If you ask any decent tennis players, they’ll tell you that when it comes to playing a match, a large part of it is won and lost before you even step foot on the court. Good preparation is key to winning any tennis game, providing you with the right physical and mental states that are key to winning and avoiding injury. Here are some important ways to prepare for a tennis match.
Days in advance
Preparing for a tennis match doesn’t just mean the day of the game; it begins days in advance.
• Providing you know your opponent, you’ll want to study his playing style for ways to find out how to defend against his attacks and beat him.
• If you know you’re going to be playing a defensive tennis player, try to practice against a defensive player, and vice versa. This way, you’ll know what to expect and what shots to hit to win.
• Ensure you’re physically fit. Not only will you have a better chance of performing at a higher level for a longer time, it’ll help to prevent injuries. Cardio and practice matches will keep you in tip top shape for your match.
The Morning of the Match – At Home
By staying away from the bar the night before and being well rested, you can maximize your chances of victory.
• Make sure to set an alarm to wake up 2-3 hours before your match, ensuring your body is fully awake and not too tired.
• Make sure to eat right. This means avoiding foods like dairy or high oil foods and taking onboard fruits, cereals and carbs like toast for energy.
• Hydration isn’t just something that you do during the match – it starts way before. Make sure to drink plenty of water and electrolytes to hydrate your body for the grueling physical activity you’re about to undertake.
On the Court
Once you’re on the court, your physical and mental preparation is key to success.
• Start with a quick 15-minute physical warm-up, making sure that your muscles are stretched to protect against injury.
• Next comes your technical preparation. Here you’ll want to run through specific plays or shots with your best tennis racquet, practicing your strikes and serves. Ideally, you’ll spend 30-45 minutes with this preparation.
• Next comes mental preparation. If you’re in a long match or in a lengthy tiebreak situation, it can often be mental preparation that proves to be the key to victory. Rest alone to avoid any distractions and focus on just the match ahead and how you’re going to play it. Remind yourself of your skills and qualities and how you can win the match. If you believe it, you can achieve it.
• Finally, before the game starts you’ll practice with your opponent. It’s the last chance you’ll get to practice, so strike the ball and practice as though the match has already started.
Play Your Best Game
When you’re on that court all the preparation you have done will give you the best possible platform from which you can achieve victory. Sometimes you will lose, and that’s okay. Even the greats lost games. Treat it as extra motivation for your next match, train harder and eventually your hard work will pay off.