With all of the vigorous practicing and playing that tennis players do on a daily basis, post-match recovery strategies for tennis players are crucial.
Playing tennis is no joke and after a game of tennis, players need all the rest, support, and healing they can get. This includes; Hydration, nutrition, pain relief, massage therapy, stretching, physiotherapy, and psychological support.
Check out these 12 post-match recovery strategies used by all tennis players to rest and improve their performance.
What are Post Match Recovery Strategies?
Post-match recovery strategies are techniques put in place to ensure that the physiological and psychological needs of tennis players are well taken care of after long hours of training and tournaments.
The importance of techniques includes:
- Improving players’ quality in post-match recovery sessions
- Improving the consistency of quality tennis performance
- Eliminating injuries, inflammations, fatigue, and burnout
Tennis players burn a lot of calories during tournaments and there is always a need to refuel their bodies with the proper types of foods and vitamins. The post-match recommended foods include a mix of:
The recommended Post match protein ratio for tennis players is 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
An adequate amount of protein after long tennis matches give tennis players the amino acids needed to repair and rebuild torn muscles and regenerate new muscle tissues in the body.
Replenishing the energy lost during tennis matches is very crucial and tennis players are required to consume 1.1–1.5 grams of carbs within 30 minutes after finishing a tennis match. This aids in proper glycogen resynthesis
Tennis players take different multivitamins in order to help replenish lost electrolytes and help in boosting immunity for rapid healing of torn muscles, as well as the energy lost during a tennis tournament.
This is a very important post-match strategy used by all tennis players.
Did you know that a 2% loss of body weight due to dehydration can have a major negative effect on muscle strength? Hydration is therefore one of the most crucial post-match recovery strategies for tennis players.
Tennis players drink up to 20 liters of water which is equal to the amount they lose from sweating. This helps to regulate body temperatures which are usually high after matches and keep the player’s joints lubricated preventing tear and wear after long tennis matches.
The effects of dehydration on a player’s body can affect memory, mood, and concentration. Post-match hydration, therefore, helps balance a player’s cognition activity, stabilizing their emotions, and even preventing feelings of anxiety. This is important after tough tennis matches that drain and used up all of a player’s energy.
In addition to drinking pure water, flavored sports drinks are a great source of hydration for tennis players. In fact, tennis players drink 30% more fluid when using flavored sports drinks compared to plain water. Recovery drinks also help replace the sodium electrolytes lost by players by stimulating glucose absorption into the bodies of players.
Although most tennis players can be too sore to fall asleep, sleep is a very essential recovery process after tennis games.
The core post-match function of sleep is to give adequate time for muscles to repair themselves. The Growth hormone an anabolic hormone produced during deep sleep helps to repair tissues damaged during tennis matches or any tough sport in general.
The longer a period of deep sleep, the more time for muscle tissues to regenerate, grow and give the body enough resting time.
One of the major benefits of stretching is that it allows muscles to go back to their natural position reducing pain and soreness, especially after a long tennis tournament.
Secondly, stretching helps to bring back attention and calm the mind after a long hard tennis match. Stretching also helps increase the flexibility of a player’s joints giving them greater flexibility to move around more easily after excruciating matches.
Lastly, the stretching strategy helps ease tight and tense muscles can lead to poor posture. By Stretching tennis players help ease existing back injuries, and lower the risk of back injuries in the future.
Meditating is among the best post-match recovery strategies for tennis players to;
- Get in touch with their minds, body, and soul
- Reflect on their progress as players
- Think about areas of improvement
- Deeply feel which areas of their body were injured and need medical attention.
Secondly, meditation strikes a balance between a player’s mind and the body preventing a meltdown, especially after a tough loss. Stress, if not managed, can be physically harmful to tennis players since they are associated with the release of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.
Cytokines lead to high blood pressure, insomnia, fatigue, depression, loss of concentration, and anxiety. Meditation, therefore, helps tennis players to manage stress and anxiety levels so that they remain healthy and in good shape for future matches.
Lastly, meditation can help increase the pain threshold in tennis players giving them the ability to overcome painful injuries, especially during matches.
First, massage therapy helps in muscle relaxation. After a tennis match, there is usually a lot of muscle tension due to the frequent contraction of muscles. Massage therapy helps dissipate this tension when the right amount of pressure is applied to these muscles.
In addition, massage therapy increases blood flow, and an increase in blood flow increases the release of oxygen to all tense muscles speeding up the recovery process.
Lastly, Massage therapy helps tennis players to sleep more deeply because a good massage, helps players’ nervous systems to actually slow down allowing them to sleep and heal their sore bodies, worn-out tissues, and tense muscles.
Seeing a physiotherapist after a tennis match is an extremely valuable post-match strategy. A physiotherapist takes a look at injuries in the shoulder, wrist, or knees helping tennis players to identify inflammations in the body which are treated immediately.
Physiotherapy also helps improve general strength, flexibility, stamina and reduces the likelihood of re-injury as well as re-occurrence of inflammations.
One of the most popular post-match recovery strategies for tennis players is taking an ice bath. The cold ice temperature reduces the metabolism process and this in turn causes a slowing down of swelling and tissue breakdown.
A 10-15 minute ice bath causes an increase in blood circulation, which can assist in moving the fluid that causes muscle tension and relaxation of muscles in general.
Light jogging may help to flush out the lactic acid, in a tennis player’s body making them feel better and refreshed after a long match. Also, the act of jogging realigns all the muscle fibers that were broken down and torn during a tennis match.
In addition, jogging activates a player’s metabolism giving all the sore muscles time to recover. It also keeps players mentally stimulated and motivated hence preventing extreme burnout and fatigue.
Friendly tennis Match
This might come out as a weird post-match strategy but many tennis players actually go out for a friendly tennis match after the main tournament is over.
This is an important post-match strategy after losing a match because players feel like they didn’t play their match as expected and so they lost to their contenders.
Friendly tennis matches are great stress relievers for players to overcome doubt and the pain of losing a match. It helps tennis players to “loosen up” and feel good about their performance and it usually takes 15 to 30 minutes.
Bike riding is an aerobic activity, that promotes a healthy heart, blood vessels, and lungs. Due to the intensity of tennis matches, bike riding is an effective post-match recovery strategy for tennis players to regain normal blood circulation and proper breathing.
Secondly, bike riding helps tennis players to increase muscle strength and improve joint mobility, especially the hands and legs which are used most when playing tennis.
Thirdly, bike riding decreases stress levels for tennis players. Cycling is a fun activity that does not entail a lot of hard rules to follow, this, therefore, helps tennis players reduce tension and stress.
Mental health for tennis players is as important as physical recovery after a match. Taking time to refresh and get a new perspective is very crucial for tennis players.
Psychological checkups help players overcome toxic productivity which leads to overtraining, meltdowns, depression, and burnout. Taking the time to relax, go for a vacation, or spend time with friends and family can take tennis players’ minds off of tournaments and matches.
Lastly, guiding tennis players on how to handle losses after tournaments can help keep players optimistic for future matches. A psychologist can assist a lot in helping players navigate through loss.
Now that you know the different recovery techniques used by world-famous tennis players. It is important to note that these 12 post-match recovery strategies for tennis players can also be used by all of us.
In fact, I dare you to try one of the recovery strategies!