I'm brimming with anticipation as I write this, having just gotten off the tennis court and realizing that I'm less than two days away from the San Diego District Tennis Championships. I looked up the draw yesterday and was surprised to learn that there are only three competitors in the 5.0 draw. The cool part here is that we're going to be playing a round robin format, not single elimination, so I'll be playing two matches this weekend, one on Saturday, one on Sunday.
I've been working as hard as my work schedule would allow to prepare myself, and am optimistic about the progress I've made. My fitness has improved quite dramatically and I've even dropped a bit of weight (dropping sweets has certainly played a role here), so my footwork and mobility have taken a jump up. My serve is really clicking and I'm feeling confident about being able to pressure opponents with it. I'm trying to stay positive on the court, and am taking time to ensure I enter each point with the right mindset.
The biggest stride made in the past few weeks has been rediscovering the fundamentals of the game, namely WATCHING THE BALL! I was playing with a friend the other day and was just spraying shots all over the court. As he could see my growing frustration, he mentioned in passing some video of Roger Federer he'd watched recently. My addled brain instantly snapped to the memory of seeing it for the first time. I provide it here via YouTube and ask that you study his eyes and the movement of his head at the point of contact.
Amazing how his eyes don't deviate from the ball and racket, and how his head doesn't move, even after the ball is gone. The point here is that he knows where the ball is going, having gotten his body into correct position, and thus has no call to alter his stroke as he studies the connection of racket and ball.
Of course that level of cranial discipline is something I'll likely not achieve, but the point is to always strive to get there. As I've placed that focus on the top of the list, my consistency has improved in kind. Pairing that with a liveliness of footwork and alertness of mind, I'm keen to see what will transpire on court this weekend. One final warmup tomorrow with Simon The Great, and a good night's sleep, then it's game time.