Entering a new phase in life – and tennis

A lot of my clothes are starting to feel a bit snug these days, and even my tennis gear, which is full of spandex, is starting to get tight. Why, you might ask. Well here it is: My husband and I are expecting our first child.

I'll soon be buying more of these than skorts! (Pictured Hiho Batik onesie)

We’re in the second trimester now, and I am still playing tennis and will continue to play as long as possible. In the first trimester, I really played like pre-pregnancy, but now I’ve cut back to a couple days a week with trips to the gym filling my other days. I’m also finding that I won’t chase down every drop shot because I get short of breath much more quickly. My doctor tells me that I can continue playing until I feel my balance start to go. Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet. The doctor also says to keep my heart rate under 140, which with my style of play could prove game changing.

I classify myself as a counter puncher, and it can take me quite a few strokes to win a point. I use my quickness and stamina to my advantage. During a recent baseline game against Jason, it really hit home that my playing style had a limited shelf life. He was dictating this point, moving me side to side. He hit to my forehand, pulling me slightly wide just into the alley. I had been going cross court and up the middle on my replies, so I opted to mix it up and went down the line trying to wrong foot him on his weaker side. As the ball crossed the net, I realized I was done with this point. I wouldn’t be able to recover if he responded with a cross court to my backhand because I wouldn’t have the time — or much energy left — to recover. Luckily, my gamble paid off, but I realized then that this pregnancy might be changing my tennis game sooner than later. I simply can’t hit 20 balls trying to get a ball that I can attack.

As the groundstroke games with Jason went on, I began trying to come into the net earlier, which I hope will start to pay off, but right now my volley game is miserable. The drop shot came out as well, but I was at times left standing behind the baseline scratching my head on why I would hit a dropper from that court position. I’ll figure something out, but as the weeks go on, I’m really discovering that the baby won’t only be life changing, but also game changing.

Happy Hitting!
Tiffani, TW

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