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PREPARATION IS KEY - A CHECKLIST FOR THE JUNIOR TENNIS PLAYER

Preparation for a tennis match is critical.

A few weeks ago during a pennants final I witnessed a child having a major wardrobe malfunction – the elastic in his shorts had stretched beyond repair and he was trying to run around the tennis court and play his match while also trying to hold up his shorts! Whilst this child was reasonably young it did remind me how important it is to ensure that a junior tennis player is entirely prepared for a match and walks onto the court without any other stresses or challenges.

As tennis is not a timed sport, whilst you may be scheduled to commence at a certain time there can be many reasons as to why you may not start at the scheduled time. Therefore it is important that you have everything with you including something to keep you entertained whilst sitting at the courts (sometimes for hours on end).

Below are some of my tips to all junior tennis players who play any level of competition and their parents. I would see these as minimum requirements, however if a juniors tennis career progresses then they will need to add to this list.  

Pack your tennis bag the night before, ensure the following is in there:
Spare pair of tennis socks
Spare set of tennis clothes
Towel and/or sweatbands
Hat
Suncream
Bandaids
Tissues
Spare grip for your racquet
Spare tennis racquet

Food and Hydration
Ensure you drink plenty of water before, during and after your match
Electrolytes can be beneficial, particularly during hot days
Plan your food intake to ensure that you are not going onto the court hungry or on a full stomach
Pack some additional healthy snacks (fruit, vegetables etc) in case of delays

Other
Give yourself extra time to get to the courts, you don’t want to feel under pressure before you even start
Take something to keep you entertained whilst waiting for your matches (reading material, ipod, iphone/tablet etc)
Keep your mind calm, clear and focussed – whatever techniques work best for you ensure everything you need is with you (your favourite book, favourite music artist, etc)

Good luck with your preparation and hopefully I don’t see any other wardrobe malfunctions!

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