Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova. Tennis superstar, fashion icon, and successful businesswoman. At seventeen, Sharapova wowed the world with a victory over Serena Williams in the finals at Wimbledon and since then, has claimed several Grand Slam titles and claimed number one in the world multiple times. Had it not been for the hard work and positive influences of her parents, Maria Sharapova might not be the iconic, outgoing, and wonderful person that she is today.

At the age of 5, Maria and her father moved to the United States. Her family did not have a TV and Maria played very little tennis during her childhood. Because of this, she spent a majority of her time with friends from school and with her parents. When she did pick tennis up, her coaches influenced her character and preached the importance of dedication and hard work to her. These fundamentals remain clear in Sharapova’s character today as she is a resilient and mentally-strong woman who has bounced back from a multitude of injuries and a-little-over-a-year long suspension from tennis. Maria Sharapova demonstrates hard work and dedication off of the tennis court through her highly successful candy business, Sugarpova, and work on her recently released book titled Unstoppable: My Life So Far.

Sharapova’s parents have had a strong influence on the tennis star in that they promoted education, being well-rounded, and positive thinking. Maria often shares stories about her mother and the impact and influence her mother has had on her. When Sharapova came to the United States with her father, her mother was very much still with her. Sharapova reports that her mother was always very keen on keeping her educated in her English studies and Russian studies. Yelena Sharapova also inspired and pushed Maria to spend time away from TV and tennis and visit places of art, music, and history like museums and performing arts centers for musicals and symphony performances. Sharapova has learned that education is important to succeed and recently decided to further her education at Harvard Business School. Not only is she working to improve her education but she promotes education for all and the idea of having a well-rounded life. The tennis star frequently shares her love for fashion and shopping and music concerts and art museums on social media. Several years ago, Sharapova founded the Maria Sharapova Foundation which sends scholarships to students in Belarus and her hometown in Russia to attend the Belarusian State Academy of Arts and the Belarusian State University.

Sharapova’s parents and wonderful coaches have helped make her the independent, strong, beautiful, intelligent and hardworking woman she is today. Her parents’ drive to excel in everything and their desire to be educated have surely influenced their daughter to help spread her love of art and fashion. They have helped Sharapova be a sports role model for children and teens. Most importantly, they have helped the tennis superstar inspire many to be educated and be an advocate for themselves.

Maria Sharapova

How to Hit a Slice Shot in Tennis

In the tennis world, we have a variety of shots to change up the pace on the ball and mix up things for our opponents. There’s lobs, regular groundstrokes, flat shots, shots with a lot of topspin, dropshots, tweeners (which are impossible for me to master, haha), slice shots, and the list could go on forever. Hitting with slice can be challenging, and I know that I struggled to get it at first but with time and practice, I think my slice shots are pretty effective. Here’s how to hit a slice shot.

When you hit with slice, you are putting backspin on the ball and your goal is to keep the ball low and out of reach for your opponent. Nowadays, a lot of people play with a big Western grip which allows for them to get great topspin on the ball. However, when the ball is hit lower, they struggle to keep the ball in play because their racket face is almost parallel to the court and it’s difficult to stay in the point.

  1. When you want to hit a slice shot, either an Eastern grip or continental grip will do just fine. I am successful hitting forehand slice with an Eastern grip and on my backhand slice, I find positive results with the continental grip, which is also what I use for my regular backhand. Hitting with these grips maximizes the underspin or backspin you get on the ball.
  2. As you prepare to hit your slice shot, it’s crucial to get a good shoulder turn. You’ll want your upper body turned with your chest facing one of the sidelines. As with all other shots in tennis, use your non-dominant arm to guide and track the ball into your racket.
  3. You’ll also want to make sure your knees are bent. This will allow for you to hit through the ball and get a good swing at the ball as your racket comes under the ball.
  4. Finally, you’ve made contact with the ball and your swing begins. Take a nice, relaxed, and long swing. A slice shot is a pretty and smooth shot and is not meant to be hacked or chopped at. Even if a slice shot is a more delicate tennis shot, you should still be accelerating through the ball. On slices, you’ll also want to start high and finish low and as you come through the ball, transfer your weight forward.

Another thing to remember with slice is that it often is NOT used as a winning shot or put-away shot. Many players, especially those on the tour, like Federer, Murray, and Nadal use their slice shots to move their opponents off the court and create openings for winning shots. Be smart with your slice shots and they will do great things for you.

How to Hit a Slice Shot in Tennis
Here is a guide to understanding the different grips and hand positions on the racket in tennis.

And here is a video on how to hit an effective backhand slice shot. There are plenty of other great videos on how to hit slice and there are plenty that focus on the forehand slice if you’re interested.

Taking Care of the Skin I’m In

Being a teenager, acne and breakouts are common. I deal with a lot of stress and being in sports, I sweat a lot. As a teenager, and I hope that many of you teens out there can relate, but our bodies undergo some pretty big changes in the teen years and our hormones are up and down and all over the place. This puts our bodies out of whack and we’re left with a struggle. Being the active person I am, it’s also very important that I wear sunscreen to protect my skin from the sun’s harsh UV rays. Here’s how I take care of the skin I’m in and control my acne.

It took me forever to find something that actually helped shrink my pores and keep the acne on a down-low. I first sought out a dermatologist who recommended Cera-Ve products and a prescription lotion called Clindamycin, which would supposedly attack the acne and help dry it out and then vanish eventually. While that did work for a little while, I found my skin becoming easily irritated and more dry than ever. I floated around with a bunch of different prescription lotions and products that were less sensitive and more effective than what I was previously using, but the acne just wasn’t controllable.

Finally, one day, I found my fit with a toner and exfoliant by Paula’s Choice. (Sidenote: The toner is specifically for dry skin.) My mom and I were strolling the makeup aisles of Nordstrom and there it was. I really like Paula’s Choice because it doesn’t irritate my skin, helps clean out my pores, and get rid of acne and flare-ups. Another product I found to be extremely helpful is a lotion you can get at Walgreen’s called Differin gel. Differin gel is pretty awesome in that it helps dry out whatever yuck is on your face and it’s gone the next day. I was really surprised with this product actually.

Taking Care of the Skin I'm In

So to take care of my acne,  after I wash my face, I apply a thin layer of Differin gel with a q-tip in the morning and then apply moisturizer. In the evening, before bed, I wash my face (typically without a cleanser) and then apply the toner with a cotton ball and then the exfoliant with a cotton ball. After those have dried, I moisturize with a Cera-Ve moisturizer and it’s off to bed.

Skin

As you probably know by now, I play tennis, and most of the time,I’m outside, and that means I’m exposed more to the sun. SUNSCREEN! I always apply sunscreen before getting on the court and even most of the time when I know I’m going to be outside for a while.

Also, living in the desert that is Colorado, I drink A LOT of water to stay hydrated, hydrate my skin, and flush out any toxins. Drinking water is like a detox for your skin to keep your skin clear and happy.

It’s always good to have some fun in the sun but you don’t want to get sunburnt let alone increase your risk of skin cancer. Make sure to apply sunscreen multiple times when outside regardless of what you’re doing. You want to keep your skin healthy and happy.

Have a good week and enjoy the great summer weather, everyone!

Get to Know Me

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! I hope that you all have a great day hanging out with your dads. They deserve the day off. 🙂 I just realized that in my three years of blogging, I’ve never really told you all too much about me and my personal life, my likes and dislikes, and some of my favorites. Well, I guess that’s kind of what this blog is dedicated to, but still. Here’s some facts about me and now you get to know me!

I’m left-handed despite both of my parents being right-handed.

Get to Know Me I live in Colorado and absolutely love it.

I picked up a tennis racket for the first time when I was six months old.

Get to Know Me

I used to tap dance competitively. I was also training for pointe in ballet until I hurt my foot. 🙁

My sister, who is a year-and-a-half younger than me, is my best friend.  I don’t know what I would do without her. XOXO

Get to Know Me

I love hanging out with my family.

I hate oatmeal. The texture is disgusting.

Get to Know MePolar bears are my favorite animal.

My favorite color is like a pastel or icy blue.

Get to Know Me

Winter is my favorite season.  I’m weird.

I love soft pretzels.

Get to Know Me

When I was four, I told my parents I wanted to be a pirate.

I hate spiders and any bug that moves really fast.

Get to Know Me

Weiner dogs are the best kinds of dogs to own, in my opinion.

I competed in a pageant called National American Miss for two years.

Get to Know Me

I love student council and community service projects. Volunteering is also a lot of fun.

People tell me I’m mature for my age.

Get to Know Me

I want to either become an orthopedic surgeon or orthodontist.

I can do a decent impression of Stitch from Lilo and Stitch and also Kristen Chenoweth.  I’m gonna cram two facts in one here and also say that I love Disney movies and really all things Disney.

Get to Know Me

When I was seven, I really wanted to change my name from Ana to Sheridan. I really liked the name after watching a Bratz movie.

I finished my last semester of junior year with a 4.4 GPA. I should’ve finished with a 4.5, by I just couldn’t hold onto my A in calc…

Get to Know Me

 

My poetry is mostly published. Yay! 🙂

I find crocheting challenging.

Get to Know Me

My favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip made by Tillamook. (That’s a brand.) 😉

I have a keychain collection and one of my goals in life is to visit all fifty states in the U.S. and collect one from each state. So far I’ve visited Colorado (duh), New Mexico, Florida, California, Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. I haven’t been to Nevada or Ohio but I have keychains from there too. 😉 It’s not the greatest list but I’ll also be adding New York and Nebraska pretty soon.  I love travelling and I hope that’s something I get to do a lot of in my life.

Get to Know Me

I hope you all have a great week and an awesome Father’s Day today. I hope you also enjoyed getting to learn some stuff about me. See you next week. 🙂

 

 

Good Job Me, You Hurt Your Back

Well, I can’t seem to stay out of my physical therapist’s office and I can’t seem to stay away from injuries. I know, I know, you can clap now if you’d like. At a tournament, that is still happening this weekend, well specifically at my match yesterday, I hurt my back. Not quite sure how, but I’m pretty sure it’s sprained.

I’ve sprained my ankle before, so I know what that’s like but I honestly never thought you could sprain your back. Here’s some information on how back sprains work.

A back sprain is similar to any other sprain in that they occur when you overwork a muscle and then it becomes overstretched or torn. A sprained muscle can also be referred to as a pulled muscle. When this occurs, usually there is pain that worsens with movement, decreased mobility, and muscle cramps or spasms.

Back Sprain

Most times, what helps a sprained back is rest, ice, and some form of an anti-inflammatory. Back sprains, as in the actual muscles themselves, typically heal after 1-2 weeks but then for the body to fully recover, it can take 4-6 weeks.

This unfortunately means that I will be doing a little bit of sitting but that’s okay! Most times, a weak core can cause injury to the back, and so that means that I’ve got some work to do on my core. Tennis is a very back and core oriented sport and with my weak core, my back has been taking all of the heat. My core is decently strong, considering I’ve played a lot of tennis and done a fair amount of conditioning for my core, but I guess I need to make it even stronger. Maybe I’ll be able to get my 6-pack now, haha. I’ll probably go see my physical therapist this week and see what she has to say about it. I hope it goes well!

Have a good week everyone!

Last Week of School!

We are finally here! Finals week, whoop whoop. But then again, that means four days of more stress and awful tests, but it’s fine.

Looking back on junior year, it. was. hard. I’m not even joking. I remember being a sophomore and thinking that junior year was going to be easy-peezy. I was very wrong. I remember talking to some of my junior friends and asking them about junior year. Some of them said it was going to be easy. Most of them said it was going to be easy, now that I think about it. Haha, they were wrong too. I did take three AP classes, so I guess that factored into the difficulty of the year but still. Oh, man was that rough.

I spent so many nights crying and studying and crying some more. I had so many headaches and I’ve never seen myself more sleep-deprived in my life. I didn’t cry because of friend drama or anything like that, I was actually crying over my homework. I had a wheelbarrow of it every night, it felt like. But other than dealing with the academic stress, this year was actually the best. I had so much fun.

I was in multiple organizations and clubs at school and those helped make my year amazing. I was healthy this year for high school tennis and finally got to play singles, won first in my region, and got to go to state for a third year in a row! Yay. 🙂 I was in NHS and had fun working with different volunteer groups to make my community a better place. In BLUE Crew, which is a group that helps the incoming freshmen transition, I enjoyed getting to know my little ninth-grade nuggets and guide them on the start of their high school journey. In student council, I had a blast planning events and I feel honored to be able to serve as one of the three co-presidents on the executive board for next year. I also was a part of Circle of Friends which is a club that partners students with students in the intensive care learning. I got to eat lunch with one of the sweetest and most amazing kids for the past two years now. I never saw myself doing anything like that, but now it’s something I’m passionate about and look forward to every week. The kid I eat lunch with has brought a whole new perspective of life to my life and I’m so thankful for the opportunities I had junior year. I’ll get to serve as one of the presidents for Circle of Friends next year too, and I’m pumped to do that as well.

I kept the friends I’ve made over the past couple of years, grown close with some, and even made new friends that I look forward to spending senior year with. It’s insane that I’m going to be a senior soon. I helped escort yesterday at my high school’s graduation and it’s so hard to believe that I will be graduating next year. AHH!

And so I should probably leave this post here, because I need to go finish studying for my physics final. Have a good week and best of luck to everyone taking finals! 🙂

Last Week of School

Why I am a Self-Critic

Recently in AP Lang, we had a creative writing assignment inspired by a piece by Zitkala-Sa titled “Why I am a Pagan”. I chose to write about why I am so hard on myself and here is that piece. Enjoy.

Heavy breathing. Sweat dripping. Mind racing. There was no way I’m going to pull off this match. Two hours pass under the glaring sun and I’m still out on the battlefield. My back burns as the heat stabs into it. My feet burn as I dash madly from sideline to sideline in a frantic attempt to keep myself from raising that white flag. My heart burns as I watch the championship match against my nemesis go up in flames. No matter how many serves I sent penetrating the enemy’s walls or how many shots I fired evening the playing field it wasn’t enough. It never seems to be enough.

My last play haunts my mind as I walk up to the net. “You just had to miss it in the net didn’t you Ana? I can’t believe you just let that happen. It’s not like that doesn’t happen at least six or seven times in a match. You’ve been working on that! Get a grip!” My opponent and I may have ceased fire on the court but that ceasefire hasn’t reached the strident voice nagging me in my head. I hold back my frustration and overwhelming feeling of crying as we shake hands and head off the court to our families.  

I knew my family would be proud of me. They always are. They’ll see that I worked hard out on the court. Or did I? Was I good enough out there?

As I fasten my seatbelt in the car, a single tear rolls down my cheek. And then a second. And then a third. And then a flash flood rumbles down the hill. It seems like no matter how hard I push myself out there, I’m trapped swimming just below the surface of the ocean. I’m left to wander and explore the vastness of the watery depths. I’m breathless. It seems like no matter hard I work on the court, I’m doomed to endure the harsh conditions of a summitless mountain. Progress may be made but sometimes it feels like I’m headed nowhere. I see the same old trees on that horrendous mountain and every time I have to cross that river or climb over that boulder, I might vomit out of disgust. “We’re here again?! I thought we were over this already?”

I look out the window from the backseat of the car and watch as the cars, trees, and houses go by. As my dad navigates through Colorado Springs, my mom turns to me.

“Ana, you know not to be so hard on yourself. This is silly behavior. You are stronger than this. You made it to the championship, for goodness sake! Be proud of yourself for that! And who cares about some Jessica-messica Do not let that get to you, okay?”

My mom may be right. I shouldn’t let someone with poor sportsmanship like that get to me. I shouldn’t be my own worst enemy. I shouldn’t hate myself so much for losing a match in the championship of a tournament, but I have to.

Hating on myself and kicking myself in the butt for making mistakes motivates me to be better. Losing sucks, I’ll admit it, but it allows me to learn from my mistakes. I may never reach the summit of that awful mountain and I may never get to breathe the fresh, salty air by sticking my head above the water, but I’ll be able to learn from my experiences. Being critical of myself allows me to give flight to the strong, beautiful butterflies that were once weak and struggling caterpillars in my life. To some, being hard on yourself is detrimental. It’s pointless. It’s silly behavior. I don’t see it that way. I see it as an opportunity to educate myself and improve who I am. There is no limit to improvement and I am endlessly willing to become better in all I do. If this is self-improvement and growth, then forevermore, at least, I am a self-critic.

Why I am a Self-Critic
Credit to artist. Not my piece 🙂

Revealing the True Colors of Your Opponent

For the past few months, I’ve played in a lot of tournaments and seen all kinds of tennis players. Along with those tennis players, came a variety of personalities and attitudes. One thing that frustrates me about some tennis players is their lack of self-control, class, and sportsmanship.

It’s hard to understand why some girls appear as sweet and friendly when they’re up and turn into jerks when they lose a game or even a single point. As soon as your opponent pulls out their claws, you know you’re in for as show. They start yelling at themselves, hitting themselves, abusing their racket, and using profane language. They lose all sense of control and even begin making bad line calls. They might even start questioning your calls.

This can be hard to cope with on the court, especially when you’re winning. It can be difficult to keep yourself optimistic when your opponent is acting like an animal. When I played a girl like that in the past few weeks, I struggled to keep the anger that was building inside of me contained. I was able to because I was disciplined and had class, but that wasn’t the case for the girl on the other side of the net. While I may have been winning for a while, I let her ridiculous actions get the best of me and had the match slip from my hands. So what.

A lesson came from that match and it is something I’ll never forget. Regardless of the outcome, I know I outclassed her and acted like one should on the court. If your opponent begins acting like a monster, ignore it, be yourself, and kill them with kindness. Allow your opponent to dig themselves a hole and self-destruct. Never let that kind of silliness get to you. When you play your best and ignore your opponent’s actions, you’re going to succeed.

Just remember this, play with class. If you choose to lose self-control and respect for your opponent and yourself, remove the “c” and the “l” and now see what you are.

revealing the true colors of your opponent and tennis

Tennis Etiquette: How to Respect Yourself and Your Opponent

Sportsmanship is a crucial part of building good character on and off the tennis court. There are times when players cheat or do things that aren’t respectful towards themselves or their opponents. This is true for all sports, but today I am focusing on etiquette in the tennis world. Here are a few ways to show respect for yourself and your opponent on and off the court.

Don’t trash talk your opponent. Just don’t. You should never talk bad about anybody anywhere and I feel like that is common sense. Still, for some reason, people think it’s alright to make others insecure or unsure of their abilities by talking about them to others in a rude manner.

Talk about your match until you are somewhere private and quiet. This follows along with the first tip in a way. After you’ve played a match, wait to say anything about it until you’re somewhere quiet and away from your opponent and their family. My family and I always wait to talk about how a match went until we get to the car. Once you get to the car, or wherever you go to, then you can talk about what went well that match and what didn’t. If you had any questions or concerns that weren’t brought up during the match, now would be the time to spill the beans. Still stay away from speaking negatively of your opponent.

Hand the balls to your opponent during changeovers. I know a lot of girls that will simply just tap the balls into the corner or fence after serving and allow their opponent to go get the balls after getting water. I have nothing wrong with that, but it’s a good idea to be courteous and hand your opponent the balls when you’re close together. As a side note on that, if you chose to hit the balls to your opponent from the other side, hit the balls to them directly so that they don’t have to run for the balls.

Show up on time. Whether it’s a practice or a match, show up on time. You can receive penalties for showing up late to a match in a tournament, so don’t let that happen! It is disrespectful to the tournament, your opponent, and other players to show up late.

Know the rules of tennis and abide by them. This is pretty self-explanatory but ignored by many players. Knowing the rules of the game is super important. On top of that, if there is an interruption or interference during a point, call a let. Either you or your opponent can call it. Calling the score loud and making your line calls loud are also important.

Turn off your cell phone. Most clubs prefer that you don’t bring your cell phone onto the tennis court, but if you do it’s not a big deal as long as it is turned off. You don’t want your phone to become a distraction to you or your opponent.

Shake your opponent’s hand at the end of the match, make eye contact, and tell them good match. Regardless of the outcome, you need to be a good person and thank your opponent for playing, let them know how the match went, and wish them good luck with their next match if they have one.

Be kind to yourself. Being the perfectionist I am, I struggle with respecting myself and being kind to myself. If you lose a point don’t yell at yourself or hit yourself in any way. It looks silly when you do this plus you are actually harming your body when you choose to hit yourself. Plus, it becomes obvious to your opponent that they are winning mentally and have the upper-hand. If you do get angry or frustrated with yourself after losing a point, there are other ways to release that anger by tightening your ponytail or gripping your racket tighter. When I start to get frustrated with myself, I do my best to focus on my breathing and getting into a very simple rhythm that can keep my head cool and off of other things.

This list of tips on how to respect yourself and your opponents on the tennis court could go on forever and I know that there are plenty of things that weren’t mentioned here. Just use common sense when you are on and off the court and think about how you would want to be treated. By choosing to be respectful to yourself and your opponent you will probably have a better experience with tennis and you’ll learn much more about your game, physically and mentally, and also learn about all of the potential you have as a person and tennis player.

 

 

 

Did You Know: Tennis

Tennis is an increasingly popular sport and just so happens to be one of my favorite sports. If you’re a person that plays or is wanting to learn some facts about the sport, here’s a few things you might not know about tennis.

-The longest match ever recorded was played between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010. It lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes. John Isner won the match and occurred over three days.

-Wimbledon is the only major tournament played on grass. The Australian Open and U.S. Open are played on hard courts and the French Open is played on clay.

-The modern game originated from Birmingham, England in the late 1800s as “lawn tennis”.

-Prior to the use of rackets, people used to play using the palms of their hands.

-Tennis balls were originally white but then yellow balls were introduced at Wimbledon in 1986 so the players could see the ball on the court better.

-The  courts were originally hourglass shaped. The rectangular courts came into being in 1875 for the Wimbledon tournament. A standard tennis court measures 27 feet wide and 78 feet long. For double matches, the width of the courts is 36 feet. The net is 3 feet 6 inches high, and it divides the court in half.

-A tennis ball weighs 2 ounces or 56.59 grams.

-The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus became the first set of sisters to ever win gold medals in the Olympics. This happened at the Sydney games in 2000.

-After Roger Federer, a phenomenal men’s player, won his first grand slam, Swiss tennis officials gifted him a cow. He was the first man from Switzerland to ever do something like that.

Tennis is a wonderful sport that a person can play throughout their life. If you are a person looking for something fun to try, I would suggest giving this awesome sport a shot. It can be a lot of work but tennis is a great source of exercise. It really gets you moving and it’s also a great sport that’s fairly easy to learn and a great sport to explore with friends. And if you’re not into playing the sport, maybe try watching one of the major tournaments. Wimbledon is coming up so that might be something worth watching. So whether or not this information is new, now you know a few things about tennis. Have a great week and stay cool!

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