How to deal with rain-delays:
Due to the unpredictable weather conditions during this year’s Wimbledon, rain delays have potentially affected the outcomes of a number of matches. For coaches and players there is always the issue of what to do during the delay – take a shower? Head to the gym? Cool down or keep warm? Of course there is no one correct answer, each depends on the player, the state of the match and the length of the delay. As there are too many variables to take into account for this article, there are a few things that a player and coach should and shouldn’t do.
Collect Information. Speak to the umpires or supervisors and request as much information as possible, so you can decide whether your first option is to shower, change, or jump on a stationary bike and keep warm. Officials will always give an aggressive estimate (i.e. the shortest time possible), so bear that in mind. Each surface will have their own nuances with regards to preparations – squeegee a hard court, uncover the grass courts. These processes will at least give you a minimum time to work with.
Don’t get upset. Be prepared for the fact that the rain might affect your match. By accepting this, it becomes a non-issue mentally. Regardless of whether you are up, down, you had just been broken or had just broken the rain delay has happened on both sides of the net. And there is nothing you can do about it. Acceptance is the key.
Less is more with tactical discussions. For a coach who has been watching the match unfold, it is difficult not to get over-excited at the prospect of feeding the player with information on how to beat their opponent during the delay. Chances are the information will just confuse the player. The astute coach will give no more than three points that the player can concentrate on. Two points is better, one is the best. Any information should be related to what the player has already been working on, nothing new.
Don’t rush. While the idea of taking a shower and freshening up might sound appealing, make sure that you have plenty of time. Few players like the feeling of being rushed as they take the court. Whatever you plan to do during the delay, ensure that the time to complete the task is significantly less than the time allocated to the delay. Stay positive and remember to control what you can control.
Grant Jenkins is the Physical Performance Coach at the National Academy Queensland in Australia. He is currently travelling with and advising Jarmila Gajdosova. Follow him on twitter @Grant_Jenkins or email firstname.lastname@example.org.