As athletes we always want to be out on the court playing matches, but we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation with the majority of tournaments being cancelled or postponed. This could impact our livelihoods and our future performance.
I come from a sport (rowing) in which we train for 98% of the season and race for 2%. I want to share some of the techniques we used to get through long (and sometimes boring) periods of training, when the next competition was months away.
1. Build the base
With no tournaments or official matches taking place, this is a great time to work on your game; especially your fitness.
There are many studies showing that footballers’ fitness increases over the first 3-4 months of the season due to match play. To make sure yours doesn’t suffer while competitions remain suspended, implement a training plan aimed at keeping your fitness base high, or introduce new sessions to improve it.
2. Try new exercises
Doing the same workouts week in week out is never fun. The exciting thing about tournaments is the travel, new environments, people and places. Each day is different.
Now that you are likely to be in one place for a longer period of time, it is a good opportunity to change things up and experiment with new exercises with your coaches and other players. Remember to enjoy your time on the court.
3. Analyse your game
This is a great opportunity to review how you’ve played over the last few months.
Get your matches analysed and talk to pro analysts about how you can improve your strategy against other players.
40Love.ai is a match analysis service, and there a number of tennis analysts around the world that you can work with.
4. Work on your strengths
Take this time to work on the best weapons in your game and improve them even further. You could spend this period working on your weaknesses, but they are weaknesses for a reason. Focusing on your strengths will have a far bigger impact on your game.
YouTube is a great resource if you are unable to train on court. There are many online videos on how to improve your technique and specific shots.
5. Train and play locally
You won’t be travelling a lot over the next few weeks. Find players you can play and train with locally. Contact local academies to see if they have any sparring opportunities.
6. Learn from classic tennis matches
Don’t spend your free time on Netflix or playing video games. You have an opportunity to re-watch some classic matches on YouTube. Understand the tactics, look for patterns of play and visualise how you would play specific points.
7. Use Visualisation
The next few months are going to be difficult for you as a player and will test you mentally more than physically. One thing that kept me going throughout injuries and dull periods was visualisation. It helped to imagine racing at the big events, making mistakes and other scenarios. Spend time visualising specific shots and patterns of play.
We are building an app for tennis training called BreakPoint. You can join the waiting list here https://trybreakpoint.com