„No pain No gain”. This famous phrase was really popular in the gyms but now it is a common phrase on all training fields. It doesn’t matter if we talk about soccer or tennis coaches love to repeat this mantra. Using these words have one goal to achieve: to motivate athletes to give 100% every time they train. The question is: Is it always good to push own boundaries?
The best athletes in the world always do more than their rivals. Rafael Nadal is the best example. He can run on the court and keep the ball in play for hours without mistakes. Is he so gifted to do so? I don’t think so. Of course we can’t say that Nadal is not talented but his success is based on really hard work. Uncle Toni always pushed Rafa to give more and work harder but at the same time he didn’t focus just on physical and tennis-specific aspects. For Rafa’s mentor it was crucial to develop right character and personality to be sure that current world number one can be successful both on and off the court.
Tennis career puts a lot of stress on body and mind of any athlete. Daily schedule is full of on and off court activities that players have to participate in to continually improve own performance. Comparing athletes nowadays and 10 years ago we can see that things like practice’s intensity and volume, physical preparation, mental preparation and recovery techniques dramatically changed. It simply means that there are different demands and players have to use different approaches than guys 10 years ago.
Working really hard is important. Without gruelling work it is impossible to achieve great results and play up to own potential. Unfortunately there is never too good to be extreme with anything. Lack of effort leads to stagnation. Too much effort for a long time can lead to being overtrained, lose motivation and get injured more often. It is always better to prevent so players have to be aware of symptoms that can be related to heavy tiredness. Once having this awareness players can use specific methods to recover and come back to the best performance.
Do you think you can be too tired? Aren’t you happy with your performance? Do you have these symptoms?
- Lack of motivation
- Tiredness even after easy practice sessions
- Negative thinking
- More pain and injuries
- More errors
- Lack of hunger
If you see that you don’t function normally it can be a yellow warning light. You have to remember that many factors put stress on your body and mind. You don’t have to spend 6 hours on the court to feel really tired. Things like school exams, stressful situations at home or improper eating habits can be more dangerous than running intervals for 20 minutes. When you think that you can be in danger of being too tired you have to put conscious „work” to recover. Have more rest, do some fun activities, monitor your food and fluids, have some solid sleep and find motivation to perform your daily schedule. After few days you will see the difference and your energy will be back. The worst scenario that can happen is when you you try to work even harder when you are tired. Remember that even top athletes have times in year when they have to rest and spend less time on the court. Learn from the best, listen to your body and make smart decisions based on quality of your work!
Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach and founder of instructional website http://tennisisland.us. Marcin has been working with USTA, top 60 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.