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10sBalls • Managing “Energy” During A Tennis Event By Craig Cignarelli

Photo by @VolvoCarOpen via Twitter



Recently, I spoke with a coaching friend who claimed one of the most important aspects of working with top ten players is the ability to help the athlete manage their energy. With press conferences and sponsor meetings and autographs and photo shoots, not to mention the various interviews and suite-meets and gym sessions and practice court time, the life of an elite athlete makes serious demands on time and energy. Even when they are not on court, they are constantly “on.” Factor in the added anxiety of going deep into a tournament and playing for millions of dollars and you can see how it could wear on one’s soul.


The players lounge at major tournaments always hosts intrigue. There are often foosball and ping pong tables, basketball hoops and video games, and a series of board games from chess to backgammon. Competitive athletes tend to be competitive regardless of arena. And so, while it rained today in Charleston, players and coaches left the 800K tennis tournament to battle in a various types of competition. A Yahtzee game garnered high-fives and backslaps. In one corner, poker players forewent Five-Card-Draw and summoned up the rules to Slapjack. One doubles team looked like a pair of Rodin sculptures as they contended over a chessboard.


A day off the courts allows blisters and bodies to heal and provides time for the mental divots to repair. As the rain postpones the monumental pressures of professional tennis, these athletes can cleanse their competitive palettes in an arena which requires competitive spirit but allows for laughter and fun. If you’ve seen the Federer-Nadal video of these two giants laughing hysterically while trying to shoot a promotion, you get the idea.


Lesson: Learning to manage your energy requires an understanding of active recovery. Active recovery means finding ways to engage your skill set outside of your normal activity. Sometimes something as simple as the weather can provide a means for re-directing your energy. When you get those opportunities, spare some energy for a rainy day.

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