Practice and playing matches are two different worlds.
In practice, you try out new things and making mistakes doesn't matter, while in matches you don't want to make mistakes and there is much more pressure.
Many players go to a tournament and play their match, without preparing themselves good enough for the match.
I've listed 10 important steps which gives you a good preparation for the match.
1. Always practice the day before your match
Practicing the day before your match gives you more rhythm, more focus and above all more self-confidence. This practice must be match-orientated.
If you can't train with your coach the day before, try hitting some balls with another player.
2. Sleep enough hours the night before your match
You have the greatest chance of a good result, when you are not tired and when you have enough energy to go into the battle.
3. Check the time of your match
Count back from the time of your match.
-At what time do I have to do my warm up on court (if possible)?
-At what time do I have to do my warm up outside the court?
-At what time do I have to report myself at the tournament desk?
-At what time do I have to leave for the tournament?
-At what time do I have to eat?
-At what time do I have to take a shower?
-At what time do I have to wake up?
-At what time do I have to go to bed the evening before?
4. Check your tennis bag
Do you have everything in your bag that you need?
Take with you also stuff for a possible second match.
5. Check your warm up
Focus on your warm up before the match, to be well prepared.
Of course also the cooling down after the match is important.
6. Check if you are mentally ready
Don't let you disturb right before the match.
Try to isolate yourself from other people, or use your ear phones to get into the right mood. You can also use visualization.
7. Check your opponent
-Is your opponent right-handed or left-handed?
Some players are don't aware of this, even when the match has ended.
-What is your opponents ranking?
Ranking doesn't tell you everything, but then you know approximately the level of your
-What are the opponent's weaknesses and strengths?
-What is your opponent's game style? Is your opponent more offensive or more defensive?
-When you don't know your opponent, ask other players, or try to discover the game style
during the first games.
8. Check your own game plan
What is your own game style, and what is the best way to compete against the game style of the opponent?
9. Check the surface of the tournament
-On different surfaces, balls have a different bounce.
-Also, on some surfaces you can slide, on other surfaces that's more difficult.
-On slow surfaces you must have more patience, because the rallies are longer.
On fast surfaces, the rallies will be shorter.
10. Check the weather conditions
-What is the direction of the wind?
-Which side of the court is difficult because of the sun?
-Is the court slippery because of the rain?
Try to use this checklist before your match and let me know whether it works for you.