What to Do After a Match?

“George, I know you have long been a devotee of stretching, regardless of whether or not you have a game that day. You might consider a column on what is the best regiment for after playing: Ice, hot tub, more stretching, beer?” Rick Crootof.

Rick, Great Question …

There are many things to consider doing after a tough tennis match.  Here are some of the options to think about…

  • Hydration – If you have just played a tough match in hot, humid weather, you should surely continue adding fluid AND electrolytes to your system.  Too many times on the drive home, my legs and feet have started cramping up.

  • Icing – If you have an injury – or are recovering from one – most medical savvy people will recommend putting ice on the area as soon as you get off the court.

  • Stretching – Our professional trainer from Newk’s camp, recommends stretching both before and after playing.  While I agree with the concept, I confess to only stretching every day before playing

  • Massage/WhirlPool – One of the things I try to do after every match is jump in the whirlpool attached to my Florida pool.  This is not for heat (normally set to a body-comfortable 90 degrees); but for the massage affect.  Fortunately, the main jet coming in is powerful and high enough that I can focus it on my neck, shoulders, elbows and lower back for an effective after-match massage.

  • Foods – According to HealthLine.com, “consuming the right nutrients after you exercise is just as important as what you eat before. Eating protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also gives you the building blocks required to build new muscle tissue. And your body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish them.”  (I say) Rewarding yourself with a beer is also a good thing!

What do YOU do after a grueling tennis workout?

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7 thoughts on “What to Do After a Match?

  1. George, I think all of your recommended post-match are valid and should be followed. As you mentioned, I am a big believer in post match stretching. This is not only based on personal experience but importantly on research that has been completed. Interestingly, activity doesn’t make us “looser” or more flexible. Muscles contract but lengthen when we are active. Therefore, some stretching does help to retain necessary ROM and flexibility. Actually, the best time is 1-2 hours post match, when our muscle are still somewhat warm but are starting to stiffen-up. Any type of massage, either whirlpool or foam rolling, are also helpful. Another device that is effective and popular are percussion devices that use vibrating to increase circulation and rid the muscle of impurities that cause soreness and stiffness. Having said all that, I realize that it takes time and socially is not the easiest thing to do. But anything will help in long term health. Good topic.

    Larry, at your recommendation, i have purchased a hand held massager. thanks. george

  2. Great recommendations, but I have to confess that the first two things I do when I walk in the house after tennis are: say “Hi, honey” to my wife, Maggie, and see if I get a reaction (50/50!); and then drink an ice cold Coca -Cola (the drink that built my home town, Atlanta!).

    Scoot, the sugared or non-sugared version? george

  3. Well, after a match I -USED- to hang out with the guys, have a beer or two, and discuss the topic of the day. Now I pretty much just head home and jump in the shower.

    Terry, i agree … much of the positive socialization is missing now! thanks, george

  4. George, I thought about buying a hand held massager like you did, but then my wife talked me out of it.

    She told me all I need is a beautiful 112 pound 5’2″ female to help with my post match massaging, and I said “you talked me into it.”

    Drum roll, rim shot!

    Can you tell we are having fun in Vermont all alone with just the dogs?


    Marty, your shortest and best comment yet! tks, george

  5. George, I’m a firm believer in stretching before I play. After two rotator cuff surgeries, I’ve learned the hard way. You really need to combine strength training also on certain days. I play entirely on hard courts here in southern Arizona, which are hard on knees and hips. So, I try to work different muscle groups on different days. Lower body strength and upper body strength to balance the routine. Before I play a match or do drills,
    I stretch for 20 minutes. My flexibility is minimal these days, so I use a routine that works for me. I hate to admit, I’m not disciplined at warming down. I do walk home after I finish playing, which counts in some way. Icing after playing is another key to avoiding injuries. If I felt like I tweaked or a twinge somewhere, I won’t hesitate to use ice in that area of my body. Never ignore pain. People don’t realize it takes such little effort to maintain muscular strength, aerobic fitness, and flexibility. It’s much harder to get in shape or return to conditioning after an injury or surgery. If you enjoy playing and teaching tennis, as I do, it’s part of life’s routine.

    Glenn, i am with you … making the time investment to PREVENT injury is much smarter than spending the time to REHAB an injury! thanks, george

  6. Hi George. — Remember several years back for 2 years at Newts Ranch, a guy had at least 4 Juvent medical devices plugged in at the medical enclosure. I did take my turn standing on one as often as possible. Did like it enough to buy one at his special price. It was still darn expensive. We have it in our bedroom and it still works fine and we use it a lot. Besides all the claims they make, I find it helps you sleep if you do 10 minutes before climbing in bed. To keep from being bored, I do various stretches and work on solving current problems or ideas.

    Larry Starr probably can get the best deal on one. For me. I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth. Juventsports.com

    Dick, the Beach Boys patented the original “Good Vibrations” … but enjoy yours at home! thanks, george

  7. All good comments and list of things to do after. My problem is I do the last one first……………..and forget to do the others.

    Howie, Cheers, Mate! george

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