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Roundtable: How To Spend Your Summer (Part 1)
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Unlike many college sports, which feature dedicated off-seasons during the year, tennis has very few built-in breaks. As such, it can be tempting for collegiate players to either undertrain or overtrain when away from their coaches and teammates during the summer - both of which can set a student-athlete up for failure when the fall tournament season rolls around.

So how should players approach their time away from school? We posed the following question to our panel of coaches:

 

Q) How do you like to see your current players spend their summers? What is the best way to balance being prepared vs. being fresh and eager for the college season?

Mark Booras, head coach, Tulane Men

Traditionally, tennis has been a year-round sport, so time off is at a premium. We know that it is important to rest and recover after the grueling fall and spring semesters, but we also know that too much time off will slow a player's progress upon his return - other players who may have taken less time off will be steps ahead.

So, we work with our guys at the end of each season to find the right balance of time off, training and playing tournaments, so they'll be fresh and ready to sprint again when they come back in the fall.

It's good to play a handful of tournaments each summer in order to stay in the competitive mode and continue gaining valuable experience. If they need to take some extra time off of tennis for whatever reason (tennis-specific injury, burnout, etc.), it's good to stay physical with off-court activities like running, cross-training and weightlifting.

Each of our players gets a training manual from our strength coach for the summer that they use for weightlifting and fitness in addition to their summer tournament schedule. If they stick to that manual, they will be able to get stronger and keep their bodies in tune, so they're not overwhelmed physically or stuck nursing injuries in the training room because they came back to school out of shape.

 

Bob Hansen, head coach, Middlebury Men

I would like to see our players doing as much work as possible during the summer, after the glow from NCAA's dies down. As Division lll athletes at a highly academic institution, most of my players are doing some type of summer internship work. Because of that, I have less concern about them being fresh and eager than I do about them moving their games and preparation forward.

Each student-athlete will have a totally unique set of projects, since their access to tournaments and other training resources will be highly variable. Many of my players will be in New York City, where both courts and training opportunities are limited. That said, they are all very creative with using time before and after work to continue their physical training, supplement with additional tournaments and/or work with coaches on their own.

Ideally, there will be a great deal of communication between team members during the summer, and they will help motivate each other. I hope their desire to improve and contribute will drive them to do whatever projects necessary to propel them in the right direction. The real challenge is having players inspired to do the work on their own without the support and structure of the in-season program.

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