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It's not the destination, it's the ‘road to load’ that matters: a tennis injury prevention perspective
  1. Babette M Pluim1,
  2. Michael K Drew2,3
  1. 1 Medical Department, Royal Netherlands Lawn Tennis Association (KNLTB), Amersfoort, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Department of Physical Therapies, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia
  3. 3 Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Babette M Pluim, Medical Department, Royal Netherlands Lawn Tennis Association (KNLTB), Displayweg 4, Amersfoort 3821 BT, The Netherlands; b.pluim{at}

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Consistent training is conducive to reaching performance goals in sport and essential for optimal performance. A study in athletics has shown that the likelihood of achieving a performance goal was seven times higher in those athletes who completed >80% of their planned training weeks and that training availability accounted for 86% of successful seasons.1 This means that the goals of the coaches and strength/conditioning experts and the sports medicine/physiotherapy team are not distinct entities but rather complementary, with the clinical team trying to avoid failure and the coaches improving the chance of success.

How do we keep our athletes injury-free? There is the perception that higher training loads inevitably result in higher injury rates in athletes. Although it is true that high absolute training loads are associated with greater injury risk, there is also evidence that training may have a protective effect and that undertraining increases injury risk.2

The new ‘train smart AND hard’ paradigm3 suggests that it is not so much the load itself, but an inappropriate transition to …

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  • Twitter Follow Michael Drew at @_mickdrew and Babette Plium @docpluim

  • Contributors BMP has designed and written the article and made it tennis-specific. MKD has provided the ideas and background for the load management tips and approved the final version of the article.

  • Competing interests BMP is Deputy Editor of the BJSM. This paper was not commissioned and externally reviewed at arm's length by two experts in the field. The second revised version was accepted.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.