I’m fascinated by how competitive players get in shape ahead of a big tournament or the start of a new season.
The pros, of course, have their own personal trainers, who design highly customized programs and push players beyond their limits.
But no, I’m talking about you and me. Serious competitive players at the club, regional or national level. How do you get match-tough mentally and physically in time for a big challenge?
I’ll tell you my favorite method, and it’s incredibly simple.
Double sessions. If you’re playing practice matches in the weeks leading up to a tournament (and you’d better be!), play two matches on a practice day, to simulate the extra physical demands of competition and give yourself that extra edge. You can play your way into fitness, simply by ramping up your court time, with a break, a shower, and a snack between matches.
You can kick this up a notch by doubling up a practice matches with a gym workout. And without any break in between. Play a hard practice match, a couple of sets, for instance. Then, move immediately into your full gym workout, running a few miles, and working on the muscle groups that need strengthening—legs, upper body, wrist, stretching, etc. It’s tough because you’re tired from playing, but that’s when the extra workout really pays off. Give yourself some good recovery time the next day though, and perhaps wait a day before playing or working out again.
How about you? Do you have any special tricks or favorite ways of getting your body ready for a big tournament? Let us know in the space below.