Tennis is one of the few sports you can start at any age and play competitively. Training with a goal in mind, such as competing in match play or a tournament, can be a great motivating factor to improve your skills on the court and overall fitness.
Tournaments and leagues are separated by age division and/or skill level, which allows people to meet others on their same level of experience. If you’re planning on adding a dose of competition to your tennis routine, signing up to play in a tournament can be an exciting opportunity. Cooper Fitness Center Tennis Pro Corey Noel offers his top 10 tips for preparing to compete in a tennis tournament:
- Get a good night’s sleep. Follow your regular bedtime routine, and make sure to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep to be well-rested and at the top of your game.
- Eat and hydrate properly 24-48 hours before the tournament. Stick to your healthy diet and use food as fuel for your body. Follow the recommended hydration guidelines and make sure to bring your water bottle to the tournament.
- Focus on conditioning and match practice in the week leading up to a tournament. There’s less of a need to focus on technique.
- Identify your goals and strategies before the tournament begins.
- Have all your necessary equipment in top shape (rackets freshly strung, court shoes broken in, etc.). Make sure to bring the proper clothing and accessories – layers if it’s chilly and a hat and sunglasses if it’s sunny. An extra pair of socks can come in handy, too. Pack sunscreen, water and healthy snacks for fuel.
- Stretch before and after each match to keep yourself loose and to help your muscles recover.
- Know your limitations. A tournament can test your physical and mental acuity; recognize where your breaking point is and don’t go past it.
- Pick the right division for your skill level. If you’re playing with a partner, make sure you work well together and have practiced together before the tournament.
- It’s just tennis! Don’t get overwhelmed by the fact that you’re playing in a tournament. Concentrate on using the skills you’ve developed and try to play your best.
- Have fun!
Tennis programs at Cooper Fitness Center are open to the public. Visit cooperfitnesscenter.com to learn more.