When To Train

Tennis is an extremely physically demanding sport. Therefore, you need to prepare for it by incorporating an effective fitness program for tennis into your total tennis training.  One oftentimes-confusing question is “What time of day should you do this?” There are (4) schools of thought for this. Let us examine each of them.

The 1st school of thought is to work out early in the morning before playing.  Working out prior to playing may make the player slightly fatigued for their playing session. This is not a bad thing. Here’s why: Since it is commonplace for players to be fatigued during tough matches, learning to push yourself while being a bit tired simulates this match play situation.  

            The 2nd school of thought is to workout after playing. Working out after playing can be tough both physically and mentally, but doing so can help the body become well adjusted to fatigued conditions that occur during match and tournament play.

The 3rd school of thought is to sandwich your workout between your morning and evening tennis sessions.  You will tend to be a bit fatigued for the workout, as well as the 2nd tennis session of the day.  Again, pushing the body and becoming adjusted to these slightly fatigued conditions can be quite helpful for those long tough matches.  Sandwiching your workouts will afford you the opportunity to play tennis in a fresh and slightly fatigued state on the same day.

The 4th school of thought is that it just does not matter.  Although we would tend to agree with this 4th school of thought, the time to play and perform fitness training for tennis should be a decision made by the player and coaches.  We train some players first thing in the morning, and we train others between tennis training sessions.  We also train clients after all of the tennis is finished for the day.  In all cases the players have greatly improved, thus our hands-on conclusion that the time of day you decide to do your physical conditioning for tennis doesn’t affect the results.  The decision should be based on the confidence a player has in a certain daily routine. Lastly, the decision may be based on the player’s daily school, work, and tennis schedule.

When you choose to do your fitness training for tennis or play tennis is up to you. Perhaps the most important things to remember when doing this amount of physical activity are proper fueling/nutritional habits and sleep. You must make certain to get a good night of sleep prior to taking part in a long day of strenuous physical activity. Although individuals vary in the amount of sleep they need, it is usually necessary to get approximately 8 hours of sleep at night. You should also pay careful attention to your nutritional habits and be certain to get enough complex carbohydrates and protein throughout the day.  No matter when you choose to train (tennis and physical), it is absolutely crucial to eat a meal high in complex carbohydrates as soon as you are done with your workout. This will help to replenish your muscle glycogen stores, which are necessary for energy and optimal performance. If you absolutely do not have time to eat after playing tennis or doing your fitness training for tennis, then a high complex carbohydrate containing sports drink should be consumed. We suggest that all of our clients to have a premixed complex carbohydrate drink , and bring it to the courts, or wherever their workouts take place.  As soon as they are done, they simply drink it on the way to the car.  It may also be a good idea to consume a carbohydrate containing sports beverage such as Gatorade™ or Endurox  during the tennis or workout session.

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