Keeping Your Child Ready to Play When They’re Waiting Around Between Tennis Matches
Waiting around between tennis matches is nearly unavoidable at tournaments so, at some point, your child will need to re-prepare ahead of their next match. Preparation is key.
So how do you know when you’re likely to be waiting around between tennis matches? How can you prepare for it?
The best way for you to help your child is to find out how the tournament will run and to start teaching your junior player how to keep themselves match ready – just like the professional do!
So that you can manage eating and drinking at the right time, as well as being physically and mentally warmed up and ready to go, you’ll need to know:
- Will there be gaps in between play?
- How long will breaks between matches generally be?
- What opportunity will there be for children to eat their meals?
- What notice will they be given to warm up ahead of their next match?
The tournament organiser can tell you all of this information and they normally explain it in the tournament briefing held around 15 minutes before the first matches start. Discuss all of this with your child to prepare them so that they also understand when they’ve got a window to warm up and they know what to expect.
Performance Coach, Adam Wharf, has this to say about keeping your child ready to play when they’re waiting around between tennis matches:
More advice on pre-match preparation
The USTA (US Tennis Association) has published a useful article on Pre-match tips: Preparing like a champion. The USTA divides pre-match preparation into mental and physical preparation. They encourage players to mentally and physically get “close to match speed with their shots, movement and mind” using 4 steps that we’ve summarised here:
- Prepare your game to compete – have kit bags ready and practice every element of your game
- Prepare your body to compete – help your kids develop a pre-match routine and make sure they follow it before every match. That includes ensuring that they’re hydrated and have had a snack a good time before they play (they will feel ill if they run around on a full stomach!). They should have a 15 minute physical warm-up that they repeat before every match.
- Prepare your mind to compete – this is just as important as the physical preparation. Kids need to choose 3 things to focus on during the match; that can be technical skills they’ve been practising or staying positive – anything. They should also have some time quietly, alone to visualise the match and rest their mind. Don’t play video games!
- Prepare to be at match speed – have a set of sprints, skipping or other active exercises to “activate” your body to match speed. Kids need to focus their your mind on the match and hit up on court with the same intensity as if the match had started.
Be patient and remember that the tournament referee has a lot of matches to organise. They’re doing their best and they understand the challenges that parents and players face during the day.
It’s very important that you don’t get frustrated! Remember that all players are in the same situation; everyone has the same breaks and opportunities to either be ready… or not.
By being smart and organised your child can be the one who is prepared and rested before they go back on for their next match. It will make them feel happier and more confident and enjoy tournaments. Children who feel rushed or hungry won’t play well and they won’t enjoy their day.
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