I am often amazed how little people know about tournament preparation. Preparing for tournaments is one of the most critical things to get right and finding what works best for you or your players as individuals, is important.
I know some people will be reading this and be saying to themselves "My preparation is, to not prepare“ I’m better off just turning up and playing, that works best for me” Sorry guys that’s the lazy persons approach, and there is a good chance if you follow it, you won’t get far as a tennis player.
There are certain principles that need to be applied in order to get the most out of yourself come match day, here are some key principles;
1. Hydration - keeping yourself hydrated is important for concentration, energy levels and preventing tennis injuries. As a guide athletes can follow this formula; 0.03 x Body weight (KG) = ? Litres of water. This is a base requirement. Depending on weather conditions and how much you sweat Add 300ml-500ml of water for every hour you exercise for tennis.
2. Tennis Nutrition - eating the right foods before, during and after tennis fitness training, provides your body with vital nutrients needed to produce energy, help the body repair damaged tissue and keep your immune system stable. If you are not sure what foods to consume contact a qualified nutritionist.
3. Tennis Training Equipment - Have your clothing ready and be prepared for different weather conditions. Make sure your tennis rackets are ready to go, sweatbands etc are washed and ready for action.
4. Physical readiness - Stretching and foam rolling before training for tennis is highly recommended, following a tennis stretching and a tennis foam roller program the night before a match is ideal.
5. Mental readiness - Don’t wait until you walk on court, to start mentally switching on. Matchday, you should start talking to yourself 2 hours before your match, keep it positive and go over the things you need to focus on, the things you have been working on with your tennis coach or tennis fitness trainer. It is important to have a strategy to focus on. Keeping yourself mentally relaxed is very important also, learning some good breathing techniques, is a good idea to help keep you centered.
Get yourself a good tennis preparation plan, involving these key principles and you will give yourself every opportunity to do your best. Learn to be more professional and your tennis will become more professional.
A question I get asked a lot regarding preparing for tennis tournaments is “what tennis training should you do leading into a tournament” It is a good question! The depth I can go on this topic would be too much for this blog, but in short here is a guideline.
4-5 days before a tournament (High intensity tennis training sessions including - tennis agility, tennis strength, speed, power, cardio endurance or core, 1-3 days before a tournament (Moderate intensity tennis training sessions including - agility, tennis footspeed or tennis footwork, reaction work or core.
The problem I have found over the years is that most players don’t do enough off court tennis training leading into tournaments. Young players especially need to get use to working up until match day in order to better their physical tennis conditioning and improve their on court preparation. At the start the body goes through a transition phase and players may find, they are a little fatigued etc, but the body adapts very quickly and soon enough players will feel fresh, more responsive and physically better when on court. It is best to get use to performing tennis training programs, that consist of specific tennis exercises, up to and through tournaments at a young age. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have seen professional players training the day before and through tournaments, learn to do it! (At the Australian Open, I saw Victoria Azarenka training, at a very high intensity in the gym, (everyone was watching her, it was all or nothing)……..thinking to myself oh no maybe she lost today, little did I know she won her 2nd round match easily and she believed she needed to still get to the gym and finish her work, as her day in the office was not done. That year Victoria Azarenka went on to win the Australian Open.
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