When Sports Are Hard

Peace Chijioke

“Running is hard. Running is very hard and all that talk about a sense of euphoria during or a sense of accomplishment after is nonsense. While running, all there is, is pain. After running, all there is, is pain. Running is hard, and there is no reward mighty enough to justify any practice so cruel.”

These were my thoughts on the first day of tennis tryouts, and the second day of tennis tryouts, and also the third and fourth days of tennis tryouts. It was a difficult week for me. However, despite my personal qualms two things remain true: I love playing tennis, and playing a school sport has many benefits.

The blog Public School Review identified 10 of these benefits, some of which are improvements in time management, academics, social skills, and of course the big one, becoming a more competitive college applicant. For those like me who find these appealing and enjoy playing the sport but have trouble with the less important things like endurance, or stamina, here are some tips:

Stay Hydrated

Muscle & Fitness recommends at least 16-24 ounces of water before a workout, or about ½ of your lean body mass in ounces. Proper hydration is important to  prevent muscle cramps and muscle fatigue.

Do Dynamic Stretches

In order to reduce risk of injury, muscle strain, and improve flexibility, dynamic stretches are necessary for both before and after workouts. The stretches should target all parts of the body and span for at least a total of 5 minutes. There are many routines available online. Pen and Keyboard wrote an article for both a pre and post workout routine that effectively stretches the entire body. YouTube is also a great source for many easy to follow routines.

Wear Proper Footwear

Another way to prevent injury and maximize endurance is wearing the right footwear for your feet and sport. Rather than picking up any athletic shoe, seek advice from a coach, or a worker at a sporting goods store. It is also helpful to look online for reviews on shoes for the particular sport you want to play.