While eating my pre-work out breakfast this morning, I was looking at some of the emails that came in from our TennisMindCamp players over the weekend, and there was one that really stuck out to me.
And since I think there are a lot more of us that probably have this tennis dilemma, I decided to share my solution to this one with all of you.
The question was…
“Coach, I know I’m supposed to drink water like propel or some sort of sports drink to stay hydrated and so I don’t cramp up, but what if I don’t drink enough or I’m so focused on what’s going on in the match that I forget.
I don’t want to be forced to retire or default the match from dehydration. But I’ve already waited soooooo long. What should I do if this happens and I really start to feel sluggish?”
Well first off, let me tell you, if you haven’t been recharging your mind and your body consistently throughout the tennis match (…especially when playing tennis in extreme heat), your in-game health, focus and performance are all going to take a humongous hit. So, you should definitely be concerned.
Not to mention, you up your chances of coming down with a serious case of hyponatremia. You’re probably thinking, “What the heck is Hyponatremia?”
Well you see, the more you play, the more energy you use. And the more energy you expel, the more the level of nutrients (…particularly electrolytes) your body needs to perform at a high level, goes down.
And if you let those nutrients drop beyond a certain point, then you’re going to be in extremely dangerous territory.
That said, Hyponatremia is what you experience when you’ve passed that critical threshold. It’s a metabolic condition where there are simply not enough electrolytes like sodium (salt), chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium in the body fluids outside the cells.
How do you know if you’re suffering from this unfortunate condition?
Well, God forbid you ever feel its effects… But if you’re unlucky enough to come down with this condition while playing, you should know how to recognize it.
These are some of the symptoms: nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, lethargy, fatigue, appetite loss, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms, cramps, and even seizures.
That bad?!? Oh yeah, I’m NOT playin’ around folks. It’s going to feel like you’ve just been hit with a ton of bricks, then blasted by a screaming Andy Roddick forehand immediately afterward.
Now don’t go crazy on me, you CAN reverse the effects and get yourself back in the tennis match (…even if you’ve already started to feel a decline), but you don’t have a lot of time. You need to act fast!
So, what do you do, get the biggest container of liquid you can find and chug it down in one HUGE gulp ASAP? No, just suddenly grabbing and gulping down an entire bottle of Gatorade as fast as you can isn’t going to fix the problem. In fact, it just makes things worse.
(1) It’s going to take too long for your body to respond to it, and (2) you’re going to feel heavier and much slower because you downed so much all at once. Oh and you know what, hyponatremia can also affect athletes who consume too much fluid.
So, what’s the solution? Tell me already, right?!?
It’s Pills – Electrolyte Pills!
Electrolytes are the main ingredients that your body uses loses AND is the core substance in nutritional sports drinks that help your body recover.
And it’s the same stuff in these electrolyte pills. But these can save you by giving you a much needed boost and can bring your game back to life – and do it *QUICKLY* without weighing you down.
Now, there are two main types of electrolyte pills: Tablet and gel-capsule form. I would strongly recommend the gel capsule because the absorption rate into the body is a heck of a lot higher (…close to 90%) and much faster than the other.
Here are a few of the leading brands of electrolyte pills: Hammer Endurolytes, NUUN tablets, Elete, Ultima Replenisher, and ZYM Tablets. Feel free to try these out and see if it works for ya.
Now, by no means am I saying that electrolyte pills should take the place of a consistent hydration routine. You NEED to be drinking before the match and during every changer over. That ‘s the most surefire way to eliminate the chance of cramping up, compromising technique, and losing focus.
In my opinion, this is solely an emergency strategy or maybe something you end up using alongside the other I suggested.
This was a great question, because it makes us pay attention to the problem that a lot of us suffer from – knowing but not doing. See, it’s not enough to know that you should drink. You *HAVE * to develop a hydration routine and make it an A-list priority to do it every time out.
So, make it a habit. Do it whenever you’ve got a racket in your hand - in tennis practice sessions, exhibition matches with your friends and hitting partners, and especially in real games.
Do that, and it’ll be second nature to you when it matters most. You’ll never forget and risk sabotaging your chances at a great win because of it – again.
Have a great day and an even better game!
P.S. For more tennis tips, tennis secrets, and tennis strategies, click here.