How nutrition affects our mental readiness in tennis


We all know that proper nutrition and hydration are vital for our physical health, but we rarely talk about how diet affects are mental performance. Tennis coach Marcin Bieniek discusses the importance of good eating and drinking habits in having a winning state of mind.

Many years ago, players and coaches didn’t pay attention to what was served on the table and the amount of fluid they replenished every day. Today, aspects of proper nutrition and hydration are as important as technical and tactical skills, so all players who want to achieve a high level of performance should take into consideration their dietary habits.

It is not surprising that nutrition has a big impact on physical performance, but let’s not forget that what we eat and drink also affects the psyche of players. To be able to perform at their highest level, players have to be mentally ready for that difficult task. Of course, learned skills and techniques are necessary to do so, but they aren’t enough if a player is hungry or not properly hydrated. Knowing how lack of micro and macronutrients, as well as lack of fluids deteriorates mental performance can help players be more conscious about their choice of foods and drinks.

Sports nutrition basics

Carbs should take up most of your daily calories, as they provide necessary energy for high-intensity practice sessions. Moderate amount of proteins and fats are crucial for maintaining proper muscle mass and also to improve body functioning. The right amount of water is also a priority for all players who want to have more than one good practice session in a row.

Risks you take when you don’t control your eating and drinking habits

Emotional roller-coaster

Hunger is an enemy of all serious tennis players. It is much more difficult for hungry athletes to control their emotions and deal with negative performance. A simple factor as proper nutrition can do miracles for mental well-being, so all athletes should remember to take care of their eating habits in order to be able to play well when it really counts.

Lack of quality focus

Proper hydration is responsible for optimal functioning of the body and mind. We all know that extreme dehydration can lead to death, but minimal dehydration is also really dangerous for tennis players. When players don’t provide necessary amount of fluid to their body, brain can’t work properly. All mental functions are slower and less efficient. It is really evident among dehydrated players that they are not able to focus on the right things for an extended period of time, while it is crucial for maintaining a high level of play for more than one game.

Poor motivation

When we have energy, we can do everything we want. We have this inner fire to push our body and mind to the limits and get outside of our comfort zone. Completely different scenario happens when players have no energy as a result of not eating and drinking well. Players with lack of energy have really poor motivation to work hard. They do something because they have to – not because they want to. That’s not the recipe for success, so to avoid this situation players have to control what and when they eat and drink.

Proper nutrition is not related to famous diets that celebrities are promoting, it is your daily choice about products that have the best effects on your body and mind. When you think about proper nutrition and hydration, your goal is to live a healthy life and be able to perform your best while being on the court or while competing in a tournament. Overall your goal is never-ending, because it is related to your whole life.

Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach, currently working with a Top 60 ITF player, and founder of instructional website Marcin is the author of Enjoy Tennis Blog and a frequent contributor to TennisPro and TenisKlub magazines. Moreover, Marcin was a speaker at International Coaching Tennis Symposium 2016 at Hilton Head Island, USA. 



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