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How to prepare for a tournament Part Three

So we’ve prepared our fuelling, we’ve tested the products to make sure it suits our gut and we’ve packed clothing, shoes, and personal accessories: what’s next?  Two things: miscellaneous items and how to prepare on the day. Miscellaneous stuff is all the things that don’t fit nicely under food, drink, clothing, shoes or personal care. 

My first tip is a battery pack and cable for your phone, as well as possibly a mains charger. Tournament days are long, there is time to kill, photos to take (hopefully on a podium): you don’t want a dead phone when you need a photo, a diversion to handle nerves, to ring a loved one with the great news on your medal or need a shoulder to commiserate on. You may even need it as a sat nav to get you back to the hotel or back home. They don’t need to cost a lot but can be a real lifesaver. If you’re the person with the “juice”, it’s always another way to make new pickleball friends. You may also need to take note of schedule or court changes online so keep that phone charged. 

Consider getting an AirTag/Tile or similar mini tracking device: at an event with up to 1000 people, it is easily to misplace your bag or confuse with someone else’s. There’s only so many different kinds of pickleball paddle bag. If you have your phone handy, you can use that to track where your bag is. A luggage tag can also help in this search for “your bag” by identifying it as yours or if you get separated.

It’s also worth having a Sharpie or pen in your bag: who knows if you want to get a pro’s autograph, write inspirational phrases on your wrist band or take down some info for a change of schedule. You could also consider a notepad or use your phone to take notes: think of the photos of tennis players reading notes to themselves during a match to inspire themselves or revisit a game plan. It needs to take up minimal space and weight but gives you the option to do it. Inspiration happens anywhere: these blogs occurred to me on a drive to a different David Lloyd Club to visit their spa after a full coaching day.

If you’ve got more ideas of stuff that fits in the “other stuff” category, let me know.

The final thing to be tournament ready is how to get physically and mentally ready to compete each and every time.  The key is to have a common, repeatable process to follow to prepare the body and mind. Turning first to the body, you can consider some tools to carry that take up minimal space but have maximum impact. A skipping rope is a great option: it gets your feet moving, you have to focus on a moving object and timing jumps. That’s split step timing all over, as well as getting your legs moving and your heart pumping. 

Resistance bands are also a great tool to limber up: you can use them to warm up limbs very easily and are a great rehab tool. You can tie around your knees and practice crab walking, loosen up a rotator cuff, rehab a tennis elbow. A quick Internet search will show the variety of uses and they weigh next to nothing and take up a similar amount of space. You can even tie to a railing, door handle, etc, to use as an anchor point if it’s fixed to something. 

I’d also consider a percussive massage gun (brands like Therabody, HyperIce, etc): these are exceptional at loosening muscles across almost the entire body inside ten minutes for the whole body. Vibrating guns aren’t as good as percussive ones and they don’t have to be expensive: I picked up a fantastic small percussive gun for £32 on Amazon. Even better, it is also a battery pack so covers my battery pack too! 

Foam rollers are a bit large to carry to events and between courts but a tennis ball can do a similar job in a much more compact form and there are small ball shaped rollers or “peanuts” on the market. Therabody do a vibrating range of rollers.

So you have everything you need with you: how do you actually warm up on the day and before the matches? That’s for the last past of this series, coming in a few days. I’ve created a handy tournament bag checklist you can download. If you provide your name and email details below, I’ll give you a link to download it. I won’t constantly email you but will advise on updates on the blog, key videos I upload and details of events and clinics. 

Tournament Bag Checklist download
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