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Take time to warm up properly

Attend any pro tournament and you will find a thorough warmup proceeds each match. Even before the players take the court, they've usually spent some time limbering up back in the locker room.

The point shouldn't be lost on anyone, weekend players included, that a thorough warmup is vital, particularly early in the season when you're not used to extra exercise.

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If you can't get on the court early, do stretching exercises at home or in the locker room.

Then make a half dozen ''shadow strokes'' with your service motion, with your forehand, and with your backhand. You don't need a ball and a partner to rehearse your muscles for what's to come.

On the court, ease into your pre-game rallying. Don't hit the ball hard until you are loose and confident.

Not only will you vastly reduce the risk of injury by warming up well, you also will get away to a faster start in your match.

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