After an 18 hour travel day, Andy and I finally made it to Auckland, New Zealand. We left on December 24th and landed on December 26th, basically skipping Christmas all together. It was sad to say good bye to the people at home, but leaving town also marked the end of a tough offseason/preseason and the beginning of a new season, which brings me to the main topic of this post: what does an offseason/preseason entail?
In plain terms: offseason is time off after completing a season; preseason is the training and preparation for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, time off from competition is short for tennis players. While other sports have months in-between their seasons, tennis has weeks. The nature of our calendar forces us to have our offseason and preseason pressed so short and close together, you might as well consider them the same period of time.
For starters, let’s talk about the offseason. It’s forced time off from holding a tennis racket – maybe even any physical activity. The amount of time off varies depending on the player. It’s tricky to calculate how long of a period you want to reset and refresh, while leaving enough time to ramp up your fitness and tennis to be sharp for the starting day of competition.
Personally, I took 2 weeks off from tennis, but was already getting into the gym 5 days into my “time off.” Although I ended the last season with a few body ailments, I healed quickly after getting some consistent PT and was ready to be active as soon as I could. A lack of physical activity makes me cranky and antsy.
Although the offseason is used to physically get away from the courts, I still wanted to be productive and start mapping out preseason plans. Looking back at the year, I thought about what I wanted to add or subtract to my preparation. It’s nice to be able to assess everything when you have had time to emotionally detach from your results. Once day one of preseason came around, my coaches and I were pretty clear on our intentions moving forward and were ready to start working with a deeper purpose.
Preseason is a combination of technical refinements and fitness gains that enhances your tactical arsenal. Finding that fine line between working on new concepts and polishing the familiar ones takes some feel and the proper mentality.
I personally get carried away with anything new and exciting, so it’s a good thing I have my two coaches helping me navigate as I go. This offseason, the focus was to refine the groundstrokes and to crush the legs in cross training.
After being away for half the year, primarily focusing on tennis and fitness goals, this time at home gives me an opportunity to catch up in my lacking social life. I miss many holidays and birthdays during the year, so this short period of time creates great urgency for me to go to as many social events as possible.
I love catching up with people and I feel like there are not enough hours in the day for me to be able to see everyone. If I am not occupied trying to resuscitate my social life, I’m mildly stressing about plans for the next trip; tournament choice, dates, flights, accommodations, transportation etc. There is always something to get busy with, which makes it challenging to settle down.
By the time I felt I reached a sense of normalcy at home, it was time to head out again. My life is a constant change in pace, but I do my best to find joy in all of it. As much as I looked forward to my offseason at the end of last season, it didn’t take long for me to get the itch and back to work. Even though I wish I had more time to spend with my family and friends, I also enjoy my time with myself on the road. It makes me sad to think of leaving home, but I also can’t wait to get to the next place to compete. The endless variance makes for a unique rhythm in my life. It can be overwhelming sometimes, but I’m happy there is always something to keep me on my toes.