Introduction to Competitive Tennis Player Nutrition and Diet and Hydration in Tennis
Competitive Tournament Playing Tennis Players burn around 800 calories an hour when playing in competitive singles tennis matches. Thus, for a two to three hour tennis match, such players would burn around 2,000 calories per match. Proper nutrition and diet is important to replace the spent calories and rebuild muscle that broke down during a tennis training or tennis match to facilitate their recovery and to maintain their level of athletic performance. A disciplined diet is crucial to a tennis player’s tennis athletic performance and is therefore closely related to their winning or losing a tennis match. Tennis players should particularly focus their efforts on ideal consumption of five primary nutrient categories of fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrates, protein and fats. In this article, we explain everything you may possibly need to about nutrition and diet for a competitive tennis player. Ideal hydration for tennis is also important for peak athletic performance in elite tennis players for competitive tennis matches.
General Nutrition and Diet – Foods to Eat
A healthy tennis nutrition and diet plan should carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. As far as possible, a competitive tennis player should always choose fresh and natural produce and avoid processed and fast foods. A competitive tennis player’s nutrition and diet should be rich in vegetables, and white and red meat.
Foods that are rich in these nutrients should be included:
- Antioxidants – the protect against oxidative stress in the body;
- Calcium promotes bone development, good nerve and muscle function;
- DMAE is a neurotransmitter, and it positively affects the function of the neuro system. DMAE can be found in certain fish such as salmon, sardines and anchovies;
- Iron transports oxygen around the body;
- Magnesium – As the second highest electrolyte in our body, it often gets depleted from a poor diet or sweating during exercise;
- Omega 3 reduces inflammation, aids recovery, found in salmon, sardines, tuna, flax seeds and walnuts;
- Potassium is the main intracellular mineral;
- Sodium is the key electrolyte and main extracellular mineral lost in sweat and should be increased in most competitive tennis player’s diets to help minimize risk of heat illness and muscle cramping. Essential mineral for muscle contractions, fluid balance, and nervous system function;
- Vitamin A helps the body fix micro tears in muscles, as it helps to make new white blood cells;
- Vitamin B to help your body use stored energy during training or competition;
- Vitamin C helps in muscle repair;
- Water circulates the other nutrients to the tissues where they are used and then removed as by-products of this tissue utilisation. Water is also critical for maintaining body temperature during intense play; and
- Zinc is found to be beneficial for hand-eye coordination: opt for pumpkin and sunflower seeds, whole grains, animal proteins, beans, and nuts.
Breakfast on Matchday
Breakfast on the day of a match should be made up of slow-release carbohydrates to sustain energy levels. A competitive tournament tennis player’s meal should include oat-based cereals, porridge or wholemeal cereals with low fat milk, yoghurts and fruit, or eggs and baked beans with grain toast.
It’s also important that plenty of fluids, especially water, is taken with breakfast.
Pre-Match Meal: 2-3 hours before match
Pre-match tennis nutrition and diet is crucial for performance. Copetitive tennis players should eat a small meal with moderate amounts of carbohydrates, fat and protein. The pre-match meal should provide plenty of energy from carbohydrates like rice or pasta and should consist of simple plain foods that are low in fat to reduce the risk of an upset stomach during the match to optimise your athletic performance. Food high in sugar should be avoided due to the risk of an energy crash during the match. Easily digestible carbohydrates include white bread, lower fiber cereals, fruit, turkey or grilled chicken sandwich, crackers, apple, skim milk, sports drink are good choices.
Pre-match snack: 1 hour before match
For a pre-game snack, consume it about 1 hour before the competitive tennis match, and should just be a fruit yogurt or a banana, water, energy bar, and a sports drink.
Right before match: 15 minutes before match time
This is the last chance you have to top off your energy and nutrient levels. The time element allows your body to digest and have immediate access to energy and nutrients, so you’ll be ready to go the moment you step on the field or in the weight room. Just some fast-acting carbs, either from fresh fruit or a sports drink 15 minutes before activity will provide an immediate energy boost.
During the Match
Thirst is not a reliable indicator of hydration in tennis. Drink a bit during changeovers, whether you feel thirsty or not. Drink 5-10 oz. of fluid every 15 minutes or so for optimal hydration in tennis. Sports drinks are preferable to water because they contain carbohydrates and electrolytes such as sodium. Several studies have proven that when a player takes in carbs during play, she or he is able to maintain more power and accuracy. Appropriate supplementation during a match can make a difference between winning and losing the tennis match A go-to rule for electrolyte replacement is to include 110-240 mg of sodium per 8 oz of fluid you bring to drink on the court. Electrolytes are important for muscle contraction and nerve impulses, which you lose quickly when you sweat. This hydration in tennis and supplementation method delivers performance benefits throughout activity. .
During the match, when you are feeling low on energy or experiencing a decline in performance, it would be time for a small snack. A banana is a good choice. However, there are so many different ways such as energy gels and sports drinks.
It is important to replace the nutrients lost during competition and begin the recovery process. The post-match meal should contain carbohydrates and protein with lower fat content than usual.
A healthy meal within 2 hours after the match would help players recover and refuel their bodies. The meal should include protein to help recover the muscles, along with complex carbohydrates and vegetables. This will maximize muscle glycogen recovery that will activate protein synthesis in your muscles. Salt will also help to keep the level of water in the competitive tennis player’s body for adequate hydration for tennis.
The TAG International Tennis Academy Definitive Guide Series
We hope you have found this article on a competitive tennis player’s nutrition informative and helpful. If so, please share it with your tennis playing family and friends. This article is part of the TAG Definitive Guide Series which encompasses the best tennis advice available on the internet. If you enjoyed this article, some other interesting tennis instruction articles you may like:
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If you are looking to improve your tennis, you can look to some of Singapore’s best private tennis coaches such as the tennis coaches from the best tennis academy in Singapore, TAG International Tennis Academy by taking private tennis lessons. We can be contacted at +6598395232, or contact us HERE.
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