The Tennis Grunting Advantage

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, definitely messes with your opponent.  

Wake Up Call

On Being a Champion

You know what a champion is? A champion is someone who's ready when the gong rings - not just before, not just after - but when it rings.

~ Jack Dempsey


Roger Federer as William Tell

Roger Federer, arguably the greatest tennis player ever, went to shoot an ad for Gillette, and stuck around long enough to toy with the production assistants. Real or fake? You make the call. (Via Buzzfeed.)

Online & Video

msh258 said "


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Wake Up Call

On Impossible Challenges

When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.

~ Isak Dinesen

zuzupetals said "

Thanks for this.  I needed to hear it more than you even know ..." More comments...

Night Shift

Another Runner in the Night

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.


erikka said "

apparently this happens at 24 hour fitness: More comments...

Workout Wear

Fila Teams Up With...Susan Lucci?

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! 

My Body

Michael Showalter, star of "Michael and Michael Have Issues," On Tennis, Cigarettes and Faith

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.


spindig said "

This man does not make cigarettes look half as sexy as More comments...



Tennis, 50 min.

Workout Date: 
Fri, 10/02/2009 (All day)

Wake Up Call

On Desire

What is the single most important quality in a tennis champion? I would have to say desire, staying in there and winning matches when you are not playing that well.

~John McEnroe


Tennis on the Public Courts with Chris

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.

Where (gym, studio, etc.): : 
Workout Date: 
Sat, 08/08/2009 (All day)