Recovery Between Points
What to do between points?
A tennis point may last 2 seconds to up to a minute of high intensity tennis sparring. At the end of each of these points a player is entitled 25 seconds.
Here in an excerpt from the ATP rule book:
i) 25 Seconds Between Points.
1. Start stopwatch when the player is ordered to play or when the ball goes out of play;
2. Assess Time Violation or Code Violation if the ball is not struck for the next point within the twenty-five (25) seconds allowed. There is no time warning prior to the expiration of the twenty-five (25) seconds.
I believe it is a little understood fact amongst tennis players that you have 25 seconds between points. The question that I’m asking is that if you’re allowed 25 seconds, why wouldn’t you use it?
I am going to make some comparisons to other sports and exercises such as lifting weights. This is from www.bodybuilding.com website:
“Taking longer rest periods is more for strength than anything. It’s pretty simple. The longer you rest, the more your muscles can recover from the previous set. However, you do run the risk of losing the much sought after pump and the rush of endorphins which gives you a natural high”
So perhaps we could suggest that winning a tennis point (particularly a great point) could give you some type of rush of endorphins and that this may be the time to speed up the recovery time and rely on simply feeling good. My junior coach used to say to me, “If you win, win fast and if you lose, lose very slowly”.
Verdict – unless you have won an amazing point and created a momentum shift, you are better to give your muscles more time to recover.
However, what golfers do spend a lot of time on is getting their routine right before they play for their ‘1 second’, golfers use the following skills which we as tennis players are meant to be doing also. The best golfers use the power of controlled breathing, visualisation, awareness and above all preparation for their stroke.
Verdict – if they spend that long for 1 stroke, perhaps tennis should spend the 25 seconds on what could be 20 strokes in a row.
The best tennis players also take their time in between points. Think of Novak’s 13 bounces, Rafa’s intense inner thought gathering at the back of the court and Lleyton adjusting his cap, back of shirt etc to allow him to enter his ‘peak state’. Rafa has been warned for spending too long and perhaps overstepping the mark at times but he and others are enough proof that rushing between points is depleting you of oxygen, concentration, relaxation, muscle recovery and tactical analysis.
Some basic ideas to help you between points
- Control your breathing. Inhale through your nose; exhale through your mouth, especially after a strenuous point. Take 3 second breaths.
- Determine strategy
- Walk with a confident posture. Walk like a winner.
- Dance up on your toes to return the serve, take your time setting up to serve. Routines.
- Develop an immediate focus after the point and before the next. For example, bounce the ball, fix your shirt, check your strings or do a long breath straight away.