It's a warrior sort of sport, isn't it? It's equivalent of boxing without getting punched in the face. You're out there and you've got to wear your opponent down, and you got to have your tactics, and you got to do it for as long as it takes until somebody comes out the winner.Pat Cash - Episode 82
This is true for none other than Pat Cash, a legend of the sport who is a Wimbledon Men's Champion and 5x Grand Slam Finalist. A force to be reckoned with throughout the 80's and 90's, Pat dominated the court by seeking out the cutting-edge of training, nutrition, and recovery...even when no one else was. Pat's philosophy of following the science extends into his coaching career, in which he is currently coaching top players like Coco Vandewegh.
It's a little slow, but I'm convinced that almost every athlete in the world will be taking ketones. I mean, it's mad not to. They all want an edge, don't they? And it's a legal edge.Pat Cash - Episode 82
Geoff: Pat, thanks for coming on the program.
Pat: Well, thanks very much, thanks for having me.
Geoff: Pat is a Wimbledon Champion and five time Grand Slam finalist. So, where are you calling in from? We're in San Francisco, and you're in ...
Pat: I'm in New York. It's the middle of the United States Open, so I'm here at US Open tennis. This year in this capacity I'm coaching Coco Vandeweghe, who is one of the top American players. Had a great year last year.
Geoff: Tennis strikes a very personal core with me because I grew up playing tennis. I grew up in Palos Verdes, and Pete Sampras' high school tennis championship plaques were on my high school tennis wall. So it was cool to see that and obviously Lindsay Davenport and a couple of these other players grew up in the Southern California tennis circuit. So, tennis player growing up, and it's cool to connect and chat tennis with someone with such a pedigree in the sport. I'd love to dive into the technique, the mental mindset, and also the evolution of the sport. I mean, clearly it's changed a lot over your personal career and I presume in your coaching career, it's still very much changed a lot.
Pat: Yeah, no, absolutely, and funnily enough, California was really significant in changing tennis technique for the modern times. Now, if you know tennis you know about various grips, and the Western grip, which is a grip that creates a lot of top spin and it's for balls that are sort of bouncing up high. Now, almost all the players have an almost semi-Western or a Western grip, like Rafael Nadal and Federer and all the guys, they get so much spin. Now, it was called Western grip because it was from the west coast of America, because you guys had hard courts and the balls were bouncing high. So, the only way you could do that was to change your grip around so that you could get over the top of the ball and get all that top spin.
Most players now have that sort of grip, and Coco Vandeweghe is my player, and she's originally from New York but she moved back to California when she was little. So, she's from San Diego and she has a Western grip and double handed like everybody else. But back in my day, the courts tend to be lower bouncing. Different bodies, certainly different type of bodies you would see on the players, the successful, a lot my day, compared to now.
Now, Pete Sampras is a classic. He's old school but he's also slightly modern, but he had massive legs. If you've ever seen Pete Sampras, you know, his legs, he was so powerful. He had the greatest serve I've ever seen. He was an extremely powerful guy but he was also very flexible. In my day, the points were very short, the courts were quicker, the grass courts were fast and low. So it was almost like you were doing a sprint. You'd be sprinting for hours on end, but the burst was very short, three or four shots, maybe five or six shots. Now the rallies can go on for 10 shots, 15 shots, 20 shots.
So, the body type of tennis players has changed. You get these skinnier, wirier sort of players. Novak Djokovic is a classic example. I mean, still the powerful guys like Nadal are successful, but you tend to get ... Venus Williams is a classic example. Tall, lanky, long arms, long reach. Gonna run all day. So, the body type of tennis players are just changing a little bit as we go along, but the great thing about tennis is it doesn't matter what your size is or what your shape is, you can still be a good tennis player. You've got to be particularly good at hitting things, of course.
Geoff: Right, yeah, I can imagine it's kind of how people describe boxing or mixed martial arts. Like stylistic fights, right, and different physiological body types adapt to different strategies and styles. So, I'm actually curious, I mean, given the evolution of the sport, what would you say is an ideal body type?
So, I'm actually curious, I mean, given the evolution of the sport, what would you say is an ideal body type?
If you could have a Frankenstein, you know, you are God, you've designed a perfect body type of a player, what would that look like? Would that look like a 6'4" kind of a giant? Is that even too short? You're looking for someone that's a little bit shorter but a little bit stocky, like weight? Any sense there?
Pat: Well, you know what? We've found some unbelievable athletes that it's hard to say go past somebody like Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, but they're different body types. You know, you've got Federer who tends to float across the court. I mean, he really is very, very light, and then you've got your Serena Williams who is just pure power. But as we've seen the matches, the rallies go on, the body types, as I said, tend to be a bit lighter.
Flexibility was always certainly important for me. Well, without sounding like I'm big-headed or very smart, but I was very lucky in that I had some very good trainers who were very cutting edge, and they used to delve into different types of nutrition. We did a lot of flexibility, a lot of strength, weight-lifting. Various things like that. Not heavy, heavy weights, but it was really about flexibility and strength on your extreme.
So, in other words, when you're really stretching out and you're in real trouble and you have to have some strength, when you're out stretching and you see these guys that can do that. Certainly the equipment has helped them a lot, but 6'3" who can run all day and is wiry with strength. That's probably a Novak Djokovic type of body, really, to be honest. But you know, who can say then that Nadal's had some injuries. To me, Nadal is like the Ferrari, the Lamborghini. You can really hear him coming around the corner. He's powerful and ... and he hits the ball incredibly hard.
Geoff: They might break down a few times every now and then.
Pat: That's right. He's always in the workshop, he's always in the workshop. And you've got Federer who's the modern, almost like an electric engine who just floats around, vroom, vroom, vroom.
The greatest changes I suppose in tennis has been nutrition over the years, but also recovery. Recovery's been phenomenal, and for professional athletes of all types it's really about recovery, and that's changed massively in 30 years, obviously.
Geoff: 100%, I mean, I can definitely echo that from the different engagements and conferences that I've been in in the athletic world and the military world, and I think we can definitely dive into that. But before diving into the physiological side of things, I want to just rewind into your history a little bit. You as a kid, what gravitated you towards tennis? What's your personal journey here?
Pat: Well, I just ... I liked all sorts of sports. In actual fact, I grew up, my father was, back in those days, he wasn't really professional, but a professional Australian rules player for one of the top teams in my state, which was the premier state, in Victoria, the premier state of football in Australia. So, he played football but he just played socially with Mum to play tennis. But I suppose I was one of those kids, lucky kids you hated, but I was sort of the captain of cricket, I was the best football player, I was the best sprinter at school. I was good at everything, I suppose. I wasn't so good at school, though, but you know, you can't have it all-
Geoff: You're out on the field, you're just running around being athletic.
Pat: You can't have it all, okay, but I was pretty good at sport. And I just picked up tennis and I thought, well, this is great, this is a sport you can play all year, where other sports you play a season and then you have an off season and then you play something other sport or whatever, and tennis I could play all the time. It got to the stage where I could start playing against the men. At the age of sort of 13 or 14, I was playing against the men in the state and beating them.
Then I had the opportunity to go overseas and travel and play against the other kids. Mainly Europe was where it was all happening, and still is, but there was a splattering, of course, of American players, you know, the Connors and the McEnroes and Chris Evert, who changed tennis. You know, Bjorn Borg changed so much about tennis. He just changed European tennis strategy with double-handers, backhand.
So, when I got a chance to go overseas and play these junior tournaments in mystical places called Wimbledon, and Roland Garros or French Open, and juniors here in New York, the US Open, I was sold. I said, "Okay, this is great." I absolutely got beaten up the first year or so, but you learn pretty quickly when you were playing that sort of level of tennis.
Geoff: Yeah. So, was it when you were around 13 that you realized, "Hey, I have a special knack for tennis. I'm competing at quite a high level, I'm beating men. I should double down. Forget about cricket, forget about the four sport, the high school jock sort of stereotype. I'm going to just be a tennis player."
Pat: Yeah, well tennis were regarded as much. We were kind of regarded as sissies or whatever. It wasn't a man's sport. It wasn't rugby, it wasn't Aussie rules, but I didn't care. To me it was a very cool sport, and yeah, I realized I had to specialize. At the age of sort of 13, 14, I had to start specializing and put a lot more time if I was going to compete with these kids that were beating me up for the first couple of years. We came back as a junior team in Australia. We didn't have any finding back then, even though Australia has one of the grand slams. It's regarded as one of the biggest tournaments in the world, oft biggest four tournaments in the world, but yeah, we didn't have any funding back then. So we had no funding for juniors.
So we had to ... "we" as I said, my coach and my father and a few businessmen put the money together to send us overseas to get some experience. It was a shock, the first day that I arrived in Europe. I went on the court with my other fellow Australian and we were playing a national competition. And we were hitting with this kid, you know, they sometimes put you on a court. They just said, "Oh, go out to court 15 and practice." So we sort of went out to court 15 and there's a kid there, and we started hitting with this kid. And this kid wasn't missing. He just literally wasn't missing a ball. We'd play for 20 minutes and he'd miss like two shots. We sort of looked at each other, I looked at my friend and I went, "Oh my goodness. This is the standard of every kid. This kid is just ... who is this kid?" We'd never heard of him.
As it turned out it ended up being Mats Wilander, who as we know, he won a couple of US Open, about three French Opens, Australian Open, so he was one of the greatest players of all time, but we thought he was just a normal kid. Just some random kid that was just thrown on the court with us. It's funny because Mats and I have been great friends ever since. But you had to start specializing. But also I had a background in other sports. As I said, I played basketball at school. I was athletic, running, cricket, whatever it was. So I had this really good background in competing in those levels, so when I got into tennis I was a competitor, I was a good athlete and I blossomed pretty quickly.
Geoff: Yeah. I think one thing that I'd like to get your thoughts on is that, you know, I've kind of a similar background but obviously never got to your level of depth here, but played a lot of sports growing up but then tended to focus on tennis as I played high school, et cetera.
One thing that struck me with the sport of tennis is that it's such a mentally scary sport, if you will, compared to something like a basketball or soccer.
In those sports you have your 12 teammates and the pressures not just on yourself, with tennis you're grinding every single point, point after point after point for a couple of hours, you know, some of the longer matches three, four hours.
Curious to hear if that struck you early, coming from the cricket field when you had your teammates and your coach and a lot of breaks in the game, where on the tennis court you're by yourself. The coach is not really supposed to help you give you feedback, they're supposed to be observers. So it's just you in your mind out-resiliencing the other player that you're staring at for couple of hours. Curious to get your thoughts on that. Did that ever strike you, and your thoughts around how did you build the mental resilience?
Pat: Yeah, it's true, it's a warrior sort of sport, isn't it? It's the equivalent of boxing without getting punched in the face. You're out there and you've got to wear your opponent down and you've got to have your tactics and you've got to do it for as long as it takes until somebody comes out the winner. Look, people who are listening to this might say, "Oh, what's he talking about here?" but I truly believe that tennis is the toughest sport in the world to be successful at, and that's because physically you need to be out there for hours on end, and I guess you've been in New York the last five days and you've seen what these players have had to go through just to-
Geoff: It's muggy, right? It's muggy.
Pat: It's unbelievable. Well, they built a center court here, the new Arthur Ashe, they've built a roof on the center court, and it's not a complete roof, it's slightly open, so it's not air conditioned, they can't air-condition it. So, when it's 95 degrees outside and it's humid and it's all cement, the hot air doesn't go out. It stays in, and it's just unbearable. I don't know how we used to play in these sort of conditions, and we're sprinting around and doing that for hours on end, backwards and forwards and twisting and turning, and all that sort of stuff.
And then in normal tennis events you have to back that up the next day. It's not that you have four days off. You have to back it up the next day. Sometimes in the Grand Slam the men are playing five sets, and if there's rain delays and the matches are backed up, they have to back it up day after day. It's absolutely brutal, absolutely brutal.
But it's a mental battle of course, as well, as you said. You don't get a lot of help out there, you're not supposed to get any help out there, but it's amazing how the body is and the mind is. If you push yourself to a certain limit without breaking, then you are able to keep topping that up all the time. You can't expect a 16-year-old kid to come out, occasionally it happens, like Boris Becker wins Wimbledon or Michael Chang won the French Open at 17. Occasionally that happens, but very, very rarely does it happen that some young kid can come out there and just be mentally tough straight away.
It takes years to become mentally tough until you're adaptable and you can literally handle the pressure, and then you can get off the court, and you do it like second nature. You get off the court, you do your cooldown, you have your food, you go to bed, you get your game plan for the next day and off you go. That's sort of the skill of being a coach or a player, to be able to deal with that. The great players do that very, very well. Then there are players who are up and down tend to have some form of weakness somewhere. Now, it could be a forehand, it could be a backhand, could be a serve, could be a second serve, could be a forehand volley, could be a backhand volley, could be speed or it could be agility, or it could be any element of those mental issues that we just talks about.
The skill level in tennis is just so extreme, and you've got hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of players all around the world wanting to be successful. It's the highest paid woman's sport in the world, so therefore you have very, very competitive women from all over the world. Men's, of course, you get basketballers and soccer players, whatever, paid a lot more, but women it's not, it's kind of like the highest paid sport there is. I suppose golf is just slightly behind that, but for individual sport, tennis and golf for me are the two, and of course as far as physical abilities or physical requirements, tennis is streets ahead of golf. Not that golf's easy, but they're not running around for four hours.
Geoff: Right, and just so many less decisions and just interactions, right? With tennis you're just making decisions every literally second, where in golf it's like, you take a swing, then you mentally recharge. There's not a mental break in tennis.
Pat: Yeah, it's funny because in many ways, the less time you think, the better. With golf, I mean, I don't know how many times you've watched a tennis match and the guys coming out to sit down to change events, he's coming out to serve for the match, so he's got a minute, two minutes, 90 seconds to sit down, he comes out and he's a nervous wreck. And he comes out and he makes a double fault and makes a couple of mistakes. This is 90 seconds. Now, if you're putting for the US Open, one of the masters, and you've got to wait five minutes for the other guys to putt. So, golf it's a slightly different feel.
Geoff: Yeah, point taken, I agree, point taken, point taken.
Pat: It works both ways but it's both very, very tough.
Geoff: Yeah, I'm curious to dive into the mental aspect a little bit. I just remember one specific match, it was a satellite open, and I remember that I dropped the first set. Usually in very low level amateur matches, if you lose the first set you lost half the game and usually people give up. I'm sure in your experience, but just what I saw they, if you lose the first set you're usually going to lose the second set and just call it quits. And for whatever reason, I decided to like, no, I want to just play, and maybe I just loosened up. Then I just saw the other guy fold in one second set. He just gave up on the third set.
I'm curious in your experience whether some of these early matches that just, you realize that being a little bit tougher, a little bit just grittier, did you see that give you confidence or was your edge a physical edge? Were you just more physically gifted than other people? So, kind of a 2.-part question. Did you learn some early lessons as a junior that gave you that mental edge to become a Grand Slam winner and one of the top tennis players in your generation, or would you say that your gifts were more physical? What was your edge as a tennis player?
Pat: Well look, I think it's a bit of a both. I think there's an element of luck in it as well. I mean, some players have very strange techniques, but they're so physically gifted that they can get away with it. For instance, John McEnroe is a classic example, and actually Roger Federer, two of the greatest players we've ever seen, but technically you wouldn't coach the way that they play. Normal people could not play that way. You could have a very talented athlete, and you do have plenty talented players who've come in and sort of copied these players, but they can't do it, they're freaks, they're freaks.
And the same thing with McEnroe. He's only guy I've ever seen, I've played against, who can completely lose his temper and yet come back and have it not affect him at the next point, the very next point. I've never seen a player completely lose their temper and yet no problems, snap out of it or just be so angry they refuse to lose a point, and they play well.
So look, it's an interesting thing. At this level, the US Open and this sort of ... particularly in the men, it's a bit like a marathon runner saying, "One mile. I'm just going to stay with this guy for one mile and wait for him to crack." That's kind of like, well, as you know, you go by the mile. I'm just going to stick with you. I'm just going to stick with him, and then somebody will snap at some stage.
That's way you sort of have to feel. "Okay, we're going into the fourth set, no problems. Going into the fifth set, somebody's going to snap and I'm just going to be there to take advantage of it." And sometimes the guy's just, wham-bam-bam, hit three winners and he's sitting there going, "Wow, that was just too good." A lot of times you walk up and you shake hands and you say, "Well, I played really well, but that was just too good. Too good on the day."
Geoff: Yeah. So how about you personally? What was your edge? When you were competing at your peak, what did you think personally was your edge against the field?
Pat: Well, I think mentally I think I was very strong. I had a lot of help with sports psychology was just coming in in my era, so I had the opportunity. As I said, I had a bit of luck in my career. A great physical trainer, sports science expert, and I also got a great sports psychologist who just started working with the Australian Olympic team. I got in contact with him and he gave me a lot of advice. We traveled together a lot, so I was able to learn quite a lot of techniques, just through trial and error. He would say, come off after a practice session or after a match and we'd sit down and he'd say. "You know, you didn't do this quite well," or "You lost focus right here." Or "What were you thinking? You lost two break points and I could see you were steaming up and then the next game you didn't play well. Don't you think you were a bit too ..." You know, and again it's just trial and error. There's very few 16-year-olds can do that.
So there's the age of 21 that I started working with this guy, 20, and by the time it was 22 I was at my peak and won Wimbledon, but I was also extremely quick, so playing on the grass courts or a quick surface I could cover the net very well. And attacking play, it was pretty much the way the Australians grew up.
We grew up as attacking players, and because the courts have changed and the strings have changed and the racquets have changed, it's almost a dying art. There's very few serve volleyers anymore that are successful in singles, and to me it's a pity.
That's the way it goes. It's the evolution of tennis. Good or bad? I think most older players would say it's bad and older people would say it's bad. We've lost a real aspect of tennis, a real element, a skill set in tennis which is around the net play and tactics and touch.
But you can't argue with seem to fantastic tennis that's out there. It's magnificent.
Geoff: Yeah, so as a contrast, like heavy base line, just people sitting back, power shots.
Pat: Exactly, and for hours on end. I sit there scratching my head and I go, "How on Earth are they doing this?" Some of the stuff that Nadal does on the side of the court, or Federer from nowhere, it's just like wow, okay. We couldn't do that. We couldn't do that with the equipment that we had, we wouldn't even dare try it. If we did try it the coach would kick is in the head and say, "Get off the court. What are you trying? You're messing around." But these guys do that partially because the equipment allows them to, but also they're just incredibly skillful.
Geoff: Yeah. You mentioned earlier in the conversation that a couple of the biggest aspects of how the game has changed is recovery and nutrition, but it's obviously that the racquets have changed. You mentioned playing with a wooden racquet, now there's carbon fiber, all the different marketing language around carbon nano-tubes and all this stuff, right?
How about we talk about recovery first then? Recovery and nutrition. What was it like when you were 16, 20, coming up the ranks? It sounds like sports psychology came into trend as you were stepping up the ranks. I mean, clearly the sports business and the sports practice has become a lot more sophisticated. I think the way I think about it is that it used to be a bunch of gentlemen or gentlewomen, kind of hobbyists that were kind of talented and ended up competing in like a gentlemanly sort of way. Now there's a real business. People can make a living and a lot of money doing this, and with money, people spend a lot more attention fine tuning everything. I imagine, especially that's entering into our community, is that people start measuring all these biomarkers and biometrics. So, that might be on the very, very cutting edge, maybe genetic testing, all that stuff.
So, curious to hear the latest as you transition into the coaching career, managing and working with some of the top players today, how much has some of the techniques in the military and other sports translated into tennis? And what were some of the most impactful movements or developments in the sport since you were a player to now being a coach?
Pat: Well, as I said I grew up ... tennis, like all sports, they evolve. Of course, in 1969 tennis became professional and before that it was amateur. You'd be invited, you'd travel overseas on a plane or even a boat with a team and you'd play the different tournaments and then you'd go to the US, the French clay court, then the Wimbledon and then go to the US. Then of course professionalism came in players were able to make some money.
There's actually a really good documentary if people want to dig it up. I'm not sure exactly how to get it, but it was from the tennis channel and it's called The Barnstormers. If you like tennis and you want to have appreciation for what the players used to go through, the early days of professional tennis, check out that documentary, Barnstomers. These guys were basically outlaws. They were regarded as really, outlaws. How dare they play professional sport? So they weren't invited to any of the clubs. They couldn't honestly go and play in any clubs at all, so they were trying to make a living. They'd put up a tennis court sometimes on a pier in a town, play on boards, they'd play literally on ice rinks, put a little matting across the top of an ice rink, where their feet are freezing. They'd sleep in their cars and they'd travel together. There were some that might have some money, they could sleep in a hotel room or get some family to put them up.
The only way to make a living was to play non-stop, and these guys played five sets every day. Every match they played five sets. Now we talk about somebody playing five sets, they go, "Wow, they must be exhausted." These guys played five sets every day, and they said, "There's only one way we can do this, is we've got to put on a show and we've got to go 110% to show the world that this is legitimate tennis." So these guys, the things they did, it's a great documentary.
So, about my era, I first heard of Ivan Lendl, Martina Navratilova, using this guy who had a new idea about carbohydrates. High carbohydrate diet would give you lots of energy and you could keep going. So, it was carb-loading, the beginning of carb-loading. That was 1980 ... I was going to say 1984 or '85, maybe. And at that stage I was this up and coming player and I said to Ivan Lendl, I said, "Does this thing work?" And he goes, "Oh yeah, I feel great. I've got lots more energy, it's much better, I eat properly. I can recover." All that sort of stuff.
So, next thing you know, within a couple of years, every tennis tournament ... And you don't even need special food. You just eat whatever's there. It's nothing but pasta. Pasta, pasta, pasta everywhere, and it's still today. You go somewhere, they'll have a big plate of pasta, pasta area. They might have some other meats or whatever, but on the road you've got to eat whatever's given to you and you try and find your way around there.
So, nutrition obviously changed massively, but you know, recovery. The year that I won Wimbledon, as an example, there was one tour physio and one local physio and a doctor, and that was it for 300 or so men players. That's all there was. Now, if you wanted to ... and an ultra-sound machine. You're too young to remember the ultra-sound machines, but that was an ultra-sound machine.
That was about all you could get, so if you had a bad shoulder you would basically stand in the line. You'd go into the trainer and say, "Listen, I've got a match in an hour, can I get some treatment?" He'd go, "Yeah, yeah, well, either put your name on the list or wait, because I've got Billy here. He's on in 15 minutes. Joe here, he's on in 35 minutes, so you're on 45 minutes you'd be able to come after him and I'll give a little ..."
And the massage would be like whatever on your shoulder, "Right, okay, off you go." And that's it, and then afterwards you'd come back you'd be like, "Oh, my shoulder." He'd go, "Right, see the esky over there? There are some plastic bags, there's the ice. Stick and on your shoulder, okay, and we'll see you tomorrow." That was it. That was it. I mean, I did a lot of stretching, and people were looking at me, players were looking at me, and I'm doing agility stuff. People were saying, "What are you doing? What are you doing?" And I'd say, "Well, I'm doing my agility work."
So, I was actually quite scientific because I had a great trainer who actually came out for US college. Australian lady called Dr. Anne Quinn. She started doing all the agility work, and scientifically, we'd do testing the quads and the hamstring ratios. That was pretty cutting edge, but that was about it. Now we know ... I used to have to take my heart rate in the morning. I didn't pay any attention to it. I didn't know anything about heart rate variability and all that sort of stuff, whether I was recovering or not, but now my player, she wears this thing on her wrist. We know first thing in the morning, the physio has a look and says, "She recovered really well," or "She didn't recover really well. Okay, we better take it light on the practice court today." Today was a classic example.
Geoff: So, heart rate variability, probably.
Pat: Yeah, that was something we just literally did today. I saw him on the way to the practice court and I said, "How did she recover?" He goes, "No, not so good today." I said, "Okay, we'll pull the practice session, make it lighter so she's ready for her match tomorrow."
And then of course the technology with the racquets and the strings and it just goes without saying that that stuff becomes more powerful, and that's changed tennis probably more than anything. But the recovery now, ice baths, everybody's on a bike after a match cooling down. We never had any of that equipment anywhere. The first time we saw a bike in a cooldown room ... I mean, Wimbledon didn't have a proper gym until about 4 years, five years ago. I mean, it's crazy to think, but now there's massive gyms. So, recovery-
Geoff: So, people are just flushing out lactate after a match. You're just cycling, pedaling it out.
Pat: Yeah, and then there are supplements now, they take the lactate out, out of your muscles. There's all sorts of stuff. They're very, very strict in tennis with drugs and doping and products, so players are quite wary.
We're quite slow in tennis of bringing on something new, and I think that's why ... That's an interesting thing for me with ketones. I'm a bit of a guinea pig myself.
Back in 1986, my trainer found a place that would test your blood and test amino acids, and that was in Atlanta. So I used to get my urine, freeze it and send it over, take blood, send it over, hair samples, send it over to Atlanta, get tested and find out there my amino acid levels were.
They used to send back the most revolting tasting stuff. You'd mix it up and it was literally, it was like glow-in-the-dark yellow stuff that you'd be like ... Ugh. It wasn't like these powders that you can get now with flavorings. It wasn't any of that sort of stuff. It was absolutely horrendous, but I also believe it helped recovery.
I was still a bit old school, where I didn't quite take on this ... we didn't quick know about recovery and rest, or was too stubborn. I just wanted to be the fittest and the fastest, and I felt that you could work, work, work. Rest was not a priority to me and I got injured a lot, and once I got one injury, I got the next injury and the next injury and the next injury. I've recovered from them all and I've learned a lot from it, and I think that's made me a better tennis coach. Rest is very, very important. It's really built in now to the daily and the weekly programs.
Geoff: Yeah, and I think that opens an interesting little side thread here, which is that I think the old school sport is exactly how you mentioned it. Just be tough, power through, power through, power through. There's a lot more subtlety with ramping up and peaking at the right time, and with that ramp-up process means slowing down, having sure you have recovery. I think usually when people talk about that, this is in the context of a marathon or a track and field event, where you can really, really just peak on one day, or one fight, like boxing, mixed martial arts. You've got to just kill someone on one day.
But tennis is quite different. Tennis is, I would say, more akin to a military deployment. You're kind of playing, over the course of a Grand Slam, a couple of weeks, hopefully, right, you make it, you win, it's like a couple of weeks of play time. So you've got to be peaking for an extended period of time, and obviously if you're going from a military point, you're on the battlefield for months at a time.
Curious to see if that adaptation and an optimization sort of thinking around training and recovery has made it into tennis, or how does that apply to tennis? Because it's kind of atypical towards a track and field event or a single event type sport.
Pat: Yeah, look, when I actually just had Coco's trainers and nutritionist come in, and I wanted them to come in because I wanted them to experience exactly what the tennis circuit is like. Now, they're a company called Exos who are around the US and are very, very good. They do a lot of athletes.
Geoff: Also do a lot of military as well.
Pat: Yeah, they do, exactly, yeah they do. They're in Google and all that sort of stuff, that's right. So they're very experienced. One of the head guys came in and you know, he wrote out a program and said, "Right, okay, we're going to get this serious."
Coco's had a really bad year and unfortunately twisted her ankle, she got sick. Is one of those terrible years. We want get her to do well, quickly get back to recovery. So, he wrote out a program and he said, "Listen, this is the program. Blah-blah-blah. I want her to do all this stuff. We've got one of our trainers to come with you. I'll come up and I'll visit you for a couple of weeks leading up to the US Open, but this is the program."
I sort of just looked at it and I went, "Good in theory, yeah, we'll try and follow that." Within day one it was out the window, because-
Geoff: Why? Was it too much?
Pat: No, because tennis at 9:30 AM ... Get up in the morning, have breakfast, do more up in the elliptical machine.
Pat: Yeah, that's good. Elliptical machine. You know, do ankle rehab. Tennis from 9:30 to 11:30. Lunch, brought her food in. Well, day one it rained, so there goes our practice session. Where we're going to fit the practice session? Well, something's got to give. Okay, so we had to move everything here. Well, when's her lunch going to come? Well, could we put it in after that? Well, then it's too late. It's too close to dinner. I want a recovery session.
And then of course comes the Monday, and Sunday night usually you have the schedule, because the qualifying is on before. If it's been a wet say or whatever, we don't know who qualifies. The qualifiers, some that finished earlier in the day, they will play on Monday, and ones that finished later in the day, they might play later in the day or even the next day on the Tuesday. So they don't make the schedule, half the time you don't get the schedule in tennis until 10:00 PM at night. In actual fact, we're in the evening now and I'm still waiting for the schedule for the US Open right now.
So, how are you supposed to plan on that? And he's sort of scratching his head going, "This is really tricky. You've got to be really adaptable." I said, "Yeah, well that's kind of tennis as it is, isn't it? Every point you've got to adapt and you've got to change and there's a bad line call and the wind blows and your opponent ..." So, tennis is an amazingly adaptable, you have to be adaptable to do that, but we try and stick to some form of format, but it really only ... In the women they have two months off at the end of the year. In the men they don't even have that. They have a month off. So you have one month to work on your technique, to get fit. You get in the gym and do your base strength work, and then get straight back into agility, because within a month you have to tear around the tennis court. So, if you want to get in the gym and build something up, you haven't got much time.
You've got three weeks for a lot of these players. So, a lot of the stuff is done on the road and adjusting. It's very tricky. I like to say it's a science, but in actual fact it's a non-science.
Geoff: Yeah, that was what I was going to actually ask you next, which is like, how do you select your training blocks? I mean just broadly speaking, there are so many ... I mean, you're just constantly traveling and competing that ... do you have much time to develop new technique or is it just like off season, jam as much technique work and skill work and then kind of maintain the mental sharpness and the physical health to be able to compete? Or how do you think about it?
Pat: Yeah, it's actually very, very tricky. Look, I tend to leave the training stuff to the experts, because they know what they're doing, but as far as technique goes, being fascinated by biomechanics myself. I had a technique that created injuries and it wasn't particularly great. I went back to the drawing board towards the end of my career and rebuilt my whole technique, and I actually hit the ball way harder than-
Geoff: Which is crazy risky and scary, right? Like, I'm just knowing, again, like you change your grip, you lose a lot of muscle memory.
Pat: Yeah, no exactly, but I had no choice because I was injured and also because I realized when I'm injured I'm a little bit slower than I used to be and these guys are hitting the ball harder, way harder. So I decided I had to do something about it, and it took me probably a couple of years to get everything right, and I actually hit the ball way better than I used to. I know I can't move and I don't focus as well as I used to of course, but I had to take time off.
So, when I have an issue with Coco or a player and I say, "we want to fix this," we do have to have some time off. The thing that I've found is that the players that I've worked with, Mark Philippoussis, Greg Rusedski, particularly, and Coco, they've been my long term players. We've all done well, actually two of them have got to this final US Open, and Coco got to the semi-final last year. So they've been successful players. They're incredibly talented. I mean, they pick things up like that, and it's surprising. Where a junior might take weeks and months and years to pick something up, they can pick things up within a week or two weeks. And I suppose I should be surprised. I say well, they're the best talented players in the world for a reason.
Geoff: Right, they're professionals, yeah.
Pat: They can pick this up. But some things they can't and you just got to chip away at. Something things it's just the way their body's built, and you just say well, you just can't. They're just not going to move that way and I can't expect them to move that way. But it's a real skill and you had to do, as I said, the majority of work right at the end of the year, November. But the Davis Cup final or the ATP World Tour finals is in mid-November. So the Davis Cup final is after that. For women it's mid-October, so women can have a bit more time off. It's a better schedule, and it's one of these things that the players in the men's have been arguing about for years, about "Give us some more rest. Give us some more time off."
So the ATP did do that. They said, "Okay, we're going to make the season two weeks shorter." So what did the players do? They just went off and played exhibition matches and made loads of money. They played non-stop for three weeks anyway. So they went, "Oh well, okay."
Geoff: Fair enough. So you mentioned nutrition. The original kind of old school style. Carb loading, carb loading, carb loading. And obviously as you've been following just a broader nutrition space, a lot of interesting developments and perhaps hype around a ketogenic diet. Recently there has been a lot of discussion, maybe not into the athletic performance perspective, but people within the keto diet are talking about doing a carnivore diet, just only eating meat products, which is more on the extreme side. I don't know if you've seen some of that stuff.
Curious to see if some of the nutrition interventions have been in play in the tennis world. Again, maybe it's not even sticking to one diet throughout the entire year. The notion of cycling diets or periodizing diets for different types of training or different types of matches. Curious to see how much nutrition has evolved over the last couple of decades.
Pat: Yeah, well as I said, it was carb loading, that was what it was all about. It got to the stage ... Well, there was a lot of players hitting the gym. I don't know if you remember Andre Agassi coming out at one stage and he was just muscle-bound. Well, it kind of worked for him I suppose, because it got him in the gym. He was just super talented and he got away with a lot of stuff.
Anyway, all of a sudden the protein was pumped up to ridiculous. So it was carb loading, and then there was protein, and I'm talking to Rod Laver who's the only man who's won all four of the Grand Slams, Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open, he's won all four of those in one year twice. The only man to do that. Now, he used to travel everywhere, and I talked to him because I'm very curious about this. Because I'm very interested in the low carb diet, the keto diet, which I did for a good nine months recently, and then of course all the products including yourself have been coming out and I've been testing.
And I said to him, "What did you eat? What did you eat? You used to play these exhibition matches." He was a pro, he was one of these guys who played five sets. Every night they went to another place and they played five sets and they'd move on. And I said, "What did you eat? Nutrition?" He said, "Well, we didn't have nutrition. Basically we had eggs, we had butter, we had eggs and we had steak. We had meat and some vegetables." And I sort of thought to myself, I thought ...
Geoff: That's pretty low carb, that's pretty keto.
Pat: That's pretty keto, isn't it? And I said, "Did you ever get tired?" He said, "Never. I always felt great." And Bjorn Borg said the same thing. He used to practice every day for five sets before Wimbledon, he never played a lead-put tournament and he won five Wimbledons in a row. And I said to Borgie, I said, because I never actually played him on the tour. He was just a little bit older than me. And I said to him, "What did you used to ... you played five sets every day." He said, "Yeah, I used to play at least five sets. Probably seven sets a day. One five-set match and then another couple of sets in the afternoon."
I was like, "You're joking me. What did you eat, what did you do?" He said, "Same thing as I always did. I had just a steak and maybe some potatoes and a steak, vegetables and that was about it." And again I was like, "You're kidding me. How can you possibly recover from that?" But it's a kind of a keto diet in a way.
And Rod Laver said, I said, "Why is that all you ate?" He said, "Because meat was cheap back then. Meat was actually pretty cheap, so that was the only thing we could afford to eat. So we had meat and we had eggs and at night we had a couple of beers and I cooked my own steak. I cook a great steak, I still do. My friends come over and they think I cook the best steak in town." And that's what he had, and it's kind of keto. Isn't it funny how it goes around?
Geoff: Yeah, it's kind of, wow, it's interesting hearing it, because again, I think the dogma in the last 20, 30 years was like, carb load, carb load, carb load. It was interesting to hear that the recovery side, where some of the benefits of a ketogenic diet always been shown in literature, it is anti-inflammatory. Some of these effects that might have been showing up in how this guy has such crazy stamina. I mean, seven sets on a daily basis is no joke. I mean, that's four, five hours on the court easy, right? I mean, that's a lot of anaerobic load.
Pat: Yeah, no it is, but obviously for me as curiosity, I mean, I went-
Geoff: Yeah, did that spark you to try that? Curious to hear about your nutritional adventure. Obviously I want to hear about your experience with our Ketone Ester, but yeah, just curious to hear about, what were your personal explorations and what are your thoughts on all the different things you've tried?
Pat: Well, my motto really is to try and just try everything, and try and be as good as you possibly can be, so that's why I got this sport psychologist ahead of my time. That's why I got the amino acid testing ahead of my time. That's why I got the full-time trainer, and I've always tried to experiment and try stuff. Just find stuff that actually really worked. Carbo load didn't work for me. I just couldn't get out of bed. I mean, I just had pasta, pasta, whatever, I couldn't get out of bed. I'd just wake up with ... I couldn't move. So I realized something's gone wrong here.
So then I went gluten free and I actually lost a lot of weight, and I thought actually, that kind of works, which means I was kind of cutting out carbs, wasn't I? I was really cutting out pasta accidentally. And then the older I've got, my joints and my muscles have had injuries, I'm old, I've beaten the hell out of my body for 40 years competitively on the court.
One of my sons said to me, I've got a tennis academy in Australia, and he said to me ... a friend of ours, Richie, he said, "You know he's diabetic?" I said, "What? He's the fittest kid I've ever seen." He said, "Yeah, but he doesn't take any insulin anymore and he feels great. He runs around and his muscles, and he goes to the gym ..." And I'm like, "Hold on." He said, "Dad, you should get on that, because his joints feel really good. It's called a keto diet, ketogenic diet." I was like, okay, I've got to explore this. He said, "Give him a call."
So I gave him a call and I said, "What? First of all ..." He said, "Yeah, I've got a rare diabetes thing. I'm super fit, but I don't take any insulin, I don't even bother checking myself anymore. I do everything that I could still do. I actually do more, and I feel better, and my joints don't ache and my muscles recover." I'm like, "I need to hear more about this." And that was the ketogenic diet. I went on it because everything frikkin' well ached. Sorry, a bit of a swearing to people.
Geoff: Yeah. How many years ago was this? I'm actually curious in terms of timing.
Pat: Only a couple of years ago.
Geoff: Yeah, okay. Keto has really come on and been a huge increase in interest so it makes sense in terms of timing.
Pat: Yeah. So I found that worked. I didn't really have the keto flu or any of that sort of stuff, but I felt it worked. Trying to get the right balance with water, salt and the oils was tricky for me. Sometimes I sort of felt a bit queasy and whatever, and I realized I was dehydrated.
I sweat a lot anyway, so dehydration was a big issue, I had to get that right. That was important. So, electrolytes, and then of course I heard about these ketone supplements, and I couldn't believe it.
I had to pinch myself. Somebody told me about this and I said, "You're joking me, right? People are making this stuff that mimics what your body makes?" I couldn't believe it, I just got unbelievably excited.
So, I've been experimenting, trying different things including your product, which I think is fantastic. Because I'm a high energy output, I'm quite muscular and I sweat a real lot, I had to sort of work out ... you know, I was traveling, playing exhibition matches and training with Coco and whatever and I was just pricking my finger all the time. Like, "What are you doing?" I said, "I'm just testing, I'm testing." I found that I really burnt through the ketones very quickly, not necessarily your product. Because that was interesting. That's how we got in touch, because I was like, "Ah, something is actually going to last more than an hour."
Geoff: Yeah, I'm curious, how were you testing? Just to give people a broad context. When you were eating a ketogenic diet, what were your blood ketone levels?
Pat: Well, gee, I've kind of forgotten half of them, but they with ... yeah, I got up to, gee, what was it, .1 Millimole, is it?
Geoff: Yeah, .1 is like very, very minimal, right. So, .1 is if you're quite minimal. 1.0 is pretty nutritionally ketose-
Pat: 1.0, 1.0, yeah, 1.0. 1.4. So, that was sort of what I was around about.
Geoff: Okay, that's legit. I mean, that's classically ketogenic.
Pat: Now, I found it really difficult, first of all, to stay there for long hot training, and just generally traveling and everything, it's just a diet that I found really quite tricky. So I've learnt the tips. So I would say I'm not really on a keto diet anymore, I'm on a low carb diet. Various things I won't go into, but I got a form of adrenal fatigue from just playing, competing, traveling for 40 years. So I've been advised medically to make sure that I'm eating enough and eating before bed and eating as soon as I get up, so make sure that my liver's got glycogen in it and I don't go, start burning up using my adrenals. So I don't burn it up by mid-afternoon.
I'm trying to find the balance, so I decided to go on the low carb diet, but by using the product I could go into ketosis a couple of times a day. I had to get used to your product, but I would have sort of half of it and then a full one and mix it backwards and forwards and try and find the right taste. I did this twice a day, and it's unbelievable. I've got to say, people look at me and go, "What have you been doing?"
I don't actually do that much. I play a little bit of tennis, I go to the gym, I do Gyrotonics or yoga or Feldenkrais to keep my body loose. I don't do a lot. They said, "No, you're hitting the gym every day. You must be pounding the gym. Look at you." I said, "No." If they're really interested I go, "Well, I take ketones." And they go, the usual response, "What's that?" Or some people go, "Oh, I've heard about that. What's that about?" Or some people just, you know.
So, it's ongoing but as I said, tennis community is picking it up a little bit. I know there's quite a few players using it, but certain players, because of the drug testing, are so strict. If it doesn't have a wider approval or sport ... whatever it's called.
Geoff: Yeah, safe for sport, certified for sport.
Pat: Yeah. So, that's really important for the players, because tennis is probably the most strict as far as drug testing. I know they're ketones, but if it doesn't have that stamp on it, a lot of players won't go near it. In actual fact, I'm really curious to know from you, because this is one of the issues when I contacted you. I said, how does it work with the esters and your product? Is it a food, do you get a stamp? How does that work? Because I'd really like to pass that on to some-
Geoff: Yeah, no, it is NFS certified for sport, it's regulated for food and it's WADA compliant. Some of the more recent high profile, more public use cases has been a third of the grand tour cycling teams were our customers this past Tour de France. And actually, part of the original development of the Ketone Ester in the DARPA program was that part of the mandate of the program was to make this go through FDA as a food. If you actually go to an SF website you can actually search for human ketone, and you'll find our official little NSF certified for sport little category. And I think just knowing that a lot of the original finding came from UK Sport, and our research lead, Brianna Stubbs, who rode for Great Britain, it was really important for her personally, just knowing how much athletes put into their career, that you just cannot justify anyone getting flagged. That jeopardizes their career. I mean, that's like the worst thing we'd want to do.
So, hopefully that gets us on the record... it's WADA compliant, NSF certified for sport, it's regulated as a food, it's not a drug, not a supplement. It's actually probably safer than most supplements because it actually is a food ingredient.
Pat: Yeah. Well, your product might be an exception, the others probably not, and they're popping everywhere. I mean, I just walked into [GNC 00:56:26] to get a little funnel to put the product, and there it was. There's all these ketones popping out and I kept on looking at the back and saying, not many of them have a WADA approved ...
Geoff: Yeah, I know, that's right.
Pat: And I don't know, if you don't know exactly what's in it, a pro athlete is not going to touch it.
Geoff: Yeah, stay away from it.
Pat: So, that's why I think it's slow getting into tennis, and I also think because of the traditions in tennis, this element is creeping in, it's a little slow, but I'm convinced that almost every athlete in the world will be taking ketones. I mean, it's mad not to. They all want an edge, don't they? And it's a legal edge. I think they're absolutely mental not to. It's creeping in, and I think we'll see it more and more, but the traditional nutritionists just don't know it. Don't understand it, don't believe in it, don't see enough scientific proof. But it's coming, and they will realize it. The professional athletes who are listening to this or who know the product, they're getting an edge right now.
Geoff: Yeah, no, exactly. That's what we're working on, just doing more on the research side, making sure we just do good science. At the end of the day, the truth comes out, the science comes out, and I think that's what we just focus on, and obviously it's great to hear that positive feedback. Just internally we just hear good results and that makes us proud of what we do.
It is also interesting to hear that there's a lot of ketones salts, basically other types of exogenous ketones that aren't WADA compliant or don't have as much data out there. It is going to be, I think, a big category. I think we're relatively lucky and unique having the IRP on the Ketone Ester that has the most validated proof and data, but there are interesting things going on in the broader sports nutrition, because it's something that's so interesting physiologically.
I think just looking forward, you've seen a lot of the cutting edge stuff. That seems like something that you pride yourself in. What do you see that seems to be some of the future research direction that you're personally most excited about? Like again, I think we see in the cycling world that it's very metrics-driven. Things like power meters, things like tracking their lactic acid threshold because they are doing mountain climbs, and they can measure what three inch of watts will produce in terms of lactate, four inch of watts will produce in lactate.
I think it's a much more of an arguably simple sport, because it's just like, you on a bike producing output. Tennis obviously a lot of technique, style, dynamic between a one on one sort of match. Do you see that similar characteristic around the quantification that sport happening, or do you feel like it's much more of an animalistic, intuitive sport? What are your thoughts there?
Pat: Yeah, it's interesting, isn't it? Because having Coco's nutritionist here this week, and I had to be honest. I said, "Listen, Coco's got to play tomorrow. Does she have enough fuel in her?" And she said, "Well yeah, she should have plenty." I said, "Because you realize tomorrow the match could be 4 minutes, and it's stinking hot. 45 minutes, or it could be three hours. It could be more than three hours." We don't know how long the match is going to go for. We don't know the heat from day-to-day. We can't plan anything.
Going back to what I was saying, you've got to be so adjustable. You can plan 24 hours in advance, or 48 hours, but that's just about it. You do a general schedule, but it's not like a bike where you know exactly how the gradient of that hill is on Tour de France, and you know yeah what speed you should be hitting, and you know exactly how many calories you should be hitting, assuming you had to maneuver around a few other bikes, but you basically know exactly what your output is.
In tennis, you don't know what your output is. You don't know if you're hitting ... if you sere well, you have to 70% of your first serves in, so that means you only have to hit 30% of your second serves. Now, if you serve badly you have to hit one first serve and a second serve, that's extra output as well. So, it's one of those really tricky sports, where science is creeping in, and we know very fully in that, it's mainly based around trying to recover, and that'll continue to be that way.
This is why I'm very exiting about ketones, because there's no doubt there's a huge anti-inflammatory element to it. And there's other products out there that all claim all these various things. Not talking about ketones, I'm just talking about things that will help your anti-inflammatory, whether it's this curcumin stuff what I've got here in my drawer or whatever it happens to be.
Mega hydrates, another product that I absolutely swear by. That softens the cell membrane and helps you absorb nutrients and get rid of toxins. A combination of these things I think is where tennis is going to be in the future. Whether the ice baths work, these cry therapy units that go to some tournaments, that players go and they cry at therapy. The French Tennis Association have a couple of cry therapy units that players can go straight in there after matches. Most of the places it's ice baths. We've got an ice bath there in the locker room today. Two of them. At Wimbledon they have about six or seven. It's a bit different from my day. One ice pack. Now they have six or seven baths in there.
So, tennis is certainly getting there, but it's just very hard to judge, and emotionally, you've got jet lag, you've got different foods to deal with, all that sort of stuff. You wake, turn up, you fly across the other side of the world and you catch a cold in the plane and then you're out for a week, and then you can't train properly the next week. So, it's one of those crazy sports and it makes it very, very tricky.
Geoff: Right, especially you have one individual. With a team sport, you lose a key player, you still four or five, depending on the sport, you still have other players. Like, you are down, you are down. There's no other crush to rely on.
One thing you mentioned that was interesting was that a lot of cry therapy. Obviously I think a lot of sports and folks that we've been engaging with, a lot of interest in hot saunas. I mean, you've got the cold, you've got the heat. Has that been something of interest? Have you looked into that?
Pat: Yeah, I think they're great, there's no doubts about that. I'm a big believer in it. I think what will happen, there'll be ... there's various mats and certain units that you'll be able to rest on and lie on, I'm surprised actually that players ... I know a couple of players have been traveling with certain magnetic or vascular type of mats that help throughout the night, doing that sort of stuff. There's different units. Boots that you put on, moon boots, you know, the vascular stuff, but there's stuff that players will lie on, I'm very interested in a product that's come out from Russia. They used the winter Olympic team. An engineer from Porsche developed a motor that's basically underneath a bed that vibrates this bed, and he said they've had incredible success with their athletes. So, that units coming out., a friend of mine's going to bring it into the UK to try. It's $30,000, $40,000. Well, if you've got a premier league football team like Chelsea or Manchester-
Geoff: Yeah, I mean those are some crazy budgets, yeah. Absolutely. And what's the theory of mechanism? You shake while you're sleeping? What's the theory of mechanism?
Pat: I'm not exactly sure. I'm confused myself, but it's a form of vibration. You lie on it for 10, 15, 20 minutes. I think that'll continue to come into tennis and sport as well. The grounding mats I think that people ... I've used them. I think they're pretty good. I know they've been used by certainly Tour de France athletes. Something to help you recover while you're doing nothing. While you're sleeping, helping you to recover.
That's what your product does and that's what certain diets do. It's like, this is an anti-inflammatory. This helps me recover. I wake up in the morning and I feel better. There can be other things that add into that, that's a natural thing. Not everybody's the same, as well, and that's what I've particularly found with athletes or myself. Certain things will work, somebody will swear by this product here. "You take that and you'll recover." Somebody will say, "No, no, this one's better." And how do you know? I mean, this is the industry that we're in. We're a billion dollar industry. How do we know what actually works?
What I found that's been very helpful for me is actually going to a therapist, somebody who does nutritional muscle testing therapy. Kinesiology, where they put a product on your chest or you hold it, and you see if your muscles go weak, if it actually affects you in some level. I think that that saved me a lot of money in actual fact, because I bring all my products to this lady and she puts them on me and she tests me. She says, "No, that's no good. Yeah, that's good. That's good. This is really good." And she'll test AM or PM, and she'll test, find out. "Okay, take this product in the morning, this is going to be really good for you. Take this product at night, this is really good for you. That one's no good, that one's no good."
The products that have everything in them ... I'll just pull up something like this. It's got a hundred different things in this product. All you need is one that doesn't work for you and you might as well just throw it out. Just one thing.
I tend to stay away from the products that have loads of stuff in them. Even though the majority of it is good, there's always your one or two little things that don't work for you and it's actually going to affect your body, and it's going to throw it off balance.
So, I use this lady in London, but they're around. There's different people who do different things. There's a physio ... I wouldn't say a physio. There's a thing called PDTR, which is Deep Tendon Reflex, which is a fantastic system of checking out your body, going through your body, balancing everything out and working out where injuries are or what nutrition works for you and what doesn't.
For instance, I had an injury, I kept pulling my quad muscle. I went to the therapist and they went, "You keep pulling your quad muscle. When did you do it?" I said, "I did it in March here and then I did it in December here." They said, "Ah, winter time." They went out, they got a cold bottle of drink, they put it on my body and my arm just went boom. My leg muscle just went completely weak. They said, "You're allergic to cold." I said, "Well, being Australian, I probably am." So, they rebalanced me and no problems. I literally stopped pulling the muscle.
All these little things, they're quite fascinating, and I always tend to experiment, but that's been a money saver for me if nothing else.
Geoff: Oh, 100%. I mean, I think I can agree that-
Pat: And by the way, ketones are good.
Geoff: Well, good to hear. I mean, I think I can just imagine that absolutely, there's some component around genetics or environment stressor that dictates how we respond to certain interventions, and it sounds like you found a particular method to test all these things in a way that doesn't mean you're just buying all this stuff. I'm actually curious, so certain interventions, they'll basically try it on you and the therapist will dictate or understand your muscle response, and through that muscle response you can judge whether this is helpful, neutral or detrimental to your muscle performance, basically.
Pat: Yeah, exactly. Exactly that, yeah. I don't know exactly how they do it. I've got a basic idea of it, and it kind of makes sense. It's maybe not as science ... some of the medics might go, "Oh, that's just hocus pocus," but I'm not sure. I mean, even if it is pretty accurate, that's good enough. That's good enough for me than to waste a whole lot of money on stuff that I don't really need and my body doesn't really want.
Geoff: Yeah, no, it seems sensible at least to have some sort of structure to figure out what's working for you or not. I guess the gold standard would be just do ... I guess placebo-control with an intervention and then see how you respond, and maybe post facto measure it, but that's obviously complicated, if that's the gold standard, what is the most efficient way to get to some sort of result that you can apply to your practice or your players, et cetera. It's all about finding efficiency about what works for you, given the use case or goals that you're trying to achieve.
Pat: Yeah, that's right. You've got the scientific brain going there, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Yeah, it's trying to find out what works for you. I mean, what does work for you? So much guesswork is going on, and I do it as well. I hear about something and I go out and I buy that. That's going to be fantastic. A month later I go, "Yeah, maybe, I don't know." Or "Wow, yeah, it did work." So, there's a lot of guesswork going on. I do test my bloods all the time, and my hormones and all that sort of stuff. I always have. That helps, there's not doubt that helps. There's a little bit of science, well, quite a bit of science involved in that, as do my players, and Coco particularly. But sometimes you don't really know. Is a bit of a guesswork, I suppose.
Geoff: Yeah, no, I think science and engineering is about quantifying and optimizing things you can measure, but I think it's overly simplistic or over simplifying to just say, hey, everything is measurable. And I think there's definitely certain human qualities that are kind of intangible, right? Like why is one player more mentally resilient than another player? It's hard to measure courage or the amount of pain you can withstand. Maybe you can measure that, but kind of these intangible human aspects.
Maybe technology can get to a point where it can actually start measuring some of those soft metrics, but until then it is about that human experience of human judgment. How do we optimize and get into a player's brain to help them achieve greatness, really, right?
Pat: Yeah, and I think a lot of this, I mean, genetics is massive. There's no doubts genetics is huge in sport. You got to pick the right parents.
Geoff: That's funny.
Pat: You know what I mean? Some people are just born that way. But there are certain things that you can do that we know we can do that can improve an athlete or improve them mentally, and you do those, and there's the extra things I suppose you can't really quantify necessarily. It's down to the individual, but we know that if you eat bad food, if you're having fried food, if you don't stretch, you don't cool down, all that sort of stuff, that you're more susceptible to injury. If you start all of a sudden pound up doing one hour a day of tennis to three hours a day of tennis, within two weeks there's a chance it's going to be injured.
So, we know those sort of things so you try and stick to certain limitations and certain guidelines, is what I'm looking for. And the rest, particularly in tennis, is a little bit of ... it's experience, and that's why you tend to have good experienced coaches who were successful and players are looking for good, experienced coaches because they know how they can, in some way, create some sort of format in the mad world that is tennis.
Geoff: It's an interesting late tennis gossip or tennis news, where Serena Williams, she had her famous cat suit that was banned from the French Open, and I think just in the last couple of days a French player I believe was changing her shirt because it was on backwards or she was sweaty, on the court, and that was flagged as a warning. And obviously that's quite a double standard for men and women. Curious to hear your thoughts on that, and the change in, I guess, the etiquette of the sport.
Pat: Yeah look, it was pretty crazy. I mean, we're talking about a crazy hot day and one of the players, as you said, she went off to change her clothes, came back, realized, ooh, she put her outfit on the wrong way, and sort of as she was walking up ... because there are time restrictions. You can't just take all day to get changed, otherwise you get defaulted. So she just quickly flipped her top around and she got a warning for that. Look, they backtracked on that and said, "Ah, this is not an incident, but we had to give a warning because it was part of the rules of etiquette of tennis."
Tennis is a funny sport. It's actually losing quite a bit tradition. Tennis is a traditional sport.
We have the Davis Cup, which is a men's international competition, home and away. It's our biggest nations competition. Well, they've just completely changed it altogether. They've just thrown it out, all the tradition, and they've made it into just a one-week event, because they say they're losing interest for players for the public.
There's a lot of competition out there for other sports. I mean, in my day there wasn't much you could watch on TV. You watched tennis and there's football, basketball, that was about it. There wasn't that many sports. Now there's 30 channels that you can watch sports, so they believe they're losing quite a bit, but I don't see that. I see, certainly in the US, when you're seeing so many good girl, women players, coming through in the US, it just shows a clear sign that actually the game is really thriving. It's just a really tough sport. It cost money and it's a really tough sport to survive in. It's not easy to make money. The average player is making ... you know, if you're ranked 100 in the world, you're only taking away $300,000 a year and you're spending $29,000 on expenses, you know. It's just one of those things.
There's always controversy around ... A terrible incident just happened where one of the umpires went down and talked to the Aussie kid Nick Kyrgios who's very volatile and doesn't try sometimes, and he's emotional. He's an incredibly talented player. The umpire got down of his chair and game him a pep talk, which is just one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen in tennis.
Geoff: That is strange.
Pat: The neutral chair umpire, it's not like it's a junior match where he comes down and go, "You okay, kiddie? You okay? Would you like to take a drink or do you need a toilet break? We can start our tournament ..." You know, under fives or under nine. This is a professional tennis match. The guys gets down and does him a pep talk. He says, "Nick, you're better than this. You can keep going." And he turns around, he was just about to throw the match. He was exhausted, the heat got to him, and ended up pulling his act together and winning the match.
The other guy, of course, is absolutely furious now, and the authorities go, "Oh yeah, no, that's fine. It's like, what? You get angry at a girl who changes her shirt because she's dripping with sweat, but yet you let an umpire come down and give this guy a biased pep talk?
Geoff: That's wild.
Pat: Tennis sometimes just, it just makes no sense. It drives me nuts sometimes, it really does, the officialdom. But I understand it's a hard tour to do, because it is a circus, it's a traveling circus. It's like the Rolling Stones tour but with 400 people traveling round the world, and it's not easy to keep it all running smoothly and all the players happy, because you know, there's never a happy tennis players. There's always something going wrong, unless you held the trophy at the end of the tournament with a big check, somebody's miserable.
Geoff: And then you're happy for two weeks and then it's back on the grind.
Pat: Exactly. It's a brutal sport.
Geoff: Yeah, 100. So, as we wrap here, how do people follow you? I mean, clearly, a lot of interesting things that are following with yourself, your players. What's the best way for our audience to stay tuned and keep up to date with your developments and thoughts and your experiments here?
Pat: Well, I have a website, patcash.net. I do all sorts of stuff, as I said, from biomechanical to tennis lessons to blogs to nutrition stuff. So there's a bit of info on that and there's the real Pat Cash on Instagram and Twitter. There was a fake Pat Cash, I don't know what would bother. Donald Trump is the real Donald Trump, isn't he? Is that right?
Geoff: Yeah, so you're at that level, I guess. I mean, it's a sign of honor to have people faking to be you.
Pat: Is it really? Oh, okay.
Geoff: Maybe not if you want to not be compared directly to Donald Trump, but again, depending on your politics, let's not get into that, but maybe.
Pat: Yeah, let's not get into that.
Geoff: Yeah, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule. Best of luck to you and Coco in the upcoming weeks. Best of luck and best of successes.
Pat: Thanks very much, and I look forward to catching up with you again soon. Thanks for having me.
Geoff: Thanks so much, Pat.
Once a week, we'll send you the most compelling research, stories and updates from the world of human enhancement.