Athlete Spotlight: Brenna Sheldon, Oberlin Women's Tennis

Brenna Sheldon with a Volt-powered forehand. Image courtesy of Oberlin College Athletics.

You know what we love at Volt Athletics? Athletes. And you know what we love even more? Athletes who embrace their Volt training and KICK BUTT in the weight room and in competition. Brenna Sheldon, the 2014 NCAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year from Oberlin College, is exactly that. 

Why are we spotlighting Brenna? Because she represents an awesome example of what can happen when a skilled, hardworking athlete takes on a serious strength training program for the first time. Heading into her senior year at Oberlin, Brenna diligently worked on her lifting technique, followed her Volt Tennis program, and listened to her coach, Constantine Ananiadis, on the court. A lot of you might be wondering how much impact a strength training program could really have in a "finesse" sport like tennis. Well, the results were PHENOMENAL. Let’s have Brenna tell us in her own words how Volt Tennis helped her game rise to new heights. 

Dan Giuliani: How did you first hear about Volt Athletics?
Brenna Sheldon: I first heard about Volt Athletics from my tennis coach at Oberlin College. At a team meeting he informed us that we would be testing out this new workout program that would get us in the weight room - a place not many of the girls on my team spent much time in. 

DG: How long did you train on Volt Tennis?
BS: I used the Volt Tennis program for my entire senior year of college.

DG: And how did your tennis season go this last spring?
BS: My final season of tennis was awesome! I had good results and made it to Nationals. To be honest, when I think back on my season I don't remember individual wins, I just remember that I felt great out there and was so happy to be practicing every day and competing. Last season I felt the strongest and fittest of my life. Being strong and fit gave me so much confidence, because no matter what the tennis skill level of my opponent, I always felt sure I could outlast her. I would walk onto the court hoping for a long, grueling match. Those are my favorites!

DG: How did training on Volt improve your tennis game?
BS: The Volt program is very well-rounded. I never felt that one part of my body was dying from too intense a workout, while another was lacking strength. Volt helped me reach a balance in my upper and lower body and my core. As I mentioned, the extra arm and leg strength I developed through using Volt regularly, coupled with off-court speed and agility training, gave me confidence, which is a key part of playing well. Volt also helped with injury prevention, which allowed me to improve my tennis game without setbacks.

DG: What was your favorite thing about using Volt?
BS: I really like Volt for several reasons. First, it is consistent and individualized. I could always rely on having my Volt workout ready to go. I didn’t need a trainer, or anyone else in order to do my workouts. Volt made getting in the weight room easy because I had a plan. I also really liked that the weights prescribed were specifically for me. That gave me a sense of security, because in the past I had sustained injuries from using weights that were too heavy for me.

DG: Is there anything you would have liked to change about Volt?
BS: I think Volt is a great program and I’m not an expert weight lifter so I don’t know how it could be improved.

DG: What would you like to tell coaches who might be considering getting Volt for their teams?
BS: I spent a year at a tennis academy during high school, and played varsity tennis all four years of college, but it was not until I started using Volt that I finally made friends with the weight room and even enjoyed my time there. I think the flexible and reliable nature of this product makes it super useful for college athletic programs. The fact that workouts are sport-specific is awesome. My coach would print out our team's workouts and leave them in our locker room. All the girls were responsible for fitting their workout in during a given week, and we would pair up to do them. If we were unsure of how to do an exercise we could look at the instruction sheet, ask our coach, or talk to other fitness coaches. I think my favorite thing about Volt is that through using it I learned a lot about the weight room and became much more comfortable lifting. 

DG: What would you like to tell other athletes who might be considering Volt?
BS: Volt is great! I do really well with instruction, but sometimes a personal trainer isn’t available or affordable. The Volt program allows athletes to receive personalized workouts for their sport, that change daily and taper when competition is approaching. I would highly recommend Volt to any athlete who wants to reach the next level of fitness and performance. 

DG: And is there any reason to be scared of the weight room??
BS: No!! But to be perfectly honest, I used to hate the weight room. I was totally intimidated by all the huge football player types, and scared of injuring myself. I didn't know what I was doing in the weight room, even though I’d been forced to lift weights and use weight machines for years. Once I started using Volt I became comfortable and felt confident that I knew what I was doing. When I actually started getting stronger, I felt like I belonged in the weight room, even if I wasn’t a bodybuilder benching 200 pounds. I’m sure plenty of factors contributed to my acceptance of the weight room and eventual appreciation for it, but Volt certainly facilitated the process!

We're so proud of the hard work that Brenna and the rest of the Oberlin Women's Tennis team has put into their training! Can't wait to see how the Yeowomen do in 2015. They are an integral part of the #VoltFamily. #GoYeo!

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Dan Giuliani is a regular contributor to the Volt blog. He is CSCS-certified, a co-founder of Volt Athletics and an adjunct professor of Sports Performance at the University of Washington.
Learn more about Dan and read his other posts