My first question to new players after identifying what they want to achieve in the session is how do they warm up?
The normal answer is… “I hit some balls and we play.”
So I introduce them to warming up. Tennis is a physically demanding sport which asks your body to move quickly (accelerate), stop quickly (decelerate) and change direction. Without getting too complicated the tasks your asking your body / muscles to do are hard work so warming your body up is simply preparing your body for the game you’re about to play.
After playing cooling down is like saying, I’ve asked my body to work hard, now I’m going to look after it so I can play more. Some coaches will work with a slower version of the warm up / moving stretches and some will simply work through a series of static stretches. These assist the body to recover and increase the range of motion. For example, if you have tight hamstrings (back of the leg muscles) these will not help with the movement of running whereas if you stretch these they become more flexible, allow a better range of movement & reduce the risk of injury.
If you don’t stretch or cool down within the group in the session that doesn’t mean you can’t spend a little extra time yourselves performing simple stretches.
Basically if you want to play better for longer, spend some time looking after your body. A great example of this who has put the time in is Roger Federer, turning pro in 1998 and still fit to play at the highest level.