Coaching Tip - August 2013

    Preparing for Finals

    A guide for Junior and Senior Tennis players.

    Your routine  prior to a finals match should be the same as preparing for a interclub competition or tournament and should incorporate the important aspects such as organisation, sleep, nutrition  as well as  physical and mental preparation.

    Just a reminder that the preparation for any finals match or tournament should start at the beginning of the tennis season in the months or weeks before the finals or tournament event but the suggested pre-match routine may be of some benefit.

    The pre-match routine
    The following factors can be used to develop a pre-match routine that will give you complete peace of mind and enable  you can concentrate on the game at hand.

    • Prepare your equipment and racquet bag (kit) the night before

    Check out your  racquets and strings and put them in your bag
    Players have been known to forget their weapons of choice when going to a venue to play a match
    Make sure that you have included a cap(s), towell and sunscreen and sunglasses if you wear them
    Ensure your drink bottles (multiple) usually water and a sports drink are full and include a snack (bananas) for extra energy if required during a long match
    Develop a Check List to ensure that all your equipment is in your bag(s)

    • Organise a time schedule for getting to the match location for a practice hit and/or the match
    • Set your goals for the match and also establish clear strategies and tactics to be used during the match ie your preferred match plan
    • Plan for a good night’s sleep

    Listen to music or watch a movie to help you relax before bed
    Avoid parties and alcohol and other drugs

    • Nutrition (Diet)

    A few days before your match start developing your energy store by including rice, pasta and  potatoes in your meals but restrict your intake of pork and beef.  You should try to include a meal of fish with vegetables
    if possible.
    In addition increase your intake of fluids preferably water to keep your body hydrated ready for your match at hand.
    As mentioned earlier when preparing your tennis kit have a snack and sports drink available if you need energy during your match.

    • Physical preparation on match day

    In your schedule allow time for a warm up prior to your match.
    Off court allow at least 10 minutes as part of your warm up including jogging, shadow work with your racquet imitating the movements involved in match play ie footwork using the sideways shuffle, forward and backward and crossover steps. Include shadow swings with your serving action as well.
    On court your time is limited but emphasize your movements to warm up your legs and all parts of your body during the brief hit up prior to the match.

    • Mental preparation on match day

    Find some quiet time (away from distractions) before your warm up so that you can focus on the
    match at hand.
    Concentate on breathing slowly so that it has a calming influence on you and your body.
    In this way you can visualise the match at hand and you  hitting the perfect shots thus helping you to achieve a positive outcome.

    • Most players are nervous before a match. 

    This is often known as having “Butterflies” in the stomach.
    A good Physical and Mental preparation can help to overcome the butterflies.
    When on court focus on watching the ball so that you increase the level of your concentration
    and your anxiety will dissipate.

    During the match follow your planned strategies and tactics so that you can focus on your performance rather than the outcome of the match.
    This will help you through the mentally tough periods during your match.

    To become a good tennis player you must develop good techniques, sound tactics
    and be able to cope with the mental pressure that evolves during a tennis match.

    I hope that the hints above will help you develop these skills.

    Tennis the game of a lifetime

    Contact me by Email if you have any comments or helpful hints re preparing for a match/tournament.
    Let me know the things that work for you.

    Coach Steve