Nutrition and Hydration Tips for Tennis

Tennis great Bjorn Borg once characterized a tennis match as "a thousand little sprints." In order to succeed in tennis, players need to sustain the quick anaerobic movements required by the sport for matches that can last several hours.

The competitive tennis season also is held during the warmer months where a high heat index and hot court surfaces are common environments. These conditions make tennis players targets for dehydration and heat illness.

The tennis training diet should be focused on high-energy foods and adequate hydration, timed appropriately before and after multiple competitions. The following guidelines help develop successful nutrition and hydration practices for players.

Pre-Match Eating and Hydration Guidelines

Tennis players need to pay special attention to their pre-match meals and beverage choices, as these foods and fluids may need to last for hours during tournament and multiple match play.

Teach players to select pre-match meals and snacks that are:

? Familiar to them and known to settle hunger

? High in carbohydrates to supply energy for muscle reserves, moderate in protein and low in fat

? Quickly digested (not too high in fiber or fat)

Examples of pre-match meals and snacks rich in carbohydrates are pasta, bread, fresh fruit, granola bars, energy bars and sports drinks.

Meal Guidelines:

LUNCH (3-4 hours prior to competition)
Turkey or grilled chicken sandwich with mustard
Saltine crackers
1 cup of skim milk
8 oz. serving of Powerade

PRE-GAME SNACK (1-2 hours prior to competition)
Fruit yogurt or banana
1 cup of water
1 Gatorade energy bar
20 oz. Powerade thirst quencher

Hydration tips before players hit the court:

? Limit/avoid caffeinated beverages (iced teas, coffee, colas) especially right before and after match play. These may cause additional fluid loss as urine.

? The night before, fill and chill squeeze bottles or sports jugs and bring to each practice or match. Each player should have a minimum of 2 liters available courtside.

? Consume enough fluids throughout the day so urine is a light or pale yellow color before starting a match.

? Drink 17 to 20 oz. of fluid within 2 hours pre-match.