Friday, December 21, 2012

Today, is December 21st. the first day of Winter.  If you've been out in this wind today, the wind must be feeling quite blustery and bone chilling. 

The wind today is a lot colder then the high winds the Tennis Doctor endured along the Interstate Highway 70, with temperatures of 80-85 degrees.  The Tennis Doctor, who "has racquet and does travel" with his racquet, and talks about his trip, and the uneasiness of the wind blowing his Iron Horse around at 40-45 mph in early Augus, 2010 on the return leg of his "bucket list" trip.

"There is enough wind today," says the Tennis Doctor, "to take me back to my solo motorcycle trip across the plains of Kansas, and the mid-west, and to remind me to be thankful of my safe return home this holiday season."

Below you are invited to share, along with the Tennis Doctor, his experience of daybreaking early morning experience of  heavy winds, cars passing at 70 mph (the speed limit) and to the sound of the wind turning the wind turbines in the Plains States, while stopped to adjust the supply of water, tent, luggage and other essentials, strapped and hooked to the back, rear sides, and front of  his 650 Yamaha Classic on his Coast to Coast so journ. 

The Tennis Doctor.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Stroke Production and the Art of Tennis

In one of his earlier books, "Poetry In Motion" is how the late Arthur Ashe referred to Tennis.

I believe he was referring to being able to produce an effortless Tennis stroke, that wins a point or extracts an error from your opponent with seemingly little effort.

While I don't remember exactly all that he wrote about Tennis in his book, I'm thinking of  the continuous and seeming effortless ability of two players while playing, especially in doubles, to be able to produce the basic, fundamental strokes, which during play, looks to be a clear and surprising winner for the opposite team.
Yet, the element of that stroke to which I refer, for all intents and purposes, and to the un-initiate--those who have not been taught, or know the fundamentals of the construct of the stroke--is the ability to prepare early, and to anticipate the next shot, or where to wait for the next shot.

 To some seasoned, and knowledgeable players, as you watch the point unfold, you are invariably watching the ball, but miss the subtleness of what has been observed by the players themselves.

I've concluded through my observation, and play, that while standing wide of the center service mark in doubles when serving,  you put yourself at a distinct disadvantage.  This happens especially if you serve to your opponents backhand who is right handed. Your partner at the net must--by design-- watch his alley, and therefore is often unable to poach on balls that are returned through the middle, which he should do if your opponent's returns are head or shoulder high.  Yes, even on the backhand.

But as Tim Gullicksonthe coach of Pete Sampras says: "Serve it down the "T" they know it's coming, but can't do anything about it." 

In doubles, the art of winning is enhanced, if you can spin the serve low over the net down the "T," twisting it in behind your receiver's partner, even if it's their forehand.  They then have to hit the ball while going away from the net, and while their partner is often in the way, thus he has no place to go but to your forehand, as you approach the net, or to your partner, already at the net ready to poach.

But ask Jimmy Connors, or Peter Sampras, it's only done when you get your first serve in.

"Putting the ball in play" is a different kind of animal. In the deuce court, many feel the need to run around their backhand hoping to hit down the line putting the ball in play. This maneuver puts them way off the court, and sets up a wide angle volley for their opponent if they come to the net.

However, those righthand players, weak on the backhand, who return their serve on the forehand 
usually are not just returning a serve, but going for a winner.  They will be hitting balls higher above the net, when hitting their forehand drive, so expect a lot more pace.

Page Two

However, players who run around their backhand in the deuce court, when the serve is in the middle of the service box, are right in the middle of the court again, so it's an advantage for those quick enough to run around their backhands.
Therefore it's better to create a pattern of serving down the middle, in the ad, or deuce court, and use the wide angle serve to the deuce side, or ad side as a reminder or check to your opponent.  If they want to prevent an Ace stay alert, and observe where the server sets up to serve,

and that's the Art of Tennis as "Poetry in Motion."



Saturday, April 14, 2012

We lost! Why? Now what?

Well, our team lost!  Why?  So, what do we do?  These are important questions, if a team is to turn around a losing point, a losing game,  a losing set, or a losing match, to prevent a losing season.

These are questions that each member of a team should ask after each point, each game, each set, each match. 

But you can only ask these questions if you are comfortable with your partner.  This is one of the reasons members of a team should warm up together with the partner with whom they will be playing. 

And, of course, ideally, players should be recruited that are amendable to playing the style, the type of system of the sport that the coach teaches.  Football teams do it: ground game or aerial game;   Basketball teams do it: pressing man to man, or pick and cut.  Why not tennis?

Excuses are just that: "Excuses."  They don't instill confidence; and thus excuses will program you mentally to play poorly.

I've heard so many excuses, I've written them into a Poem.  If you don't mind reading further:

"My opponent too lucky, too young, too quick.

My racquet too heavy, too  small too new.

The Courts too dirty, too crack, too soft to play;

and, I'm too old, too blind, too cold, too hot, too tired to win."

So you didn't win.  During the match, did you change your style of play?  Did you try any different formation?  Did you have a strategy before starting your match?  If you don't start out with a game plan, you  won't know what to do to try and maybe win.

C. 2010 Dan Young, Sr. "The rock in your shoe;  The thorn in your side; The splinter under your nail."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

If not to be Competitive, Why Compete?

Over the winter months, I had been approached by two-maybe three players, who were members of the USTA, and invited me to play on their team.  Super Seniors it was called.

I am somewhat at odds with the USTA and the affect it has had on America's Tennis, from it's late arrival towards the younger player, and their silence on the instructional community, such that the USTA doesn't take a stand on "open stance" "Looped backswing" "two-hand versus one-hand backhand, so I had been reluctant to join the USTA, which was a requirement to play.

Further, the warm-up on the courts that I'm seeing called: "Short Ball," in my opinion is a waste of time, because when players are ten to fifteen feet from the net their goal and need is to be volleying "on the fly," not looping forehands and backhands at the net.

When I heard Super Seniors, I thought maybe someone had already taken my idea of demonstrating what tennis should look like, and was running with it, thus I was expecting I would have to work to establish myself, and my game to play with the team.  Man was I wrong!

I had earlier attempted to recruit skilled talented players for a team that would go around locally and demonstrate at local clubs what tennis could be like.  No explanation has been given about why these players I asked didn't desire to commit, so I expect someone will see the possibility.

But the Super Seniors I referred to refers not to the skill level, but the age level of the player.  That has thrown me for a loop.  Players commit to play, but they have other engagements that prevent their availability for practice and matches, so it becomes difficult for a player, let alone a coach, to establish enough camaraderie between players or with the players, to form a compatible team willing to work at tennis and make the sacrifices that create winners.

There are players who use unorthodox strokes, i.e, no backhand; but a lefthand forehand, and a right hand forehand; then there are others who switch because of the difficulty of the shot they are attempting, and though they are competitive at times, there tennis style will always relegate them as someone who plays tennis; but not a Tennis Player per se.

There's a big difference.

Practice, and practice matches, regardless of when and where they are played, or against whom, in preparation for league play, should always  carry over to game day; and when it does not;  Hey! it can affect play,  team morale, and player confidence.

It's competence, confidence and "can do" attitude that makes teams winners.

That's the Talk of the Town from my perspective on Tennis.