There are many external factors on the court that lie outside of an athlete’s control. While elements such as weather or court conditions can inhibit performance, the one thing that athletes can always control is how they prepare themselves. When it comes to success, there is a direct correlation between training and match performance. Great athletes do not simply just show up and win a match, they focus on their preparation and training in order to become top performers. Although each player is different, there are many steps every athlete can take in order to reach their top performance.
If you don’t have the things you need, you can’t give everything
- A successful practice begins before the player even steps foot on the court. Making sure they have their racquets strung and gripped, plenty of water, nutritious snacks, extra clothes and shoes, a towel, sunscreen, etc. is crucial in the development of success. If an athlete does not have the tools they need, they are unable to completely focus on performing their best.
Prep your body for success
- In order for athletes to build their strength, they must take matters into their own hands. This includes adjustments in their training and lifestyle so they can reach their prime focus and intensity. If a practice begins at 9:00am, athletes should be up and moving by 7:00am in order to allow the body to be both physically and mentally alert. Before heading to practice, athletes should always hydrate and fuel their body with sufficient food and water. Pre-practice preparation allows athletes to get off to a fast start and compete at their top ability immediately.
Developing the tools in your toolbox
- It’s crucial for athletes to prime their mind before training. Taking 10-15 minutes before practice to warm up gives athletes the prime focus and intensity they need. During this time, athletes should mentally prepare themselves and focus on the goals they want to accomplish for the day. By consistently developing this mental routine, players are able to focus and not be hindered by external distractions. This pre-competitive routine transfers over to match performance, where athletes can show up focused, and stay focused during an actual match.
The goal for any athlete should be to put as many tools in their toolbox as possible. Top tennis players do not outplay their competitors solely because of talent, but because they create habits and foundational skills that lead them to victory. Finding a healthy sports routine is a fundamental part of becoming a top contender. Players looking to find control in their playing should begin by mastering the areas they can directly control themselves.