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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Guest Blog: Courtside at Wimbledon

Published July 6, 2012 8:55 AM by Brian Ferrie

Clay Sniteman, MSPT, ATC, owner of Sundance Physical Therapy in Ogden, UT, has also worked part-time as a physical therapist and athletic trainer for the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) since 2003. Right now, Sniteman is working at the most prestigious tennis tournament of them all -- Wimbledon. In his first guest blog for ADVANCE, Sniteman talks about how he and the players reacted earlier in the tournament to a very familiar occurrence at the All-England Club: a rain delay.

"It's raining. It's pouring. But the iPads are not snoring. Welcome to Wimbledon. There was an old-time movie scene where a football team was receiving their pre-game pep talk. The coach had whipped the team into a roaring frenzy and the players were at a fevered pitch. As they bolted from their seats, they ran to the door only to find out that someone had bolted the door shut. Bummer. Emotion drained when the coach had wanted no one to be sane.

Now recreate that scene for the ATP players. The players have been on edge -- waiting for the match to start that would make the international headlines as either a favorite being ingloriously dismissed by an upstart, or just another step to deserved stardom. Even to a group of professional nomads that play each other week in and week out, Wimbledon is a big deal. There is just something special about this particular event.

They are ready. Anxious. All the stretching has been done. Ankles have been wrapped and injuries have been attended. Final words of wisdom have been spoken by their coaches. Sponsors hope their investments will pay returns.

The walk now begins; but then so does the rain. Bummer. No, check that -- big-time bummer as The Weather Channel just says wait. And wait some more. So now what? Slam a rack in disgust? Throw something such as pointed words? Nope. It's iPad time.

The latest European football scores are hurriedly checked. YouTube gets a workout. Families are contacted. And tennis? Well, it just waits -- seemingly to the players. If there has been one change to the Tour over the past few years, it has been that tablets are everywhere. No longer do the players have to wait for a seat in the computer room to vacate for them to check in around the world. It rains; they "Pad."

It is amazing how they can flip the switch. Tennis one minute, Padding the next. The ATP players are a unique breed in how they can compartmentalize. They can be heading out to millions watching them on TV around the world but then it rains, and they move on to something else.

They do this all the time. They are doing it now. Certainly they are frustrated, but the pros (or at least the pros who are at the top) have found the balance. It's like they have just learned how to accept that there is no use in throwing a tantrum over what they can't control -- so they play when they can, wait when they must, and in the meantime, just Pad it!

And what am I doing right now? The same thing, while The Weather Channel just says wait."

Live from Wimbledon -- Clay Sniteman, MSPT, ATC

Clay Sniteman, MSPT, ATC, (left) addresses a player's injury courtside.

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