Tennis Tips Volume VII: Diversification


This volume of tennis tips seems like a fairly obvious one but I think it is worth stating anyway.

One of the most important aspects of general tennis strategy (and I’d argue life strategy) is to be unique. Another way to look at it is to diversify your own tennis portfolio with different types of shots and effects on the ball when you hit it.

Too many players play with a generic style of hitting the ball one type of way on the forehand and backhand side while simply staying on the baseline. The upside of this approach to the game is that it helps breed consistency…the downside is that it does the same for your opponent and allows them to get in rhythm while focusing their thoughts more easily.

When you diversify between top-spin, slice, flat, short, deep and angled in a somewhat asymmetric manner you force your opponent to guess and adjust based on YOUR control of the rally. Not only does your opponent have to work more on their footwork to adjust to the effect you put on the ball, but it also forces them to hit shots they do not want to hit and eventually set you up for point winning shots.

portfolio-diversification

Of course, it is not easy for every player to do this in a match (practice hitting shots outside of your initial comfort zone when not playing a match to enhance this in a match)…but I believe the upside of this vastly outweighs the downside. For instance..if you are up 30-love or 40-love and hit shots that keep your opponent off balance but maybe hit an unforced error…it could be viewed as a long-term gain because even though you lost the point, it was YOU losing the point and not your opponent WINNING the point. Very little confidence will have been gained by your opponent and it still prevents them from getting some rhythm in their game.

When you do not diversify your shots, you are essentially just rallying with the opponent and it is likely that your opponent has spent hours upon hours of “just rallying” in practice sessions with friends or with a coach. That is inherently playing into their hands and either leveling the playing field or outright giving them an advantage. Keep them off balance and just like an investment strategy, diversify your portfolio and play winning tennis.

Tennis Tips Volume VI: Good Coaching


After years of playing and coaching tennis, I think I have learned what makes a good coach.

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We here at the Newington Tennis Center have been driven to provide an enjoyable yet comfortable environment for everyone that comes through the door. Each coach that works for the NTC has tried their hardest to meet that standard and then specify with each lesson what needs to be done to make the customer happy. At times, its even odd for me to refer to people as customers. Our customers are our friends.

Anyway, for this volume of Tennis Tips, I am going to simply put in bullet form what I think makes a good coach so everyone that reads this can truly see in our coaches what they work so hard to do.

  • Customization and Improvisation: I think being able to free flow a lesson to best mold a game-plan that suits the needs of the player is one of the most important and overlooked skill a coach can have. In most cases, a player that comes in has a stroke or two that they are not comfortable with and want to work on those strokes specifically to start. Repetition of drills can be useful in improvement but it does not promote active thinking while playing…hence the importance of a coach to be able to improvise on the fly.
    • I’ll give a specific example of what I would do: Player A says they need help on their forehand. I say ok and do a bunch of stand still forehands from the baseline to see the form while constantly walking through both errors and good shots (for Player A’s skill level). Then I make the player move around and say that there will not be a standard location in which I feed the players from the hopper. During this period I do not correct as much and simply watch how and when they make forehand errors and once the hopper is over I talk to the player about what I had seen during the beginning part of the lesson and either continue with more forehand drills or let the player decide what they want to work on next.
  • Communication: This leads me into Communication. It is probably the most important part of coaching. Actually, it is the most important part of coaching. Without proper verbal and visual communication, any gains in form in the short term is likely to be eventually lost. In my experience, it could lead to diminishing returns in all aspects of the game because, well, people have other lives. The tennis coach revolves their whole professional career around their knowledge of the game so oftentimes there is an immense knowledge gap that is hard to bridge properly to the player. This is why some all time greats in any sport simply cannot be good coaches.
    • 9 times out of 10 a tennis coach will also have years and years of playing experience and going back to square one in order to properly teach someone while also coaching high level players can be difficult. This is why many tennis coaches can only coach well in a certain niche lane of age/playing level. Well at the Newington Tennis Center, we try and segment the players as such so that each player has the best fit possible as they try and improve their games. With that said, we are lucky because each of our coaches can coach each playing level while maintain a fun atmosphere.
    • The only true way this can be done is through constant personal communication. This is especially important in group lessons when it is hard or impossible to give everyone the amount of time they truly need to improve. A good coach can address the needs of the individual through both individual and group communication. Doing this the right way can help players lead by their own example which breeds confidence…and no one can play an individual sport like tennis without confidence.
  • Technical Know-How and Knowing One’s Lane: Improvisational and communicative skills can only go so far without the actual technical know-how to actually correct errors. A good coach can both identify AND correct errors. Some coaches are only good at one of the two (usually the former not the latter). The reason why I listed it 3rd is because although one’s playing experience is often the core of the technical know-how, it is quite possible for someone to be a good or great coach without specifically being a tennis guru.
    • Every coach can attest to coaching a player or meeting a parent that knows close to as much or more than you about the sport but simply are unable to be a coach. On the flip side, I’ve also met many coaches that get great results without being an aforementioned guru simply because they are well-rounded, can identify a flaw in someone’s game and then fix it. A good coach doesn’t need to be able to hit a great inside-out cross-court forehand to be able to teach it and, in many cases, a coach doesn’t have to really know the intricacies on how to set up and execute that shot to a be good coach. The difference is that a good coach goes into lessons knowing this and doesn’t try and coach something they don’t really know about. Trust me, that will eventually drive the unfortunate next coach in the line insane because there are more errors to correct. *Sighs*
    • This is why it is good that USTA and PTR give out coaching certificates in tiers. It helps specify the strengths of a coach. I personally think that each coach should introduce themselves to potential clients by explaining to them what they are really good at it. This leads to a better professional relationship that will likely continue for months if not years.
    • Me personally, I often tell people that I do not have a coaching certification because I am not a big fan of simply “teaching by the book”. I, of course, have insurance and passed background checks to coach and that is important, but getting boxed in a corner by curriculum decided by other nameless coaches is not my style. A good coach brings their own flair and style to the game and the players they coach can sense it which eventually leads to a positive contagious atmosphere for everyone involved. I’ve coached both ways and get much better results when I have full creative control over my court. A good head pro can see this in a coach and grants it to him or her. A bad coach doesn’t care and goes vanilla.
    • Results are most important and we get them. Getting a certificate is great but getting a player from the 50’s to the top 10 in USTA in about a year makes me feel fine about my coaching ability and makes others feel fine about it too. I’ll eventually get a certification but I am simply not a good test taker and would probably feel out of my element doing test drills and hitting drills (injured shoulder and wrist currently) to random people with me being evaluated and not the people I am coaching. Chances are my certification level would be in-congruent to my actual technical know how and intangibles as a coach. I’ll keep you updated on that.
  • Giving Credit To The Player: I could go on forever with this issue of Tennis Tips but I’ll end it off right here on this point. This is not something to overlook from a coach’s perspective. Tennis is an individual game and without the player knowing that they are the primary reason for their own success, there will be a problem when they go off and play on their own.
    • If the coach doesn’t properly and consistently communicate that throughout the span of time they spend with a player..well..it is equal to leaving the training wheels on the player. That goes for any and every skill level. Ever wonder why professional players continuously cycle coaches? Chances are those are the same players that have identified a specific flaw in their game through tough losses.
    • A prime example of this is Andy Murray with Ivan Lendl and Amelie Mauresmo. From an outsider’s perspective, Andy needed aggression and competitive fire in his game when he hired Lendl (because he couldn’t clear the hurdles of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic) and there was an immediate positive result in that aspect of his game. Then, it appeared as if he was stressed and lost the love for the game so he switched (in my estimation) to Mauresmo. After the switch, he lost a bit of the fire he had under Lendl but gained some pleasure out of the sport.
      • The reason I think this applies under this section is because sometimes a coach can be so good that the player begins to feel like they cannot achieve a specific goal without them. That is great and can work out but things always change in time and a player cannot realistically think that a specific coach will always be there for them. Coaches have lives too people! The good coach will give credit to the player for learning and improving and that gives them the confidence that they can do it on their own in a match. It could be the difference between a 6-4 6-4 loss and a 6-4 6-4 win.

 

Written by: @Coach_Marshal

After 8’s Second Annual Tournament


The Newington Tennis Center is looking into setting up the 2nd Annual Newington Tennis Center Open. The hybridized tournament of last year worked very well and we will probably set it up similarly this year to ensure that we maximize participants.

Although it is May, the tournament structure process for the year is still in its infancy and we hope to finalize everything soon.

Please call, e-mail or otherwise contact us to voice your interest in playing and which days of the week would be best for you and we will try and accommodate you.

PS.

It is unlikely that the defending champion, me, will be playing this year. I have been sidelined with numerous injuries since I hurt my wrist last summer and haven’t been able to play. Coaching takes precedent anyway…but then again, who knows.

Join Us On Our Annual Trip To The US Open


US OPEN BUS TRIP 2016

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3RD

$133 Per Person

Orange Juice, Bagels and Coffee Provided

BUS LEAVES AT 8:00 AM SHARP

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE

Call us at: 860-667-2261

The 2015 US Open is over…now it’s time to get excited about your own play!


Pennetta beat her but who cares?

Djokovic’s dominance, Federer’s rejuvenation and quest for another slam, the ongoing struggle of Nadal, and last, but certainly not least, the journey of Serena through tournament draw after tournament draw have all been storylines that garnered quite a bit of attention and rounded up 2015 into a great year for tennis. Altogether, it has helped the sport gain traction in the mainstream media more than it had in the recent past…and hopefully it will lead to more adults choosing tennis to learn and play, signing up their kids to learn and play, or to simply having some of their racquets dusted off in a triumphant return to the court.

I would also wager that it has additionally invigorated those of you who were already interested in the pro tour and playing on a semi-regular basis. I know that is the case for me and many people I speak to anyway.

Any time a Grand Slam comes and goes, I get more and more interested in getting out onto the court myself. The spirit of competition starts to flood back into my system and the intricate details and nuances of a high level match sparks my tennis intellect into hyper-drive. (It’s not until I suffer through a double fault or the absence of the ability to call for the Chase review that I then come back to reality)

Regardless of how good of a player you are, there are things you can assuredly pick up from watching the best of the best go at it. For instance…according to Roberta Vinci, the complex strategy of ‘running and getting the ball in’ was the decisive factor in beating one of the greatest players of all time. If that isn’t inspiring to you and your tennis game then I don’t know what is. Although…on second thought…John Isner has been a pro for 8 years and still can’t execute the former of the two part Vinci plan, so who knows?

All jokes aside, it is truly inspiring to see the great players playing great, the young guns making names for themselves and the seasoned veterans making a push for glory. One of the most beautiful aspects of the sport of tennis is that there is always something someone can relate to just by watching. Whether it is a coach, a player, a swing, a strategy or even just fashion…there is always something.

So when you walk back through the doors of the Newington Tennis Center, walk back in with the exuberance of a kid on their first day of school…or it’s equivalent, the exuberance of an unseeded veteran doubles player that just knocked off one of the greatest competitors in athletic history. Whether it was a smile or a crisply struck slice backhand that has you inspired, keep that inspiration in mind as you do your best and enjoy the wonderful sport that we, in one way or another, hold so dear to us.

High School Doubles Round Robin


We will be hosting a High School Doubles Round Robin on February 22nd at 5:30 PM.

Events Available: Boys Doubles, Girls Doubles and Mixed Doubles

$20 per player entree fee, $10 for an additional event.

If you do not have a partner but are interested in playing, let us know and we will try to find a partner for you to play with.

Call into the center at 860-667-2261 for more information and to sign up.

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Junior Programs for the Holidays


Holiday Junior Programs

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Holiday Doubles Round Robin


holiday doubles round robin

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Special Holiday Rates for Members and Non-Members!


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Tennis Tips Volume V: Hitting Down the Line


Picture credit to smartertennis.org

While dismissed by many as “easy to do”, being able to go down the line with your shots when you want to do so is crucial in match play and harder to do than it seems.

The first instinct of many is to simply adjust the racquet head and perhaps the grip based on where they want the ball to go. This doesn’t lead to consistent nor great results. Once in a blue moon a fantastic shot can be hit… but it is oftentimes fools gold.

What is more important to change, on a base level, is the footwork in preparation to the shot. Don’t get me wrong, the racquet head angle and grips change depending on which type of shot you are trying to hit (slice, extreme top-spin, flat etc.), but this happens no matter what anyway so it is independent of the subject at hand.

In terms of foot-work and going down the line, a quick and easy solution to your problems is to simply attack the ball coming diagonally forward towards the line of which you are targeting. This will bring your body and momentum naturally in the right direction and won’t tamper with your head causing you to perhaps over-think or incorrectly time your swing to make contact. As per most shots, short and quick steps are better than a couple long strides to the ball so don’t get lazy!

It is vitally important to be able to hit down the line in matches. You’re not going to win matches often by keeping the ball in the middle of the court and thus not making the opponent move…and you’re also not going to win matches if you can just hit cross-court. Hitting down the line is particularly useful if your opponent has a glaring weakness in one of their ground-strokes…and is the best (and I’d argue that it should pretty much be the only…with rare exception) shot to hit as an approach to the net. If you have a strong forehand and your opponent has a weaker backhand, the automatic play is to go down the line, especially when A) you want to put away the point aggressively B) want to force the other player to hit a great shot to beat you if you come to the net or not or C) simply try to get an unforced error.

Caution #1: Don’t focus on a weakness too much because it may become less of a weakness as the match goes on. Practice makes perfect, even in a match. Pay close attention to whether they are improving during the match with said weakness or not and adjust game-plan accordingly.

If you do not know from geometry, you can see by looking at the graphic at the beginning of the article that it is a far shorter distance when you go in a straight line. Perhaps shorter than you would initially expect. 4.5 feet is a lot of distance in tennis. It doesn’t take the most vivid imagination to realize how much less time the other player will have to get to the ball when you hit down the line…unless you have an absolute cannon cross court shot or the player is all the way off the court. Another reason for this is that it gives you as a soon to be net player less of the court to cover in order to get to the spot you want to get to. A shot 75% as hard with good precision down the line is more likely to be effective than a shot cross court as an approach shot.

Caution #2: The net is higher at their ends. You need to be able to adjust to this.

In conclusion, hitting down the line well is a necessary ability to win matches…in singles or in doubles. Whether it is to expose weakness in your opponent, put the ball away, hit an approach shot, tire your opponent out by giving them less time to get to the ball, or to just simply mix it up…you need to be able to hit down the line if you want to win more matches than you lose.

History Made! Nishikori Wins In Barcelona (With Video)


I don’t wanna say I told you so but…#KEI

The Newington Tennis Center

Kei Holds The Trophy…Credit to Sky Sports

Kei Nishikori defeated Santiago Giraldo 6-2 6-2 in the finals of the Barcelona Open becoming the first Japanese-born player to win a clay court tournament in ATP history. He is also the first non-Spaniard to win the tournament in 12 years.

Kei has been playing wonderfully and he noted in an interview that it had helped him mentally.

This title and (my run in) Miami helped my confidence, especially this week on clay. There are three big tournaments coming up in Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros so I hope I can do well and increase my (Emirates ATP Rankings) points. My next goal is to get to the Top 10.

Nishikori isn’t all that far away. By winning this tournament, Nishikori improved his ATP ranking to 12th from 17th. Kei, who has been under the tutelage of the famous Michael Chang, is now…

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Welcome Back Everyone!


The center is opening back up this week, full-time.

Hope to see all the familiar faces back around this year and looking forward to meet new people as well.

In the meantime, enjoy Labor Day and the great weather! See you soon!

Junior Development Program Updates Made


Check out the JDP section of the website to view them.

Brief Rundown:

  • There have been slight changes in the description of each program available.
  • The High School Prospects class has been added but we need people to call in and reserve a spot to schedule days and times for the class.
  • The new dates for each session in the upcoming year have been added.

Season Update: Summer Rates and Doubles Tournament Results


The Season Is Over (But Not Really)

Time has flown by

Junior development programs will be continuing into the second week of June, but most other programs are pretty much done at this point. Despite this however, we will remain open with staff on hand from at least 10AM-2PM to take possible reservations in the case of rain.

Summer rates will be $26 an hour. Please try to call in or otherwise contact us if you want to reserve a court at a certain time. On Tuesdays for example, there is a JDP class from 4-5:30. If told in advance, staff would be willing to stay open for court reservations afterwards.

Again, please call in between 10AM and 2PM, contact us through Facebook or e-mail us at ntcstaff@sbcglobal.net or at newingtontennismarketing@gmail.com.

Doubles Tournament

We had a great time during the Newington Tennis Center Doubles Open last Saturday.

This first round of matches was best of 7 games, the second round of matches was a full set and the third round of matches was two out of three sets.

It was set-up to ensure that every team played exactly three matches. The finals consisted of Joel Magsayo and Dennis Gan facing off against Ben Doolittle and John Augsback. In a tightly contested match, the team of Doolittle and Augsback prevailed after winning a second set tiebreak.

Congratulations to both teams for excellent performances and to all other participants for great competitive sportsmanship. You guys left behind too many slices of pizza though.

2014 ATP and WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia Second and Third Round Results (Italian Open)


Tommy Haas is actually doing something!

There are two big stories that have developed, one on Wednesday and one today.

On Wednesday, Roger Federer lost to Jeremy Chardy in 3 sets and today, Tommy Haas defeated Stan the Man in 3 sets. My opinion of Tommy Haas has been made clear on the site through some tournament reviews, but I have to say the win over Stan is impressive. Chardy’s win was probably a bit more impressive since it was against Fed, and the fact that he won in the next round easily was good to see.

All the results are listed below:

Tuesday Results

ATP

  • (2) Djokovic d. Stepanek 6-4; 7-5.
  • (3) Wawrinka d. Pire Riba 6-0; 6-3.
  • (5) Ferrer d. Kukushkin 6-1; 6-2.
  • (8) Raonic d. (Italian) Simone Bolleli 6-3; 7-5.
  • Ernests Gulbis d. (10) Falla 6-1; 0-0 (Ret.)
  • (15) Haas d. (Italian) Andreas Seppi 6-1; 4-6; 6-3.
  • Kohlschreiber d. (16) Robredo 6-2; 6-4.
  • Anderson, Cilic, Golubev, Tursunov and Sijsling also advanced in unseeded matches.
  • All 3 Italians playing on Tuesday lost.

WTA

  • (2) Li Na d. Dellacqua 6-1; 6-4.
  • Zhang Shuai d. (5) Kvitova 7-6; 5-7; 6-3.
  • Petra Cetkovska d. (7) Angelique Kerber 4-6; 6-3; 6-4.
  • Camila Giorgi d. (9) Dominika Cibulkova 6-4; 7-6.
  • (10) Sara Errani d. Chanelle Scheepers 7-5; 6-3.
  • (13) Carla Suarez-Navarro d. Mona Barthel 6-2; 6-2.
  • Puig, Makarova, Bencic, Blanco, McHale all advanced in unseeded matches.
  • 2/4 Italian women playing advanced.

Wednesday Results

ATP

  • (1) Nadal d. Gilles Simon 7-6; 6-7; 6-2. Tough match for Rafa.
  • Jeremy Chardy d. (4) Roger Federer 1-6; 6-3; 7-6 (8-6). Yikes. Chardy is tough but ouch. Tough break for Fed. Would have been quite the day for French Tennis if Simon knocked off Rafa.
  • (6) Berdych d. Tursunov 6-4; 6-3.
  • (7) Murray d. Granollers 6-2; 7-5.
  • (11) Tsonga d. Anderson 7-6 (16-14!); 7-6 (7-5). Could this have been any closer? Wow.
  • (12) Dimitrov d. Karlovic 7-6; 6-4.
  • (14) Youzhny d. Golubev 7-5; 4-1. (Ret.)
  • (15) Haas d. Sijsling 7-6; 6-1.
  • Gulbis, Melzer and Dodig advanced in unseeded matches.

WTA

  • (1) S. Williams d. Petkovic 6-2; 6-2.
  • (3) Radwanska d. Ormaechea 6-3; 6-2.
  • (4) Halep d. Keys 5-7; 6-0; 6-1.
  • (6) Jankovic d. Kuznetsova 6-2; 4-0 (Ret.)
  • (8) Sharapova d. Puig 6-3; 7-5.
  • (10) Errani d. Makarova 6-2; 6-3.
  • (11) Ivanovic d. Cornet 7-6; 7-5.
  • (12) Pennetta d. Bencic 6-2; 2-6; 6-3.
  • (13) Suarez-Navarro d. V. Williams 6-4; 6-2.
  • Lepchenko d. (16) Stephens 6-2.
  • Stosur, McHale, Schiavone advanced in unseeded matches.

Thursday Results (So Far)

ATP

  • (7) Murray d. Melzer 7-6; 6-4.
  • (8) Raonic d. (11) Tsonga 7-6; 6-4.
  • (15) Haas d. (3) Wawrinka 5-7; 6-2; 6-3. Unbelievable.
  • Chardy d. Dodig 6-3; 6-2.
  • (1) Nadal is currently losing to (14) Youzhny 5-6.
  • (6) Berdych is beating (12) Dimitrov 5-3.
  • Ferrer and Djokovic will be playing later.

WTA

  • (2) Li Na d. Stosur 6-3; 6-1.
  • (3) Radwanska d. Schiavone 6-4; 6-1.
  • (13) Suarez-Navarro d. (4) Halep in a Walkover.
  • (11) Ivanovic d. (8) Sharapova 6-1; 6-4.
  • (10) Errani d. Cetkovska 6-4; 7-6.
  • (6) Jankovic is leading (12) Pennetta 3-1.
  • Serena has yet to play and Zhang Shuai d. McHale 6-2; 4-6; 6-2.

2014 ATP and WTA Internazionali BNL d’Italia First Round Results (Italian Open)


Credit : ESPN

So the clay court season continues onto Rome where the Italian Open is held. Many top quality players are in the tournament for both men and women. Unfortunately, Kei Nishikori is not in the draw stemming from the back spasms suffered in Madrid which cost him the title over Rafael Nadal. Pretty much all of the other big names are in the draw.

Notable Results

  • In what was probably the most intriguing match of the first round, Jo Wily beat Dolgopolov 6-3; 7-6 (7-5).
  • Jurgen Melzer defeated John Isner in straight sets.
  • Grigor Dimitrov barely scraped by in three sets, after losing the first two.
  • 4 Italians have already lost, including Fabio Fognini, who was seeded 13th. He lost to Lukas Rosol.
  • Tommy Haas and Radek Stepanek defeated John Isner and Scott Lipsky in the first round of doubles. I guess Johnny boy didn’t really care much for winning in Rome this year.
  • Italians Marco Checchinato and Andrea Seppi lost to Jurgen Melzer and Kevin Anderson. Fognini and another Italian, Simone Bolelli, are also playing doubles and have not competed yet. Rosol and Dimitrov are also in the doubles draw, which is an interesting team to watch.

WTA

  • 12th seeded Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone won their matches (with Schiavone beating the 14th seed). Romina Oprandi and Karin Knapp (also Italian) lost.
  • In a battle of Russians, Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated fan favorite Maria Kirilenko.
  • In a battle of Americans, Madison Keys defeated Alison Riske. Keys is only 19 years old and has a lot of potential.
  • Speaking of which, Sloane Stephens won in a tough three set match. She is only 10-9 on the season so far.
  • Unseeded (yes) Venus Williams advanced easily. She is quietly 13-5 on the season.
  • The best match on the ladies side was probably Lisicki vs. Stosur, with Stosur coming in unseeded. Sabine is still only 24 and has all the potential in the world, but just isn’t consistently where she needs to be to get into the Top 10 or 5. When she is at her best, she can beat anyone, but when she isn’t, she is likely to lose..especially to a veteran like Stosur.

The Season is Winding Down


Unfortunately, the tennis season at the center is nearing its finale. Technically speaking, next week is the last week for our season courts. Many have make-ups from snow over the winter or other reasons, so they will be coming in afterwards, but it is still a sad time for the workers here.

We sincerely enjoy your company and see everyone as friends. Perhaps some of us will run into others elsewhere over the summer, but the experience at the center will be sorely missed.

In any event, the JDP sessions are mostly running through the beginning of June. Because of this, if there is a rainy day and you would like to come in, you may be able to. Try to give us a bit of notice though so we can accommodate you.

I know for sure that I will be able to work the desk Tuesdays because I will be working JDP there from 4-5:30..but I would still like to know in advance if I should stay afterwards or not. If it is already raining or is forecasted to rain, I will probably hang out awhile just to see if people call in.

Also, I am looking into running something every once in a while during the night, maybe some sort of open hitting session where people can just figure out what they want to do when they come in, or an occasional mini-tournament. I’d like some feedback on what would be best for the most amount of people..but I am leaning towards something on Friday nights. It would be very cheap.

Tennis Tips Volume IV: Be Confident but not Over-Confident and Diagnosing your Opponent


In terms of confidence, there are two terrible things you could do going into a match. The first thing is to go into it thinking you are going to lose and the second is to take your opponent for granted by thinking he/she is not any good.

I wouldn’t quite recommend adhering to the Middle Way of the Buddha Sidhartha Gautama in terms of confidence, but it is definitely best to avoid being at either extreme before a match. I think it is better to come into a match with unwavering confidence that you are able to win the match instead of being directly in the middle and not having any idea or thinking that you have no chance of winning or losing.

If you enter a match believing that you have no chance of losing, chances are you are going to find yourself surprised at some point in the match. Either the other player is going to get off to a hot start and you will find yourself down a break or you will be up early and allow them to sneak back into the match. In any event, it will cause you to perhaps play erratically and lose sense of any semblance of a strategy you have and force you to gather yourself and get your act together…otherwise you will be in a big hole and drop a set or even worse, lose the match.

It is imperative to feel confident in your abilities and also take note of your opponent’s skills and tendencies during the warm-up period if you haven’t yet seen them play.

Regardless of what you see in this period, your confidence shouldn’t change but your preparation and strategy might…as you pick up on things in the other player’s game that you should take advantage of. Warming-up is just as much for your own skills as it is diagnosing your opponent’s skills. Maybe they seem to have a weak backhand, have shotty volleying technique or have trouble with slice. No matter what you see, you should remain confident that you have the ability to expose the player(s) on the other side of the court and be able to play the best match you can against them.

In terms of your own skills during the warm-up…do not get rattled. It shouldn’t matter if you think that you aren’t hitting or serving well before the match. Furthermore, do not find yourself in awe of the other player. They could look like Pete Sampras in warm-ups and end up being more like Tommy Haas (that might be an on-going joke for my writings). Some people simply are practice warriors that look and play unbelievable until the first serve is hit. Just as you shouldn’t worry about your failures in warm-ups, you shouldn’t let the success of your opponent get to you either. It takes two to tango and you should be confident that you can lead the dance regardless of how the warm-ups go.

In conclusion, the only thing that should really change before or during your match should be your strategy. You should always consider different approaches and remain pragmatic and be able to improvise based on what you see…just do not change how you feel. All that can do is put a self-imposed handicap on the match and start an up-hill battle or a slide down a slippery slope. Stay unwavering on the plateau.

Look ahead physically, stay consistent mentally.

 

We Are Having A Doubles Tournament On May 17th! Sign Up!


On Saturday May 17th, we will be hosting an open doubles tournament here at the tennis center.

It will only be $15 dollars per person, and we will have pizza and other refreshments available free of charge. It definitely will not be single elimination, but the exact format is to be determined.

Right now, we are planning on running the tournament from 3-6 PM, but are open to suggestions and will play it by ear. Staff would be happy to stay later if players would like to hit afterwards.

We are expecting that most players that will be interested in playing will be somewhere in the 3.5-4.5 range, but are not limiting registrants to this range and will accommodate other players by having a separate division if there are enough players for it.

Call in or otherwise contact us if you are interested in playing. Hope to hear from you soon.

U.S. Open Bus Trip Update


There are only 8 tickets remaining for our annual bus trip to the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows. If you would like a ticket for yourself or would like to purchase multiple tickets for a friend or a group of friends, please call in as soon as you can. We always end up selling all of the tickets so do not hesitate or you might get left without.

There will be complimentary refreshments before the bus leaves. There might even be some courts available to play on after the fact if watching inspires you.