Young British tennis players should spend less time on court because of the danger of spinal damage, a study says.

The study of 33 elite young players by the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital found intensive training was damaging their spines, sometimes irreparably so.

A_rod2007001It is thought top players need to put in about 10,000 hours work over a period of 10 years.

While young Spanish players divide their time equally between training on the court and exercise in the gym, British players, on average, spend 90% of their training time hitting a ball.

MRI scans of the 33 players, aged between 16 and 23, found spinal problems in 28 of them.

This number is quite shocking. Whist tennis requires a very high level of skill and coordination, it also places huge stresses on the body, believe me I know this from experience!

If you play any sport or have a physically demanding job, it is essential you receive a fully periodised exercise plan including corrective exercise, strength training and possibly power and speed training. Without a good plan, you will not be able to perform at your best and will be more likely to get an injury.

The study didn’t compare the nutritional status of the players. This would have been very interesting to see if there was any correlation there. I have had many clients who have had back pain who when taught how toeat correctly for them have become pain free with little exercise intervention.

Many of these young athletes eat processed non-organic foods and drink toxic sports drinks. Without doubt this will lead to a weakening of their bones, ligaments and tendons. After all, you are what you eat.

A good exercise and nutrition regime would all but eliminate back injuries from these athletes. Working withathletes since 2001, I am yet to see an athlete to become injured whilst on one of my programmes so I know these injuries are totally avoidable as the Spanish have shown.