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Training like a pro

Here is an upbeat and inspiring video clip showcasing Caroline Wozniacki while training on the court. Notice how she builds up on her strength slowly.





Fitness equals health

If you are still doubting the benefits of regular exercise, look at this picture of Ana Ivanovic from a pre-Wimbledon celebration in London. She radiates health and strength. What can be more inspiring than that?


Courtesy of Women's Wear Daily



“Killer Queen”

Still looking for inspiration? Watch this:







Tennis: Drills to perfect it

You can get it if you really want

You can get it if you really want

You can get it if you really want

You must first try


Cheesy song? Perhaps… but as I was looking for Justine Henin's videos to discuss her training methods, this one came up. She is shown trying plyometrics at the gym. Plyometrics help improve your balance, agility, and precision. As you know, all three are extremely important skills for a good tennis player. Now that the days are getting longer and the weather warmer, a tennis game is a great option even in New York's cold climate.




Fitness for Swimming

When we choose to train in specific sports, let’s say swimming, we are often under the impression that all the training takes place while performing that particular sport. For example in swimming, one thinks that all training takes place in the pool.


Think about the most important traits a good swimmer should possess. These are:


1. Power/Strength

2. Co-ordination

3. Agility

4. Muscle as well as aerobic endurance

5. Reaction time (Balance)


We have discussed each one of them in different entries. For example, boot camp exercises we had posted here increase your power and both your muscle and aerobic endurance. The drills that most soccer players follow allow them to improve their coordination, agility, and balance. Pilates is proven to improve all of the aforementioned skills.


As you can see, liking one sport does not necessarily mean practicing only during the time allotted to that sport. If you are good at basketball and wish to improve your game, spending time at the gym performing focused exercises that would improve your reaction time, agility, and acceleration would greatly benefit you.


In the end, making that trip to the gym will allow you to discover a whole lot about yourself and about your abilities as a swimmer, soccer player, basketball champion or tennis star. Fitness is the key word here, rather than swimming. Have you hit the gym yet?


(Post by Thomai Serdari)


Rafael Nadal loses at the Australian Open

Would you say there is a lesson to take away from Nadal’s loss today at the Australian Open?  While one can never underestimate a competitor, this is not what this post is about. After all, David Ferrer played aggressively against his opponent’s weakness—which is exactly what competitive sports are about.


For us, plain folk, who do not participate in Grand Slams but only try to maintain a healthy level of fitness, what happened before Nadal’s loss is more important. Nadal has already amassed prizes and medals and is the number One tennis player in the world. In addition, he has been preparing himself physically for the Autsralian Open, a major that he would have liked to conquer.


Over-preparation may have the opposite effect, however. By that I mean that athletes, especially top athletes, tend to overdo it. They extend themselves physically and mentally in order to be in the win-zone. They tend to overextend for too long of a period for it to be sustainable. In the end, anyone can crack under pressure. Whether it is a mental de-focus that leads to a physical injury or a physical accident that may drain the athlete from his physical and mental energy, the point is that we are all human. And the great thing about failing, as painful as this may be, is that we get the chance to try again.


The greatest lessons come from challenging oneself so hard that it is impossible to succeed at the challenge. Observe what happens in you then, be objective about your weak point and work at it again. Do it as a learning experience, as an opportunity to learn more about yourself. In the process, you will achieve great levels of fitness and a exceptional sense of accomplishment.



(Post by Thomai Serdari)


Marin Çiliç: Training to fame


Not everyone is born rich and famous.  Commitment to a sport and enthusiasm that begins at a young age can do wonders and literally change one’s life. Such is Marin Çiliç’s story. The 20 year-old Croatian, who is now competing against all the major tennis players, comes from a humble background but created opportunities for himself.


Marin, who was born in a small Croatian town, was encouraged by his father to try tennis. As a young child, he committed to playing tennis at local courts. He also trained to build up his strength and speed. The family decided to send him to a tennis training school in San Remo at the age of 15. Five years later, he got to be No. 9 on ATP rankings.


I am attaching here a video showing Marin hitting at Wimbledon.




(Post by Thomai Serdari. Emails us at:

Tennis in the middle of winter


You may think I am obsessed with weather patterns and updates. The truth is I am concerned when the weather gets so cold: all sidewalks and runners’ paths become icy and treacherous. It is indeed very hard to maintain a regular work-out routine in New York City when one does not belong to a gym.


This is exactly why Brian Lutz founded a company that sells group lessons, clinics, and tennis socials in New York and Miami. The clinics began in New York a few years ago and before branching out to Miami. No rain, snow or other extreme weather phenomenon will prevent staff from showing up at the designated locations (with indoors courts) to teach New Yorkers, young and old, a good top-spin or slice.




(Post by Thomai Serdari. Email us at:



Doing leads to confidence

    In one of my earlier entries I mentioned that I teach. I teach senior Honors students at NYU. They are working on their Honors Thesis and I am teaching them methodology and writing, particularly as they pertain to art history, architecture, and urban design topics. Today, I came out of class—dedicated entirely to presentations on each student’s topic—and realized that the value of presentations so early in the semester is that it forces students to summarize their work for their colleagues and communicate their ideas and concerns within a limited amount of time. The problem is that no one likes presenting. The truth is that they are doing a much better job than what they think and the reason is simple. Doing leads to confidence.


    This is a fact that I noticed only a few years ago and really, not too long ago. I realized that instead of saying “I would like to do this…” or “I wish I could do that…” I could instead announce that “I have started doing this…” and “ I am doing that…”  This is what got me to playing tennis. I always envied the agility of the great tennis players and the power of their stroke but felt intimidated and hesitated playing, especially because I had never held a racquet before. I did my research and found a great company that organizes tennis clinics and games in New York City and Miami. The strength of their method in teaching tennis derives from the simplicity of what happens on the court: the instructor throws balls at you and you are holding the racquet to return the ball to wherever the instructor has indicated. Running is involved. Stopping and changing direction is often required. Moving your feet a lot is mandatory. I had never connected in my mind the fact that tennis is not only striking the ball but also running to it or away from it. But being confronted with the balls the instructor was feeding at a steady pace, I realized I had to move and did it well because I had never considered running a challenge since it was not part of my definition of tennis. Ignorance led me to doing, and doing led me to gaining confidence about hitting the ball correctly.


    I saw a lot of this taking place in class today even though no tennis racquets or balls were involved, just pictures of art and architecture arranged according to students’ storylines. While I will never tell them that I intend to throw them into similar situations again where they will have to think quickly and on their feet, I strongly believe that what sports teach us about our abilities is ten times as powerful as any other medium. This is because we perform physical activities with our bodies and we tend to take our body’s abilities for granted. We often end up doing things because we never knew how challenging they are and as we do things we gain confidence about our ability to participate in any sport we choose. The same applies to life.

Post by Thomai Serdari (We welcome guest posts. Email us at: