My 2018 Pre-Season in Orlando
About three weeks ago I finished my first full offseason as a professional tennis player. My training took place at the Home of American tennis at the USTA National Campus located in Lake Nona, Orlando FL. Overall, my experience at the USTA for offseason training was truly amazing. Everything that we needed in order to succeed was in place for us.
Breakfast and Lunch were provided for the players every day and it consisted of meals which were hand-picked by our nutritionists, Tara and Trish, so we knew we were getting the proper fuel. In addition to two meals a day, we were also provided with two handmade protein-packed smoothies for post workout and tennis sessions. The orange creamsicle and mango tart cherry were my favorites.
Another highlight of my preseason were the times between lunch and my 2nd training session of the day. During this 2 hour block, we would have guest speakers who were experts in their respective fields talk to us about ways we could improve on and off the court. Some of the topics that were covered were nutrition, sleep, recovery, social media skills, talking to the press, and much more. All of the advice that I listened to has definitely made me think about things differently as it relates to my life. The piece of advice that had the biggest impact on me was about sleep. I learned how blue light from the screens on phones, TV's and laptops severely decrease the melatonin in your brain which then makes it difficult to fall asleep and get the proper 8-10 hours of sleep required for peak performance. I can surely tell you that I was getting plenty of sleep because I was dead tired by the end of each day.
My physical and tennis training began a couple of days after Thanksgiving. Bjorn Fratangelo and I trained together with Brad Stine and Christopher Williams during this time period. It was great to be on and off the court with Bjorn because he is such a great role model and friend who holds himself to the highest of standards and I learned a lot from him. For the first two weeks of training, my days consisted of strength and conditioning with Gabriel Echevarria 2x a day (8 am and 2 pm) and 1x tennis session (10am-11: 30 am). Then for the last 2 weeks, it would flip-flop with 2x tennis and 1x S&C. My main fitness focuses this offseason was to improve my footwork coordination, cardio, as well as get even stronger and more powerful. As for my tennis focus, it was to continue to develop my weapons within my identity on the tennis court. I am very grateful to have some amazing coaches working me with and it made for a very successful offseason.
The final piece I want to talk about was my experience working with Larry Lauer, who is the mental skills specialist at the USTA. The mental aspect of the game is so important, and while it is talked about a lot, the skills required to succeed in it are rarely touched upon. Larry taught me how to do visualizations, mindfulness training, breathing techniques and much more. While I am still learning how to master these skills, I have found them to be incredibly useful as I find myself in stressful situations in tennis and in life.
I am very thankful for all of the staff, coaches, and trainers that made everything run exceptionally well during my first offseason in Lake Nona. My expectations didn't even come close to how amazing everything turned out to be. I want to give special thanks to Brad Stine, Christopher Williams, Larry Lauer and Gabriel Echevarria for their amazing efforts in working with me 1 on 1 to help me achieve greatness.
Lastly, a big thank you to Heather Foley and her web design services.
Working on footwork drills with Bjorn and coaches Gabe and Jen