Sports Training/Preparation

Days before your event pack up your gear including your SportCord, energy bars, and drinks. Arrange for your transportation, entrance fees, and hotel. Upon arrival at the tournament site, look over the courts and find the restrooms. The morning of the tournament eat a well-balanced meal at a familiar restaurant. Arrive at the courts in plenty of time prior to your event to check in and warm up. Follow the steps below for peak performance.

1. Commit yourself: Commitment, time, and physical effort are imperative for doing your best. Don't take competition lightly. Focus your attention on your goal to the exclusion of other distractions. The extra training is only part of it. You may need to revise your social calendar and modify your diet. Make a list of everything you should do or not do to reach your goal.

2. Develop a training schedule: Begin training for your tournament at least three months in advance. Longer isn't always better because you might injure yourself or get stale if you focus intensely for more than three months. If you lose in the first round, plan for a back-up tournament so you can try again in a few weeks while you are in peak condition. Don't train harder for your back-up tournament; train smarter. Remind yourself to relax and enjoy.

3. Surround yourself with motivation: Family and friends can be a tremendous boost. Training partners sharing hopes and dreams can enrich your growth. Read the latest magazines in your sport. Display photographs and reminders of your best performances. These mementos transmit a powerful energy of the events they portray. Immerse yourself in your goal to heighten your motivation. Train with others who share your goal and join them to strengthen you commitment.

4. Train hard but don't overtrain: Listen to your body. Know when to work out hard and when to relax. High energy all of the time can be counter-productive. Train hard for short periods. If you cross-train, allow extra rest. Your body can break down when you overexert. Train at a competitive level no more than a few times a week. Give your body a chance to repair.

5. Test yourself occasionally: No more than once a week participate in a mock tournament. Employ all of the gear and paraphernalia you normally use in your tournament. Presume it is genuine, but keep it fun. Become accustomed to pre-competitive eating, drinking, crowds, and noise. Several preliminary tune-up tournaments will prepare you. They harden you.

6. Choose your tournament: Choosing your tournament may be difficult. Survey your rivals. Are they in your league? Will you have a hard time winning a single match? Familiarity is a plus. If you have competed in a certain tournament and done well, go back. Simple things such as knowing the courts and the hotels can be an advantage when you cannot afford to waste nervous energy.

7. Develop a strategy for each match: Enter your tournament understanding what you want to do and how you want to do it. Scout your opponents and plan your tactics. But be adaptable; have a back-up strategy. Continue your original game plan unless you are obviously over matched.

Identify what you must do, practice it thoroughly during training, and give yourself some flexibility on tournament day.

8. Believe when you step onto the court you will overpower your opponent with your favorite strokes. But don't use them right away. If you have excellent groundstrokes, hit hard and deep at first; then, when your opponent stays back, bring him in with drop shots.

9. Don't give up no matter what: You may not win the tournament or even a single match but don't give up. Learn from each experience and soon you will win. Tournaments are games, and the more you play the better you'll get. There are no excuses for losing, only reasons. Accept these reasons and press forward.

10. Imagery Two-Minute Mini-Imagery Technique

a. Close your eyes and relax (ten seconds).

b. Breathe from your diaphragm. Focus on your breath (twenty seconds).
v c. See, feel, and experience yourself serving, volleying, returning and lobbing (thirty seconds).

d. Take another few moments to practice your favorite stroke over and over in your mind (thirty seconds).

e. Enjoy a sensation of perfect balance, control, and heightened speed (ten seconds).
v f. Let these feelings reinforce themselves (ten seconds).

g. Slowly open your eyes (ten seconds).

Imagery Training Tips

1. Be relaxed in any situation.

2. If something bothers you, ask yourself why; then fix it. If you can'tfix it, don't let it bother you.

3. Breathe from your diaphragm if something excites you.

4. If you are tempted to skip training, or worse...remind yourself thatyou are a competitor.

5. When you feel anger, notice it; then give it up.

6. Take moments during the day to relax. But more than that, weave thoseprecious seconds into the fabric of your entire day.

7. You will lose itnow and then, so prepare for it and let it go.

8. Our biggest mistake is we try too hard.

9. When you find yourself dwelling on a mistake, laugh it off.

10. Work on yourself a little bit each day. Become more relaxed, more focused, more fun.