It’s all about the routine.
Professional athletes all over the world, regardless of their sport of choice, depend on a consistent routine to assist in the deliverance of optimal performance.
Whether it’s a game, match, or a practice, the steps athletes take in the hours and days leading up to an event will dictate their ability to think, act, and react when the moment calls for it.
Put another way, if the routine stays consistent, then there’s less distraction in the heat of competition.
Sounds nice, right?
As busy parents bussing your children all over the lower mainland so they can maintain their routine, you probably don’t feel like you have the luxury of slowing your days down so you can concentrate on your sport. Tennis demands a lot of concentration on yourself, your habits, and your tendencies, but when was the last time you could say you spent any time thinking about yourself?
Alright, this is turning into a depressing post, which ain’t my intention.
My intent is to remind you that once you’ve overcome the challenges of your schedule and your family’s schedule, getting yourself to the court on time is the biggest hurdle you need to cross.
Think about it. Athletes like Milos Raonic and Genie Bouchard spend days, weeks, months, preparing for a certain match. It’s all they have to focus on.
You? You’ve got a million things to focus on. So who has it tougher anyways?
Tennis at the North Shore Winter Club is largely based on fun and friendly competition, but judging from the fire in the eyes of some of you at the recent Fall Classic in honour of coach Paul Shellard, it means a lot more than that.
You want to win. You want that feeling of success is a pressure-packed situation. Tennis is an opportunity to forget about your job, forget about your family, and forget about all the responsibilities of life for a few hours.
Achieving victory, however, won’t be possible based on talent alone.
You need to take care of the details.
Nutrition: don’t skip breakfast just because you’re frantically trying to get the kids out the door. If you skip breakfast then you’ll probably grab something heavy for lunch, and then you’re really in trouble come game time. This is why your legs feel heavy during matches. Make sure you eat something healthy and loaded with complex carbohydrates early in the day because it’s the fuel you’ll need in order to bring your best to the court.
Hydration: bringing a gatorade to the court won’t cut it. Stay hydrated all day leading up to the match. Coaching hockey has taught me that parents believe drinking an entire bottle of water in the third period of a game is sufficient hydration. It’s not.
Routine: Finally, while your routine might be shared with your family during the day, once you leave for the court you’re on your own. Keep your gear organized. Get dressed early. Stick to a consistent warmup. The more you’re familiar with your routine, the more free your mind will be to focus on the impending competition.
And after, it’s all up to you.