Alright, done for the day, time to clock out!
… Just kidding, I would never do that to you, loyal NSWC blog reader.
No, the truth of the matter is that below the surface of the water or from your perspective on this side of the net, swimming and tennis are difficult sports to pick up, and they’re even tougher to master.
In fact, it’s kind of misleading to use the term “master”, since in any given age group in both sports, there exists but one master. So it’s more than tough.
The best in tennis? Angelique Kerber has overtaken Serena Williams on the women’s side. In men’s competition, I have a soft spot for Milos Raonic, but he’s only knocking on the door while Great Britain’s Andy Murray carries the crown at the moment.
And just like tennis, in swimming there can be only one.
Yes, I’m talking about Penny Oleksiak. Apparently there’s some guy down south that’s ok, too, but whatever. Go Penny!
Whether it’s only five years after first hopping into a pool in Oleksiak’s case or a lifetime trying new things to get better when it comes to Murray, the reality is that both sports require ambition, dedication, and tireless work ethic.
I’m tired just writing about it.
“With tennis, the thing is you need a little bit of everything,” Murray says. “You need to understand your game and what your game needs.” - Andy Murray
For swimmers and tennis players, both compete in seasons lasting for a full twelve months (if they’re serious) - there’s always an event, a tournament, or a meet to prepare for. From juniors to seniors in tennis and as young athletes progress through the swimming ranks, there’s one common key to success.
Every day. Every day is an opportunity to get better. To make up ground.
For the most part, swimmers and tennis players compete against themselves moreso than any opponent. Of course there are competitions, but those competitions are largely won or lost during training in the preceding hours, days, weeks, and months.
One of the most admirable traits of the athletes of these two sports is the lifestyle they lead. The sacrifices they make for their sport.
Sheesh, when you think about it that way it doesn’t really seem worth it, does it? The countless hours spent training, the early mornings, the lack of of time for other activities or sports.
I guess that’s why I’m writing about it instead of swinging a racquet or diving into the pool.
It’s that successful serve or that narrow win that makes it all worth it. Tennis players and swimmers spend so much time training so their bodies will come through during crunch time. The risk of injury is enormous in these types of sports with consistent, repetitive movements. Most swimming injuries damage the shoulders, knees, hips, and back. It depends on the stroke, but for young swimmers, it’s important to build flexibility and durability.
Tennis and injuries are basically like peas and carrots. They go hand in hand. Or hand in elbow, wrist, shoulder, and all the lower joints like ankle, knee, hip, and back.
Every sport, whether you’re on the back 9 of your career or you’ve just started out by winning four medals at the Olympics as a 16 year-old, has injuries to deal with.
When it comes to training for tennis or swimming, the good news is that there is so much preventative maintenance you can do. The repetition in each sport makes it relatively easy to prepare the muscles and limbs for competition.
The rest is up to the athlete.