Friday, December 28, 2018

Tennis Etiquette Part Two

Tennis Etiquette

The number one rule is to show up on time. And this is something that I've improved upon.
Getting to the site early gives you time to stretch, put your bag and towel down, chat a bit with your friends or opponent(s), and prepare to play. If you don't do this you are starting off stressed, which is not a good way to begin a game. Also, your opponent(s) are wondering if or when you are going to show. That isn't a good way to start off. In a way, you are giving an extra reason to beat you, even if they are not consciously aware of it. It also shows that you don't respect the match time, which is probably your sacred event of the week. As I read this, it makes even more sense. We can all do better in this regard, unless you're totally the accountant, and have already deducted points from your opponents, based upon the rules of your league.

Rule number two is remember what you are there for, to play tennis. Avoid loud exclamations, talking, stalling, blowing your nose between every shot, yelling after shots, like you own the building, and the world revolves around you. It doesn't. No one likes a loud mouth. Unfortunately, you are not even aware of it, because it is your persona. Try not to bring a loud persona onto the court. It drives all the courts crazy and your opponents. I'll give Wil Farrell a break on this, because he truly is funny. And I'd pay to watch him play tennis.

Rule number three is come clean to the court. Yup, there are people who smell. Can't believe I have to say this. That means, use deodorant, preferable non-scented. Scents on the court give you a head ache. Can you imagine playing tennis while sniffing a scented candle, perfumes, sprays, petroleum products, nitrogen waste (trying to be polite)? This being said, if a woman where's a little of the right perfume, four foot radius of impact, that smells like fresh linen, fine. I can put up with that. And yes I suppose a guy could have a similar product on, but you shouldn't smell like an OLD SPICE commercial. Also if you are outside, bug spray is fine. Be careful not to wear scents that attract bugs and killer bees. There are some scents that do this. Also Sun Block is great and needed, but be careful not to apply over your eyes and on your hands. Imagine not being able to see or hold the racquet. Yup, I've done it. Also in this category is clothes. At least wear clean clothes. Do not wear dirty smelly clothes to the court. The game is better than that. We are civilized people if we can read. Tennis used to be a sport where white clothing was required and still is at certain private clubs across the planet. Times have changed and so has restrictions on this. Some clubs will say, no large logos, no t-shirts, only tennis clothing, only collared shirts. It isn't always clear or enforced. I always carry a pair of white shorts and a white polo in my bag. Lacoste would be proud. If sunny and hot, turn the collar up to keep the back of your neck cool. A bandana helps with this as well. A hat or visor is tremendously helpful with sun protection, heat protection, eye protection, and shade. You should always have one in your bag. Make sure you soak in warm water after the match with a little soap and rinse it, and put in the sun or put in the dryer and set on low. I love hats. Wearing one backwards is not comfortable to me, or wearing it sideways. That being said, there are some who love it that way. To each his own in that regard. A cowboy hat, or other wide brim hats, or bonnets, should not be worn as it is not a costume show. Avoid the extremes on hats. White baseball caps seem the most logical, but any color is acceptable in my mind.

If you like this, I'll keep going...…

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Tennis Training Beyond the Court

Tennis itself is a great conditioner. In fact, if that's all the time you have then do it. But it also can take a toll on your body if you constantly play and don't let yourself recover. Especially if you have a flawed fundamental. Today I'm going to list alternatives to on court training that improve your stamina, get you in shape, and reduce risk of injury.

1. Hill Top Runs: Sprint up the hill and walk down while you catch your breath. These build muscle naturally, give you a great explosive first step, and are actually easier on the knees as the angle creates support for the joint. Do not run downhill. Repeat, do not run down hill.

2. Run on the beach or sand, lastly grass: do agility movements, short movements of tennis (forehands, backhands, volleys, approaches, serves, returns, and all the shots). This works your legs and body beyond belief. It's shadow movement that gets you ready to be automatic while in the heat of battle. When you practice it, do it properly and with good technique. YouTube provides great models for technique. The harder you push the harder you gain, it's that simple. It doesn't have to take long. 20 Minutes will absolutely  kill you.

3. Jump Rope: on a soft as possible surface, preferably clay or dirt.

4. Ride a bike: and sprint for short spurts.

5. Visualize: the feel of shot packages in your mind, using your shot shots in competition against various spins, power, depths and movements on the court. This takes only a few moments per day. You can do this before you practice and then make adjustments to your visualizations after practice and play. When you can bridge your mind, to your body, emotions, and energies you become your truest expression of your highest form on the court. This particular area is something I will be exploring in 2019 and will keep you updated monthly.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Back to School at the U.S. Open

The staff just came back from a trip to the U.S. Open. It was the hottest days of summer for sure.
Players like Michael Youzney, Kevin Anderson, Ryan Harrison, etc were visibly shaken from the extreme conditions in Queens. The humidity was off the chart.  I took frequent breaks from watching, and sat under an umbrella in the court yard, drinking soda water with ice, I couldn't imagine how those players could handle this. Fans were attended to in the stands by NYC medics. Increased breaks in the day matches were implemented. Finally the sun began to set and the the later rounds of the day session were winding up. Those players had the lucky time assignment. I couldn't help being motivated in seeing the level of play that exists when sitting a few feet away from the greatest players in the world. When you look at Djokovic you see the body of a triathlete, one who can play long grueling points, over an extended period of time, recover, and then repeat over a ten day period. The quick points do exist, when players hit a winner or make an error, but the style of play is different than it used to be. The serve and volley in singles is over. The returns are just too good to come to net. Defensive shots on baseline rallys have improved greatly with slice forehands and backhands, and buggy whips, and yes defensive lobs! Serving power is the new serve and volley.
It's a one hit wonder. When returning serve, players stand closer on the first serve, and try to block it back with a small forward motion of the racquet. The kicking serves were returned far back from the baseline with a drive or a punch slice. Breaking serve is a big deal in singles, because it gives you the chance to serve out for the set if you can hold your serve. If I had to say one thing, get a better serve, because it gets you more short points, helps you hold, and gives you more energy to attack the return games. If you have difficulty breaking serve, and have to play long serving games, then the pressure is totally on you to hold, and you can get worn down. That's why a great serve, actually saves you energy over the course of a match.

As we head back to our Fall routines, this may be a great time to work on your serve and return. I have several observations that I'll share soon. Stand by for more insights. Until then, get in shape for tennis by eating well, sleeping well, and training hard. We have some work to do.