17:51 12 May 2014 In the air between Omaha and San Diego by GS Jade Barrett, CsbNews correspondent
«Tennis is all about mental toughness, and you have to keep your head in the game. I make time to relax away from competition pressures, travel and intense training schedules to make sure I’m looking after myself. Taking time out with family and friends helps to maintain the work-life balance everyone needs» – Samantha Stosur
Even the most well conditioned bridge athletes need to sleep sometime. A few years ago, I spent an enjoyable lunch with Egyptian great, Walid El Ahmadi, during which we discussed the challenges faced by the true Bridge Road Warriors – proper diet, rest and exercise and how amazing the results of some players are, year over year, despite the lack of respect paid to those three important considerations.
There are many players who are simply too excited from the day to rest, and Heaven forbid that the hotel bar be closed before the last hand is dealt, or the athletes will be forced to roam the streets. These long days turn into longer nights into early mornings, depending on the stamina of the adventurers. Yet they are present at their assigned posts for the next day’s event, regardless of their lengthy revels.
After a few months of these intense tournaments, I reach the limit of my energy and must have a few days of mindless activity – which occasionally translates literally into stopping and smelling the roses. The intentional drawing of my attention away from the game allows for the resetting of my mind, both calming and cooling the overactive brain that these events create. It has taken years of training to be able to forget hands, or to be able to store them away for future contemplation – otherwise I would never find the respite I so often need.
Each new day of competition brings new challenges that require my complete focus, for missing the slightest detail may derail my team. Therefore my partners and teammates deserve the best effort I am capable of that day, for my strength varies from one session to the next. The key is not to waste too much of it on frivolity.
I am not alone in seeking the calm moments between the storms of frantic mental gymnastics, for every individual in every type of competitive endeavor requires these periods of inactivity. The brain, like the body, needs the opportunity to recuperate.