March 18, 2011

Tournament Morning

This morning I'm playing in the Cary Cup. Though I'm "only" playing in hardbat (the rest of the way "just" coaching), I still have to prepare. What does that mean?

  1. Get up early. I don't want to feel rushed.
  2. Some easy jogging and stretching. I don't want to feel stiff.
  3. A good breakfast of waffles. Because I want waffles.
  4. Get to the playing site early. I don't want to feel rushed.
  5. Some more easy jogging and stretching. Yada yada yada on the stiffness thing.
  6. Check out draws. Duh.
  7. Find someone to warm up with. I usually arrange someone to meet with the day before, but didn't have anyone this time. Hopefully I'll find someone.
  8. For hardbat, I want to warm up the forehand, backhand, backhand chop, and serve. For sponge, the forehand, backhand, forehand loop, backhand loop against underspin, push, and serve. In both cases, play out points at the end.
  9. Stop warmup about ten minutes before match time so I can rest.
  10. Wait for match time, and then play.

Maybe this is a good time to mention my pre-match ritual, done after the two-minute warmup with my opponent, and after hiding the ball (or flipping coin) to see who serves. Everyone should have one; here's mine.

I take a few steps back from the table, toward the left so I can approach the table from the backhand side, i.e. in forehand position. I do a deep knee bend to loosen up the knees. (Careful, don't want to hurt the knees!) I stand up and do a quick foot shuffle to wake up the legs. I tell my opponent good luck. Since I always give away the serve at the start of the match (maybe I'll write about this next week), it's almost always my opponent's serve, so I hold up my left arm and approach the table, and go into my ready position. Then I lower my arm to signal that I'm ready, and we're off! (If it's my serve, it just means I don't have to hold up my left hand, and instead go to my serving ready stance.)