Did You Know? How ‘The Game of Palm’ Became Tennis

SHAHEED ALAM – At present, I can confidently say that tennis is one of the toughest sports out there due to the physical, mental, technical and tactical aspects of the game. At the recently concluded Australian Open, Men’s Champion Novak Djokovic spent a total of 14hrs 4mins on the court throughout the entire tournament, across 7 matches. That is an average of around 2 hours per match.

However, was it always like this when tennis began? Certainly not.

Before rackets there were palms

When tennis first appeared in the 12th century, it was played with the palm of the hand instead of a racket. This continued up till the 16th century when rackets were introduced by the French and English, although it was unlikely that the games then tested anyone’s endurance or speed.

A cartoon of tennis when it was played during the 12th century without the use of rackets.
(c) Stock image from Google

Evolution of Tennis with Technology

It is generally accepted that Tennis has evolved tremendously since the time of Rod Laver and Ken Rosewell (1950s-1960s). Along with the leaps and bounds made in racket technology came increasingly challenging tennis matches, both physically and mentally. For instance, the increased size of the ball dramatically slowed down the court speed court and this indirectly had a knock-on effect of turning tennis matches into an endurance challenge.

Left : Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe at 1981 final
Right: Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic at 2015 final

Notice the difference in the court. The picture of the left shows a lot more dead grass at the net area compared to the picture on the right, due to the evolution of tennis.
(c) Stock image from Google

Different playing styles and eras

With all these modifications to the game, players had to adapt by changing their playing style as well. With the ‘Serve and Volley’ game pretty much long gone (except for a few players), today’s game focuses more on the baseline.

(c) Stock image from Google

# Hit It Like Shaheed

With the sport itself having evolved through time, I can’t help but look back on my own journey too.

From a 5-year-old kid to a National Tennis Player. I’ve been very privileged to be able to have the opportunity to hold a racket and don the national outfit because tennis is a fantastic sport for all!

(c) ONEathlete

I’m especially excited to be able to don a pair of tennis shoes from Asics’s Tennis line and have my trusty Babalot racket on the Tennis court with me today!

Shaheed preparing to serve during his training (c) ONEathlete

Both brands have also evolved tremendously over the years and developed a number of products and prototypes that have gradually improved in response to how end-users (athletes) and the demands of the sport have changed with time.

This is something I, as an athlete, value and see in many of those who stay on top of their game. The key is to stay ahead of the curve and adapt with the times.

(c) ONEathlete

I highly encourage anyone to take up tennis as a sport because it is a great form of exercise. While it may be challenging to be hitting rallies from the get-go, once you get used to it, you will be having tons of fun with your friends in no time! While at it, remember to grab a pair of Asics Tennis shoe and Babalot racket – they might just give you the head start you need!

Shaheed Alam is a ONEathlete and Ambassador for Asics (Tennis) and Babalot. The tennis prodigy had his first match at the age of 5, and progressed to the Singapore Sports School, before becoming the first male Singaporean to win the ITF Junior Singles Title.

Innovative Sleepwear Line to restore muscle faster when you sleep!

This article was first published on runsociety.com on Jan 30, 2019.

CHERMENT TAY – What better way to recover from the day of vigorous workout with Under Armour’s latest Recovery Sleepwear line that features the ultimate post-game, post-train advanced sleep system which was designed to help athletes restore muscle faster while the body recovers during rest.

Here is an excerpt of the RunSociety article where they interviewed, UA Ambassador and ONEathlete, Banjamin Quek.

Post Marathon Recovery With Under Armour’s Latest Recovery Sleepwear Line

1. What category for SCSM 2018 did you participate in?

Banjamin Quek: I participated in the 21km category. The race course was pretty tough due to the humid weather and slopes on the highway. However, I am glad to be able to clinch local 3rd in that race.

2. How did you celebrate after finishing the race?

Banjamin Quek: I went for a meal at Raffles city with my teammates after the race. We did not hang around for long because we were all worn out after the run. Therefore, getting into very comfortable wear and slipping into my bed is the best way to celebrate after the race for me!Also read:  Outfit Of The Week #5: Go For A Gym Workout In Cheerful Pink!

3. Did you immediately go back to training after the conclusion of SCSM 2018?

Banjamin Quek: Nope, I was given a few days off after the competition. As the body’s immune system is usually weak after physical exertion, it is best to allow your muscles and body to recover from the strain to avoid falling sick or injuries. Easy runs and regular stretches are recommended to clear the remaining lactic acid in the body.

4. What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced during/after a race?

Banjamin Quek: During the race:

  1. Hydration: As I lose lots of fluids during a run, I usually feel dehydrated in the middle of the race. I think SCSM has positioned their water points pretty well, but they could have done it better by placing more of them along the highway as I was feeling slightly dizzy from the lack of water. The humid weather did not help, either.
  2. The dilemma of sticking to the race plan or listening to your body: I was planning to run at 3:45 minutes/km pace for SCSM 2018. However, I found it challenging to stick to the pace due to varying weather conditions and race terrains. I feel that I could have done better by listening to my body that day as I was struggling to complete the last few kilometres of the run.
  3. To drink coffee or not?
: As the race was very early in the morning and I did not manage to catch much sleep, I decided to take some coffee for a well-needed boost. However, coffee causes dehydration and it affected my race to some extent. Hence, it is important that one plans the timing to take the beverage before the race.

Post-race:

  1. Rest: I usually keep my race days free so that I will be able to rest for the entire day after the race. My legs are really sore, so I prefer staying at home and catching up with my favorite shows. Rest is vital for recovery to avoid injuries or the risk of falling ill.

5. What is your post-marathon recovery routine?

Banjamin Quek: I usually take a hot shower, have a good meal and sleep in for a few hours at home.  If my schedule allows, I will go for a sports massage in the evening after a race. I will also be on my couch collating race photos from friends and race photographers.

6. How do you feel when wearing Under Armour’s latest Recovery Sleepwear line, and how has it aided you in the recovery process?

Banjamin Quek: The material of the sleepwear is really soft, and it was very comfortable to sleep in. I wear it to sleep before the race and after the race. As compared to my normal sleepwear or tights, I do feel more recharged when I wear the Recovery sleepwear line. It has definitely helped to improve my quality of sleep, and I can distinctly tell the difference. Overall, I felt less tired, as it speeds up the recovery time.

(c) Under Armour

For FULL article on the Under Armour recovery sleepwear line, please CLICK here.

Light moves fast!

30 Jan 2019 – With its efficient performance, comfortable support, and great aesthetic, the New Balance Fresh Foam series was made for neutral runners looking for responsiveness and cushioning in their running shoe. Always evolving and improving, Fresh Foam shoes deliver soft and smooth cushioning for running, training, trail or gym.

National Marathoner & New Balance Ambassador Mok Ying Ren with his Zante Pursuit. (c) ONEathlete

Birthed from an extremely lightweight and comfortable footwear series, the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit makes runners feel as though they are moving at the speed of light.

National Marathoner & New Balance Ambassador Mok Ying Ren shuttles in his Zante Pursuit. (c) ONEathlete

The latest Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit uses advanced laser-engraving technology that leverages on data-inspired design to provide uncompromising performance for wearers.

The NB Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit (c) RunONE

Simply put – featherweight! With excess material removed, Zante Pursuit promises an even lighter, better and faster run.

National Marathoner & New Balance Ambassador Mok Ying Ren leaping in his Zante Pursuit. (c) ONEathlete

The NB runners who wore the shoes for a run around the CBD area were quick to feel the little ‘springy’ sensation on the mid-soles, and the stretchable support at the cushioned collars. This was a bit more evident as they whisked and manoeuvered around the evening crowd and steps along the inclined route.

NB Ambassadors Jenny Huang, Marcus Reed, and Loh Guo Pei leading the run. (c) New Balance Singapore

For the competitive runners, having a light (read: high performance) shoe is everything! The run seemed a bit more effortless than usual for this elite pack.

NB Ambassadors Jenny Huang, Marcus Reed, and Loh Guo Pei leading the run. (c) New Balance Singapore

But the prowess of the Zante Pursuit is more evident during a rebounding session by the instructors from Beat x Studio. It sure looks easy, but your legs are nothing but wobbly as you bounce on the trampoline. That’s when you feel the one-ness of your feet with the shoe. The dynamic fit of the shoe helps you to land with ease, and jump up with no weights attached.

Rebounding session by Beat x Studio instructors at Singapore Flyer (c) New Balance Singapore

As Youtuber Umehara Kenji put it, he found a new balance on the mat that day, while others were literally bouncing off to earn their dinner.

Rebounding session by Beat x Studio instructors at Singapore Flyer (c) New Balance Singapore

It was ‘no sweat’ while the instructors threw in some burpees and push-ups on the trampoline while at it.

(c) New Balance Singapore

For those who prefer a sleeker sock-like version, you can also consider the Fresh Foam Zante Solas. (National Marathoner Yvonne Chee rocks out in her purple Zante Solas in the image below.)

In essence, the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante is a lightweight neutral trainer that strikes a balance between being a soft cushioned ride and a fast snappy responsive feeling.

(c) New Balance Singapore

Feel light and fast again!