Tennis Tips From Capella Pedregal’s Pablo Martinez

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Tennis is one of my favorite sports.  I love that not only does it involve strength and technique, but elegance as well.  Unfortunately, loving it and always winning are not the same thing.  So, after a particularly tough loss, I approached Pablo Martinez, Personal Tennis Instructor at Capella Pedregal, to help me improve my overall game.  He explained that tennis, while a combination of exercise and technique, also requires great psychological and mental training.  This is because a large part of the game has to be decided in the head of each player.  Intrigued by his explanation, I asked Pablo to share technical, mental and tactical tennis tips, which I am excited to share with you as well.

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Technical Tips:

1. Bend the knees at the same time the ball is bouncing on your side.

2. When preparing to hit the ball the racquet should be in a position where the strings face the direction you want the ball to go in.

3. Use the toes of your feet to help support yourself and to create better balance.

Mental Tips:

1. During a game, never ask yourself “What am I doing wrong?”  Instead ask, “What can I do better?” 

2. Focus on playing “good tennis,” you don’t need to stress about playing “very good tennis.”  By this I mean play it safe – go for shots that are effective but not overly risky—not every shot need be a “winner.”

3. Mentally, focus on relaxation during your running and hitting, breathing is very important.  Try and time your breathing so that when you connect with the ball you are also exhaling.

Tactical Tips:

1. Body language is crucial in beating your opponent!  Pay attention to the way you behave on the court, it is really important to project confidence—this is a great way to throw your opponent off.

2. Play with a strategy.  Focus on your strengths and attacking your opponent’s weaknesses.

3. Use the time between points to reinforce the previous point.  Immediately after a point look at your strings and make a mental note of what you did right or wrong.

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These are great quick tennis tips that I plan to put into practice immediately.  If you like tennis, or would like to learn to play it, I recommend you visit Pablo Martinez at the Capella Pedregal Tennis Courts.  Not only is he a great instructor, but he is a lot of fun as well!  Your Personal Assistant will be happy to schedule your tennis class with Pablo.

Consejos de Tenis por Pablo Martinez de Capella Pedregal

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El Tenis es unos de mis deportes favoritos.  Me encanta que no solo involucra fuerza y técnica, sino elegancia también.  Desafortunadamente, amar un deporte y siempre ganar en el no son la misma cosa.  Así que, después de una reciente y dolorosa derrota, me puse en contacto con Pablo Martínez, Instructor Personal de Tenis en Capella Pedregal, para que me ayudara a mejorar mi juego en general.  Me explicó que el tenis, aunque requiere de técnica y esfuerzo físico, también requiere de un entrenamiento mental y psicológico.  Esto es debido a que gran parte del juego debe decidirse en la cabeza de cada jugador.  Intrigada por su explicación, le pedí a Pablo que me compartiera algunos tips técnicos, mentales y tácticos, los cuales ahora también comparto con ustedes:

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 Tips Técnicos:

1. Flexiona las rodillas al mismo tiempo que la pelota está botando hacia tu lado.

2. Cuando te prepares para golpear la pelota, tu raqueta debe estar en una posición mediante la cual las cuerdas se coloquen en la dirección que quieres que la pelota se dirija.

3. Utiliza las puntas de tus pies para tener un mejor balance durante el juego.

Tips Mentales: 

1. Durante el juego, nunca te preguntes “Qué estoy hacienda mal?”  Por lo contrario pregúntate, “Qué puedo mejorar?” 

2. Concéntrate en jugar “Buen tenis”, no necesitas preocuparte por jugar un “excelente tenis”.  Con esto quiero decir que es mejor jugar seguro – trata de ir por tiros que son efectivos y no tan arriesgados – no todos tus golpes tienen que ser “golpes ganadores”.

3. Mentalmente, enfócate en relajarte mientras corres y golpeas la bola, tu respiración es muy importante.  Prueba y mide tu respiración para que cada vez que golpees la bola también realices una exhalación profunda.

Tips Tácticos: 

1. El lenguaje corporal es crucial para vencer a tu oponente!  Pon atención a la forma en la cual te comportas dentro de la cancha, es muy importante proyectar seguridad en uno mismo – esta es una manera efectiva de intimidar a tu oponente.

2. Juega con estrategia.  Concéntrate en tus fortalezas y ataca las debilidades de tu oponente.

3. Utiliza el tiempo entre punto y punto para reforzar los puntos anteriores. Inmediatamente después de un punto dirige tu mirada hacia tus cuerdas y realiza una nota mental de lo que hiciste bien o mal durante el punto.

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Estos son excelentes tips prácticos que voy a implementar en mi juego de inmediato.  Si te gusta el tenia, o te gustaría aprender a jugarlo, te recomiendo que visites a Pablo Martínez en las canchas de Capella Pedregal.  Ya que además de ser un gran instructor, es una persona muy divertida!  Tu Asistente Personal estará feliz de agenda tu clase de tenis con Pablo.

Chef Rurik Salazar’s Tamales Nejos

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February 2nd marked a very popular holiday in Mexico, Candlemas day, or Día de la Candelaria.  At Capella Ixtapa we honored Mexican traditions by serving tamales.  But these weren’t just any tamales!  These were Executive Chef Rurik Salazar’s special Tamales Nejos!

They were absolutely delicious and, while I had never made tamales before, I simply had to learn how.  Chef Rurik agreed to teach me, ensuring me the process was simpler than I thought.  Indeed he was right and now I am sharing the recipe with you:

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Tamales Nejos Recipe

Masa or Tamal dough

  • 8 Tbsp of Corn Flour
  • 1 Tbsp of Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 pinch of Salt
  • N/A Water
  • Ashes of a tortilla

Mix the corn flour with the vegetable shortening, add water slowly and whisk it up until gets spongy, seasoning with the salt and the tortilla ashes.

Duck Tamales Nejos

  • 1 square of a plantain leaf (15 cm x15 cm)
  • 1 Tbsp of shredded duck breast
  • 1 date

Heat up the plantain leaf until it gets soft in a pan on a low flame.  In the middle of the leaf put the tamal dough and stuff it with the shredded duck and the date.  Wrap it like a candy, and steam for 18 minutes.  Garnish with some green mole or any kind of salsa.

 

Buen provecho!

El Chef Rurik Salazar Nos Comparte Su Receta Para Tamales Nejos

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Febrero 2 marca una de las fiestas mexicanas más populares, el Día de la Candelaria. En Capella Ixtapa hicimos honor a esta tradicional fiesta mexicana sirviendo tamales. Pero estos no eran tamales ordinarios! Eran Tamales Nejos, especialidad de nuestro Chef Ejecutivo Rurik Salazar!

Estaban deliciosos, y mientras que nunca he cocinado tamales antes, tenía que aprender como. El Chef Rurik accedió a enseñarme, asegurándome primero, que el proceso era más simple de lo que creía. Y de hecho tuvo razón, por lo cual aquí les comparto la receta a ustedes:

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Receta para preparar Tamales Nejos

Masa para tamales o nixtamal

  • 8 cucharadas soperas de harina de maíz
  • 1 cucharada de manteca vegetal o
  • 1 pizca de sal
  • Agua
  • Cenizas de tortillas

Mezclar el harina con la manteca, añadir agua lentamente y batir hasta que quede una masa esponjosa, sazonar con la sal y las cenizas de tortilla.

Tamales Nejos rellenos de pato

  • 1 cuadrado de hoja de plátano (15 cm x15 cm)
  • 1 cucharada de pechuga de pato deshebrada
  • 1 dátil

Calentar en un sartén a flama baja la hoja de plátano hasta que suavize. Al centro de la hoja poner la masa de tamal y rellenarla con el pato deshebrado y el dátil. Envolverla como si fuera un dulce, y cocinarla al vapor durante 18 minutos. Se puede agregar mole verde o cualquier tipo de salsa como guarnición.

 

Buen provecho!

La Paz Carnival

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The end of February marks the beginning of traditional carnival festivities in more than 200 of Mexico’s town and cities.  While some towns celebrate in small and uniquely traditional ways, others organize large and spectacular carnival festivities, which makes them a must see event.  Three of the most popular places to see the carnival in the country are Mazatlan, Veracruz and Cabo San Lucas’ neighbor town, La Paz.  I am already making my plans to attend, and if you are in Baja between February 27 and March 4, I recommend you to visit as well!

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The first La Paz Carnival (we call it Carnaval La Paz) was organized in 1898, making it one of the oldest in the country.  The carnival is a week long party on the main seaside street Malecon, where the Sea of Cortez makes a beautiful backdrop to all the festivities.  The carnival usually starts with the condemning of an effigy called mal humor (bad mood) and the electing of a Carnival Queen and a King of Happiness.  There are fun parades with floats, street parties and street vendors (you must try their churros filled with caramel), and in the evenings there are concerts by popular Mexican musicians with festivities that go on until early morning hours.  Costumes worn by participants are very creative and vary each year, and I can’t wait to see what people will come up with this year.

Carnival in Mexico ends on Mardi Gras, or Martes de Carnaval, when another effigy Juan Carnaval is burned; he represents all the wanton revelry associated with the festivities.  This marks the end of the debauchery and return to temperance.  On Ash Wednesday people go to church to receive ashes and the abstinence of Lent will begin.

One of the things that make a visit to La Paz Carnaval special for me is that all the festivities happen at the Malecon, with fantastic sea and sunset views.  During the day I love watching the dolphins playfully jump out of the sea just by walking on Malecon, visiting their beautiful beaches or taking short trips to the adjacent islands.

If you are interested in visiting La Paz or attending our traditional Carnaval, please contact your Personal Assistant at pa.pedregal@capellahotels.com or call us at (624) 163-4300.

Photo: Carnaval La Paz

Romantic Mexican Traditions

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Valentine’s day is around the corner, and it perfectly fits the loving and festive nature that defines Mexicans.  We use this sweet excuse to pamper our loved ones, friends and family.  Throughout history, love has always been very important to Mexicans and as a result, we have many romantic Mexican traditions.

Our ancient civilization Mexica had two gods, that personified Love: Xochipilli and Xochiquetzal.  Xochipilli was like the Apollo of the Mexica.  He was the god of Love, games, beauty, dance, flowers, corn and songs.  His name means “the prince of the flowers” and he had a twin sister, the goddess of love, Xochiquetzal, meaning “precious flower or ornate bird.”  In honor of this pair of gods and their representation of love, Mexica used to celebrate with a four day festival.  During this time the people would make offerings of bread and corn, pierce their tongues with maguey thorns and dance to the beat of drums called teponaztli.

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Today, Mexico’s Valentine’s Day celebrations are similar to celebrations around the world.  Red roses are given, romantic cards written and chocolates enjoyed.  But we do have some traditions that remain our own.

In smaller towns, young people often meet in town squares; the girls stand on one side, the boys on the other.  Then, they walk around the perimeter in opposite directions, so they can face and look at each other.  On the second round the boys offer a flower to the girl that they like.  On the third round, if the girl has retained the flower, it means that she has agreed to go out with her suitor.  If she doesn’t keep the flower, it means she has rejected him and the boy must pick another girl.

My absolute favorite way of expressing the love in Mexico are “las serenatas” (serenades).  They are just so romantic!  You have probably seen the act of playing a serenade in some movie.  Usually, the boyfriend gathers a group of mariachi, or a trio, and visits the girlfriend’s house after the sunset.  On the street, under his loved one’s window, they all start to sing the most romantic and heartfelt songs.  The intention is to wake her up with songs that will touch the heart.  When the girl appears at her window, it means that she is pleased and approves of the serenade (I can’t imagine a girl could resist such a sweet and romantic gesture from her loved one!).  However the family may be a different story- if they approve of the suitor he may be invited in to visit, but if the family does not they may toss the water on him!

At Capella Ixtapa we have prepared a special Valentine’s Day package and are organizing many romantic activities and sweet attentions during this most romantic month.  Who knows, we might even get to play a serenade for some of our lucky guests!

 

 

Photo: LA76 Photography