Grunting in tennis. Players may do it just because, wow, they're hitting that ball really hard and that kind of exertion naturally elicits a vocal accompaniment. But a new study shows there may be a little more to it — Grunting might give loud tennis players a distinct advantage over their quieter peers. In the study, participants watched video of tennis and had to hit a button as quickly as possible to indicate which direction each shot went. When there was an "extraneous sound" with the video (aka a grunt), they were much slower and much less accurate in their responses. Granted, these weren't professional tennis players with steely concentration. These were just college students. But still, grunting, howling, shrieking, whatever...it definitely messes with your opponent.
Coming back from a party late last summer, ever-so-slightly inebriated, I convinced a long-suffering friend that the night was too beautiful to waste on a cab. What's 20 blocks on a night like this, I argued? And so we weaved up Central Park West, and stumbled (literally) into something unexpected: Coming at us, in full Underarmour with matching headphones and water bottle was a midnight jogger. Scratch that: It was 1 A.M.
Friend and I looked at each other, then at our jogger, and then back at one another. Not acceptable, we thought simultaneously, assuming our man as a freakish one-off. But soon we saw another runner, and then another. Since then, I've made a minor study of the thing, and let me fill you in: New York City is home to a whole subculture of fitness buffs who prefer to sweat in the dark. And, you know, maybe it's not so crazy.More...
Perhaps you remember Björn Borg wearing Fila in the 70s, and so, for you, Fila equals tennis. So what's up with Fila launching a Pilates apparel collection with daytime-drama queen Susan Lucci on the Home Shopping Network? Apparently that's what happens when an Italian apparel maker gets sold to a hedge fund which in turns sells it to a Korean company. Historic Fila fans may be horrified by this seeming fall from grace. Profitability can be so painful. Stick to Fila tennis sweaters if you must, but based on the description of the Susan Lucci collection and Fila's current "personal performance" line, I suspect it's actually going to be good stuff. The collection debuts tomorrow — maybe you should stay home from work to watch!
I started playing tennis this summer. I try to play at least every other day. Sometimes I play every day. I play with my friends, and I take a lot of lessons. I play on the roof of my gym in Cobble Hill, or there are a couple tennis courts on the East River, between Houston and Delancey. I like the feeling of hitting a ball, basically. I’m a fan of the sport as a spectator, and there’s something cathartic about hitting a ball. It’s a good workout. Now that I’ve started playing tennis, I feel like I can't live without it. It feels good to have a physical workout. It lifts your spirits. It’s a great way to blow off steam.
I think I eat better than I used to. There are certain food items that I don’t eat at all: Pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs. Junk food. I eat wheat, not white bread, and I don’t drink soda. I still have bad habits. I smoke at least a pack a day. But I don’t drink alcohol, that’s one bad habit I’ve kicked.
Health means feeling good. I equate not feeling healthy with feeling crappy. It means taking care of my body and my mind in such a way that I don’t feel like I’m ignoring it. I’m not the healthiest guy on the planet, that should be said. But I try to make an effort to take care of myself—to sleep and eat well, and to get exercise and be active, spiritually and physically. I try to adhere to a certain sense of doing what I believe is right by having faith. And by trying to be a generous person. But I smoke, that’s the elephant in the room.More...
Doc's been asking me to play for a while. Finally pull it together. I can't say it felt great: My game is a shambles, but we did play games, and I broke a sweat, and I managed to win one more than him. (Which I should since spend most of my first 20 years playing tennis, and he didn't.) Even when you're rusty, the mental element is the same. There is focus. Mind body.