The Importance of Stretching

Often when someone thinks of stretching, they think of superstar athletes. A lot of office workers, or people who sit for long periods of time have tight muscles in their legs and hips, which could easily be prevented with stretching. Tight muscles make you prone to injury, and can lead to joint issues. There are many great benefits to stretching. It can also be very simple, and take little time out of your day that will help you in the long run.

If you are not very active, do not assume that stretching will not help you. As I said before, you are more prone to injuries, and joint pain (which is not fun at all!). If you think about it, you could get hurt by doing simple household tasks just because you are not flexible. Something as simple as putting socks on can be difficult! An easy thing to put into your daily routine is to stretch right before bed. You have spent all day moving around; it is a great way to finish your day. Doing a few stretches, for example, a seated hamstring stretch, a standing quad stretch, and a standing hamstring stretch will help your overall range of motion. Try not to stretch right when you wake up. Your muscles need to be warm when you stretch, not cold. If you stretch right you wake up, you are running the risk of tearing your muscle fibers, which is counterproductive. Also, always remember not to “bounce,” when stretching, this is another way of causing an injury. Here are a few examples of some simple exercises you can do right at home:

Image result for simple stretching exercises

Athletes should take stretching very seriously, yet they often don’t. Warm ups, cool downs, and stretching in general are crucial to being a good athlete and preventing injury. As important as it is to stretch, it is even more important to know what kind of stretches to do, and when. The two basic forms of stretching are dynamic and static. Static Stretching is what is pictured above. Typically you are stretching one specific muscle group for about 10-30 second while staying still. On the contrary, Dynamic Stretching is when you are doing movements specifically designed to warm up certain muscle groups without tearing the muscle fibers. Dynamic Stretching should always be done before working out/exercising. Then Static Stretching should be the final thing you do in your workout. Whether you are lifting weights, or doing an activity, a dynamic warm-up prepares your body for the task at hand. For example, if you are doing a lifting regiment, and it is “leg day,” it would be good to do some lunges for your warm-up. They are a great way to warm your legs up, so when you begin your workout, you are not putting unnecessary stress on your muscles (other than what you would be doing for your workout). Taking time to Static stretch after your workout is just as important. Stretching helps reduce the risk of cramping, reduces the risk of injury, and increases blood flow which helps prevent soreness.

Many professional athletes openly talk about how much stretching helps in their sport. Kevin Love, Power Forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, speaks highly about how yoga has changed his life. Also, Novak Djokovic, arguably one of the greatest tennis players in history, is know all over the tour for how much time he spends stretching (as pictured below).


Image result for novak djokovic stretch

Finding the time to stretch is so important when it comes to daily life. If you worked out for two hours, what’s 10 more minutes? If you get into the mindset of, “it’s only 10 minutes of my day,” instead of, “I’m not going to waste 10 minutes just to stretch,” you will find an overall increase in your well-being.

An Outline of Scoring in Tennis

Usually when someone picks up tennis as a new hobby/sport, they get frustrated with the scoring, understandably so. There are so many different terms, and ways to score, that it seems impossible. In this post, I’ll try to break it down as simply as possible so you can get a basic understanding!

Firstly, lets talk about a match. The match is the whole entire competition. When you go out to play competitive tennis, you are going to play a match. In every match, there are sets. A set is compiled of games. Each game has multiple points in it. To win a set, you have to win 6 games, and you have to win by two games. The scoring in a game is a little more difficult because it is not scored as “1, 2, 3, 4, Game” Games are scored as “LOVE (0), 15, 30, 40, Game.” The server always announces their score first, and the serve always begins on the Deuce (right) side of the court. After the first point, it is either LOVE-15 (0-15), or 15- LOVE(15-0), depending on who won the point. The second point is played on the Ad (Left) side. This continues until the game is completed. If the score gets to 40-40, this is called Deuce. Either player has to win the next two points in a row to win the game. If the server wins the Deuce point, the score is announced AD IN. If the returner wins the Deuce point, the score is announced AD OUT. For example, if the sever wins the Deuce point, but loses the Ad point, the score goes back to Deuce. This can happen many times. Another thing to remember, players switch ends of the court every odd game (after the first game, then every two games). You have a 90 second break starting with the change of sides at the third game. This is also when you change the set score on your score cards.

After many games are played, you may find yourself at a set score of 6-5. At this point, even though you have gotten 6 games, you have not won the set because you have not won by two games. So you will either have to win one more game to make the set score 7-5, or the score will go to 6-6, and a set tie-breaker must be played. In a tie-breaker, the first server serves one point from the Deuce side. After that point, the opposite server serves the next two points starting on the Ad side, then Deuce This two-point serving pattern continues until someone wins the tie-breaker. The tie-breaker is scored in intervals of 1 (1, 2, 3… so on) until someone reaches 7 points (again by two). In USTA play, players switch ends after the first point, then after every four points (or the score will show every five points when both scores are added together). In all other competitive play other than USTA, players switch ends every 6 points.

A match is always best two sets out of three (unless you are a man playing in one of the grand slams). If you are playing USTA, the third set is replaced with a match tie-breaker. Don’t freak out! It is played exactly the same way as a set tie-breaker, only the score goes to 10 points (by two of course) because it is played in place of a set. When you are playing in tournaments, the director has the choice of whether you will play a full set, or a match tie-breaker.

If you feel like I have completely melted you brain at this point, do not feel bad, it is a lot of information. After reading this, it is good to grab a friend who knows how to play, go out, and walk through the scoring point by point. Sometimes it is easier to learn by actually playing the points out. I have also attached a great video that explains step by step how to score!

15 Benefits of a Personal Trainer

1. It’s Educational

One of the primary reasons that someone should have a Personal Trainer is that they are trained in teaching others how to exercise. And while exercise in itself is only a part of fitness, with nutrition and lifestyle playing an essential role in the overall picture if you don’t get exercise right then you will never achieve your goals.

The importance of education when exercising is important for two primary reasons:

1) If you don’t know which exercises are most effective for the goals you have, you are unlikely to achieve those goals. For example, if your goal is to build core strength, but you spend all your time on cardio exercises, then you are unlikely to hit your goal.

2) Education when performing exercises is essential in reducing the risk of injury. Many people every year are seriously injured by performing exercises they have not received training for, and this can impact their health and fitness for a long time. Having someone trained in how to execute certain tasks will greatly reduce the level of risk and increase the effectiveness of your fitness routine.

2. They Help Perfect Form

Having a Personal Trainer beside you to demonstrate the correct posture and technique is invaluable. A Personal Trainer will ensure clients are performing exercises correctly and efficiently, in order to maximize results. If your form when exercising is not correct, then you are at increased risk of injury, as well as not achieving your goals (because nothing kills a dream like 10 weeks of prescribed bed rest!).

3. They Can Help With Your Unique Requirements

Everybody is different, and that means everyone’s abilities and requirements are different when it comes to exercise. This could be anything from having an old injury that requires special exercises, to having a phobia that may impact on where or how you workout.

For example, if you have an old knee injury that required surgery, but since then you haven’t done anything to rebuild the muscles or improve mobility, then you are going to need different exercises and goals than an athlete who is training to run a marathon. This is where a Personal Trainer’s experience can make a huge difference to your training program.

4. They Help You Set Realistic Goals

Everyone wants to achieve their goals straight away, whether they be weight loss, cheese grater abs, or Hulk-like strength. These goals are not always achievable, and if you don’t hit them, then you may be discouraged and backslide.

A Personal Trainer will not only help you set realistic goals that you will be able to achieve, – if you put in the effort, of course – but they will also be able to keep you on track to hit those goals. For example, if your goal is to achieve a ‘bikini body’ for summer, it’s not just about doing 100 crunches a day for a month to work your abs. It’s about altering your diet to eat the correct foods, mixing cardio and weights to work the right muscles, and setting a time frame in which this can be achieved.

5. They Can Help With Specific Goals, Such As Training For An Event

As well as helping their clients set realistic goals, Personal Trainers are the perfect tool to help you achieve a specific goal. This is ideal for those who are training for a specific event, or need to achieve a certain level of fitness before they are able to do something they really want.

For example, if you have a bucket list with ‘Skydiving’ on it, but are over the maximum weight, then hiring a Personal Trainer to assist with helping you lose weight is a great start to achieving this goal. Or if your goal is to be able to run a marathon in six months, then hiring a Personal Trainer to put you on the right track could be all you need to complete a marathon.

6. They Hold You Accountable

How many times have you gone to bed and said to yourself, “Tomorrow I’m going to wake up, go to the gym, and do an hour workout before I get ready for work”, and then woken up and decided to sleep for another hour instead of exercising?

This is where a Personal Trainer is critical to ensuring that you commit and stick to your fitness goals. If you’ve made an appointment to meet you trainer for a session, then you are far more likely to still go than if you are just telling yourself you should go to the gym.

7. No Wasted Time = Maximum Results

There are two types of people who go to the gym:

1) Those who wander in, spend 10 minutes on one machine and then drift slowly over to another, before halfheartedly trying bicep curls for five reps, and then walking out.

2) Those who have a plan in mind, and hit the machines with a purpose. They generally have a set amount of reps they do in sets of two or three, and they’ll know exactly what they’re doing on each machine.

It’s fairly obvious that the first group will not be achieving their fitness goals unless they get some help and have someone to direct them, so if you know that you’re one of those people then you should be enlisting the help of a Personal Trainer ASAP.

8. It’s Not Just Fitness They Can Help With

When completing their Certificate III in Fitness, every student is required to complete a module on nutrition and how it can affect fitness. Personal Trainers who complete their Certificate IV in Fitness have to then complete additional work on nutrition, and a number of Personal Trainers also add on additional education to their program by completing a Nutrition course such as those offered by the Australian Institute of Fitness.

By choosing a Personal Trainer who has undergone specific nutrition education, you know that they will be providing the right nutritional advice to achieve your goals.

9. They Improve Your Mental Health

It has long been known that physical exercise can help with mental health issues such as depression, and that it is a recommended part of treatment by many medical health professionals. Having a Personal Trainer to help with your exercise plan when you suffer from mental health problems can help with motivation, with choosing the right exercises to release the most endorphins, and also just to have another shoulder to lean on.

Which leads us to our next point…

10. They’re An Unofficial Therapist

Let’s be honest, most of the time when exercising with your Personal Trainer you will be telling them about your week, how work is going, and what’s wrong with your life at the time. This is normal!

A Personal Trainer is there to help with your fitness goals, yes, but they’re also there to help improve your overall well being. They care about how stressed you are, because that will impact how motivated you are in your sessions. They care if you’re unhappy in a relationship, as this could result in eating unhealthily.

There are myriad ways in which having a Personal Trainer can be like having an unofficial therapist.

11. They Help You Form Good Habits

It can take weeks to form good habits, and even longer to break bad ones – and trying to do it on your own is hard work. Having a Personal Trainer is like having a good angel on your shoulder encouraging you in the right direction. They can help to argue with the bad angel in your head, and keep you on track to achieve your fitness goals.

12. Personalized Training Plan

There are always going to be some exercises that you enjoy more than others, beyond simple capability. For example, just because you can physically do burpees doesn’t mean that you always want to, but you might really like doing squat jumps and sit ups instead.

A Personal Trainer will be able to tailor your training plan to suit you and what you enjoy, as well as encourage you to do the exercises that are best to achieve your goals.

As well as this, there are always going to be some days when the last thing you feel like doing is a hard workout, and so having a Personal Trainer means that they can tailor your exercise for that day to both accommodate your mood while still making the session helpful.

13. They Fit Into Your Schedule

Regardless of whether the only time you have available to train is at a ridiculously early hour before work, or on your lunch break, or mid-afternoon before the kids come home from school – a Personal Trainer is one of the most versatile professions in terms of hours. They understand that different people have different availabilities, and so they will tailor appointment times to suit you.

14. Increased Flexibility For Location

Not everyone enjoys the atmosphere of a crowded gym, or having to wait for the machine you want to use to become available. The benefit of having a Personal Trainer is that you aren’t limited to working out where equipment is available – not only will your PT have some equipment that they can bring with them, but you can also choose the location in which you exercise.

Whether it’s in the comfort of your own home or in your neighborhood park, with a Personal Trainer you have the flexibility to workout wherever suits you best.

15. They Challenge You

Are you getting bored with your fitness routine? Have you progressed beyond the exercises you know, and have plateaued in your fitness? A Personal Trainer is what you need to take you to the next level, and continuously challenge your abilities.

Don’t think you can lift that medicine ball?

Positive you won’t fit back into your favorite dress?

Doubt you’ll be able to compete in a charity run next year?

A Personal Trainer is your life coach, nutrition guide and encourager all in one, and without them your fitness goals are that much harder to achieve. So what are you waiting for? Find a professional Personal Trainer today here at Wembley to help achieve your fitness goals!

Pickleball: Navigating the Game

So it is your first time playing Pickleball? Maybe you are a beginner still wanting to learn more? Or even someone who played a while ago, and needs a refresher on the game? Well you came to the right spot! Here, we will give you a general understanding of the rules to further your knowledge!

Let’s start with the general dimensions of the court:

  1. The court is 20 feet wide, and 44 feet long for both singles and doubles

  2. The net is 36 inches at each net post, and 34 inches in the center

  3. On each side of the net there is a line 7 feet from the net, this is called the “No Volley Line,” commonly referred to as the “Kitchen.”

    1. It is exactly what it entails, you cannot take a volley out of the air if you are inside the Kitchen. If you do so, you lose the point automatically.

  4. There is a Right and Left Service area on each side of the net that is 15 feet, by 10 feet.

Now that you have an understanding of what the court looks like, let’s dive into the rules, and how to play.

  1. The Basics

    1. Pickleball is played with small paddles that are made of either wood, composite, or graphite (wood=heaviest, graphite=lightest). The ball is a polymer ball that is very similar to a wiffle ball.

    2. You can only score when your team is serving.

    3. Serving/Scoring

      1. Each player (in doubles, singles is by yourself) only has one serve, if you miss, it either goes to your partner, or back to your opponent.

      2. The serve must be underhanded.

      3. If the serve goes out of the correct service box, you lose that point.

        1. NOTE: If you serve and the ball bounces in the kitchen, this is also considered out.

    4. What happens if the ball hits the net?

      1. While serving:

        1. If the ball hits the net, then falls over into the service box, this is considered a “let,” and you receive another attempt at a serve. If the ball bounces in the “Kitchen,” this does not count as a let, so the point is over.

      2. During the point:

        1. The ball is allowed to hit the net and come over into play. As difficult as it often is, you must get the ball, and put it back into play.

          1. NOTE: if the ball hits the net and goes out, then the point is over.

    5. If you win the point, you continue serving until you lose a point.

      1. The serve always starts in the right service box, no matter who is on that side. The serve must always be served to the opposite service box, and must not land in the kitchen for it to count.

      2. That person serving is “server one.”

        1. They call the score in their favor, for example, 3-0, 1. (the score, then their server number)

          1. NOTE: If the scorer is losing, the score is still called in their favor, so it would be 0-3, 1 (score of serving team losing 0-3, and server 1)
      3. Once a point is lost, the next person serves (in doubles, this is server two)

          1. Score would then be announced 3-0, 2

        1. IMPORTANT: the serving side has to remember that the ball MUST bounce twice before they can volley (hit a ball out of the air). This means, their serve must bounce in, then the return must bounce in before they can take anything out of the air.

        2. After the 2 ball bounces in, anything can be hit, with the exception of hitting a volley in the kitchen

          1. NOTE: you are allowed to step into the kitchen if the ball bounces first. It must be remembered though, after striking the ball, immediately get out of the kitchen

        3. When a game is started, only one person on the team gets to serve, then your opponent starts the rotation of both players serving.

          1. NOTE: the first team to serve can win as many points as possible, but only the one person is serving. For example, the team could go on a 7-0 run, then lose the next point, so their opponents begin their serve. On the other hand, if the serving team loses that first point, then the other team serves.

    6. Unlike tennis, the scoring is in intervals of 1. To win the game you must win 11 points, and you have to win by two points.

Although this may seem like a lot of information, and maybe it is, the game is easy to catch onto, and is really fun. If you have heard that this is only an older person’s game, do not let that deter you from playing because that is only partially true. Yes, it draws an older crowd because of the low impact it has on your body, but it is a game for everyone!

See attached link for a quick explanation of the game!

Tennis: Why Now? Why Me?

You don’t run in tennis.” “Do you even have to work?” “It is not even that hard!” “It is just so boring, I would never play!”

Tennis players all over hear these phrases more than you can imagine. The thing is, though, anyone who has ever tried to play knows how incredibly inaccurate this is. Tennis is one of those sports that you can pick up just for fun, and spend the rest of your life playing. Not only are there many health benefits, but there are also many fun/social aspects to the game.

Firstly, there are numerous health benefits that come with playing tennis. The best part is, once you get a basic understanding of the game and start playing, you are getting a workout in that is fun! A lot of the time you hear people say, including myself, they do not like just going out and running, or running on a treadmill. Sure, running outside is nice sometimes, but I personally just get bored. I feel like I can get more accomplished in an hour-and-a-half tennis drill, than I would going out for a run. Tennis is a great aerobic exercise, AKA cardio. A few benefits of aerobic exercise include improving cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure, reducing chronic pain, weight loss, and so on. Along with those, tennis specifically helps with improving muscle tone and flexibility, and increasing reaction time. Another factor that goes into many people picking up tennis is that it is a non-impact sport. Tennis is generally easy on the body. Sure, you will hear about the pros having injuries, but generally tennis is pretty safe. Here at Wembley, we have a gentleman that is his 80’s still playing multiple days a week, and he is not the only one doing it! Even at the National Senior Games there is a 90+ age division! The longevity of this sport is truly incredible.

As if that is not enough to make you want to play, the social aspect will really seal the deal for you. I will start with an anecdote. When I was in eighth grade (2009), I became friends with one of the girls on my tennis team. Here we are, ten years later, and she is still my best friend. She is not the only one though. Throughout my life, I have met some of the best people playing tennis, especially in adult league tennis. Even in these past six months of working at Wembley, I have met the greatest tennis players, both on and off the court, I could ever hope to have in my life. Not only is it fun to play tennis with everyone here, but they have also accepted me into their lives outside of the club. That’s how everyone is here. We go out together, we swim together, we have cookouts together, everyone’s children hang out together, we do things together. Adult league tennis is so much fun as well. If you thought competitive sports end in high school, or even college, then you have not played adult league tennis, or USTA. Do not get me wrong, it is so fun, but when people want to win, they will go for it. We still have fun though. Everyone grabs a drink and a bite to eat after the matches. You get to know each other if you are new, and you get to know people from other teams. Even here at Wembley, we have friends from other clubs, most of which we have tried to recruit to come here. When you play USTA, and do drills with the tennis pros, you get to spend time with people, and get to know them. It really is a social game.

Tennis is so much more than smacking a little yellow ball ball back and forth over a net. The friends you will make, the laughs, the competitive spirit, and the workout are all beneficial to life. Whether you are just starting tennis, or a lifelong player, this game is for you.