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I’ve done a great job of building since I’ve been in Europe. I’m pretty proud of myself for making the best out of a tough situation (refer to my last blog). I got into Parma after traveling the full day at 7:45pm on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I had two practices, a plyometric workout and lifting in the gym. I mainly practiced with Max Schnur. We will be playing together for 6 weeks in a row during the upcoming hardcourt swing in North America. Of the two practices each day in Parma, One of them focused on areas we needed to improve in our individual game, and the other practice was match play against another team. The plyometric workout focused on improving our quickness because an inch is the difference between winning and losing at this level. For example, if I react to a stretch volley and get enough strings on the ball to control it and put it where I want, we will likely win the point. On the other hand, if I react to a stretch volley and I’m an inch short, unable to get enough strings on the ball to control it, we will likely lose the point. Matches at this level often are won and lost by 3 points or fewer.

One of my main focuses during my first few practices in Parma was to get my feel back. Prior to that, I hadn’t practiced in almost two weeks because I was so focused on trying to raise money. I focused on lots of base work. When I write base work, I’m referring to me getting lots of repetition on shots I most commonly hit in doubles: serves, first volleys, returns, and the first ball off the ground after the return. Outside of those base shots, I focused on my groundstroke game while hitting to players at the net. I wanted to focus on reacting quickly to volleys coming at me while staying balanced and composed while hitting the shot. If I'm balanced and composed, I can usually put the ball exactly where I want to put it. If I’m off balanced and mentally panicking while hitting the shot, I’ll generally spray the ball and lose control of the shot. I’ll likely post the specific drills that I’m doing to improve those areas in a separate blog at a later date. It’s currently 11:06 pm and we play tomorrow, and I will be going to sleep fairly soon.

We play second match after 10:00am. We will likely go on around 11:30am which is 5:30am eastern standard time in America. I’m playing with Hans Hach this tournament instead of Max. Max will take an extra week to make sure his shoulder is ready for the upcoming swing of hardcourt tournaments we will play together. Hans is a great player, he is ranked 131 in the world, and he is a very hard worker. We have had two days of really good practice. Our practice days looked a lot similar to the training days I had with Max in Parma: two practices (one specific work and one match play), a gym session, and a plyometric session. Hans and I also watched film together on our opponents we play tomorrow, Scott Puodziunas from Australia and Marco Bartolotti from Italy. We feel pretty good about our game plan. The last thing left that we have to do is stay in the present, stay relaxed and trust our game. Without staying relaxed and trusting our abilities, our tactics and game plan wont work. I also sprained my wrist a bit during practice this morning, but I got treatment and it should hopefully be okay. I’ll be getting treatment on it every day until I can practice pain free. ​ Again, Hans and I will likely play our match between 5:30am and 6:00am. If you would like to tune in and watch, visit my website and click on the livestream link. You will see my name, and if you click on it, my live stream link will pop up. Have a great rest of your day!

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