How To Beat The Heat

It is fair to say that tennis is an outdoor sport for many people all over the world. I am an Australian and have grown up playing tennis outdoors. I feel as though the toughest challenge apart from the game itself, is dealing with extreme heat and a high degree of humidity. There really is nothing that can prepare you for the conditions here in Australia, except experiencing it firsthand and seeing how your body responds. Having said that, there are a few things that you can do to help you deal with such conditions.

  1. Wear loose-fitted clothing and opt for material such as Dry-Fit (Nike) or Climacool (Adidas).
  2. Try to avoid wearing dark colours since they absorb the heat rather than reflect heat such as black, dark blue and purple. White is the best option during these conditions.
  3. Use a hat/cap, sweatbands and a lot of sunscreen.
  4. If you are comfortable with wearing sunglasses, then it is a great option as it can reduce glare.
  5. Wear a fresh pair of socks every 90 minutes of play. This can help avoid blisters. There is also the option of wearing two pairs of socks on each foot, however one pair should not be as thick otherwise you will not be comfortable.
  6. Drink sports drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade or Mizone alongside water in order to replace the electrolytes within your body that you lose through sweat.
  7. Bananas are a great source of potassium and during change overs or in between session breaks, taking a bite into a banana is a great idea.
  8. Glucose tablets may also be beneficial to you, however it does depend on the individual. I used to prefer eating lollies to glucose tablets, my favourite are the All Natural jellies.
  9. Taking a shower using cold/cool water after sessions can help relieve muscle soreness and pain.
  10. Try an ice bath at the end of the day if you are very keen!



Tennis Tips You Don’t Want To Miss

When you think of past and current tennis champions such as Mary Pierce, Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova, Sabine Lisicki, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Tommy Haas, Max Mirnyi, they all share one thing in common. Not only are they all grand slam champions, but they have achieved most of their success under the tutelage of a man named Nick Bollettieri. The IMG academy based in Bradenton, Florida was established by Nick Bollettieri and has been the breeding ground for multiple grand slam champions, particularly during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. He is arguably one of the best tennis coaches the game has seen. I’d never miss an opportunity to hear some tennis tips from this man and I’d recommend his latest set of tips to you.

Nick Bollettieri – Tuesday Tennis Tips (25 November 2015)

1. OK. You’re about to play a match against an opponent that you’ve never seen before. During the first 5 minutes of the warm-­‐up try to develop a strategy:
• How do they hit their groundstrokes; flat, spin, aggressive, moderate?
• Are they comfortable at the net?
• Check out their first and second serve.
• How effective is their overhead? If you back them up, is the overhead still as effective?
• Do they move in and back as effectively as they move from side to side?
Using your warm-­‐up as an opportunity to evaluate their proficiency at these important parts of the game will allow you to develop a viable strategy before the first point begins.

2. Can you out-­‐hit your opponent? First, you’ve got to be honest with yourself and put your ego in your back pocket. Otherwise, you’re making a fatal mistake. If the answer is NO, try to slow down the speed of the rallies with some lobs, drop shots and short angles. Try to avoid playing into your opponents’ hand. As a rule, at the club level, nobody is good at everything. Find the something that they’re not so good at!

3. There’s an old saying that you should “Change a losing game.” Accept what your opponent can do well and make small adjustments to your game plan. Don’t forget, the object is to win. If the way want to win isn’t working, then win the way that you don’t want. But WIN!

4. Don’t tell me that you’ll play the best that you can. I want to hear that you will play to win. This attitude won’t allow you to accept second place. PLAY TO WIN!

5. Surprise your opponent! Your weekly opponents know your game. They know exactly what you can – and cannot do! Why not come up with a drop shot, attack the net or attack their second serve? SURPRISE YOUR OPPONENT. DO THE UNEXPECTED!

6. Andre Agassi said, “The next point is the most important point.” You can’t change what happened, but you can try to make sure it doesn’t happen again! Clear your mind and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop looking for excuses and get ready for the next point. It is the most important point!

7. Any negative look can provide fuel for your opponent. Scream at yourself? Throw your racquet? Don’t empower your opponent by displaying this negativity. Losing is easy. Don’t make it any easier for your opponent to defeat you! Let that opponent – and every opponent to follow, know that if they’re going to win, it’s gonna take all day!



The Pursuit of Becoming a Tennis Champion

The pursuit of becoming a tennis champion is a journey that consists of numerous highs and lows. In my opinion and after my own experiences, the lows certainly outweigh the highs, particularly if you have your sights on big time tennis. This is the nature of the sport of tennis. It’s not about how many highs or lows you experience or the positive and negative experiences, rather treating every experience as simply being part of the bigger picture. I tell my students on many occasions that if they want to be successful, they must stay in the present moment, because that is the only way they will truly embrace all that is around them and grow as an athlete and person.

Having said that, there should also be a long-term outlook for every athlete and it should be based on the following things;

  1. Work hard and smart
  2. Seek improvement
  3. Focus on your health
  4. Be happy
  5. Be mentally fit for competition.

In addition to the above, you should keep your eye on your short-term goals and focus on achieving them, because they are the pathway towards achieving the long-term goals. The long-term goals will predominantly require tournament schedule planning and ranking analysis.

Let’s take a real-life example, say your short-term goal is to get fit before a big tournament, so you hire a fitness trainer and spend 6-8 weeks working on a specific fitness program in addition to your on-court training. Learn from the experience and move onto the next goal. This could be to better your serve, so spend 20min at the end of each on-court session working on the serve, in addition to your current on-court activities and fitness maintenance schedule. Learn from the experience and move onto the next goal. This could be to work on your in-game tactics during matches. One way to help you here is to play games and tie-breakers in addition to your on court-training and fitness maintenance schedule. It would be ideal to have your coach watch you and guide you in terms of in-game tactics to improve on. So as you can see, you have now tackled 3 short-term goals of improving your fitness, serve and tactics in a smart and productive way. This is how you can work hard and smart.

Do you think that an athlete can do this alone? I don’t think it is possible in the long-run. It takes a team of professionals behind every step of the way for any athlete. It is not a walk in the park at all!

If that sounds like much, or you’re thinking ‘Alison, you must be exaggerating”, let’s take a look into a day in the life of young Rafa Nadal, as he explains in his own words whilst unveiling his new tennis academy in Mallorca, Spain.

“Attend School from 9am to 12pm. Tennis Training from 12-2pm. Attend School from 2-5:30pm. Soccer Training from 5:30-7pm. Tennis Training from 7-9pm. Dinner and Homework from 9pm onwards.”

Are you still asking, what does it take to become a tennis champion?


Florida, USA – Tennis Wonderland

No matter who you are, or where you are from, there is one place I guarantee you will hear of during your tennis journey. That place is Florida, USA which I call ‘Tennis Wonderland’.

The climate is perfect for tennis throughout the entire year. There are numerous tennis and country clubs that offer exceptional programs and coaching from the best in the business, particularly on the east coast. It’s also worth mentioning that the most prestigious junior and professional events are held in Florida. I spent 18 months of my career based in Florida and it was the single most important experience in my career.

There are many past and current champions that have called Florida home and I highly recommend a trip to either Boca Raton, Bollettieri’s, Evert’s or Saddlebrook in Wesley Chapel.


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