I play tennis, both singles and doubles, three or four times a week with a group of guys, but have never entered a tournament. One of the guys in my group started competing and is trying to get me to be his partner in a tournament. I don't think of myself as a competitive person, but it does intrigue me. If I decide to take him up on his offer, what can I do to get ready? Any advice on training for tennis competition would be appreciated. - Glen
Well, you haven't convinced me you aren't competitive, considering you are willing to put time and thought into training to do well.
As a tennis lover myself, I have witnessed competitors arrive on the court in a variety of shapes, sizes and experience levels. Some have state-of-the-art rackets; others pull out war-torn antiques. Some are wizards of strategy; others haven't a clue about where to send the ball next.
Instead, they are simply willing to sacrifice their braced and bandaged bones to return one more ball than their opponent anywhere across the net. Despite disparity among these players, they all share one thing in common: They have the desire to win.
If you have this desire to win (and believe me, once you enter a tournament, you'll be convinced tournament officials spike the water with competitive juices), you'll want to do everything you can to prepare for the match.
Training for tennis, or sport-specific training, is the most efficient way to improve your game. If you were to go into the gym and do general weight training without a predetermined plan or focus, you could succeed in perhaps helping your body look and feel better; however, if you direct your focus toward the muscles that fuel the game of tennis, you'll see greater results from your sweat.
Ron Williams, tennis instructor and coach at the Charleston YMCA, is a seasoned competitor and offers this valuable advice: "For recreational tennis, which oftentimes includes competition, players need to be in shape and not rely on tennis to get them in shape."