Tennis is no longer just a physical activity. To succeed at the top level you have to be prepared in all areas. Technique, strategy, mental skills, fitness preperation, nutrition, and recovery are aspects that have to be considered in planning your weekly schedules.
Working with many junior players I am constantly surprised (negatively) how poor decisions they make according to eating. It is important to understand that many times it is not their fault because it is result of lack of education or poor role-modeling by parents and coaches. What you eat between the practice sessions or tournament matches has crucial impact on your body functioning. It affects your performance, recovery, mood, and health to name just a few. Taking care of products that you always have in your bag is the first step to always be prepared, and don’t rely on sudden hunger attacks.
Snacks. Most of us have bad perceptions about this word. Honestly it doesn’t have to be bad. Snack is just a small meal that suppose to deliver energy between the main meals. Many players pick snacks like chocolate bars, chips or french fries, and they are surprised why they are not able to play their best tennis at the end of the final set. Changing any habit starts with understanding so providing theory is important before we demand serious actions.
Here is my top 3 athlete-friendly snacks that all players, coaches, and parents should have with them all the time:
No 1 product for all athletes. One banana provides 30g of carbohydrates so it gives boost of energy to your muscles and brain. Because of it you can function effectively both physically and mentally. Additionally, it is a great source of potassium and vitamin C for your body.
- Dried fruits
Another product to have with you. Dried fruits are great antioxidants and they consists of more minerals than fresh fruits. Great source of energy with 0 fats at all what means that your body gets immediate boost of extra power. Let’s not forget about vitamins and fiber – dried fruits have it all.
- Salted nuts
For regular people salted products are not advisable but athletes’ bodies have different demands. Salt is made of sodium and let’s keep in mind that muscle cramping is related to lack of sodium. That is why it is recommended to eat more salty products while exercising. Salted nuts provide energy, proteins, and healthy fats. Adding vitamins and minerals to this list of benefits this product is a great snack to take with you anywhere.
Remember to always have these 3 products with you. It is especially important while travelling to different countries where it can be difficult to maintain proper nutritional habits. Take care of your nutrition and you will get another friend in your team against the next opponent.
Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach and founder of instructional website http://tennisisland.us. Marcin has been working with USTA, top 100 ITF and WTA/ATP players. He is a frequent contributor to TennisPro and TenisKlub magazines and he was a speaker at International Coaching Tennis Symposium 2016 at Hilton Head Island, USA.