PLAYER'S TIP - Match Day !
Our consultant Richard Vaughan, top player from Wales, takes a closer look at the way he gets prepared for an important match. Some of this advice could be very useful to any of us...
"Lots of players always ask for tips and advice with regard to match preparation when travelling to a tournament both at home and abroad. They want to know when they should get there, how much they should train on the day of their match, etc. So this article sets out what my routine is in preparation for a tournament.
If I’m travelling to an event, I arrive at least a day before my first match. Having checked all my kit before departure, I unpack and then familiarize myself with the hotel, venue, travel times, practice times, the courts and the match times. Then I make sure I eat well.
Now it’s time to switch off, stretch, watch a film and maybe see a physio if there is one at hand for any niggles.
Matches can be any time of the day, so you have to be prepared to play both first thing in the morning and late in the night. If it’s an evening match there’s no rush to get up in the mornings where possible. If I’m playing at 9pm, I may get up at 10am, practise at 2pm and relax. First I have a light breakfast and wait for my practice. I always try to practice on the court I’ll be playing on even if it means practising at strange times so some times I might have to get up for a 7am practice session, but I always go back to bed for a few hours.
After practice, I stretch, shower, eat (lots of pasta and water), relax and switch off. Sometimes I might have a nap.
If it’s an early start then I always make sure I am up 3 hours before and make sure I am alert and ready to play with an extensive warm-up.
Before I leave the hotel, I always make sure I start thinking about the match, making sure I’m alert, aware, sprightly, heightened, but not tense. Mental preparation through visualisation is crucial.
At the venue, I sometimes watch the match before I’m on. Then I warm-up, stretch and do some explosive warm-ups so that I’m ready to play at full pace. I also do shadow work with the racket and practice moving all over the court.
On court in the knock-up, I try to stay comfortable, get a good length with clears, make sure I can see the shuttle well, and get my feet moving so I am not slow when the match starts. I give myself reminders by saying ‘On your toes’, ‘Take the shuttle early’, ‘Take the shuttle high’, ‘React fast’. Sometimes I try out different shots and angles to test my opponent a bit, and try a few big smashes so that everything is ready.
Then I’m ready to go!