Tournament Preparation – Top tips!

BE PREPARED – As the great basketball coach, John Wooden said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Plan ahead and don’t leave anything to chance.  Make sure that you take everything you need with you.  Excellent preparation is key to success in all tournaments. 

Bag Check

  • Rackets- Enough
  • Shoes– Have an extra pair in your bag!
  • Grips– Over grips get warn
  • Strings– At least 3 or 4 sets
  • Clothes (spare set of match kit, extra socks)
  • Hat/visor– A spare is not a bad ideal
  • Towel– Very Important
  • Drinks– Water, sports drinks
  • Snacks– Make them healthy snacks! Fruit, energy bars
  • Medical kit – Band aids/tape/braces/any medicines/Advil or Tylenol
  • Sunscreen– At least SPF 32 or higher
  • Ipod- Whatever relaxes and/or gets you up!


If traveling by plane, stay well hydrated on the flight. Drink lots of fluids — water, fruit smoothies or diluted sports drinks. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as sodas. Do not skip meals; in flight choose the high carbohydrate meal such as chicken and pasta or rice.

On arrival at your destination, try to go for a light jog or bike ride for 20 minutes and then stretch to ensure you are best prepared to train and play the following day.


It is essential that you stay well hydrated as dehydration can significantly affect your performance. Sweat contains salts also known as electrolytes; these salts are needed for the body to function normally. When a player loses too much salt, it can result in muscle cramps. During practice and play, especially in hot climates, electrolytes need to be replaced – drink sports drinks and lots of water.

Before and during practice/match

Drink water or a carbohydrate-based sports drink that contains electrolytes. You will need to replace at minimum 80% of sweat loss during a match. Generally it is recommended that you drink 4-8 swallows of a sports drink and water on every change over.

After practice/match

It is important to start the recovery process immediately following your match. Start drinking as soon as you come off court. Sports recovery drinks or low fat milk shakes are ideal to help refuel and rehydrate.

Ensure you start each day well hydrated, you can check the color of your urine against a ‘pee chart’ (see below).

Pee Chart


In order to play and perform at your best level, you must be correctly fuelled for competition.  Carbohydrate is the key fuel for energy so the priority is to optimize your carbohydrate stores prior to your tournament by ensuring you have a healthy balanced diet.

Check out what food and drink will be available at the venue, and then bring your own supply of sports drinks, recovery drinks and energy bars — You will need them!

Pre-match meal

Aim to eat a carbohydrate rich meal 2-3 hours before your match – pasta /noodles/ rice/couscous, and chicken/ breakfast cereal and whole grain toast/ lean meat sandwich / pita breads

If you are unsure what time you are playing, ensure you have a snack with you to top up your energy stores 1 hour before you play – for example, energy/cereal or granola bar, low fat muffin or dried fruit.

And remember, Never ‘skip’ breakfast and Keep drinking fluids!

Post match nutrition

Good recovery will ensure that you play your best for your next match. To recover well, you need to rapidly restock your carbohydrate stores, replace fluid and salt losses. An active recovery also includes post match stretching and rest.

Aim to have a carbohydrate and protein-based meal or snack within 30 minutes of playing even if the recovery time is short between matches.

Examples of recovery snacks:
Sports recovery drinks/low fat milk shakes/Yogurt-based fruit smoothies/cereal or sports recovery bar/lean meat sandwich/ breakfast cereal/bananas      

Warm up

Players should always aim to have completed a brief 10 -20 minute warm-up to ensure they are both physically and mentally prepared to play. This will also reduce the risk of injury. Both mental and physical preparation are key components to becoming a successful tennis player; be prepared to start fast and get the edge on your opponents.

Components of the warm up

  1. Heat generation: Players should perform some form of cardiovascular activity so that they generate a light sweat, this can be done on court or in the gym; jogging, stationary bike, jump rope
  2. Dynamic stretching: Involves moving parts of the body, gradually increasing with reach and/or speed of movement to the limits of the players range of motion
  3. Tennis specific: On court, this can be done while getting prepared to play or before and should include movements to mimic tennis strokes.

Cool down or active recovery

You should aim (if time permits) to take part in active recovery involving a light jog and stretch prior to your nutritional recovery strategies.


  • If you have any nagging injuries, ensure you know how to best manage them while you are away.
  • If you develop a new injury seek the advice of the onsite trainer. Ice should be applied post match to any areas that are sore.

Good Luck!

Sophie Scott

Sophie Scott
Director of Performance