Dinith Pathiraja On Court: Activities for tennis players during lockdown
Use them effectively as lockdowns can be a boon, rather than a bane
Tennis players, just as the general public, are suffering through the ongoing pandemic-related lockdowns. Essential as it is for health reasons, it is yet another enforced absence, just as most of the players were starting to get into the grove on court following the last lockdown.
This means that the players who were forced to forego their on-court activities for a considerable period of time last year have had to do so again. Whilst this might not be the most satisfactory of outcomes, there are still quite a number of activities that the players can take part in during their time at home. In fact, if used wisely and smartly, the players can come out of this lockdown more prepared than ever before.
THE most important thing that the players should try to do during these times is stay fit. It would be very easy for the players to lose sight of the fact that they will be back on court after this lockdown ends. And when they do get back on court, they will have to start all over again if they are unfit. A huge setback!
Whilst it is understood that the players might not be able to do the same exercises that they would probably do on court, they should be able to find exercises that they can do even at home. YouTube has become a very good tool in this regard. It would be very easy for the players to look up to it and decide on a new exercise regimen.
Read up history
One aspect which is very sadly lacking in the modern generation of players is knowledge and appreciation of the history of the sport. This enforced-lockdown would be a perfect time for them to improve their knowledge on tennis’ history. They can do this either through reading of books or watching videos on the history of tennis.
This would help players when they get on court as well. An appreciation of the history as well as how the successful players of the past have handled situations would help players immensely. Therefore, this activity is not purely a theoretical exercise but one with a very practical value as well.
Another important aspect that players can indulge in is improving their knowledge of the game itself. The more the knowledge that the players would have on the game, the more it will become helpful for them in handling certain situations during games on court. In fact, theoretical knowledge of the game will also be very useful.
In “normal” situations, it might not be possible to spend time on those activities. But, in this situation, they have enough time to read, watch, and learn the above things.
This is also an extremely important activity that the players can involve in during this period of time. The tactical knowledge of the Sri Lankan players is very minimal. In these times, if the players can use their time to improve their tactical knowledge of the game, it would become handy. In fact, most of the international players have remarked that during their last lockdown, most of them spent time learning tactics.
This can be done using tools available at players’ fingertips. The players should specially focus on learning the tactics to play against different types of opponents. This would certainly enhance their ability to make good “snap judgments” on court. It would in turn help them get better results when they finally get back on court.
Understand strengths and weaknesses
An extremely useful activity that the players can do is to assess their own strengths and weaknesses away from the pressures of having to play tennis and take part in competitions. This kind of time was not available for them to make such assessments earlier.
Therefore, they need to make the maximum of this time to assess their own game and to come up with strategies as to how they can rectify their weaknesses and fortify their strengths. If the players and their coaches indulge in this activity during the lockdowns, these will be times well spent.
These are abnormal times enforced on the mankind due to reasons beyond his control. In such situation, it is very easy to get frustrated, and, even for that matter, being angry and while away the time without making any use of it. But, if the players understand that this is an opportunity which they are unlikely to get at any other time and so become determined that they will make use of it productively, it will stand them in very good stead.
Then they might look back at these bizarre times in future with some “fond memories”. At present, such a prediction might look odd. Yet we should understand that the times that we are going through at present is something that is very hard to comprehend too, anyway.