Hi, my name is Beck Pennington and I was fortunate enough to play for the University of Kentucky men's tennis team at the number one singles and doubles position. Growing up I played several sports. I played football, basketball, baseball, and tennis. It wasn’t until the age of 14 that I set the other sports aside to focus on tennis. I have grown up involved in several sports and being very active and really taking a lot of time and energy into my sleep patterns and having a healthy lifestyle overall.
I'm currently the men's assistant tennis coach for the University of Miami so I love being around sports. It's been a part of my life and it still is to this day. I just wanted to tell you today how important it is for me to focus on my sleep patterns and my overall wellness and how that helped me perform well on the court at the University of Kentucky.
Having a consistent sleep pattern, I believe, is extremely important for not only an athlete, but a student, a person in a full-time job- essentially anybody. Having a solid consistent sleep pattern allows your body to rest and heal and you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. As an athlete I value sleep. As I said, it allows my body to rest and to really nourish itself and hopefully get ready for the next day. Getting at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep and getting a very consistent sleep pattern at night has been very important in my life.
I think the biggest thing with diet is consistency. I think having a well-balanced diet will not only impact your short-term lifestyle but your long-term lifestyle. We need to be focusing on what we're putting into our bodies. I truly believe it doesn't have a short term effect. What is it going to look like 5 to 10 years down the road and how is your body going to be using all the intake?
So at the start of the pandemic, the world was essentially shutting down so I figured with all this downtime that I had it would be a phenomenal challenge for me to do a mini-marathon. I feel like I've always been in pretty good shape but what I hate the most is long-distance running. So what better way to challenge myself than to train for five weeks and then run a half marathon? The sense of accomplishment when I reached that 13.1 miles… and knew that I was done! Looking back at all the 5/6 week grind that I put in just by myself was rewarding. This kinda sparked the running bug for me because of the inner intrinsic motivation that I had, but also just feeling a sense of accomplishment. So with that being said, I believe it's important to set small goals, medium goals, and big goals. It doesn't matter how big they are, what matters is that you're setting a goal for yourself and going through the journey, grind, and commitment, and ultimately reaching your goal.
So I think the take-home today is:
- Having a very consistent sleep pattern is extremely important.
- Eating well, having a very well balanced diet. Not getting into the pantry every night getting that Twinkie, on the weekdays let's eat green beans, let's eat the hearty vegetables, let's go white chicken.
- Physical activity. At least getting out on the intramural fields or whatever you want to do 2 or 3 times a week.
- Setting small medium or large goals for yourself and keep trying to accomplish those goals. I promise it will make you feel so much better about yourself and will hopefully give you much more confidence, I know it did for me.
So I challenge you to do all of those. But that being said, what I would tell my players in the University of Miami men's tennis team right now is: the key to being successful and happy in life is having these attributes and just having a well-balanced lifestyle. I believe it will contribute to your personal and, hopefully, your professional careers. Just go out there and rock and roll.
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