by Harry Cicma
, 8 July 2009
Special from NBC.com
The summer offseason is upon us. Maybe you played #7 on your college team last year... or you just missed qualifying for the Regionals by one spot?
How can you make the most of your summer tennis regimen in order to jump into the line up or achieve that national ranking? The following are a few key elements for success...
Don't consider it to be an off season
When I was at Rutgers, I remember that most of my teammates would "put their racquets away" for the summer. Whether it be for an internship, summer classes, or simply due to being burned out, a number of college players consider summer vacation to really mean... vacation.
Don't buy into that. Set up a summer tournament schedule - whether it's the ITA summer circuit, the USTA Futures tour or USTA men's opens. Try to compete in at least 5 tournaments throughout the three month summer. Stay sharp, keep the competitive juices flowing, and maintain tournament toughness.
Some of my best memories were raking up wins over "better" college tennis players in August USTA men's opens after I had been training all summer and they had their racquets in storage.
Maintain a solid workout schedule
While it is healthy to give your mind and body adequate rest after a long NCAA season, after taking approximately 2-3 weeks off, you should be ready to get back to the grind.
Maintaining a strong gym weightlifting and running schedule will make your game jump leaps and bounds by the fall. I don't recommend going crazy by running ten miles a day or lifting seven days a week in the summer. But a solid 2-3 days of running and lifting should perfectly complement your tournament and on-court training schedule this summer.
My secret weapon during the summers was hitting "cross court drills" every day on the court. I'd sit there for hours, hitting cross-court and down-the-line forehands, backhands, and serves. That made all the difference.