On Tennis


I love tennis.  I love watching tennis, reading about tennis, talking about tennis…pretty much everything except playing tennis.  I have minimal hand eye coordination, and every time I’ve played tennis in the past I have left with a face reminiscent of a waffle iron.  I am however pretty positive that there exists some past or future me who was, or is going to be, a tennis star.

And with the conclusion of the U.S. Open, I’ve been wondering what about tennis it is I just love so much.  I am in constant awe of the mental focus it must require to play a constantly evolving game, set, and match for 3.5 hours.  The strength to serve a ball 122 miles per hour, and the precision to simultaneously hit it in between the lines.  But after careful reflection, I think I love it because of the drama.  Players grunt with each hit, scream in both defeat and victory, and thanks to modern day television I get to be right up in Serena’s face when she’s agonizing and when she’s celebrating.


Sweet Victory


Agonizing Defeat


Further, I think I’m in love with the tennis player attitude.  From what I’ve read (and in the past couple weeks, I’ve read A LOT), tennis players work hard, they know they work hard, and are very good at celebrating their strengths while recognizing their weaknesses.  And somehow, instead of seeming cocky, the top tennis players emanate a respectful confidence in themselves.  They don’t take victories for granted, but (usually) aren’t surprised when they win.

US Open Tennis

Djokovic after winning the 2015 U.S. Open


The week before winning the Men’s U.S. Open, Novak Djokovic told the New York Time’s Style Section (another thing about tennis players both men and women…they know style), “I think you either progress or regress, so it’s either going up or down.  Everybody is moving, the people, our planet, so you either keep up with it or you just stay where you are.  But staying where you are…you actually regress.”

How about that for some motivation.

I don’t think that quote needs a whole lot more added to it, but I will tell you how I’m going to apply it to my current life as a professional ski racer.  We just arrived in Lake Placid, New York for the first fall U.S. Ski Team training camp of the year.  For the next week we will be hammering out a lot of high quality intensity sessions from our home base at the Olympic Training Center, resting hard in between sessions, focusing on technique and fitness, AND having a ton of fun.  These camps are a phenomenal opportunity to keep moving up and progressing, so I’m going to do my damnedest to live by Djokovic’s philosophy of success.


We kicked off camp with two intensity sessions…no pictures but here is a screen shot of Jessie, Sophie, and I hammering on each other during high intensity double poling.

And, don’t forget that I will be headed home on Monday for a week of quality Midwest time leading up to my fundraiser at the Power House at Highland on September 27th at 2 p.m.  Keep your eyes peeled for a little teaser video of some summer training later this week, and I can’t wait to get strong with you!


And sometimes when faced with a big week of intensity, you need something a little more than Djokovic telling you to make progress.  Thank you, Channing Tatum.