Health is Wealth: Finding Internal Strength during times of External Crisis

“He who has Health has Hope and he who has Hope has Everything.” - Arabian Proverb

Spring Forward Newsletter

I want to discuss Tennis and Health as it relates to this time of the Coronavirus. The BNP Open was postponed again due to the global COVID-19 outbreak that has impacted our international sport here in the USA. We now turn our eyes to the Miami Open to lead us into the Tennis Spring one year later.

While disruptive and tragic, the safety and health of the fan remain paramount to the game.
Without the spectators attending events, the sponsors will lose money and drop. In turn, the prize pools at tournaments shrink and all players would suffer. It is a vicious cycle. Protecting fans, communities and players should be #1.

Let’s take a page from Mr. Roger Federer’s playbook.
Invest for longevity and sustainable high performance. Seek to create a lasting legacy. When his career was at risk from overplaying, he shortened his travel schedule and kept in tune with his body.

He has awareness of the things he can control, the serenity to accept what he cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference. Panic does not help. It only robs us of our mindfulness and peace. He created a balanced plan and knows that Stillness is the Key.

Only Roger knows how much playing is “enough”. For him, not his ego, that is the slim difference between being forced to retire early and winning another Olympic gold or Grand Slam. His return to Doha after over a year away reminds us that we can all come back to the sport we love.

An extended break
All top athletes know when to take recuperating sabbaticals and not tempt fate. Only they know their own bodies and minds. Their risk limits and priorities. A few unique souls can push those limits past breaking several times, like Rafa Nadal. But we forget he too needs the benefit of Rest and Recovery. There is no one right way to be. Step back today in order to better Spring forward tomorrow.

During this Tennis Sabbatical from the pro tour, I urge readers to seek some of this same reflection time to rediscover their own purpose. Find your inner child of tennis and your reason to play. 

Hope Springs Eternal
With Daylight Savings, we can all “spring forward” as a nation together. We can all enjoy that extra hour of sunshine. What a precious gift! Some things money cannot buy. Let’s not squander it glued to the news or social media.

I encourage all players to get outdoors, go for a short hike, and if possible, get back to hitting those tennis balls!

If stuck indoors and cleanliness is your passion, try some “Spring Cleaning”.
Open up some windows and let some fresh air in. Detox and de-clutter your room; even if that starts with just half of your desk – commit to removing those distractions in your view so you can maximize your performance and are ready to go back to work.

Building the habits to becoming Anti-Fragile
We can build up better resistance and keep our homes/minds/bodies clean and healthy. Taking contrast showers and getting Vitamin D to support immunity. Those are things we can control.

When you are sick you cannot do much. So while you are well, make preparations. Be courageous and make your own health the paramount priority.

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men." - JFK

Waiting to Inhale
Is there ever a more universal yet basic human function. When you cannot breathe, literally nothing else matters. I appreciate this fact when I step outside today - treasuring a few deep, conscious breaths to relax. Take a long, deep breath in and hold it for 10 seconds, then exhale slowly for 20 seconds.

Build up that extra lung capacity today. Go running or swimming. We can all inhale openly and store a deep breath of fresh air as you read this right now. We take these little things for granted until we see an illness like COVID-19 rob victims of breath.

Don't just observe sports - go out and play!
Sure, it is a pleasure to watch tennis points on Youtube. But it is even better to play some tennis with a friend. Individual sports like playing tennis offer a way to minimize large group density yet participate in some critical socialization and exercise. You are maximizing your cardio in a very short spn of time while being socially distanced from your nearest opponent outside. Alternatively, you can opt for hitting against the wall a few times a week to groove your strokes to get the rust off.

Spectating any professional sport is now all too easy in our digital world. You have to experience that magic for yourself on your own racquet. That's how we live an active and fully engaging life. At some point, we cannot stay in passive mode – is living vicariously through our sports heroes really the only way we want to experience the joy of victory or the anguish of almost winning?

Learn a new hobby or practice an old one yourself. We have to experience sports kinetically to find ourselves. To find true peace to escape our own busy heads. Just do it.

Look for small ways to be healthier overall in small steps one day at a time.
Instead of seeking a 100 mph serve on day 1, try to get 1% more consistent on your groundstrokes each week. Add just an extra 10 mins to improve your footwork and cardio – it will pay off many times over down the road! Not only in your tennis game but in your overall health.

Getting ready for the tennis season can be as simple as adding 10 minutes of extra power walking a hill or climbing a few more flights of stairs each day. Enjoy and savor your practices - that way you will be more eager to return again. Sweat, recover and repeat.

We need to appreciate these small things during times of trial. Disease tests not only our immune system but our mental courage to be proactive.

Keep Good Hygiene while still Keeping in Touch
Even in this era of “social distancing”, we should seek to build closer relationships. Even if it is just one person. Find the time for that 1on1 chat or in-person meeting to connect. Without large group gatherings, we can still keep our close bonds strong and avoid becoming anti-social.

Reconnect with Tennis Friends
Think about the top 3 people you haven't spoken to in a while or miss the most. Send them a message or better yet have a chat with them to catch up. Also, remember to give your mom a call!

Be healthy, be happy, be safe.
- JC

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