May 2018 Training Update
After the US Open in February, I put the racquet down for a few weeks training wise as I was still giving plenty of lessons and then I went to Chicago to help Steve Virgona with the Final Eliminator. I kept up my fitness with Michael Cecchi , but most of April was tough as I had a drop in my iron levels again. I am pleased to say that i they are back up and at a a good level. This should hopefully be the last time I have this problem as I am now in touch with the GI to get my problem sorted once and for all if it flares up again.
For the last 4 weeks I have really upped my training. I have been able to have Mike train me 2 days a week, Wednesdays at 7 am and Friday afternoons, thanks to Doug Shear covering Michael's costs. I have also been going in on my own 2- 3 days a week depending on how many hours I have been on the tennis court and what my body is feeling like.
The training I do with Mike is mainly Hiit based (high-intensity interval training). This is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time and is really good for improving endurance. I have definitely noticed an improvement in my fitness levels.
My last session with Mike was probably my best ever. Mike decided to test my cardio by doing 20 metre sprints 17 times. Mike set up 2 cones 20 metres apart, when he said go I would have to spring down touch the floor next to the cone with my left hand and turn around sprint down and the the cone with my right hand. I had to do this 17 times in under 1 min 5 secs. In the past i would only do this 3 times and struggle to keep my time under 1 min 5 secs. This time, Mike wanted me to do it 5 times. under a min 5 and beat my time by 1 second each time. i wasn't confident but I went for it and I smashed it! my times were 59 seconds,58,57 56,56. I was really please with myself but there was not much time to enjoy the moment as i has still had another 40 minute hiit workout with Mike. I never stopped and completed the the hour feeling strong. It's been a long process but i started to see big improvement in my fitness and strength which is what is going to help me be the best player I can be.
I also last week had a stretching and foam rolling session with Mike's most experience trainer, Paul O'Hearn.
Paul O'hearn was a very successful competitive body builder 15 years ago and for the last 15 years has focused on personal training & preventing injury with foam rolling and stretching. Paul spent an hour showing how to stretch and roll each muscle efficiently to help prevent injury and strengthen my muscles.
It was something i knew I didn't do enough and when i did roll and stretch, i didn't really know what I was doing. It was really informative and useful hour. I have already put what I have learned to practice every day as I want to give my body the best chance of success & longevity
Benefits of Foam Rolling.
The benefits of foam rolling are many. Adhesion's occur when muscle fibers "stick" to —a sheath of connective tissue that surrounds the muscles—resulting in a knot of tissue that limits the circulation of blood, nutrients, and the elimination of waste, and can lead to pain and injury. When you use a roller to roll along the length of your muscle, you're helping loosen and release these "sticky points," enabling your muscles to return to their original and intended length.
The overall result is:
1. Improved circulation and delivery of oxygen, nutrients, and blood to the muscle. This helps your muscles to function at optimum capacity, to recover efficiently, and to remove waste products effectively.
2. Decreased pain and soreness. Many muscle knots are painful! They're either painful to the touch, or because of where they're located, they're painful during movement, which can result in an altered range of motion.
3. Decreased likelihood of injury. If your range of motion is altered due to painful knots or a shortening of the muscle fibers from persistent contraction, you may end up with muscle imbalances or injuries. Rolling out the knots and keeping your muscles long and pliable reduces the likelihood of injury
4. Increased range of motion. Regular use of a foam roller can even help you increase your range of motion as you loosen up tight areas and help clear scar tissue. Along with with all this fitness training I have been taking my diet really seriously. I stopped drinking 3 weeks ago in the lead up to the pro singles. For some this may seam like not a big deal but as you know me i love a glass or 2 of red wine most days :) . I did this for 2 reasons,1 I wanted to see how fresh I would feel by the time I played my first match and 2 I wanted to prove to myself i could have the discipline to make sacrifices needed to be the best player.
3 months ago I took processed meats and processed carbohydrates out of my die permanently ans there is too much artificial and unhealthy ingredients that i believe are not only unhealthy for you were also slowing me down and making me feel sluggish. The alcohol may of had something to with that also haha. I have noticed a difference though, I feel a lot more alert, less bloated and sluggish.
I have been practicing on the court 2 hours almost every day. Some solo practice, Some with Mike Gooding and Leon smart and Jeremy Wintersteen has been great with coming on the court and feeding me a ton of balls. I feel I have learnt a lot from my previous mistakes in tournaments, especially losing to Chris Chapman in the Aus open. A match that in the position I was in I should never of lost. I had an honest assessment of my self a few weeks after that match & I realized how poor my mental game was. I was allowing a lot of negative thoughts in to my head and I was giving off a lot of negative energy. I was not even close to staying in the moment. To improve that I read the inner game of tennis which is book that teaches you about really staying in the moment. Every practice I have done for last couple of months I have really focused on playing 1 shot at a time. I have definitely noticed an improvement not only in my play but in my temperament . Now when ever I catch myself wandering away from the present, I stop turn around, touch the wall and re set my self. This strategy seems to be working for me.
The draw for The US Pro Singles is now out. I am the no 5 seed for the event this year. The world ranking points are bigger for this event than the recent Australian and US open. The way I am playing, moving , my mental improvements and the fact that this is my home court which I know I play well on has got me really believing I can go deep into this tournament. The draw I was hoping for was to be able to avoid Camden until the final. Especially with the amount of ranking points available it would of been nice to be on the other side of the draw so if I did go well I would make a big jump on players near me in the world rankings.Unfortunately that was not to be as it looks like I will be playing Camden in the QF providing neither of us loses our first round match. I have nothing to lose and I am going in to this match full of confidence and belief that I can go all the way and win the tournament.