Saturday, August 23, 2014

US Open 2014: Roger Federer and the Ghost of Bill Tilden

Roger Federer enjoys being one of the pre-tournament favorites, having just won the Cincinnati Masters. If he wins, it will be his 6th U.S. Open title, the most in the Open Era, and rank him with only Bill Tilden who won 6 in a row in an earlier era (1920s), almost a century ago. I think that 6 U.S. Open titles in the Open Era (if Federer can do it) will be the most unbreakable of Federer's monumental records in tennis. Why? Because the U.S. Open is widely considered the most difficult Grand Slam to win, in part because it is the only slam to sport a tiebreak in any 5th set. Regardless, I think that students of tennis will be studying the tennis game of Federer (as they did for Tilden's game in an earlier era) for a long time to come. Good luck, Fed.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tennis timeout. A word about managing stress and mistakes on and off the court: Let It Go!

The Art of Letting Go

"If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace."
--Ajahn Chah

"You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water, my friend."
--Bruce Lee

"Accept. Not resignation, but nothing makes you lose more energy than to stand and fight a situation you cannot change."
--Dalai Lama 


Letting go is not quitting or surrendering. Letting go is not caving in or giving up. 

Letting go is simply recognizing a situation which you cannot control or change. At least, not right now. 

Letting go does not mean you are abandoning any positive effort to make things better, just that you see past a momentary block, knowing an ultimate breakthrough 
is still possible and will happen.

Letting go is not the same as failure or defeat. Letting go is an active, conscious choice. 

It takes great strength of character. It allows to you overcome second-guessing and overthinking. 

It allows you to take the long view, and return later to the issue and build towards victory.

Letting go does not seem to be a natural exercise for us humans. We need to learn and practice it.

Simple ways to start the practice of letting go everyday stress: 

1. Drink a glass of water or juice -- Savor the taste and form of the liquid. Know you have to do nothing except enjoy the quenching of your thirst. Sip and be refreshed. 

2. Pause a moment, and take a deep breath or two -- Inhale deeply and release slowly. Imagine that you are literally exhaling the stress from your body. 

3. Change what you say to yourself -- When you find yourself faced with regrets about the past or fears of the future, say this: I can handle this day and moment, the here and now. I am not going to worry about three weeks ago, or five years from now. 

4. Observe water like Bruce Lee -- Look at water in a fountain or creek. It doesn't keep bumping, hitting and grinding against the rocks. It flows around obstacles. Flow like water. 

5. Appreciate and enjoy your body's natural and joyful emotions - Laugh hearty. Smile about something you remember. Put on your favorite music and listen or dance. Don't stifle natural emotions - enjoy them. 

6. Feel awe and wonder -- Look at a sunset or dawn; reflect on the world's natural beauty. Gaze at the night sky, and the stars and universe beyond and reflect on their vastness and mystery. Keep our planet and your life in perspective.

Let go and live more in peace!

*Taken and paraphrased from: A Surprising Way to Handle Difficult People, Judith Orloff, MD, Bottom Line/Personal (Sept. 2014) 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tennis Quote of the Day: Determination

"Next time you're on the court and feeling down, remember that perfect strokes take you only so far. Determination does most of the work."
--Peter Burwash, Rosie Casals' Determination, "Learning from Legends", Tennis Magazine (Sept.-Oct. 2014), p. 80. 

Friday, August 1, 2014