Written on August 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Anna Hecht, editorial intern
Tennis is an incredible sport, and the athletes are OMG-powerful, but there are some people involved in tournaments—specifically the U.S. Open—who don’t get a big spotlight on their athleticism. But man, they should. I had no idea what I was agreeing to when I accepted an invitation to participate in the U.S. Open ball boy—er, ball girl—tryouts, but I figured I could hack it. Spoiler alert: I can’t.
“How difficult can it be to run over and pick up a tennis ball?” I wondered. Too bad I didn’t think about the fact that a ball person is expected to do his or her job perfectly, while going unnoticed, during intense televised matches that are played by the best players in the world. Oh, right.
My first task during tryouts: throw the ball across the court to a receiving ball person, without it landing inside the playing court boundaries. Just to clarify, it’s pretty freakin’ far. Like, 128-feet long. While I have decently accurate aim, my upper-body strength just wasn’t cutting it (and I have been working on my push-ups ever since). If by some freak accident I would have been chosen, my ball would have ended up hitting Serena Williams. As a former FITNESS cover girl, I’ve seen how tough she is. So obviously that would not be okay.
Next challenge: testing agility and speed, and doing it without causing a distraction.
At this, I was pretty good. But, knowing that there were about 400 ball-person hopefuls auditioning for just four coveted spots, I was pretty certain that at least half of them would be better at running cross-court to retrieve the balls “with two hands,” following an ended play or missed serve. Either way, the directions for getting the job done were simple: Stand with your hands behind your back, and when the ball hits the net, run, retrieve the ball and sprint to the sidelines. On it.
The tryouts lasted about 15 minutes, and I definitely had a ball (sorry, couldn’t help it). Down to the last second, I had a smile on my face as I worked up a sweat, and enjoyed an experience that I had never before considered. Granted, I didn’t get a callback for round two of tryouts, but as I watch the 2014 U.S. Open from home, which takes place through September 8th, there’s no doubt that I’ll be giving those ball boys and girls a second look to see who’s got the athleticism I’m after.
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Written on August 25, 2014 at 9:38 am , by Bethany Cianciolo
When pro tennis player Lauren Davis is in the middle of a losing match, she takes one deep breath to get her head back in the game.
It’s clearly working, because the 20-year-old, 5’2″ Ohio-native is currently ranked among the top 50 players in the world and is competing in the US Open for the third time this week.
“I know a lot of people would die to be where I am, so I try to make the most of it and enjoy it,” she says. “It’s really just a great experience—traveling the world and meeting new people and seeing all of these different places and cultures and doing what I love every single day—it’s pretty incredible.”
During training, Davis runs twice a week and lifts weights three days a week. “I’m smaller than a lot of the other girls so I have to be in really great shape,” she says. She stays away from gluten (her father is a cardiologist and believes wheat contributes to numerous health issues), packs in protein (fish, steak and chicken), and when she’s not feeding her Chipotle obsession, eats lots of small meals throughout the day (usually fruit, yogurt, veggies and Kind bars).
Even though you won’t find many tennis stars as young as Davis snagging a spot on the big court, she still appreciates her normal-girl downtime, typically filled with reading, journaling and spending time with her friends and her grandfather—the guy she looks up to most.
“He’s had a tough life and yet he remains so optimistic,” she explains. “He always puts things in perspective. One time I lost and he texted me right after and he goes, ‘Let’s just go play golf.’ That’s just something I’ve always remembered. He’s one of my favorite people.”
Be sure to watch Davis on the court—and her grandfather on the sidelines—tonight at 1 p.m. on ESPN. And if you’re feeling as inspired as we are, check out Lacoste’s new free app for New Yorkers, Lacoste City Tennis, which tells you the best places to try your hand at the game and potential players around you to practice with.
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Written on June 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern
With the 2013 U.S. Open tournament in full swing (pun intended), everyone seems to be coming down with golf-fever. Whether you’re a practiced pro or an experimental beginner, a little fine-tuning from a professional trainer is never a bad idea. So we chatted with Sean Cochran, a golf fitness coach at the U.S. Open, who gave us the top five tips every golfer should remember.
1. Master your swing. As with all sports, you have to put in the work if you want to reap the rewards. “The body is the foundation needed to execute the swing,” says Cochran. “In order to have the opportunity to perform all the movements of that skill, your body has to have certain levels of joint mobility, flexibility, and strength.” Without that foundation, Cochran says most players develop hard-to-break bad habits from the get-go.
2. Firm up. What’s one of the most important factors in doing well? Core strength. “I see the majority of physical limitations in the amateur player in their core strength,” Cochran explains, which he says includes abs, obliques, lower back, glutes and hamstrings. “I like everything from planks to medicine ball exercises.” He also says thoracic spine mobility is key. Translation: It’s “the area of the spine located in between the shoulder blades. That’s what allows your torso, or upper body, to rotate in a golf swing.”
3. Work it out. With flexibility being so crucial to the sport, Cochran recommends using a foam roller to loosen up tense and tight areas. Here’s why we love it for post-workout recovery.
4. Fuel yourself. It’s no secret that nutrition is a major component in any athlete’s success. “If you have a race car and you put bad gas in it, it’s not going to perform well,” says Cochran. “It’s the same thing for the body; you have to provide good nutrition for it to be at its best.” His fave foods for the pros? “Complex carbs and good fats, like avocados and olive oil.”
5. Be consistent. “Honestly, it really comes down to consistency on all aspects,” Cochran says. “You need consistent instruction, consistent practice on what your coach wants you to work on, a consistent schedule of practice and playing, and consistent fitness exercises. In golf, consistency is key.”
Although Cochran recommends getting instruction to improve your game, we know it’s not always possible to make it out it out to a private lesson. So if you need some quick tips while on the green, download the PGA TOURCaddie app to get virtual help on the course and off. The GPS app comes loaded with over 500,000 mapped holes, a library of pro-tips and lessons, instant videos from instructors, and detailed scoring and stats. Best of all? It’s free for iPhones! (Don’t worry Droid lovers, your version will be released soon.)
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Written on September 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm , by Marianne Magno
This week’s fit links around the web:
- Stressed out? Not all relaxation methods are created equal. — WSJ
- 6 Ways to Reward Yourself Without Using Food — Fitbie
- Scared to spin? Here’s what you need to know before you take your first spin class. — FitSugar
- Does this children’s dieting book send the wrong message? — Time Healthland
- When your medical professional is overweight — Blisstree
- Sad news for tennis fans: Venus Williams drops out of US Open because of Sjogren’s Syndrome — Sports Illustrated