If you work with competitive tennis players you have to be ready to travel a lot. During each year there are many tournaments on different continents so to be the best you must play as well as close to your home as also in much further places. This time I landed in South America with my player. First week of our 5-weeks South America tour…
Beginning of the year is a great time to play in South America for European players. There are 7 high-grade ITF tournaments in a row so you can get a lot of valuable match experiences as also you can significantly climb the world ranking. Our first tournament started in Colombia but don’t let this little fact mislead you. If you think that going from winter season in Europe to summer season in South America is a fairy tale you are wrong. And I am not talking about pure temperature. We came here to compete against the best.
I was ready for many difficulties that my player will have to face in Colombia. Overall tennis is an unpredictable game with so many factors having an impact on the final result but if you additionally go from Poland to Colombia you have to deal wih much more than just sport-related issues. If you want to be the best it is necessary to take care of on-court and off-court difficulties in a professional manner. Only preparing for some inconveniences will allow you to minimize the negative effects of these factors and let you play your best tennis no matter if you are in Poland, Colombia or Australia.
So we are done with the first week. Results? 2nd round in singles and winners in doubles. Great start of this South America trip and first tournament of the year. But results are only one part of equation. To grow and improve during next encounters we have to learn from each experience. Here are the lessons from ITF tournament in Colombia:
- Be adaptable
When you are on the court you have to adapt to different opponents. The same rule applies to other things like weather, time etc. When we were leaving Poland it was -20 degrees. In Colombia we were welcomed with +28 degrees. Kind of change right? Almost 50 degrees difference. If you don’t quickly adapt your body and mind you will lose badly. And time? 6 hours difference. Being able to readjust your daily routines is crucial to get the most of your body while running on the court. Adaptation is a priority for a tennis player – if you know how to quickly respond you will have more won matches than lost.
- Hydration of utmost importance
In hot environment level of hydration can decide who will win a tough match. When humidity is high and temperature is around 30 degrees you feel like you should change your shirt after every 2 gems. It simply means that your body loses a lot of fluids. If you don’t replenish it (especially between the matches) you won’t lose against your opponent – you will lose against yourself. Remember to drink a lot of water before and after the match to make sure that your body can function at the most effective level.
- Don’t complain and be grateful
Players come from different backgrounds and numerous environments but we all can live by the same good values. In Colombia there were some situations where players had a lot to say about. Practising under the roof with over 28 degrees, practising at completely different location or starting tournament matches at 3 PM are just few examples of these situations. If you know your value and you are confident you don’t complain. You know that your best tennis depends on you – not on the external factors. So be grateful for what you have and think about players who will never be able to go to gorgeous Colombia to play tennis…
First update from South America trip done! Colombia – checked. Great experiences and nice results. Now we are moving to Ecuador. A little bit different environment but we will adapt. Stay tuned for next lessons.
P.S. Animals walking around the courts are different in Colombia than in Poland:)
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.