How to Prepare for a Tennis Match
Have you met your match? Tips for training like a professional
Even professionals can be outplayed if not fully prepared…just ask Roger Federer. His exit from the U.S. Open was blamed on troubled preparations due to his lack of focus on training. Many matches are won or lost even before you step on the court. Preparation is vital and not only involves physical elements, but mental as well.
Professionals have unique and specific ways to prepare for matches. This is what they do for a living, so the focus remains entirely on the task at hand, without interference from day-to-day things many of us worry about such as a real job or what’s for dinner. For nonprofessional players, maximizing tight schedules and preparing properly for matches can be challenging.
Following some helpful tips will help take your game to the next level.
Scout your opponents
Prior to a match, analyzing the opponent is a common approach taken to prepare an effective playing strategy. Determining their strengths and weaknesses will allow you to formulate an overall strategy. Taking advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses and neutralizing his or her strengths gives you the best chance of winning the match.
Eating properly allows a body to perform at its peak level. Consuming the proper nutrients improves max performance over time, keeping you in tip top shape. The day of the event, its best to consume juices, fruits, yogurts with cereal, and toast. Avoid milk, cheeses, butter and pastries. If wanting to change to a healthier diet, it’s best to do it 4-6 weeks prior to the event to give your body time to readjust its cycle. A body gets conditioned to the food consumed regularly, so changing eating habits close to or on the day of a match may negatively disrupt the digestive tract.
Get plenty of rest
Sleep is a priority and should be part of your regular training schedule to perform your best. Getting restful sleep of at least eight consecutive hours helps prepare your body to compete. If, on the day of the match, you do not feel rested enough, plan a 20-minute nap about two and a half hours prior to the match. The optimal wake time is two hours before the start of a match to ensure alertness at match time.
Proper hydration is important. Elements such as weather and temperature affect a body’s performance. You should consume an estimated one and a half liters of fluids two to three hours prior to a match, and continue to drink while at play. Water with electrolytes is recommended, but sports drinks are also acceptable. Having a good reserve of fluids in your system helps absorb the loss of water while at play.
Physical preparation is best beginning approximately two weeks before the match is played. This includes things such as stretching, one on one hitting sessions lasting about two to three hours per day and fitness training, as well as playing multiple matches to get accustomed to competition. Finding consistent routines that fit your needs, help prepare your body for competition, all while providing a clearer mind and steadier play.
Do not over train
Overtraining is characterized by the imbalance between stress and recovery. When beginning a training regimen, it is important to allow your body the proper recovery time needed. Quick increases in frequency, intensity or duration of training sessions can lead to causes of overtraining. Symptoms of overtraining include chronic fatigue, emotional exhaustion, decreased performance, muscle/joint tenderness, insomnia, increased injuries, nausea, weight loss and respiratory infections, as well as mood swings just to name a few.
Golden Ocala has excellent tennis facilities for competitive, casual and beginner players. The Tennis Club provides six Har-Tru Hydro-Grid® courts, the finest clay surface available. For more information, contact one of our tennis professionals at 352-402-4351, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.