     80-100 pesos


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Add to that the occasional snack, or drinks while waiting for your racket to be strung, or parking cost if you are bringing your own car to the mall. Easily, you will burn 150-200 pesos (more if you are stringing more than 1 racket). Multiply that with the number of times you break a string more than once a week. Annually, you may be looking at around 12,000-15,000 in stringing costs alone! If you have 2 or more kids playing tennis, then it just goes up even more! In Europe or in the United States, where the cost to string a racket is even triple or quadruple the cost, parents buy their kids their own stringing machines and kids learn to string their own rackets at around 12-14yrs of age. A simple Table Top, or Drop Weight Upright machines cost only around P20,000-35,000, and will last a lifetime if properly maintained. Kids who also learn to string their own rackets tend to be more mature, and have a better sense of responsibility in taking care of their equipment. It will also come in handy when you are playing in a tournament, especially in the provinces or places where there are no stringing services nearby. Some players even earn from it by stringing their co-players rackets at a price! At first, it may take you a couple of hours to string your own racket, but after a few weeks of practice, it may only take you 20-30mins! Stringing Machines like the Eagnas 900 and other tennis products are available at


Davis Cup 2013: Team Philippines looking for a spot in Group 1

The Philippines will play host to New Zealand in the finals of Group 2 (Asia/Oceania Division) of the 2013 edition of the Davis Cup. A win will propel the country back to Group 1 together with powerhouses like Japan, Korea, and Uzbekistan. A loss will mean a return in Group 2 in 2014. The Pinoys and the Kiwis have met five times before, with the Filipinos winning three of the five meetings, but it was New Zealand who won the last Tie in 2011 5-0.

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The Philippines started out the 2013 Davis Cup Group 2 with a 3-2 win over Syria in Plantation Bay in Cebu last February 1-3. Led by Ruben Gonzales and Johnny Arcilla in the singles, and Treat Huey and Gonzales in the doubles, the Filipinos won the first three matches to put the Tie out of reach. In the second round last April 5-7, the Pinoy netters won a convincing 4-1 win over Thailand. Again led by Arcilla and Gonzales, the Filipinos split the opening day singles with Gonzales winning over young Thai Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul with the Thai retiring from cramps in the fourth set. While Arcilla lost to veteran and former top 100 ranked Danai Udomchoke. The pivotal doubles was won by the Filipinos as Treat Huey and Francis Casey Alcantara won over their Thai counterparts Trongcharoenchaikul and Nuttanon Kadhcapanan in straight sets. The upset of the Tie was in the 1st reverse singles as Gonzales beat Udomchoke in 4 sets.

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Although the final lineup has yet to be named for the September 14-16 Tie in Cebu, what we can expect is the support of the boisterous Cebuano crowd which will be joined by other Filipinos from all over the country in becoming the “6th man” in trying to lift the team to promotion in Group 1 next year.

Local Tennis Scene: The Olivarez Open 2013

The spotlight on Philippine tennis will be at the Olivarez Open 2013, over at the Olivarez Sports Center in Sucat, Paranaque. The 3-yr old tournament will feature the top local talents in a jamboree/festival type event with all levels of tennis competitions on hand, from the Men’s and Women’s Open Singles and Doubles events, Junior Age-Group, and the always hotly contested Inter-Club and Inter-College Team Tennis events on tap. The event will run from August 14-September 1.

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In the Men’s Open Singles, Elbert “Onyok” Anasta will try to defend his title from the likes of top local Johnny Arcilla, the resurgent Patrick John Tierro, and former top junior Jeson Patrombon, while rising talents from the juniors division Albert Lim Jr., Eric “Jed” Olivarez and top collegiate player Leander Lazaro will try to score some upsets and challenge the veterans for the crown.

In the Women’s Open Singles, Clarice Patrimonio will also try to duplicate her 2012 win against the challenge of Eidlyn Balanga, Maika Tanpoco, and the returning Christine Patrimonio. Top juniors Katrina Orteza and Maia Balce will also try make some noise in the tournament.

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Over in the Inter-Club Team Tennis, Team Olivarez will try to regain the title from Villamor Tennis Club. While in the Men’s Inter-College Team Tennis, the UAAP Season 75 champions National University Bulldogs will try to go for a three-peat against 2012 runner-up and NCAA titlists University of Perpetual Help (who interestingly are both users of Silver Sky Tennis Strings), and other UAAP and NCAA contenders UST (Also Silver Sky string users), DLSU and Letran . In the Women’s Inter-College, College of St. Benilde will try to prove that last year’s surprise run to the title was no fluke as they try to fend off the challenge from UAAP title holders DLSU, 2011 titlist UST and the dark horse NU Lady Bulldogs who will be parading the Patrimonio sisters for the first time. Admission is free to watch some slam bang tennis action!

Filipinos in Tennis Grand Slam Events

Filipino Davis Cupper Treat Conrad Huey’s amazing run at the 2013 U.S. Open ended with a 5-7 3-6 loss to Ivan Doding of Croatia and Marcelo Melo from Brazil, the 10th seeds. Pairing with University of Virginia (UVA) teammate Dominic Inglot from Great Britain, the 16th seeded pair upset the 3rd ranked Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez from Spain 7-6 6-0 in the round of 16 to advance to the final eight. In the second round, the Filipino-Brit pair beat Daniele Bracciali of Italy and Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic 6-3 6-3. In the opening round, they barely escaped the top pair of Austria Jurgen Melzer and Julian Knowle 6-2 6-7 7-6.

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This was the best finish of any Filipino in a Grand Slam event in the last three-plus decades, with the last quarterfinal result coming from Virgilio “Beeyong” Sison, who reached the last 8 of the French Open in 1981. Few Filipinos know that Beeyong was the only player who was able to play all four Grand Slams in the Open era (where amateurs and professionals were allowed to play in the same event). In the early years of tennis up to the 60’s, professional players were not allowed to play these tournaments as there were no prize money for winning these Grand Slam tournaments! Imagine Novak Djokovic playing for just the title and a trophy!

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Let us hope that it will not take three more decades before another Filipino plays this late in a Grand Slam event!

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