It would be scary if the result of our matches just depended on what happens in those 60-90 minutes while we battle on the court ⚔️, wouldn’t it be?!
OMG, I don't even want to think about it 🙉!
Good news is, our matches start well before we actually step on the court and, thank god 🙏, doing the right things at the right time off court can give us a big BIG advantage on our opponent!
In fact, most players don't pay much attention to what comes before the match, thinking it doesn't matter so much. The result? We get to have an even bigger edge if we do!
Btw if you’re new on this blog and have no clue about who I am, I'm Elena Margaria 👋🏻 and just like you, I'm on a mission to become the best tennis player I can 🥇. Even without a fancy team, or too much talent. Just with a huge desire to make it.
That's why Tennis Rematch exists: to share everything I learn along the way 🤓, so you can get better faster, and together we can prove that we can achieve anything we set our mind to 🔥.
But back to business!
In this blog, you'll find how I personally prepare for my matches, from packing my bag to eating and warming up, and a handful of tips on how you can optimize your schedule too, in order to give yourself the best chance of victory 🏆.
Ah, one more thing before we start ☝️: what's coming is a full immersion in my preparation for any of my matches, so don't be surprised if I sound very perfectionist when it comes to seemingly little details. It just shows that I REALLLLLLLY want to win!
I never pack my tennis bag the same day of the match.
That's right, I always pack my stuff the day before.
"But whyyy?" you may ask.
Because I don't want to risk compromising my match state-of-mind because of nowhere-to-be-found blister plasters or extra grips!
I know it sounds crazy, but I know myself and am pretty sure that's exactly what would happen!
After all, those are part of my essential tennis gear for my matches!
That's why I anticipate the packing of my tennis bag: because I'd rather stress out about missing tennis gear the day before the match than the same day. #betterSafeThanSorry
Plus, there's already so many other things to take care of (and stress out about) the day of the match that I really don't need the extra worry about the tennis bag!
But what other things?! For example...
I always make sure I wake up early enough.
You have no idea how many matches I lost because "in the morning I cannot put a ball in the court", while in reality the only problem was my wake-up time 🙄.
And I'm not only talking about 8:30am matches. (I wish!) I'm talking any time before noon 🙈.
Think that when I was in high school 📚 I used to wake up super early during the week (nothing too crazy, but for a sleepyhead like me 6am was totally unreasonable at the time 😅), so when it was finally weekend there was nothing that could make me get up early.
Not even the league match at 11:00am.
And guess what?! I don't remember winning many of those 🤫 and now I know why. Ops!
It turns out indeed that the human body (not only mine, yours too) works like a Diesel and needs its time to be fully alert, ready and reactive.
Which is why nowadays I always get up at least 3 hours before my matches. And trust me, it makes all the difference in the world!
Sometimes it's tough (whenever I see my match is scheduled for 8am I wonder what I did wrong to deserve it 😣), but I know for a fact that's the way to go to give myself the best possible chance at being physically ready and mentally focused for the match!
So if you love sleeping too, just don't think too much about it and set your alarm clock early enough: you'll thank yourself later!
I always try to eat the right kind of food at the right time.
If I lost many matches because of my late wake up time, I lost at least just as many because of food: either lack of food, wrong kind of food, wrong timing... you name it!
But lately I got it (or at least I think I did 😆).
Talking about timing, for me the best time to eat a meal is about two to one and a half hours before the match. This gives me enough time to digest and fill up my gas tank, but not too much so that I'd be hungry again.
Talking about type of food and quantities instead, my go-to is a plate of pasta or 8-10 pieces of sushi. Which one depends on the place of the tournament: if it's not too far and I can eat at home, then I usually opt for pasta 🍝; otherwise for sushi 🍣.
When instead I have no time for neither of them, then I usually have bread and salmon and it works just as well!
If you don't feel like eating before your match, I feel you: when I was smaller, the tension of the match used to play tricks one me and I often had the impression I couldn't force myself or I'd throw up 🤢.
Well, after losing more than a couple of matches because of no energy, I changed my mind and convinced myself I have to eat no matter what!
And nope, I've never thrown up, not even once. Because you know what?! It was just in my head!
I always arrive to the place of the match early enough.
If I have to be completely honest with you, I've arrived just on time or a few minutes late to a match countless times in my life 🤫 (and I'm not proud, trust me).
Once though I broke every record: I arrived 1 hour late (my mum and I couldn't find the tennis club 😂).
I let you imagine my embarrassment when we finally got there. I felt soooo ashamed, omg! I would have dug a hole for myself and disappeared.
I cannot believe my opponent waited for me and didn't just take the walkover. Chapeau 🎩.
Even though, seeing how the match ended up, why not?! I was so rushed, embarrassed and ashamed that I literally didn't put a ball in the court, and she won in record time. Without doing much!
"Never again" I said to myself and my mum. Lesson learnt!
After that episode, I got into the habit of arriving to the place of the tournament about one hour before the scheduled time.
And wow 🤩, it's allll another thing. Seriously!!
I finally have time to familiarize with the place, find the organizer, relax, warm up and get ready. And all without being rushed!
I never miss my physical warm up.
If I arrived just on time or a few minutes late to a match countless times in my life, can you guess how many times I started a match without warming up?! Please, don't 🤫.
(Way too many! And no, not proud again.)
So... don't do that! It's absolutely deadly 💀.
(That's a lie 🤥: once I got thrown on the court by the tournament organizer because the court freed up early. But it was a rare occasion, it never happens!)
Usually (exceptions apart), 45 to 30 minutes before the match I start warming up and get my heart pumping and blood flowing.
And in 20 minutes I'm done, sweaty and above all physically ready for my match!
And there you have it, my little guide on how to prepare for a tennis match.
I really hope it helps 🤗. And once again, remember most of the players neglect these little things thinking they don't matter so much.
So be the one who does pay attention to the details, and you can be sure you'll have an edge in your matches!
If you enjoyed this blog and found it useful, click on the clap button below so I know you did 💕. It's always nice to know someone's passed by here!
ps - If you want to have yet another extra gear compared to your opponents, then don't miss this other blog on how to scout your opponents.
pps - If you're still quite new to competitive tennis and wanna be not only physically but also mentally prepared for your next tournament, then take a look at my Nail Your First Tournament ebook. It might help you A LOT!
Then you're one of us! We're a community of passionate and motivated tennis players who work hard every day 💦 to reach their goals, motivate each other 🔥 to keep going when things get tough and share their own experiences 💬 so everybody can get better faster.
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