Monday, June 24, 2013

Tennis Correction

I had a student who had a difficult time controlling the racquet swing on the backhand; others have trouble not completing the stroke on the serve.

It's important to note that all tennis strokes have a beginning and and ending.  For example, the racquet swings 180 degrees and the body: hips and shoulders swing 90 degrees from the racquet back position; however, this particular student would swing the racquet 180 degrees.  How you asked?  She generated a lot of momentum and was unable to control the racquet head.

Rather than finish, or complete the swing with a follow through towards the target, thus keeping the racquet and ball together longer resulting in more control, the client would swing the racquet a full 360 degrees.  Coming off the ball without the necessary feeeeel!

The Cure?  I gave the student an old racquet--well, I should have given the student and old racquet, instead,  I stood her along side a cement wall surrounding the court, and fed her forehands, demonstrating beforehand, of course, the consequences of swinging further than 180 degrees.

After all that, the swing while standing next to the wall resulted in her chipping her new racquet. However, needless to say she never overswung her racquet on the forehand, or backhand again.  No other instructions to control the racquet speed or follow through were needed thereafter.

I'm just sorry I didn't, in fact, let her use an old racquet for this demonstration.  You should however.

My student who would "stop the racquet," as a means of controling the serve immediately after the service contact, was cured by my standing behind him, and asking the player to hand me the racquet as they served the ball.  Some players follow through but hit themselves on the shin.

Folks you must pronate the racquet so you see the back of your hand in the contact position, then the racquet will rotate over, and come down along side of your front leg, whether you are lefthanded, or righthanded.

Just remember that all strokes have a beginning and an ending.  Finish each stroke for consistency and control.

Where should I stand in Doubles?

While taking a lesson, a student queried me: “Where should I stand in doubles?” At the same time demonstrating to me that, he stands about three feet from the net, and straddles the Singles sideline to prevent his opponents from hitting down the line.
He suggested:  “…By standing in the alley, no one could pass him down the line".  True!

He also offered that his position gave his serving partner more room in which to hit their serve.  Also true!  I volunteered.

I agreed his reasoning made sense to protect the alley, and to give his serving partner room in which to place their serve was sound and purposeful; however, the execution and performance of this stratagem was flawed for “winning doubles” for several reasons.  Let me explain.
Certainly, standing in the alley would discourage the down the line shot, but in Championship Doubles,  it’s not doubles in tennis.  You leave so much territory uncovered, or to be covered by your partner.  Not a good idea.

In doubles each team must decide how to adequately cover the entire court, where a tennis ball might land without leaving certain areas vulnerable, and open to your opponent.

Dividing the court equally and at the same time moving in tandem, wherever your partner might wander permits the easy, and adequate means to defend your side of the court.  At the same time this makes it harder for your opponents to penetrate.  The need to take the net, as soon as possible, and at all cost, cannot be overemphasized.

On certain points you might feign forgetfulness about watching the alley, just to entice an unwary opponent to present you with an easy “diagonally crosscourt” volley; just as you would move to one side of the service area, when waiting for the serve. 

This trick is employed to invite your serving team to serve to a certain side of the court or to an opponents’ forehand, or backhand.

Standing to one side in order to protect the alley requires your partner to cover more than their share of the court because more of the court is exposed, thus standing in the alley to protect it should be avoided.  Doing so immediately identifies your knowledge of the game of tennis to be weak.

Since your opponents’ strokes will be coming towards you, my experience tells me that by standing back at the service line when my partner is serving permits me more reaction time if the receiver is able to nail his or her return of the serve.

And, being back from the net discourages lobs over my head; and, as many of my opponents will tell you: "Anything over your head is yours," while also giving my partner all the court they need to see to serve into.  So don't just watch from the sidelines, get in the game, do your part on the court.

Original Publication Date: Sunday, June 23, 2013
c d young 2016

Friday, June 21, 2013

Players Avoiding the Challenge in Tennis--No Fire in the Belly

"Winning is not everything; it's the only thing." Vincent Lombardi. If not to win, why compete?

History tell us that as man evolved, and became more civilized, he converted his skills of hunting into a sport, since hunting for his meat, furs, and fish life was no longer necessary to survive.

Men and women today shoot at targets rather than enemies as a sport, [unless at war] in competition in high school, college and the Olympics, as well as other competitive sporting events.

Competition, as a Nation, a team, or individual--pitting your athletic ability, skills, intelligence against your peers in sport--has always been a source of accomplishment, pride, self-worth, and yes, often accompanied with the "Agony of defeat," yet few handle the last part of defeat very well.

A case on point. Recently I've noticed in my circle of tennis playing friends competition has taken a new bent. When each team has won a set, rather than play a third set, or play a tie-breaker, according to the rules, play is often just stopped.

As I see it, and perhaps, this stems from the newest educational phenomenon of "dumbing down America's society, and education." Dumbing down our kids--who later become adults--because parents, and teachers alike are afraid to let their kids fail. In Tennis, "Champions are born in the labor of defeat.

We are producing a lot of kids, and ["adults, as I see it, who look for short cuts...]" The "no fail, "no win" approach to tennis does more harm than good," in society as well. In Tennis, being an individual sport, you can be as good as you want to be.

My likeable, well meaning peers, who enjoy tennis play, but won't, can't, or claim either not to have the time, the need, nor the money--they say--to devote to improving their game to make them truly competitive. Instead, they simply change partners to try to win, or agree to play only two sets, rather than play long enough to determine a winner; or play only with their select foursome.

My observation has been many strong players will let the weaker player play the ad side, knowing that the strongr player would likely win more points on that side, and effect the outcome of the match favorable.

However, As I See it, if the stronger players are somewhat evenly matched, but one stronger player feels that the other weaker player might not be quite as weak as his, that player will often let the weaker player play the Ad court. This way the stronger player saves face, because his partner allegedly insisted on playing the Ad court.

I know. I've done my share of losing, and after losing, on the way home from an event, makes for a long trip, because a loss is a "disappointing companion."

Monday, June 10, 2013

Absolutely Fair Tennis

This is a sad, but respectful post.  I learned yesterday, June 9, 2013, from Tom Munn [forgive me Tom if that is not how you spell you last name], that a former Tennis competitor "Ray McDonald" Raymond J. MacDonald, Jr. has gone to play some real Tennis, where your opponents are always competitive, and even if they lose they are greatful for the match, and the line calls are always given to your opponent, and the server always calls out the score.

And after the match, they run to the net to shake your hand.

I enjoyed playing with Ray, though we didn't team up much, but when we did play together we made a good team, and I didn't need to run down any of his overheads either.

The family had requested in the obituary published Sunday, June 9, 2013, that memorials be made in honor of Ray to the Hospice of Wake County.

Daniel A. Young, Sr.