Developing Doubles Strategy with Coach Lennon

Tennis at Sawgrass is amazing. The competitive matches, friendly round robins, and team clinics all offer opportunities to improve skills and build relationships with other tennis players.

Tennis at Sawgrass Country Club

I have LOVED learning doubles over the past year and a half! Last season, I played consistently with the same partner, Lindsay Long. By playing together each week, we learned what each others tendencies were, our best shots, court positioning in different situations, and how to encourage each other when we were winning (or losing!).

Now that we’re on the C team, opponents have gotten tougher. They are more consistent and more versed in strategy. So Lindsay and I decided to kick off the season with a lesson together focused on doubles strategy! The timing was great because we DID play together in our match the week we had the lesson.

We probably won’t be playing together every week, but these ended up being skills that we could take with us as we play with other partners.

Doubles Tennis Lesson

Lennon was our coach for the lesson, and he was really helpful! We expressed that we wanted to know how to change our game if the opponents were either better than us or using certain shots over and over to win points. The drills we worked on were designed to help us position ourselves better throughout the match in order to give us the best shot at winning.

Tennis at Sawgrass Country Club

After the warm up, here are a few things that we worked on specifically:

  1. We started out one up one back working on playing points quickly. He feeds in the ball, we hit the ball to a strategic spot on the court (or try to!). He feeds in the next ball right away to simulate the ball coming right back at us. After eight points, we switched positions. The balls could go to the baseline or net. We went back and forth for several rounds.
  2. Once we got the hang of it, he gave us a new goal. We were to return each ball to only one side of the court, all balls to the deuce side for example. He still fed in eight balls to either baseline or net, but they all had to go to the deuce side across the net. The point of the drill was to target the weaker player on the other side. Most of the time in matches, there is a stronger player, and it’s important to know when to avoid that player!
  3. Then he varied the drill, and we played all the points out with Lennon. We were still aiming for one side of the court. Because he was playing them out with us, they came at us faster. He stressed to us that we needed to recover to a spot on the court after striking the ball. Whether it’s coming to the net, stepping behind the baseline (or just inside the baseline), recover and be ready to split step to get the next ball. If you notice a pattern of play and winners they are hitting over and over again, take those shots away from them by recovering to a different spot on the court if necessary. During our match two days later, we encouraged each other when we saw one another “recovering to a spot” on the court!
  4. Lastly, we worked on serve returns. We see all kinds of serves, loopy, rainbow, fast, slice, you name it. Being confident returning all kinds of serves is important! I want our opponents to know they are not getting free points on serve! We even got to hit serves to Lennon, and practice recovering after the serve!

Tennis at Sawgrass Country Club Tennis at Sawgrass Country Club

Over all, it was a great lesson! We talked about communicating, hitting solid ground stokes (knuckles over the ball!), recovering to get ready for the next shot, and stroke placement to target the weaker player on the other side. I would highly recommend taking a lesson with a partner that you play with often. It will boost your confidence as you play together!

Lennon encouraged us to talk to each other and work on displaying a united front…high five, cheer, whisper between points, and let mistakes and bad calls roll off your back. In the end, we’re not training for Wimbledon! It’s country club tennis, and it’s meant to be FUN!

Fit Fuel Meals and Fitness Hacks for 2019!

In our last post, we talked about the cardiovascular fit test with Randy. It is a cardio test designed to find your unique starting point as far as cardiovascular health. I really enjoyed the test, and it showed me what kind of shape I’m in!

Today’s post will focus on food. We’re giving you a few food hacks and tips to make choosing healthier options easier, including the Fit Fuel Meals that Sawgrass offers.

Food is fuel!

Food is fuel for your body, but it is certainly meant to be enjoyed! There are those around us with the culinary skills to create delicious combinations of flavors, both savory and sweet. Those people should call me to sample any new recipes they try….I love food! Haha! I grew up in the south, the land of fried food and desserts where we all needed a nap after a meal!

fruit

It’s totally ok to love food. It provides ways to connect with one another, take care of the ones we love, and it creates the perfect atmosphere to recap our days and make memories. One of our favorite past times is telling corny jokes at the dinner table. We have heard thousands of knock knock jokes around our table, some of them (created by the mind of a 5-year-old) making no sense at all! But it’s the bonding time that matters.

So, yes, food is meant to be a positive experience. But, I want to propose we also look at food as fuel. Calories are simply fuel your body needs to function. Did you know that your brain needs on average of 330 calories a day to function properly? And it needs fat to operate at an optimal level. If we take the emotions out of food and look at it as fuel, we can better decide what to put in our bodies.

Fit Fuel Meals

Our first hack or tip is Fit Fuel Meals. If you haven’t tried these meals, you are missing out! They are easy, delicious, and affordable. Our club WANTS to promote healthy eating, and offering meals that are fully-cooked and ready to heat up is a great solution. I ordered several last week including, turkey meatloaf with potatoes and green beans, Thai beef with pad thai noodles and veggies, and Chinese chicken with rice and veggies. All three were great, but my favorite was the turkey meatloaf! It was full of flavor and heated up nicely!

Our weeks are generally crazy with work schedules, after school activities, and evening commitments, so anything I can do to ensure we have a healthy balanced meal is a win in our house!

The new menu comes out every Tuesday, and orders are due on Friday at 5pm. Take a chance and order a few meals this week! I bet you’ll love them!

Fitness hacks

I love life hacks! There are tons of people who are way more clever than I am thinking up creative ways to use things we already have or creating new devices we just can’t live without. The hacks and tips below are meant to help you choose wisely while still enjoying the food you put in your body! Let me say that I am NOT a nutritionist, and these tips are things that I have learned over the years in order to take care of my body. Please consult a nutritionist or your doctor if you have questions. Let’s get started!

  • Pay attention to portions. We tend to eat bigger portions of meat and smaller portions of veggies. Let me encourage you to reverse this! Is the chicken breast you’re eating one serving or two? Why not you and your partner share one chicken breast then add heaping servings of carrots and cauliflower?
  • Eat meals on a smaller plate. I know it sounds silly, but you will get a smaller portion if you are eating on a smaller plate! We have been doing this for years, and it has really helped our portion control.
  • Go meatless for one or two nights per week. Nervous about not getting enough protein in your diet? No worries, eat veggies that have more protein those nights. For example, did you know that both spinach and asparagus each have protein? If you know you’re skipping meat at night, you can eat eggs for breakfast or lunch to balance protein intake as well.

smoothie

  • Get on the smoothie bandwagon. We have a Vitamix at home, but a blender or Magic Bullet will work great! Smoothies are easy, filling, and delicious! Add protein, veggies, and fruit in about any combination, and you’ve got a whole meal! Modern Honey has some great smoothie recipes. Here’s a quick link to the recipes, but this blogger struggles with autoimmune disorders, and if you struggle with that as well, you’ll really like the full post.
  • Love chicken salad, but not the extra calories in mayo? Try using plain greek yogurt instead of mayo! It will add a bit of tang to your dish but will still be creamy and delicious. Plus, you will get more protein.
  • Hummus can be so versatile! Try mixing it in with sauces to thicken without using heavy cream. Or, try topping your next salad with hummus instead of dressing. If you insist on dressing, try to make your own at home. It generally takes less than five ingredients and will be much better for your body than store-bought.
  • Make eggplant ‘bacon.’ I found this recipe that I’m dying to try! Just slice eggplant extra thin, brush the slices with olive oil, sprinkle them with coconut sugar, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and sea salt, then bake at 275°F until crisp and browned (about an hour and 45 minutes). Recipe courtesy of Jackie Newgent. Find more recipes here!

Now you’ve got some quick tips and tricks to help you stay on top of your fitness goals for 2019!

New Year, New You – Cardiovascular Fit Test with Randy

It’s 2019! With the start of every new year comes new promises we make to ourselves. We want to be healthier. We want to be happier. We want to be more organized (or is that just me?).

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

Promises mean new goals, and goals mean different actionable lists that will accomplish said goals. After all, if you do the same things you did last year and the year before, why would anything change?

Goals don’t have to be as big as traveling the world or losing 100 pounds (although those are attainable). They can be smaller goals like losing 30 pounds in a year, or traveling to three new countries in 2019. There is excitement in planning and imagining what life will be like once you achieve your goal. What will you be able to do when you’re 30 pounds lighter: Wear that little black dress on date night? Play soccer with the grandkids, or coach their team? Go for long walks on the beach without fatiguing? Travel the world with your partner with the energy required?

It’s really about setting goals to achieve the lifestyle you want. For me, I want to be in better shape to chase down tennis balls and be able to stay in long rallies without getting tired, which means getting myself in better cardio shape and building muscle. Here’s where the Cardiovascular Fit Test comes in.

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

Randy Woodrum, the Director of Fitness, developed this test to help members condition their bodies to meet their goals, whether it’s simply to lose a bit of weight or to live longer by getting their heart in better shape.

The Cardiovascular Fit Test

To get into better cardiovascular shape, you have to know where you are at the beginning. The Cardiovascular Fit Test that Randy has created is designed to get your heart rate up using both speed and the incline (he went all the way up to 15!) on the treadmill. Next, you get recover time where he lowers the incline back to zero. Finally, he drives your heart rate back up with running. The time it takes your heart rate to go up, then back down, then up and back down is a good indication of how “fit” your heart is. He watched my heart rate the whole time and noted the number every couple of minutes.

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

Don’t be scared if running isn’t your thing. If you have knee or joint issues, Randy can use a stationary bike or an elliptical for the test.

By the end, I was tired! 40 minutes of incline walking and running was tough! No pain, no gain, right?

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

The results

It can be scary to be evaluated. Randy did a good job of coaching me through and reiterating that everyone has a starting point. From the starting point, he creates a cardio program that fits ME, and we set expectations on following through. What resulted was a personalized 30-minute cardio workout routine specifically for my starting point.

Brittany Darling and Randy Woodrum at Sawgrass Country Club

The workout pictured below is a list of intervals designed to burn through my sugars (the food I ate that morning), then go into fat burn. There was a point in the test where I got my “second wind,” and this is the point where my body switched from burning my sugars to burning fat. It’s important to get to this point and stay there for a period of time if your goal is to reduce fat (isn’t everyone’s?!?!?).

workout routine

Randy also told me that the routine will change over time. After going through it 5-6 times, my body will adjust, and we will need to make it harder…YAY! Progress! There is room on the printout he gives to note things like average heart rate, peak heart rate, etc. This data is gold! If you can track it, you can improve it. You’ll be able to see over time how your endurance is changing. Therefore, how your heart health is improving.

The bottom line here is don’t be nervous to get your starting point. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but there was a plan to build it and milestones to get through. The same applies to your health. You will see results, but give yourself time and celebrate the small accomplishments along the way!

See Randy at the Fitness Center, and get your plan started!