Saturday, June 4, 2016

Reminders can help on Changeovers in Tennis

June 4, 2016, as I sat about getting rid of some old press clippings, I found one on a 2014 French third round player Taylor Townsend, a top world junior ranked player in 2012.  What caught my attention in this story by USA Today sports columnist, Douglas Robson, @dougrobson, was that he mentioned that Townsend "referred to a small notebook of reminders on changeovers."  Something I've done for years.

This I  found interesting because today, I happened to be in a pick-up match on the Challenge Court #15 in Raleigh, N.C., and me and my Partner [who will remain anonymous] lost the first three games of the only set we were to play 0-3.  My partner appeared happy to be playing, but overly anxious, and made several errors, as he had just finished a Tie-Breaker League Match.

Ironically, I happened to have my own personal "Over the net" note cards that I had brought with me, so I slipped them in my pocket during the cross over, and thumbed through them before our opponents had taken their position on the court.  With their back towards us, they were giddy, playful and silly to be up 3 love and my partner serving again, whom they had previously broken.

They didn't see me show my partner one of my( 28) "Over the net Tennis Tip Cards," that read: "Doubles is won at the net."  He began to come in and they lobbed over him to his chagrin.

Me, unable to run like I used to at age 74, [Muhmamad Ali died today, he was 74] I took a moment to whisper in my partner's ear.

As I did  so, our opponents started to laugh again because they had heard me tell others about my warning card which read:  "Anything over your head is yours."

Well, we finally won that game after I presented my partner with card No 5: "Tennis is a thinking man's game."

However, we didn't get settled in the match until we were behind 2-4 and I pulled out card No. 9: "Get the first serve in and win," let them make the errors.

During the changeover at 3-4, my partner was late getting into position in the Deuce court--conversing with our opponents and I found time to show him card No. 17: "...Converse with your opponents after the match.  I then added: "Stay focused to win."

Miraculously, we get up 5-4 in games, and at 30-40 in the 10th game with me  receiving.  I coyly
caution my partner at the net to "Watch the net man, he may be poaching."

As the serve crossed the net, it handcuffed me, and I stepped back to get sideways in order to angle the ball cross court and farther away from the opposing net man.

Woops!  Out of the corner of my eye, and peripheral vision, I see the net man start his run.  Being sideways to the net, I was able to re-direct my return quickly enough  that although the net man came back, he was not quick enough to prevent the "Winner down the line."  Game! 6-4, Young-Eric over Phil and Bob.

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