As a player heads into a tournament there are a few things to consider. We can divide the preparation for a tournament in three different categories:
- The night before a match
- Morning of the match
- Post-match, preparation for the second match
The night before the match is very important to be well hydrated, that is achieved by drinking a lot of water before going to sleep and not have a heavy dinner that will turn into a problem, stick to foods that you know and trust, avoiding fats and keeping it low in proteins.
The night before the matches we must confirm the venue, get to know as much as possible about our opponent and have a clear idea of how much time it will take to get to the club.
The equipment should be ready, with fresh rackets in the bag if possible, and new overgrips on them to avoid problems if our hands are sweaty. Apparel: try to avoid wearing new shoes as they do not feel that comfortable since they have not been stepped enough and can cause bad sensations on the court, in case you have a new pair of shoes, make sure you use them at least every day of the previous week to the tournament.
The mental preparation has to include a moment of visualization and play the match mentally and be ready for the next day.
Sleeping is a key part of the preparation for a good match the next day, at least 8 hours of sleep are minimum required to have a proper energy level and perform at the top the next day, athletes like Roger Federer average 9 to 12 hours of sleep a day to prevent injuries and be on top shape in competition.
The morning of the match waking up and having a good meal is the start of the ladder, the breakfast should be high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, low in fiber and low in fat, the traveling to the venue is a key thing as we need to get early and try to have a short hit and get to know the conditions of the court, 30 to 40 minutes will be enough, reconfirm with the organization the match time and the court allocation and have a good physical warm-up 15 minutes before the match and speak with coach (if he’s with you) about strategy.
After the match, the cooldown and hydration is key to not have problems in the next match, as the weather is getting warmer is a must to have another pair of socks, fresh clothes and anything that makes us feel brand new towards the next match, regarding isotonic drinks to recover salts is key to mix it up with water at a 50/50 ratio to not go short-handed in any element. If possible watch matches of the possible future opponent and check if a change of tactics would be convenient. If there is time try to have a meal high in carbs like pasta with lean meats to recover energy and the muscle fibers to be reconstituted this high-calorie meal is better if it is eaten inside a 30-minute window after the match.