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Andy hitting a forehand

Andy hitting a forehand

August 23, 2010

Seattle, WA

Been back in training for a little over a week now. I got everything in during my practices last week that I intended on getting done, and I’m feeling really good again on the court. The week-long break out at the cabin allowed me to get rested, rejuvenated, and eager to play once again. The renewed enthusiasm to play and work hard again is allowing me to make strides in my game and enjoy my time spent on the court. I put a big emphasis last week on lots of set play, a couple good quickness and agility sessions, and some longer conditioning workouts like a bike ride and running stadiums. This week I want to focus a little more on drilling in order to iron out a couple areas in my game that I would like to improve, while also continuing to play sets and getting in good quickness and conditioning work.

This will be the last blog I’ll be writing from Seattle. I have had a wonderful stay up here in the Northwest for the summer, and I have to thank once again the Bator family for allowing me to stay in their home and making me feel like family. At the end of the week my travel partner Brad and I will be making the trek back down south to California, gearing up for the Comcast Santa Maria Open and a stretch of three Futures tournaments down in the Los Angeles area.

Something I have been thinking about while I’ve been on the road is the idea of home. At the end of June I moved out of my small house in San Luis Obispo, CA, stored most of my stuff in a storage unit, packed everything else that I thought I would need while I traveled in my car, and took off for the summer on an arduous journey through the Northwest. I will be traversing through California once again for the next month or so, and then taking off to Laos and Thailand for October and November, two countries that are extremely foreign to me, even though I have been to Thailand once before. After that, who knows where my travels will take me, all the while not really having a specific place to call home. But what does it mean to have a place called home?

Home is a place where you feel safe, comfortable, and at peace. You go home to relax after a strenuous day, driving in your car or train or bus after work, counting down the hours…minutes…until you can walk through the door, smell those familiar smells, see the people you love, put your feet up and unwind on your favorite couch or chair. You step into your shower at home, where you know exactly how hard the water pressure is when the hot water and steam hit your face. At home, you escape from the tension of the outside world, take a deep breath, and feel at ease in the present moment.

While being on the road, and not necessarily having my own physical place to call home, I’ve realized that home is nothing more than a state of mind. Those familiar sights and sounds as you walk through your door at home represent a safe haven for your mind, a place where you can feel comfortable and safe in your own skin. When I’m on the road I replace a house that I am accustomed to with certain activities that I enjoy doing by myself, which bring me solace and peace of mind. My daily routines, such as a long post-workout stretch or reading a book before I go to bed, help ground me and bring me back to center when I feel out of whack. A couple weeks ago I allowed myself to get out of my routines, and the hustle and bustle of the changing scenery around me caught up to me and got me feeling anxious and on edge. Settling down and getting back to my routines and doing the things that relax and center me allowed me to regain my focus and energy, finding my inner peace of mind that represents home.

Being on the road has taught me how to feel at home without depending on a physical home to come back to. Home is simply a feeling of being at ease, centered, comfortable, and safe, and I’m learning how to provide that for myself when the world around me in constantly changing. As I travel from city to city I recognize the importance of finding the balance between immersing yourself in the world around you, while also staying true to yourself. A good traveler can go out of their comfort zone, meet people, try things, and have new experiences while also grounding themselves in who they are, and not allowing the constant change of scenery to bother them. A good traveler finds home wherever they are, not depending on anything physical, but rather finding home through their state of mind.

-AG

Training Mode

The Wind Up

The Wind Up

August 16, 2010

Seattle, WA

I’m back in Seattle after a week at my one of my favorite personal escapes, my friend’s cabin just outside of Copalis Beach, a very small town of just under 500 people on the western coast of Washington. The cabin is tucked away about 200 yards from the beach, surrounded by towering spruce trees and lush vegetation, making you feel like you are in a lookout bunker in a forest peering out over the crashing waves and open ocean. I’ve been there a few times, and it is simply one of my favorite places in the world to go to relax, recharge the batteries, and have some personal time getting lost in the vast wilderness around you. Over the course of the week, we went hiking through the Olympic National Forest, road biking, and running on the beach, along with just sitting back and enjoying the incredible scenery and serenity around you.

Now that the batteries are recharged, I’m ready to get back to the grind of training for the next couple weeks, until I travel back down south for the Comcast Santa Maria Open during Labor Day weekend. I will be spending 2-4 hours on court each day, getting a balanced mix of drills and match play, along with quickness, agility work, interval training, and long distance cardio. I’ve found it’s very helpful to schedule out your practices, and I do so by keeping a training log in my bag at all times. It’s just a small pocket calendar, but I write in it everything that I want to accomplish each day in practice for the week, and check them off as I do them. For example, my schedule for this week includes…

Monday:
-dynamic warmup
-quickness drills/plyometrics
-one set of stadiums in Husky Stadium
-post-workout stretch

Tuesday:
-dynamic warmup
-basket of serves
-lift
-match play
-post-workout stretch

Wednesday:
-dynamic warmup
-moderate bike ride (approx. 20 miles)
-post-workout stretch

Thursday:
-dynamic warmup
-basket of serves
-quickness/ladder drills
-lift
-post-workout stretch

Friday:
-dynamic warmup
-match play (3 sets)
-interval workout (ex. court sprints)
-post-workout stretch

Saturday:
-long bike ride (30+ miles)
-stretch

As you can see, it does not include everything that I will be doing on these days, but it highlights the things that are a priority to me that I want to be sure to get done on those days. When I do them, I check them off. It keeps me organized, on-track with what I want to be doing, and keeps me motivated when I keep putting check marks in the calendar.

Training has to be mind-set and a way of life. It dictates every decision that you make on a daily basis. The hard work and focus drives you, and consumes you. For a professional tennis player, it’s a full-time job, 6-8 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. And it’s not just about the time spent on the court or in the gym, but it’s about everything that you do. Every decision that you make either gets you closer to achieving your goals, or takes you further away of them. Every action that you do is going to have consequences on your body, and when you are in training you want to be pushing yourself as hard as you possibly can, while being smart and managing your body in order to stay injury-free. Your life revolves around your training. What you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat is very important. Your sleep habits are extremely important, as you want to be sure to get your optimal amount for your body to be functioning at the highest level. Your body and your mind must be performing at its finest, and learning what you need to do individually to make that happen is very important.

So that’s the plan for the next couple weeks…back in training mode. In two weeks, I’ll be taking the drive back down south, and will be training the week prior to the tournament in San Luis Obispo. Stay tuned for training updates from the Northwest!

-AG