It’s fall competition time in the tennis world! Tennis leagues are in full swing and matches mean more - not just for you, but also for the rest of the team. That’s a lot of pressure, right? Don’t worry, with a few of the following tennis tips, you can be at the top of your tennis game faster than you can say “love.”
Warm Up Well Before Your Tennis Match
It’s important to stretch and warm up before any physical activity, and tennis is no exception. For an effective warm up tennis players can jump on a stationary bike , take a quick jog on a treadmill or hop on a row machine for five minutes prior to coming to the tennis courts to get the blood flowing and your joints lubricated and loosened. It’s also good to know that the Village offers some very specific programs just for the tennis set, such as VFITT - Village Functional Interval Training for Tennis, a small group training program that works on footwork, balance, plyometrics, resistance training, and speed. There’s also an entire area of the club dedicated to stretching with flexibility machines for hamstrings, rollers, Ab Dollies, and a TRUE stretch cage.
Tennis is a very hard sport on the body and mind. Players must learn from winning and from losing. Tennis matches act as tests for how well you have practiced and prepared for the challenge, therefore players must mentally prepare for the task at hand. On your walk to the courts, try to ready yourself mentally for the match. Whether it’s practice or a ranked match, you need to get into the best frame of mind for that occasion. If you found yourself on the losing side, is it because you got beat or you beat yourself? Most matches I watch, I see players that are trying so hard not to lose. As teammates and coaches it’s important to ask, “How did you play?” instead of, “Did you win?” There are great sports psychologists out there for tennis players, as most often tennis players feel alone on the court, and sometimes losing is more about the game played in your head versus the one played on the court.
Technical Tennis Strategy
Working with a professional tennis coach can really help you to fine tune your strokes and make sure your technique is on point for your personal game. Play for you, and make sure you understand and utilize your strengths. All players need to be able to own their shots and play like they practice. Learn how to hit through the ball and prepare for the next shot. Good doubles players finish their serves and returns, and then prepare for the volley or groundstroke, with intent to finish the point at the net. For extra practice and training, join doubles and singles strategy clinics, team clinics, specialty clinics, and private lessons to hone in your maximum potential.
Tactical Tennis Preparation
Tennis is not a game of “one and done.” It’s a strategy game, like chess, that involves anticipating the next move. Singles and doubles players are best served by having a plan of attack, which sometimes involves asking yourself the following questions:
● Have you warmed up your strokes correctly while evaluating your opponent(s)? Try to warm up with directional control to see what side your opponent is weaker on.
● What shots do you need to hit to make your opponent return the ball you want?
● What ball do you need to hit to force your opponent to hit short, or even better, what shot do you hit to set up your partner?
Play to your best potential and try not to change your game based on your opponent. Capitalize on the good and don’t dwell on the bad. Take advantage of the score, play to finish the match, and visualize the finish line at the start.
The Importance of Post-Match Stretching
Tennis players are notorious for not stretching after a match, but this is a crucial part of the game. After a tough match, the adrenaline will wear off and the heat will slowly move out of those hard-worked muscles, making them tighten up. I suggest using a foam roller to smooth out your tightening muscles. Make sure you hydrate well to avoid cramping, and drink a beverage containing electrolytes. Enjoying a post-match massage is also a great way to relax those muscles and pamper yourself. A good sports massage is sometimes painful but works so well. I would suggest tennis players get worked on at least once a week to keep the body in tip top tennis shape. The more you take care of your body, the better you will play. This will also protect you from injuries, too.
Sticking to a Routine and Setting Goals
Your tennis match routine is a must to help you get used to the daily grind of being a player. Treat yourself like a pro as best you can by following the pre- and post-match routines. Set your goals in short, medium, and long-term increments. The Village offers a new InBody machine which, with help from a personal trainer, can help you learn about your total body composition. Set goals for your body as well as your tennis game. If your body is in great shape, your game can reach its top potential. Most of all, have fun and utilize the many areas of the Village to make your tennis game the best it has ever been.
At the Village we’re here to help you meet and exceed your fitness goals! Stop by for a VIP Trial Membership and meet with a tennis pro or personal trainer to see how you can take steps towards a healthier you.
About the Author
Josh Bates, Ocotillo Village Tennis Director
PTR Master of Tennis – Performance 10 & Under
11-17 Junior Development
Adult Development, Senior Development
Josh is one of 35 pros in the world with the distinction of Master of Tennis Performance. This certification follows the developmental path from a beginning child to the professional player. Josh is also the Adidas Brand Ambassador, a PTR clinician, and a member of the Wilson Advisory Staff.