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Old 06-29-2012, 04:42 AM   #64
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,280

Having set this thread off, and having now completed my training, an update. First of all it was very hot weather by my standards. It was 85F in the shade. That is 20 to 25 degrees hotter than it has been at home. In reality the comparison is meaningless because the conditions were so very different from anything I am used to. For the most part it was very sunny. On one day it rained although the temperature didn't drop much if it dropped at all. Most of the time there was no breeze.

The courts we played on were set in a bowl of land which intensified the heat. To start with we played from 10 until 12 in the morning and then from 2 until 4 in the afternoon. The latter was very demanding and later in my stay I changed the time of my sessions to earlier and later in the day. There were two types of court - clay and green hard courts. The clay were less demanding because they seemed to reflect the heat less.

There were three challenges - the heat, the intense sunlight, and, when it rained, humidity. The challenges were mental and physical.

I drank a lot of water. Getting on for 1.5 litres each hour of play by the end of the week. I ate a carbohydrate bar 40 minutes or so before each session. I used SIS isotonic energy gels during play. I ate a lot of bananas after I played and ate a lot of pasta at mealtimes (I know that the are differences of opinion about whether this is a good idea. But I found it was really all I wanted to eat.) I had an espresso before most sessions and really noticed it when I didn't.

So how did it go? As you will have guessed from my preoccupation with the temperature I found the heat very demanding. That said, when it rained and became very hot and humid I found it much easier. This leads me to think that it is the effect of the direct and very intense sun that is the biggest challenge (I wore a hat and shades). My fellow players, many of whom came from much hotter climes even than those we played in, found the humidity more debilitating than the heat. Not me.

Initially I didn't drink enough water during the sesssions but I realised that early on. The caffeine in a pre-training espresso really helped with the mental challenge of having to persuade myself to play hard in the sun. I should have taken more gels. They are a physical and mental stimulus on court. I don't know whether the carbohydrate bars made much of a difference. After each session I ate a banana and drank more water as well as having a pasta based meal.

Overall I coped well enough. I kept moving on court and didn't stiffen up too much between sessions (although the first night I had amazing cramp when I stretched). As some of you suggested I think I may have overlooked what else I could have taken, away from the court, to manage the demands. The are probably supplements I could have taken at mealtimes that might have helped further. But having said that it is the intense sunlight that was the biggest challenge I am not sure that there is anything that can be done about that. I also found the heat of a hard court coming up through my shoes had quite an effect on my ankles and knees. And my feet really swelled up.

Anyway it was a very enjoyable and productive stay. My tennis had a good test and I learned to really enjoy clay court tennis again. Thanks for all your advice.


Last edited by crosscourt; 06-29-2012 at 09:36 AM.
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