Nutrition and Hydration Tips for Tennis


Fluid Needs During Play

Thirst is not a good indicator of hydration level. Adequate fluid consumption is a player's best bet for beating dehydration and heat illness. To keep tennis players performing at
their best, encourage fluid consumption every 15 minutes and especially at changeovers. Players should consume 5-10 oz. of fluid (sports drinks containing 17g/8oz carbohydrates and electrolytes are ideal) every 15-20 minutes for optimal hydration and performance.

Favor sports drinks to enhance rehydration. Sports drinks contain carbohydrates and electrolytes, like sodium. Consuming carbohydrates during play has been shown to help players maintain more power and accuracy with serving and groundstrokes in long-match play. Powerade contains 17 grams of carbohydrates per 8 ounces, which is quickly absorbed and used by working muscles. Sodium replacement also is important since a significant amount of sodium can be lost through sweat during long tennis matches.

Post-Match Nutrition

? Players should eat foods and drink fluids that replenish muscle energy stores and electrolytes lost in competition.

? Share these guidelines with your athletes:

? Eat carbohydrates as soon as possible, preferably within 30 minutes of a match. Begin by drinking a sports drink as you walk off the court.

? Replace 150 percent of body fluids lost or at least 20 oz. per pound of weight loss within 2 hours of a match.

? Eat a high-carbohydrate meal that also contains a lean protein source within 2 hours after play to maximize muscle glycogen recovery (rebuild energy stores) and to support protein synthesis in muscle.

? During tournament play, be sure to include carbohydrates, protein, fluid and sodium in the evening meal to quicken recovery from play. Consider lightly salting foods and consuming foods and beverages that are natural sodium sources.

? Avoid high-protein and high-fat foods as these will contribute to dehydration.

Example of post-match meal:

2-3 cups of pasta with marinara sauce (light in meat and fat content
2-3 slices of garlic bread (light on margarine)
Salad with vinaigrette or low fat dressing
2-3 cups of Powerade or low fat milk or energy drink

OR

2-3 cups of Chinese-steamed rice with vegetables and chicken stir-fry
2-3 cups of Powerade or low fat milk or energy drink

As tennis players play under intense heat and prolonged match situations, it is important to keep them well conditioned, fed and hydrated. When these guidelines are followed, players will serve up a powerful match to any opponent.

To get started playing tennis in a location near you visit the USTA's Tennis Welcome Center . Find more tennis technique information at the USTA Player Development Web site .

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