I’ve hit only twice since my last blog entry. To me that’s shockingly infrequent as someone who played five times a week pre-baby. I thought that once I was back at work, it would be much easier to find the time to play. Like many notions about life with baby that I had while I was pregnant, I’m discovering that Mom Reality has different plans.
I usually try to workout or playtest during lunchtime, but before baby, I didn’t need those lunch hours to run errands. Technically, I guess, I don’t have to run my errands during lunch now, but as a mom who works full time, I want to spend as many off hours with my daughter as possible and make those hours count. For me that means not running errands like going to the grocery store and post office after work and instead trying to do them during the day while she is at day care. As I see it, I am not only relearning my balance on the tennis court, but also learning to balance my new life.
Those two times I did get out on court, though, I have noticed marked improvement. I am feeling much less alien on the court and have worked out my spacing and timing. I don’t feel like I’m on my heels as much as I was those first couple of times out, but I’m still not getting down and don’t feel like I’m committing enough on my groundstrokes. I feel like I might have picked up a habit from when I was playing pregnant by playing too upright and being overly cautious. So during a hitting session with Spencer earlier this week, we worked on cross court forehands and backhands. I used this opportunity to work on bending my knees and stepping into the ball. We finished up our hour doing the cross court and down-the-line control drills at net with volleys, and I know how much fitness work I have to do because my quads were burning from those net drills.
I feel like I’m regaining some feel with racquets as well. I restrung the Yonex V Core 100 S at mid tension with a new WeissCANNON string that we’ll be carrying. It’s called 6StarString Supercharged. It’s a unique mono-multifilament, according to WeissCANNON. Monofilaments and multifilaments are twisted together to form the string. While stringing it showed some nice elasticity, but not quite as much as some multifilaments I’ve strung. On court, I enjoyed the comfort most of all. I didn’t find loads of spin, but I’m not much of a spin player. This change in string setup is just what I needed for the racquet, too. The V Core 100 is delivering me a softer feel that I enjoy, and I’m glad Yonex has brought back that feel. I prefer it to the crisper response I felt I got from the RDiS series. I’m working to sharpen my strokes right now, and I’ve noticed I’m catching the leading edge of the 24.5mm beam of the V Core. I’ve also been playtesting the Volkl Organix 10 295g, which has a thinner 20mm beam, and haven’t had this problem. I didn’t have this problem before, so it means more time drilling those groundstrokes.
I’m playing Jason today, and this weekend my husband wants to play some tennis, so I’ll bring home the playtest racquets. We’ll wheel the baby out there in her stroller and hit some balls. Maybe that’s the ticket to more court time: making tennis a family affair!
They say having a child changes your life. And my daughter has. She’s beautiful, and she’s everything my husband and I dreamed she could be and more. She was born in December, and I’m just now returning to work.
Returning to work for me also means returning to the tennis court. My doctor cleared me for exercise six weeks after she was born, so I could have played before I came back to work, but I didn’t. It’s not that I hadn’t wanted to get back out there earlier. Rather as a new mom, I just was not yet ready to leave her in someone else’s care while I went to play. Instead, I took my baby girl on daily walks, and my route inevitably would swing by the tennis courts. Trying to entertain my little one, I would tell her about tennis and how mommy liked to play for fun and to stay fit.
Now it’s time for this new mommy to make good on that and begin playing again — and regain some level of physical fitness. My fitness has taken a big hit. I played until the start of my third trimester, but honestly those last few weeks of playing were not intense. I exercised to the end, with my doctor’s permission, lightly using the elliptical machine and walking. Since the baby’s birth, I’ve been walking and going on small hikes. My body has changed, and so has my mindset as a new mom. No longer do I want to get in extra exercise after work. My No. 1 priority is to get home to spend the evening with my family. That, however, is no excuse.
So, today I put on my new shoes, the adidas adiPure Pro, and went down to the TW tennis court to play. I’m on the playtest squad for the Yonex V Core 100 S, so I took that down as well. I borrowed a racquet from Brittany, a fellow playtester and much better tennis player, and she had it strung up with Adrenaline. I prefer multis to begin with, so returning after about six months off, the poly setup was a little brutal since I was shanking more than I’d like to admit. Initial impressions are that I’ll like this stick as a Yonex fan, but I am going to have to try a different, softer string setup.
My timing was slightly off; I was catching balls late off both sides, but I noticed an improvement toward the end of the hitting session with some good rallies. Though what’s painfully obvious — and I do mean painful as I’m fully expecting to be aching tomorrow — is that my footwork and stamina have fallen off dramatically.
Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters are moms who can really kick butt on the tennis court. I don’t have their games, but I am inspired by them. What I don’t have in tennis skill, I have in determination.