Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Playing the Net or Shooting the Rapids both are dangerous to your health!!

Tennis, dangerous to your health? Well, not really.  Only shooting the rapids is dangerous to your health--though I'm sure it's good exercise, and probably exciting, so I've heard.

The danger in tennis is what a tennis player is likely to do to themselves: pull a muscle, twist an ankle, hurt their Achilles tendon, injure their rotator cuff or twist a knee.

Per se, Tennis is really an easy game to play.  The difficult part in learning the game of tennis is learning to run to within a certain distance of a moving ball, that is spinning with a sometimes unpredictable bounce, and swinging your racquet at the proper time to make contact. 

In learning to quickly build your confidence in playing Tennis, I have found that it's much easier to start at the net.  Though many players, women in particular, I must add, do fear playing the net for fear of getting hit or hurt.  It's true, you might get hit at the net, but seldom will you get hurt.

Think about it!  From about the waist down you are protected by the net itself. And, from your waist to your neck, there is little chance of being injured for life.  From the head up, that's a different story, but easier to prevent. Keep your arms slightly bent,  holding the racquet  high and away from the body, as you look through the strings of your racquet, like a Fencer's Mask.
Use your arms to help establish the distance of the approaching ball.

By holding your arms away from the body, you are given a means of measuring how close the ball is to you, and that distance permits you time to get out of the way of the projectile--or
ball, for those in Rio Linda--coming towards you, as Rush might say.

By simply stepping out of the way of the ball, but leaving your racquet forward you are able to avoid any bodily harm.  Try it sometimes.  Balls off to your right or left, just go after them, but lead with your racquet.

Balls coming directly at you, which you wish to take on your forehand, simply step back with the right foot if you are right handed, putting yourself sideways to the net, but leaving the Tennis racquet in the path of the ball and squeeze.

For balls coming directly at you while you are at the net, which you wish to take on your backhand, are easily accomplished by stepping back with the left foot and leaving your racquet in the path of the ball.  The one key that must be emphasized is to squeeze the racquet just before contact.  Otherwise the racquet will spin in your hand and your volley will not be crisp, and easily directed.

This tips can all be found in the soon to be released National Tennis Teacher's College Teacher's Manual.

So you see playing the net is not as dangerous as you once thought, just remember: "Familiarity breeds contempt," even at the net.

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