It is not done after the last point!
Tennis is a great sport where there is no time limits in the game. Players never know when the match will be over so it gives additional motivation to work hard even when losing badly. Many players are taught to fight for every point so they only can be sure about winning the match if they will win the last point. Unfortunately, especially too many young tennis players are so happy with their result that they think that last point won on the court means no more duties to do. This false thinking ends many times in losing easily the next battle and players don’t even realize what are the reasons of this lose. In this article, I will explain what to do immediately after the match to make your chances bigger to advance few more rounds in the tournament.
Professional tennis players play 1 day per match so they have some time to recover even after grueling battle. They use different methods to allow the body to recover and be ready for the next round in the tournament. Some of the techniques starts on the court immediately after the last point is done and others have to be performed for the next few hours. Junior tennis players and amateurs don’t have this privilege and they have to play 2-4 matches per day because of the tournament’s schedule. Lack of time and intense schedule forces players to go on the next match even 1 hour after they won the previous round. It simply shows that recovery is of major importance to perform well as also to get an edge over the opponent. Time between match A and match B is crucial so players have to learn what to do immediately after one match is done to make chances bigger for winning the next one. Recovery is a primary part of tennis development so players have to do post-match routines to make these actions automatic. Couch should teach step by step all recovery techniques to help young athletes maintain healthy and strong body during competition’s time as also to make them responsible for their careers.. It is important to explain to players why we are doing particular things and how it affects our body because without understanding, it is much harder for players to accept and follow additional duties. There are few things that players have to do immediately after the match to recover in a faster pace so coaches and parents should encourage players to delay the celebration and take care of business first.
Tennis match forces players to play intense points for 3-30 seconds and then rest for up to 20 seconds. Each point consists of starting, decelerating, sprinting and changing direction so athlete has to work really hard to achieve desired results. It all brings the heart’s rate up to allow body for all these actions so it is important to lower the heart’s rate down immediately after the match. Jogging is a great way to bring the body to the pre-match state as also to decrease soreness of the muscles. 10-20 minutes of light running is enough to make a difference in your game in few hours.
Every professional tennis player spends a lot of time on stretching. We have to remember that proper stretching (static, not dynamic) after the match has many benefits. Reducing muscle soreness is the priority before the next battle. After the match, your muscles are warm so stretching them will help you recover faster because you benefit from increased blood circulation. 20-30 minutes is a necessity to get some positive feedback from your body.
During the match, you lose muscle glycogen, fluids and electrolytes. All these things are responsible for your body performance so it is necessary to replenish all of them immediately after the match. You should grab sport drink up top 60 minutes after the game to start your recovery process. Up to 2 hours, to give some fuel for your body and continue recovery process, eat high-carbohydrate meal with lean proteins. Don’t forget to replenish fluids by drinking a lot of water (you should drink 150 % of body fluids lost e.g if you lost 1 liter of your body fluids, you have to drink 1,5 liters).
Take a shower
Water has a soothing effect on your tired muscles so it is important to take a shower after the match. Reducing muscle soreness is really important to be able to play on the highest possible level so players have to always look for opportunity to take a shower up to 1 hour after the last point on the court.
Limiting additional activities for hour body and mind are important factors in effective recovery. Many juniors don’t realize that watching other matches while being exposed to the strong sun or playing soccer with friends after the match are activities that take a lot of energy from our bodies and it will have an effect on the next game. Coach and parents should emphasize resting (physical and mental) between the matches to help players recover faster and help them perform well.
As you can see, there are few areas that are important to do to recover faster and help us get through the tournament’s regime in an easier way. Applying one of these techniques will slightly help your body but doing all of them will guarantee better performances in every match. It takes about 1 hour to finish all of the given duties so players should never leave the venue immediately after the match because it is not done! Many parents make a mistake by taking the kid home and hoping that they will do all these steps in own convenient room but unfortunately, it rarely happens. Professional approach during the tournament starts few hours before the match and goes up to few hours after the battle is done so players can’t limit their responsibilities only to match performance.
About the Author
Marcin Bieniek is a tennis coach from Poland and a former professional player (Polish National Juniors Team). He is a certificated tennis coach by the Polish Tennis Coaching Association and the Professional Tennis Registry. Marcin has worked with many of the top 20 Polish Juniors and the top 150 players in the world.