It doesn’t matter if you are preparing for the US Open or for the club championship, you need to pay attention to your nutrition and make sure you are healthy. Having a balanced diet is crucial for good performance on the court. Tennis players should not focus on nutritional supplements, but rather on eating healthy. Diet should be created according to the player’s age, environment, duration of play, level of competition, time of competition, amount of time between matches, as well as many others.
There are so many information about diet and nutrition, so the main focus of this article will be on basic nutritional principles that impact tennis performance. There are guidelines on match preparation, play and recovery and these advices apply for on-court training and practice. The effectiveness is best achieved with a combination of a good nutrition program and a proper training method and adequate rest.
A good diet should contain all the important nutrients in order to support growth and development, maintain normal mental status, regulate metabolism and bodily functions and provide adequate energy during training and competition. Since there is a great choice of food rich in nutrients, it is not so hard to choose the items that are good for your health. Tennis players should do whatever possible to limit the known nutritional risk factors that are known triggers for different health problems and emphasize those nutritional guidelines that have been shown to promote good health.
Consuming food with too many calories or saturated fat, drinking alcohol can cause different health problems, as well as not consuming enough food which can lead to chronic vitamin, mineral or caloric deficiencies. Neither is good for anyone who wishes to have a good health and be able to perform on the court. Tennis players can lose a lot of calories on the court, particularly during intense competition, so it is important to balance this caloric loss during play by consuming enough calories and ensuring the meals contain all of the essential nutrients.
The Most Important Nutrients
For the increased need for energy, consume food rich in carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water, vitamins, and minerals, since all of this is important for a tennis player. Fats are typically used for fuel during low to moderate intensity exercise, but as the intensity of play increases during a match and energy expenditure goes up, the body’s emphasis shifts to utilizing more carbohydrate and proportionately less fat for fuel. The body can break down carbohydrates to supply energy for muscle contraction at a much faster rate than fat.
The intensity of a tennis matches in not always the same, so there is not a continuous high demand for energy and some recovery can occur between points. Fat is used to supply considerable energy throughout the course of the match. During the latter part of a tennis match, protein could become a contributor in meeting a player’s energy demands, particularly if the pre-match and during-play dietary carbohydrate intake is inadequate. This is not a desirable situation, since the muscle is usually broken down in order to supply the body with the necessary energy.
The Importance Of Water Intake
Due to the vigorous physical activity, players produce a significant amount of body heat. Sweating is typically the most effective and most utilized on-court method for dissipating heat in either hot or cool weather. The water lost through sweat needs to be compensated, so it is essential to drink plenty of water. If the fluid lost via sweat is no properly balanced by fluid intake on the court, a tennis player may become dehydrated and overheated, which can lead to ‘premature’ fatigue and defeat. In more serious cases of dehydration, tennis player may experience heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or even worse, heat stroke.