Fueling Tennis Players

Fueling Tennis Players

Tennis players practice for hours at a time. Most of the competitive season starts in the early spring and goes through the summer. However, competitive tennis can be played almost year- round on indoor courts or by traveling to the southern hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed. Tennis players burn 5 to 11 calories per minute playing singles and 3 1⁄2 to 7 1⁄2 calories per minute playing doubles. Calorie needs depend on age, gender, and hours spent training and conditioning and practicing on the court. Some teenaged and young adult tennis players may need 5,000 to 7,000 calories per day.

Fueling Tennis Players

Tennis is a high-intensity sport that requires short bursts of activity. Most points in tennis last fewer than 10 seconds, but there are only 25 seconds of rest between points and 90 seconds between games, so a strong endurance base is needed for competitive tennis. Analyses of tennis matches show that the sport requires about 300 to 500 bursts of energy over the course of a match. Quickness and agility are the hallmarks of a good tennis player.

The longest tennis match on record lasted 11 hours over 3 days. While that is unusual, men’s matches can last 3 to 4 hours over 5 sets. Fueling strategies for tennis players should focus on making sure carbohydrates are available to fuel training and competition, having courtside snacks and fluids to sustain players through long matches, and staying well hydrated, especially when playing in hot, humid environments.

The Unites States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national governing body for tennis players in the United States (www.usta.com). Resources on nutrition for tennis players are found in the Sports Nutrition section under Sports Science on the USTA website.

Fueling Strategies

Tennis players practice for hours at a time. Most of the competitive season starts in the early spring and goes through the summer. However, competitive tennis can be played almost year- round on indoor courts or by traveling to the southern hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed. Tennis players burn 5 to 11 calories per minute playing singles and 3 1⁄2 to 7 1⁄2 calories per minute playing doubles. Calorie needs depend on age, gender, and hours spent training and conditioning and practicing on the court. Some teenaged and young adult tennis players may need 5,000 to 7,000 calories per day.

The nutrients that provide energy (calories) are carbohydrate, protein, and fat. The amounts of each nutrient you need to fuel your practice and competition are best provided to each individual athlete by a Sports Dietitian. Contact H2O Nutrition to set up a Nutrition Assessment.

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