Fall tournaments gives RU physical challenge
The Rutgers tennis team knows how important it is to possess a sound mind and body.
This fall, the team will compete in only two tournaments, not including the ITA regional at Harvard, where the Intercollegiate Tennis Association must select players.
But both tournaments last all weekend, often becoming a true test of both physical and mental endurance.
“The tournaments we’re playing in are two or three matches every day for three days, so that’s a lot of hours of tennis,” said junior Noor Judeh. “By the third day, if you’re not fit, then you won’t survive, so fitness is huge.”
The emphasis on intense fitness training has started with head coach Ben Bucca and worked its way down to the players.
“At the level these girls are at, their shot-making is very advanced, so there isn’t much to work on with that but we spend a lot of time on fitness,” Bucca said. “I think that is why we have been as successful as we have been.”
The Knights have adopted yoga as a practice technique to promote good physical balance along with positive relaxation methods.
Sophomore Mariam Zein believes physical fitness is not the only key to being successful.
“The most important part of tennis is your mental game, probably more important than fitness,” Zein said. “You have to stay mentally tough on the court because when you make mistakes, no one is there to fix them for you. You’re out there by yourself so you have to deal with it and move on to the next point, and win the next point. Being mentally tough is one of the most important aspects of the game.”
As for finding extra energy in between matches, Zein only has to reach for the team’s snack box.
“Eat a lot of fruits,” Zein said. “Bananas, trail mix, cliff bars.”
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