Ontario Tennis

Ontario Tennis 2016/2017 | Spring 2016

Tennis, Ontario

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32 SPRING 2016 | TENNISONTARIO.com A fter treating tennis players at the Pan Am Games 2015, I decided that I wanted to get back into tennis and start training to compete again in some Women's Open tournaments. As a teen I competed in tennis at a national level and continued on with a scholarship to the University of North Carolina. After my playing days were done, I became a sports medicine chiropractor. Now, being in my early thirties, I am trying to make a push to get back into competition. Although I may not be considered "old", I certainly have noticed that my body is aging. Competition has been part of my life since I can remember, so getting back into a competitive mode should theoretically be easy. Professionally, I knew the steps I would need to take to get back on court. However, physically and mentally I did not realize how hard of a battle I had ahead of me. As a past champion, I thought I would be able to jump right back into competing with both on court and off court training; easier said than done! As a teen I would be able to train without consequences; either my body would adapt and I would get back to training the very next day or I would be able to quickly rehabilitate an injury. I've realized as I age that my body does not bounce back the way it used to. It now takes me at least twice as long to recover after training and it takes much longer for my results to show. If I try to train at my maximum capacity the way I used to, I find my body is responding negatively and I am getting injured quickly. Not only from a physical standpoint is it difficult but mentally it becomes challenging as well. Tennis is a sport that as players, we are always growing and evolving. It is difficult to understand and cope, as an athlete, that you can no longer physically do things the way you once did. As an aging tennis player, you need to manage both your physical self as well as your mental self and put in place many checks and balances that you wouldn't necessarily have had when you were younger. My experience in dealing with this mental barrier was a true lesson in managing my ego. I would have moments along the way where I would feel very unmotivated, however, this was because the mental image I had in my head was that of a younger version of myself. For me, this became very discouraging and hindered my journey at the beginning. I needed to accept where I was physically and not allow it to hurt my ego, but rather just keep fighting for my end goal which is to get back into competition. Unfortunately, this is not the only mental barrier to face as an aging athlete returning to tennis. I found out very quickly that time management is also a crucial mental barrier for being successful. I not only needed to fit in my on court and off court training, but I also had to juggle my professional life as well as my personal life along with proper treatments, nutrition and sleep management. I had to prioritize everything I was doing and in some instances I couldn't make tennis a priority. I realized that this is just how it's going to be and I need to accept it. I feel it is important in having an understanding that tennis is about creating a lifestyle and training for long-term success in the sport, rather than immediate gratification for winning one match or tournament. What I've realized as I've grown is that it's about embracing the process and enjoying the journey. In summary, my advice to anyone getting back into a fitness regime is to set small incremental goals, listen to your body, and try to establish lifestyle habits which are supportive of your specific training objectives and sessions. Always reward yourself for persistence in maintaining habits and regime rather than just the intensity of a particular workout or training day. In part two of this series, I will detail some of my workouts and training days as well as how to reward yourself for completing milestones along the way. We will discuss best practices and how to overcome frustration & discouragement during your journey. BACK AT IT WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A VETERAN ATHLETE RETURNING TO THE SPORT BY DR. ERIN SALTZMAN Erin Saltzman For more information or to speak to Dr. Saltzman about anything relating to the article, please contact her at dr.erinsaltzman@gmail.com or view her website at www.drerinsaltzman.com PART 1 SET SMALL INCREMENTAL GOALS, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, AND TRY TO ESTABLISH LIFESTYLE HABITS WHICH ARE SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR SPECIFIC TRAINING OBJECTIVES AND SESSIONS. SET GOAL THE SET-UP MAKE PLAN GET TO WORK STICK TO IT REACH GOAL OT FITNESS

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