On the Rise: Andre Begeman and Part 2 Cycling to Tennis Comparison – Short Sprints

Greetings Everyone,  Now that Thanksgiving is over, the relatives are gone, and there are no more leftovers or alcholol, it is time to get back to work!  I am sure this goes for pretty much everyone in the tennis world.  It is crazy to thing that in less than a month, many of the world’s top pros will be getting on Kwantas airlines and heading Down Under to start the 09 season.  In my opinion, the season is way too long.  Most of the pros finish up in end of November, take a few weeks off and start training on Dec 1, which is appropriate for today’s blog!

Like last week, I would like to have two components to the blog.  The focus switches now to a new kid on the block, not the old veteran…Enter: Andre Begeman

I first met Andre on my first trip out to Pepperdine over a year and a half ago. He was just finishing up his senior year and I was just beginning to start Pepperdine’s strength and conditioning program.  Within a couple hours, I had Andre labeled, “My Boy” because of his passion, charm, and over all off the charts physical talent.

I had an email from him a few weeks ago, asking if I could coach him.  Although I still help out some of the top Americans periodically, I have not been traveling and working with any professionals since pretty much last year and I have been getting the itch to compete again at the highest level. In order to beat the best, you have to train smarter and more effectively than the competition, and also have the goods to deliver and execute.  Let me tell you this right now, with the right combination of things to come together, Andre will be a household name on the pro tennis circuit in no time.  Like Somdev Devvarman, Andre has shown early signs of greatness on the ATP Tour.

I, like most of you reading this,  probably look at other sites on the web like tennisnews, atptennis, and stevegtennis to look up what is happening on the tour. After checking the profile of Andre’s activity this morning, I noticed that he had lost 7-6 in the third last week in the semis of a future.  After 7 future events, Andre had won 5 of them and this semis brings him now to 450.  This is important because now Andre will be able to play the Challenger circuit in 09 and right around the corner of that are the Tour events…look out Rafa!!!! 🙂

Before switching Part 2 of why I have always compared Cycling to Tennis, I would like to talk about one other intangilble that I feel will help Andre out in his quest to win titles on the Tour, and that is; heart and compassion (or passion).  When I first started hanging out with “Dre” I was taken a back about how many questions and comments he would make to me about my daughter Isabella.  To me that was interesting because I really didn’t know him that well, yet , here was this college kid, that could tell I had a situation with my daughter, and he was very eager to help lend support in an area that is was outside of tennis, and most importantly, outside of HIS world.

In last years Round of 16 clash with Stanford, Pepperdine had to play a higher ranked team with the number 1 player in the country, Alex Clayton.  I had met Alex a couple of years ago in DC when I was with Ginepri, and knew he had huge game.  It was no surprise to me that he was doing so well in college and had his Stanford team on track to win a National Championship. If Pepperdine was to win another National title, they would have to take out Stanford to do so.

So, after beating Hawaii in the round of 32 on Saturday afternoon, Andre got a call from back home in Germany.  His mother had passed away from a long bought with cancer.  His long time supporter, the one that cared more about his tennis than anyone else, was gone.

Like a true champion, Andre laced his shoes up for 1 more college match on the hills of Malibu, CA and proceeded to put on an all out clinic on focus and destruction, beating Alex, 6-1, 6-2. Afterwards, Andre boarded the plane to go back home to say goodbye.  My point is here, when Andre walks out on the court, he won’t be alone, and his competition will have to face two Begeman’s , not one! So folks, sit back and watch this great story unravel before our eyes. With Somdev and Andre, we will be witnessing one hell of ascent up the rankings!

Part 2: Comparison of Cycling to Tennis – Short Sprints and Accelerations

When looking at tennis fitness, you need to have quick, speedy movement to get to the ball in a well balanced manner as quickly as possible.  In other words, you need to get to point A,then to point B, on to point C, and so on….If you are a step slow, you may miss the shot, or not be able to get your feet in position to hit it with authority or direction.  This is what makes guys like Roger and Rafa so good; they move better and QUICKER than anyone else.

In cycling you need short quick bursts of speed for various times during a race, For instance, when an attack is made, you need to jump on the cyclists wheel as quickly as possible, otherwise you will be stuck in the wind, doing all the work while the break away is moving away from you.  Or say it is the end of the race, and the cyclists have 200 meters to go. After 4 hours of hard racing, it now comes down to who is faster in the sprint.  A good jump or sprint can make all the difference in the world to winning or losing.

So, when I train tennis players, I make sure that they can close the gap to that ball as quickly as possible and for hours at a time (See Part 1, Endurance).  Some players can do this naturally, while others need daily attention to this vital component.