For junior athletes like tennis player Sasha Wood, the journey to becoming a professional athlete is an exhilarating one—but all it takes is a split second for an injury to sideline that dream.
This is a real fear for many girls Sasha’s age.
“I see a lot of girls that turn pro, and a year into it, they're hurt and can't continue, even though they're such talented players as juniors,” she says. “It's really sad.”
Her father, John, a former professional baseball player, is aware of the potential dangers of training at Sasha’s level. So he made it his mission to find his daughter the absolute best injury-free training regimen.
“As her dad, I didn't want her to be worried about saying ‘I can't get there because I'm hurt.’
According to Sasha, injuries were a common problem she heard about. “It's almost as if they've played so much as a junior,” she says. “They've trained so hard, that once they get to the professional level their body just breaks down because their body isn't prepared to withstand what the competitive professional level requires.”
So together, Sasha and her father began their search for a program that would support her tennis training and sustain her development as an athlete.
“We were looking for a place where I could work out where they didn't use weights,” Sasha says. “Where they were very into the injury prevention side of things. I worked out at CrossFit before coming here. I was lifting a lot of weight, getting hurt, my elbows were bothering me, my knees were bothering me. I had a lot of small, acute injuries that were really hindering my tennis [game].”
In her search, Sasha came across the basic principles of TB12 and the importance of muscle pliability and resistance bands. “I thought that sounded really good,” Sasha says, “so we thought maybe we’d try it out.”
Compared to her CrossFit training, Sasha was surprised by TB12's style of supporting her fitness development. “My Body Coach went over body work, and that was something completely new to me,” she explains, referring to the targeted deep force body work used by TB12 Body Coaches. “Then we [did] a few tests on the treadmill to see if I had any instability or imbalances. That was, again, something brand new [to me],” says Sasha. “And the measurement tools on the treadmill were so precise. No one had ever really done that for me. That was really cool.”
Now two years into the TB12 Method, Sasha has seen a significant boost in her performance on the court. “I've definitely gotten faster, my short movements have gotten quicker, and I've been able to use my hips a little bit more with my shots—that's something that [my Body Coach] Matt always enforces,” she says. “But the biggest thing has been no injuries, which is obviously the most important.”
DIVISION 1 AND BEYOND
"I think my biggest goal would be to go to the professional circuit, get into some of the Grand Slams,” she says, “and maybe win a few matches there.” Although precocious and modest, Sasha's prowess makes it clear her goals will be easily attainable. She recently committed to play tennis at Columbia University, where she'll be playing Division 1 tennis and getting an Ivy League education at one of the most prestigious universities in the nation. And in pursuing that high level of competition, she has consistently been comforted by one of the core tenets of the TB12 Method: injury prevention.
“When you're at TB12 they will make sure you stay healthy. Injuries will not be a concern, and I think sometimes that's what holds back athletes,” she says. “I know a few girls my age, if they get a little ache in their elbow all of a sudden they're worried and it takes the focus off their match. They're not thinking about how they're playing, they're thinking ‘my elbow's bothering me.’ That's not a worry when I'm here. TB12 has my back,” she says with a smile. “I don't have to worry about injuries. I might get a few aches, but that's not what I'm gonna focus on,” she says. “Instead, I can focus on my match. I can focus on playing hard, working hard and performing my best.”