Nutrition Tips for Tennis Players on Match Day
When we think about working hard and getting ready for a tennis match, there usually isn’t nearly enough attention given to the types of food you should be eating and when those meals should be happening.
Would you put anything other than the right type of gas into your car so it could get you from Point A to Point B? Of course not, so think of your body as the car and the food you put into your body as the gas – you need it to get from Point A to Point B and to accomplish whatever goals you may have!
A balanced diet that’ll give you fuel to perform at top levels is always necessary, but we’ll solely be focusing on what you should be doing on the day of a match – from start to finish.
Before a Match
This part of your routine is likely to vary depending on the timing of your match, but it shouldn’t change the fact that the last full meal you have before hitting the courts should take place between 3-4 hours before. Something that’s high in carbs, low in fat, and a decent source of protein is a good mixture to help you play at your peak performance.
Having a pre-match meal like this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fuel up a bit closer to the first point happening, though. There can’t be a much more frustrating feeling than being a little hangry in the middle of a match. So, having some kind of snack an hour or two before — like an energy bar or banana – is perfect, along with hydrating properly, of course.
During a Match
You’re expending a ton of energy throughout the course of any match, so it’s important to properly and strategically refuel yourself to stay at optimum performance as long as possible. Water should be a staple here, but that also includes sports drinks that are high in complex carbohydrates. Don’t just have a drink when you’re thirsty, either – that’s the trap! Consistently drink fluids throughout a match so your energy levels are never too low.
And it’s never a bad idea to have another banana or energy bar in your bag in case of an emergency.
After a Match
We just talked about how much energy you burn off during the course of a match, and taking care of your body doesn’t stop once the final point is won! You can start right after the match is finished by having a sports drink, but a meal to help your body properly recover high in protein and carbs (like meat and potatoes, etc) within a couple hours.
Don’t forget that to play up to the ability you know you can play at, the preparation goes far beyond the court. Knowing how you’re feeding your body and doing it at the appropriate times that work best you is a crucial building block to everything.
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