April 10, 2023 - Top Ten Things For the Day Before the Tournament

How can you best prepare for a tournament on the day before? Here are some ten tips.

  1. Practice. Younger and athletic players recover faster and so should train more the day before. Older or less athletic players should practice if possible, both to get used to the tournament conditions and to fine-tune the parts of their game that need fine-tuning. But don't overdo it - you don't want to show up to the tournament with tired or sore muscles. Do at least one footwork drill to get your feet going.
  2. Tune-up Your Shots. Regardless of how much you practice just before a tournament, the point is to tune up your shots, not to change your technique or learn new ones. If you want to do that, then you probably shouldn't be playing in tournaments until you've changed or learned those techniques. (The exception is if it's something, like a serve, that you are working on but don't need to use in the tournament.)
  3. Strokes. You don't need to practice them all, just the ones you want to work! (Yes, that includes pushing.)
  4. Serves. Always practice your serves before a tournament. Make sure you can keep your serves low, accurate, with lots of spin and/or deception. (That includes no-spin that looks like spin.) Probably most important just before a tournament is to practice your fast, deep serves, the ones that are so easy to miss under pressure - and so players either don't use them or serve them slower and weaker. If you practice them the day before, you'll be able to use them with greater confidence and consistency in the tournament.
  5. Receive. If there's a specific serve that gives you trouble that you think you might face in the tournament, now's a good time to ask someone to serve it to you.
  6. Practice Games. Along with practicing your serves and tuning up your strokes, this is the most important thing to prepare for a tournament. You don't want to play your first tournament match where you haven't played any for a time. If you have the energy, play lots of practice matches just before a tournament.
  7. Food and Drinks. Plan your food out in advance. Bring drinks unless you know they will have water or sports drinks.
  8. Practice Partner. If possible, arrange a practice partner for both the day before (for warming up before playing practice matches) and at the tournament before your first matches.
  9. Check equipment. Racket, shoes, playing clothes - make sure it's all ready! Make sure to clean your racket surface.
  10. Sleep. Get plenty!!!