Basics of Tennis Explained Tennis if you have ever stopped to consider what it is can be called a fairly basic sport. Because of this virtually anyone can learn how to play successfully, the hard part is the physical aspect. In terms of how the game is actually played, there are some basic guidelines that will allow you to play successfully without feeling as if you are lost. Even if you are not interested in playing but merely watching, having an idea about what is going on and why will give you a much better understanding of the game overall. The first thing to know is that tennis involves playing with at least 2 people, sometimes 4 if you are playing doubles and the equipment that is used is a tennis ball, tennis racquet and a tennis court. For each individual player there is also tennis shoes and of course suitable tennis clothes. Otherwise, there is no other equipment that is needed. This makes it a sport that is fairly light to play, unlike football, which has a large amount of heavy equipment that is involved as well. The tennis court that is used must be a regulation court. This ensures that the overall size and maintenance are all the same so that games are not lost or won based upon the position of a player on a court. The net goes in the center of the court and on each side there is a service line that runs parallel to the net. Further back on the outer edge of the court there is another set of parallel lines with one on each side of the net, this is called the baseline. This is typically where players start playing. Along the side of the court are lines that mark the outer edges, and these edges are called the alleys. It is important to understand the difference between singles and doubles now. In singles tennis the alley is out of bounds and when a ball hits the alley it is immediately out. However, in doubles tennis the alley is allowed to be used without a penalty. This as you can imagine can cause a much different result in a doubles game than in a singles game. To actually start the tame once you have at least two players you would need to serve the ball. To serve the ball successfully you would be required to serve the ball into the other player's side of the court and hit the service box on their side. The service box is a small box on the left hand side of the court for each player. There is a service box on each side and regardless of which player is serving the box must be hit during the initial serve. Obviously, the ball should not just land in the service box, but it must bounce in the service box at least once in order for the serve to be considered good. Otherwise the serve must be repeated. Once the ball has successfully hit the service box, it is then the aspect of tennis that most people recognize. That is the ball is to be hit back and forth across the tennis court until a player fails to hit the ball back across, or it hits the alley in a singles tennis match. In order to score points you must not hit the ball into the alley and you must always hit the ball when it comes to you. If you fail to hit the ball and your opponent has always hit it then you will not gain a point but they will. Each time the ball is missed, it will need to be reserved, and for each time it is served the players will take turns serving. This will allow both players to server equally during the game. This is obviously the condensed version, which does not take into account specific scoring or even specific scoring strategies, but it gives you a good basic foundation of exactly how tennis is played successfully. Keeping Your Eyes on the Ball One of the most important things that you will ever hear when you are playing tennis is to keep your eyes on the ball. Games have been lost because a player cannot do this. Yes, it seems virtually impossible to really keep track of that fuzzy yellow ball when it is spinning through the air coming right at you but realize that if you miss you are giving your opponent points. This as well as the risk of danger or getting hurt should be enough motivation to help you really focus on where the ball is at all times. If you lose track of the ball you could find it with your head, rather than your racquet. In order to really master tennis you are going to have to learn exactly how to track the ball no matter where it is. Do not worry so much about watching your opponent or even scanning the crowd looking for your sweetheart or your parents. They can see you, and you do not need to see them, instead your focus should always remain on the ball. If you have difficulty following the ball there are some things that you can do to help correct this situation, after all you want to improve your overall game strategy and skill level so taking the time to really emphasize your weaknesses through more training will help you overall. There are numerous video games lately that are teaching skills. Primarily the Nintendo DS offers several eye movement coordination games. This is a time when playing your video games can actually be good! Who knew that playing a game was actually able to be helpful, but it is just one way that you can improve your vision skills. There are also games that are made for the computer, and even drills that you can do with a friend to help you improve your skills. Work on this a bit and you should start seeing that you can track the ball much easier. Avoid trying to watch the crowd while you are playing. The crowd really does not care that you are playing, honestly they do not. While they are there to watch you play, they are probably doing some things that are rather distracting. Honestly, they do not always mean to be distracting, but they are and if you focus your efforts and energy on watching the audience, you are going to dramatically hinder your game. Instead, it is important to try to tune out exactly what the audience is doing and instead focus on the ball and your opponent. This will help you to ignore anyone who is acting strange in the crowd and also allow you to keep a good steady line of sight with the ball. Another thing that you need to do is simply practice. You cannot expect to walk out onto the tennis court for your first match and play like a professional. This would honestly be a great occurrence, but the professionals of tennis might be a bit upset. After all those who play tennis well have worked for years to highly develop their skills including watching the ball. You are not going to be able to simply read a book, watch a video or play a video game to walk out and play a perfect game of tennis. You will need to pick up a racquet and go out and actually play in order to gain some highly valuable real life experience. With a bit of practice and some workout sessions to help train your eyes you will be able to always spot the ball during the game. This will allow you to better focus on where you need to be in order to keep the ball in play. Learning how to watch the ball is not a trivial thing, this can be one of the most effective ways to improve your overall play without having to be a complete power player. Improving Your Tennis Technique One of the biggest problems that people have when learning how to play tennis is learning how to improve their technique. This can be done through practice and by learning what you are doing, but if you do not know what you are doing it can be very complicated to master the technique. If you have any doubts about what you are doing, then working to follow a few small tips will greatly improve your overall game and ensure that you are playing a much better game. However, having a good hitting technique is not the only thing that you will need in order to play a good game, but it will certainly help you. Your first step is going to be the tried and true tip of practice and practice some more. If you never practice your technique then it is not going to improve no matter how many books you read or how many tutorial videos you watch. Learning how to improve your technique by reading some books and articles can be helpful, but you must take what you have learned and actually put it to use on the tennis court in order to actually reap the benefits that are available to you. Your next concern should be making sure that you are using a tennis racquet that is appropriate for your skill level as well as physical size. If you are using the wrong racquet then no matter what you do there will be no way for you to hit the ball effectively. If you work very hard to ensure that you are hitting the ball then you are certain to ensure that you are making progress. A good appropriately sized racquet will make it much easier to hit the ball and ensure that you are able to play the best possible. For actual tips, you want to always hold the racquet as if you were going to hit the ball with your palm for a forehand swing. This will allow you to easily get the grip on the racquet you need to connect squarely with the racquet. If you hit from the side your ball is likely to land in the alley and unless you are playing doubles this is not a god idea at all. For a good backhand, you need to hold the racquet with either one hand or two depending on how you are most comfortable. If you do hold the racquet with two hands you need to ensure that you are not overlapping your hands as this will cause you to tilt the racquet slightly which will again hinder your technique and likely result in numerous balls that go out into the alley. You need to also ensure that you are not using a racquet that is too heavy; if you are, it will pull down either forward or backwards and make it difficult to get a good solid square connection to the ball. Your stance is also going to be very important. If you are standing around casually slouching when the ball is coming at you and slowly yawning as you lift the racquet you are not going to get the impact that you need. You are likely to not care about your technique either. However, since you are reading this you are telling yourself that you do care about your technique, which means you care about your stance as well. Ensure that you are properly balancing the weight between your legs to get the best results possible. The last step is to always ensure that you watch where the ball goes. If you are wrong about where the ball goes and are having to suddenly bolt across the tennis court to barely touch it with your racquet you are not going to have as good of a return as if you had anticipated exactly where the ball was going. The skill of always watching the ball will involve a bit of careful planning and practice both on the court and off in order to be truly successful at improving your technique. Two Most Important Aspects of Tennis If you are going to be any good at tennis there are two major things that you really need to know. Once you have mastered these things you are looking at a much easier time trying to play. However, if you are not playing as well as you should be, going back and taking some lessons in improving your skills as well as technique may be necessary. The primary basis of tennis is to obviously bounce the ball back and forth across the center net, but actually ensuring that the ball goes where you want it to is going to involve some careful consideration to ensure that you are training yourself properly. The first major thing you need to be aware of is you always need to be ready for the hit. This means you cannot turn around and wave to your best friend or blow your special honey a kiss while you wait for the ball to come to you. You need to focus on the ball and the exact location of the ball in relation to your racquet. If you look away, lose your concentration or just lose the ball then you are not going to have a very good hit. While not all hits need to be overly powerful it is important to ensure that you are making a conscious effort to get it over the net with each and every shot you take. If you are not prepared to hit the ball either mentally or physically you are not going to play a good game at all. You are going to practically hand the game to your opponent. Ensuring that you are ready for the ball is not as difficult as you may think, but it is very much worth your time to ensure that you are prepped and ready to go. Never waste time looking around at the crowd or trying to adjust your hair or clothes, they can wait -- just ensure you focus on the ball. The second thing that you always need to keep in mind is follow through. If you are unsure about your follow through then you need to ensure that you practice it until you have it down cold. A good effective follow through is a great way to help minimize some of the inexperience that you may have with playing tennis. Of course the professionals are going to have a good follow through, but you can as well if you practice. Some of the things to keep in mind is the exact manner in which you are holding the racquet. You also need to ensure that you rotate your shoulder correctly. Not only will this help you improve your follow through, it will also reduce your risk of injury and ensure that you are able to have the power that you need in your follow through to put the ball exactly where you want. You should also remember your stance. This is one of the times when your stance will be the most important. A poorly executed stance will result in a horrible follow through almost each and every time. However, taking the time to finish up your follow through by keeping a good stance will go a very long way to ensure that your game is at top-notch level. Never be afraid to ask for help in your follow through if you need it. Improving Your Tennis Serve Made Easy There are a few quick and simple steps that you can do that will help you to dramatically increase your tennis score. However it is important to actually practice the steps rather than just read them. If you take the time to practice these quick steps you will see an almost immediate improvement in your tennis serve and you will notice that you entire game will improve overall. The first thing that you need to do is to always relax your arm and your wrist. If you are tense, stressed out or easily excited you will notice that your arm will be quite tense. This will actually hinder your serve. Rather than acting like a wound up arm with more power, you will notice a definite decrease in the power that you have in your arm. This is the opposite effect from what you want. It is essential that you relax your arm and wrist. It is considered that as much as 20% of the power in your serve comes directly from the wrist, if your wrist is tight or tense you will lose as much as 15% of that power immediately. This is a huge hurt when you are trying to squeeze as much power as possible. The next step is you need to practice your arm motion until you have a nice smooth and fluid movement. If your serve is jerky you are going to lose some of the power that you have gained by relaxing your arm and wrist. You need to practice this over and over again; however you should not practice this if you are overly tired. When you are over tired you will notice that your arm is much heavier and it is a lot harder to get the smooth and flowing movement that you really need in order to successfully serve the ball. Jumping during your serve is also important. In fact this is one of the single most powerful movements that you can do in order to improve the overall power of your serve. If you are trying to really maximize your serve then you need to ensure that you are jumping as you serve. However, you also need to ensure that you are wearing a good pair of sturdy tennis shoes with plenty of cushion in the soles to protect your foot as you come down on impact with the court. This can provide a lot of relief to your knees as you land and will soften the blow to your body while still giving you the most power possible in your serve. The final thing that you can do the most to maximize your serve is ensure that you are lining up your body with the service box that you are aiming for. If you are turning your body towards the stands or even the field across the way you are simply not going to be able to hit the service box like you need to in order to have a successful serve. This is something that is not negotiable; you need to aim the ball and to do that you need to turn your body in the direction of your target. This may take a bit of practice but if you practice your body facing you will see that it gets much easier over time and your serve improves dramatically. Keys to Success As most people readily realize, everything you do in life is directly determined in success by how you approach it. This means if you are willing to approach a situation with an open mind and a bit of self-confidence in yourself, you are going to be much more likely to succeed than someone who approaches with a grudge, attitude or just lack of self-confidence. At the same time if you are trying to learn a new skill you are not going to set out with self-confidence so you need to learn some things to help you readily adjust to the things that you encounter. These same principals apply to tennis as well. What may seem overly complicated with a bit of patience and self-confidence can become readily manageable. However, if you do not approach the game with some self-confidence you are likely to fail. This is true of anything that you do, even if it is something other than tennis. The final result of your performance is altered based upon your own personal approach and there are several things that you can do to improve your overall approach and ensure that you are having the best experience possible. Approach the sport with an open mind and embrace it. If you just half attempt the sport then you will increase the chances of getting hurt, decrease your chances of success and wish you had never picked up a tennis racquet. If you approach with a positive mindset, you are going to put yourself in a much better position to be successful, regardless of how long you have been playing. A player who approaches the court in a good mood and with a positive mindset is going to be much more likely to have a good game than someone who is in a bad mood. Accept that mistakes will happen. Even those players who are professionals make mistakes, which is part of life in general. Accept this fact and take your mistakes as a chance to learn a lesson. If you discover that you are making a mistake in your timing for swinging the racquet, take that as a chance to improve your timing. If you take everything that you do wrong as an opportunity to improve, rather than as a failure you will be able to really improve your overall outlook. To make you feel better, remember that even the best players are going to have days when they play horribly, make mistakes and just do not want to be on the court. For those who have been playing a lot it is also important to avoid burn out. This can strike any sport, hobby, job, career or activity. If you do nothing but play tennis every waking moment that you are awake, you are going to be running straight into a burn out in no time at all. Rather than do this to yourself ensure that you take a break at times to go shopping, hang out with friends and even just sit around on the couch acting lazy and watching television. This will allow you to come back to the tennis court with a fresh mind and ready to play again. The time that you spend away from the court in these circumstances can be just as valuable as the time you spend on the court. You should also realize that each player has their own particular style. What works best for your coach may not be what works best for you. While you should take your coaches advice, you need to ensure that you are doing what is comfortable for you. For example, your racquet, shoes and clothing need to be fitted for you and your needs, rather than what your coach can comfortably use. If you take the time to do things your own style, you will be able to really develop your skills. Never just try to completely copy another player, even if it is your coach. Ultimate Secrets to Winning Matches The goal is obviously to win when you are playing tennis, after all who really steps out onto the court with the goal of losing a match? If you are like most typical players you need all the help you can get to win some games because you may find yourself up against a player who seems to cream you the split second you serve the ball and has you feeling as if there is no way possible for you to really stand a chance at winning. Yet a few strategies can help you really ensure that you can win, but they all involve paying attention to your opponent so it will require you to watch your opponent and study how they play. Your first step is obviously going to be serving the ball successfully. If you cannot serve the ball successfully you are going to start out continuously behind and find the entire process rather frustrating. However, if you are able to serve the ball successfully you will be starting off on a very good footing. If you think that your serve is weak then always practice it continuously until you get the power, speed and accuracy for your serve that you want. Your next step should be learning how to play from the baseline. This is a strategy that is mostly seen in professional tennis but think about it -- if it works for the professionals then it should work for you as well! Ensure that you always hit the ball deep so that you have plenty of time to return to your baseline with each hit, if you are hitting the ball shallow, you are going to be losing precious moments that would give you the upper hand when it is your turn to return the serve. The next goal that you should have is watching your opponent. Most players tend to have a specific way that they always hit the ball. If you watch and discover what this is, you will be able to start anticipating the movements and actions of your opponent before they even occur. This can be a huge help to you, but it will involve a lot of practice to fine tune this skill. Once you have mastered the skill though, you can expect to see the number of games that you are winning improve. You also want to ensure that your opponent is hitting as many balls as possible, especially in the beginning. You may be curious about why this matters; after all, if they miss you score a point. Nevertheless, consider if they are managing to hit all of your shots that they are likely running around their end of the court like a mad person. After a little while, this is going to get incredibly tiring. You want your opponent to start getting tired in order to take advantage of them. If they are fully alert and energetic, they are going to be more likely to watch you and how you are playing. If they are tired, they are not going to be as concerned with watching you and instead focus on the ball, or anything else that catches their eye. Just as you are studying the playing style of your opponent, they are probably studying you. This means you cannot serve the ball the exact same way each time, you cannot return the ball the exact same way each time and you cannot play the same way for all of your games. Someone will be using the same strategy as you and they will tear you up on the court if you do this. Instead, you need to ensure that you are shaking things up at times. Pull out a new serve technique, try to hit the ball shallow when you usually go deep or even just move around the court a bit. This will allow you to really throw your opponent off so that they cannot read you quite as easily as you are trying to read them. Remember, it is a sport and winning is a great feeling. Tips to Selecting the Right Tennis Instructor for Your Child As you can imagine there are numerous considerations that you should take into account if you are trying to select a suitable tennis instructor for a child. What is suitable for an adult is not always the best match for a child and this can sometimes be a very difficult difference to distinguish. What you determine as the first criteria is obviously someone who is skilled and talented as a player themselves, yet there are other criteria that should be considered as well. Some of this criteria should include someone who is willing to offer up generous amounts of praise to your child. While of course some criticism is necessary in order to actually improve you do not want an instructor that only criticizes your child. Look for someone who also gives honest praise. If they are simply dolling out praise just to make parents happy, you want an instructor who is handing out praise because it is deserved. This will also go to show an instructor that pays close attention to the activities and behavior of the students as well which shows that they are highly attentive to the needs of your child. Your next criteria should be an instructor who has patience with children who struggle to grasp the concepts set forth for them. You need an instructor who is willing to work with your child whether they catch on perfectly after the first lesson or it takes then 20 lessons to learn how to swing the racquet without hitting someone. The kind of continuity that this offers your child is very important and ensures that they will be able to really grow and learn with the same instructor and it also shows that an instructor is capable of adapting their teaching style based upon your child's particular needs. For children one of the key things to look for is an instructor who places the highest priority on having fun. Of course producing star tennis players is great, but an instructor who is more concerned with his next Olympic entry than having fun is likely to drive away the hobby players, which is where most children fall in the spectrum of players. Once your child grows older if they want to train for the Olympics then a different coach may be necessary but young children need to first have fun and improve their skills before moving onto worrying about being the best in the world. As a good rule of thumb, you need an instructor who places a highly emphasized level on mastering all of the basics before moving onto advanced techniques. What good does it do to sign your child up to 10 tournaments if they are unable to even properly swing the racquet? You need to ensure that the instructor is willing to spend time on the basics until they are firmly mastered. If they insist upon moving your child along without the basics fully mastered then you need to find a new coach. Your child should never be pushed to a level that is beyond their capabilities for the time being. They may suddenly have a breakthrough and rapidly advance, but the lessons need to follow their own individual skill levels. Your final consideration should be finding an instructor that is certified. This goes to help prove that they are capable of playing themselves. It also allows you to feel comfortable knowing that they have to adhere to a specific set of rules and guidelines in order to actually be certified. Many instructors that are lesser quality will not want to bother with the requirements to be certified, so this works as a very effective method to help weed out the instructors that are not as suitable for your needs. Always ask about certification before you ask any other questions about their teaching style or even prices. Without a certification, you do not want to work with them, and you should never send your child to them. Tips to Selecting the Perfect Tennis Shoes As you can imagine tennis is a very high impact sport, this alone creates a huge need for a good pair of highly appropriate shoes that are designed to last a long time and ensure that you have the durability as well as comfort that you need. If the shoes that you choose are not good for your skills then you are going to be looking at very sore feet and legs, potential problems with your back, a less than stellar game and massive discomfort. This is simply not acceptable during the middle of a match. You do not want to be uncomfortable so the need to have a good pair of sturdy shoes is greatly important. You should first always ensure that you know the exact size of your foot. This is not a case of guessing that your size is approximately an eight is good enough. You need to know the exact size, without this information you could purchase the wrong size, which could cause your feet to be pinched, or could cause blisters if the shoes are too large. If you are not positive on the shoe size that you wear you need to see a professional at the shoe store to determine your shoe size before you do anything else. Your next step is to determine what type of foot you have. The three major types are ideal, pronated and supinated. Depending on the exact type of your foot, your choice of shoes will be impacted. Not all shoes are suitable for all feet types. If you have a supinated foot then you should not pick out a pair of shoes that are designed for the ideal foot type. You need to know exactly how you stand on your foot in order to know the type of feet that you have. An ideal foot would wear the shoes evenly all across the bottom. Someone with a supinated foot would wear the shoes on the outside heavily, while the inside of the shoe was virtually untouched. A pronated foot would wear heavily the inside of the foot and often the arch area is badly worn as well. A pronated foot typically has a much higher risk of injury so having the proper shoes is not a luxury but a requirement. Once you have determined shoe size and foot type you can then move onto finding the shoes that are most suitable for you based upon style and comfort level. Many tennis players decide to wear a particular brand of shoe and only wear that brand. This often happens simply because they find a brand that fits their foot well. You should always stick to the brands that fit well before you start looking at new brands simply because you know how well the brand will perform. If you can afford to purchase them, you should also look to purchase brand name tennis shoes. While a lesser known brand is the perfect opportunity to save some money, they are not likely to be as comfortable nor last as long, which will ultimately make them a very poor decision. Tennis is a sport where you are on your feet the entire time you are playing; this combined with the sudden movements means that shoes is not an area where you should be pinching pennies. You also need to look for a pair of shoes that provides a great amount of lateral support. This is what will help prevent your ankle from twisting as you run back and forth sideways across the court. If your shoes offer no lateral support, you are increasing the risk of a sprained or twisted ankle. Always ensure that you have plenty of lateral support before you purchase the shoes. Your last consideration should be finding a pair of shoes that are lightweight. Remember you will be moving quickly across the court so you need to ensure that you have plenty of energy, heavy shoes will weight you down and make it quite difficult to move as fast as you need to move. However, a good sturdy pair of lightweight shoes that provide ample cushioning and lateral support will be your best investment. Required Tennis Equipment Of course there are the basics such as the balls but what are some of the other pieces of equipment that are needed in order to play effectively? Having the necessary tools of the trade is always essential in order to be successful and tennis is no exception. Having the right equipment can mean the difference between being able to play successfully or not being able to play because you do not have something that you need. The first piece of equipment and what often comes to people's mind first when they hear the word tennis is the tennis balls. It is important to ensure that you are purchasing the correct tennis balls. If you choose the wrong balls then you could have a huge problem with a lack of performance. However, knowing that balls come in several different types is important information to ensure that have exactly what you need. Of course a racquet is important as well. Depending upon your exact skill level the type of racquet that you need may vary. If you are just starting to learn tennis expect to need to purchase at least two or three different racquets while you are learning as you move along the various skill levels. This will allow you to move up in skill level as you improve in your overall technique. A good pair of tennis shoes is also essential. You need something that fits correctly, provides the right support for your foot, has plenty of lateral support built in and is designed to last. Simply walking into a store and buying the first pair of tennis shoes that you see will almost always result in a bad fit. You need to be prepared to spend some time really looking around to find the best shoes for your needs. If you are having difficulty selecting the right shoes talk to a professional at the store to get some advice based upon your needs and foot type. Tennis bags are also essential. This will allow you to carefully store all of your things into a single bag. Going to practice is not like you are going on a miniature vacation so you do not need to take along numerous little suitcases. Instead you can take along a single tennis bag that holds all of your necessary equipment. Other things that are nice to have include small towels, wristbands, a headband and even a hat or visor to help keep the sun out of your eyes. These things combined with some good sunscreen will work to ensure that you are comfortable out on the court and off the court. If you do not have everything that you need then you can generally pick them up at virtually any sports store that is available. Never try to use equipment that is worn out, broken or that does not suit your needs based upon your skill level. This means if you need to use a power racquet you should not attempt to use a control racquet. As far as tennis apparel goes, different places have different rules. Some require solid colored outfits while others have no problems with colors and patterns. Check with your local tennis club, instructor or anyone else similar to see exactly what is required for where you plan to play at. This will ensure that you are always appropriately dressed for their needs and requirements. Exercise Tips for Tennis As you can imagine, tennis is a very strenuous sport that requires a lot of energy as well as a really good physical condition in order to play successfully. This does not mean that you need to be a professional athlete to play well though. Of course the professionals have a physical trainer to help them, but you can achieve some of the same benefits by simply ensuring that you are doing exercises that will help you improve your game. How long you devote to exercise depends entirely on you, but you will be very glad you invested the time. Running is one of the best things you can do. Whether you run at a full run or you choose to just jog does not matter as much. However the fact that you are running is phenomenal. If you stop and think a lot of tennis involves running back and forth across the court. If you have the energy to do this and do it without running out of breath then you are well onto the right track to ensure that you are in good physical shape. Running from one end of the court to the other and losing your breath in between will make it much harder for you to successfully play. You are also going to need to work on strengthening your abdominal muscles. Having a good strong core with toned abs will help you achieve a powerful swing. While you do not need washboard abs you do need to ensure that you can control your abdominal muscles while you are playing. This means you are going to have to resort to some sit-ups and crunches to ensure that your stomach muscles are toned. The muscles in your back cannot be ignored either. Using various workout equipment you can generally tone these in just a few minutes a day or however often you work out. Taking some small weights and focusing heavily upon repetitions rather than the actual weight amount is quite helpful in order to improve your overall back strength. Remember, many of the racquets that are used are quite heavy, so having the strength to lift them is important. The arms and legs need to be toned as well. To do this some leg curls, arm curls and a bit of lifting weights can help. Once again you need to focus on repetitions since this is going to help you greatly while you are playing. The pure muscle mass is not as important as the ability to maintain your energy and strength during a match. You should strive to work towards higher numbers of reps regardless of which workout method you chose rather than pushing to bench press 300 pounds. The final thing you need to work at is stretching. If you are doing proper stretches before any workout and before actually playing you are going to ensure that your muscles are in top shape. This will allow you to be a little bit looser in your playing without always being injured if you step slightly wrong. If your muscles are able to bend, flex and stretch without tearing or pulling immediately you will be able to avoid a lot of injuries. Make sure that you are always stretching as part of any exercise routine that you engage in to make sure your muscles are in top condition. The Differences in Tennis Balls Explained Who ever knew that there was a lot of decisions involved in picking out a tennis ball? After all, they are green or yellow and fuzzy. The biggest decision that you would think you should have to make is picking the color that you want to use. Yet there is actually so much more that people generally do not think about. This is an amazing discovery to most people, because honestly a ball is just a ball right? Of course a ball is a ball, but at the same time you could not play tennis very effectively if you were trying to use a basketball or even a football and vice versa. This has created the need to have specific balls that are specifically designed for the sport you are playing. The differences in the types of places that you can play tennis has also made it very necessary to take the time to really go in and ensure that you have the right balls for the type of playing that you do. For example, there are two primary types of balls. This is aside from the slight differences in color; the difference tends to lie in how the balls are constructed. There are pressurized balls and those that are pressureless. The difference is inside of the ball, for example, pressurized balls are filled with either air or sometimes nitrogen inside. However, pressureless balls are just a solid core that has no air or gas inside. The primary benefit is often the costs, if you are just beginning to play then the pressurized balls are generally much cheaper, however they tend to lose their bounce as the air escapes slowly about a month after they are opened. This means that after a while you will need to replace them, pressureless balls on the other hand do not lose their bounce, but after a while the fuzzy felt that provides some friction when playing will wear off. This means that they will still need to be replaced, however they can be used much longer before needing to be replaced. Now that we have covered that you are feeling as if you are a tennis ball expert, however, there are still something's that you need to know. For example, each pack of tennis balls is clearly marked with a label that says either High Altitude, Extra Duty or even Regular Duty. The difference in the balls at this point will have a huge impact upon the actual way that they play while you are using them. Using the wrong ball at the wrong time can create a bit of a problem, however choosing the right ball is important. The first type is the High Altitude; these are designed to be used in places that are very high above sea level. The pressure inside of the ball has been adjusted to provide the optimal bounce at a level of approximately 4,000 feet or higher above sea level. This type of ball would be highly inappropriate for use in a tennis court that is deep inside a valley or anywhere else that is not high above sea level. Another type is the Extra Duty; these balls are designed to be a bit more durable than Regular Duty. The primary purpose of an Extra Duty ball is to be used on tennis courts that are grass or even asphalt. They tend to hold up much better against the very tough surfaces and ensure that even on a grass surface you can get the bounce that you need to be able to play effectively. The last type of ball is the Regular Duty ball; these are designed to be used primarily on surfaces such as indoor tennis courts and even those that are made from clay. Typically, these balls are designed for the majority of players to get used. It is important to realize that if you do play tennis on a hard surface or even grass tennis court with a regular duty ball that you will be lucky to get a single game or two of use from the ball before it is necessary to replace them. Important Mind Control Techniques for Tennis Unlike what I am sure you are thinking we are not going to set out to perform voodoo on our opponent, nor are we going to try to control them through some ancient form of telepathy. Rather the goal is to improve how you approach each game from a mental standpoint so that you can be much more successful. This means that you should approach each and every game with a successful and positive attitude in order to truly find success on the tennis court. The first thing that you always need to do is ensure that you get plenty of sleep before a match. While the idea of staying up late to practice may sound great, you will be causing yourself problems with actually paying attention at the game itself. This is not a wise decision. In order to remain calm and follow a well-developed playing strategy you need to ensure that you have gotten the rest that you need. Someone who is tired is not going to be as mentally sharp as someone who has gotten a good 8 hours of good sleep. Stay as calm as possible before the match. While matches are exciting and it is easy to get all wound up in the excitement you need to try to detach yourself as much as possible. People who are overly excited make mistakes; they get nervous they practically give the game to their opponent. This is rather sad honestly, because most people do not set out with this idea in mind, rather they set out with the idea of being able to beat their opponent and end up leaving the tennis court sorely disappointed. If you keep your excitement under wraps until you are done playing you will find that you have a much easier time concentrating on the court and are therefore able to really focus on playing the best possible and keeping your eyes on the ball successfully. You should also ensure that you are not taking any kind of medication before a game that will make you groggy. This is a huge problem for some players more than others. If you have allergies of some form, you may discover that your allergy medication makes you a bit sluggish and groggy. This is a potential problem and there are a few things that you can do to correct it. Your first choice is to wait until after the game to take the medication if your allergies will allow it. However if you have bad allergies then your only other real option is to talk to your doctor and see if they can prescribe something that will not make you groggy. Always look your opponent in the eye with a confident nature whenever possible. This will have your opponent literally freaking out on their side of the net because you will look like you know exactly what you are doing and are about to cream them. This can be really scary for someone, especially if you are playing against someone who has not developed their skills fully yet. If you are able to pull this off you can have your opponent making some small mistakes before they have even had a chance to return your serve. It is important to remember that you cannot just stand and stare at your opponent for the entire game, you must actually watch the ball, but between serves, a few good self-confident looks can be quite useful. The primary focus of tennis may be bouncing the ball back and forth across the court but you are going to have to learn how to control your mind in order to effectively play. If you allow yourself to be easily distracted, you will find that you are prone to numerous small mistakes that would not occur if you were not nervous. Nevertheless, learning to hide the fact that you are nervous will take some time and practice, yet it is entirely possible to do if you work at it. Where to Play Tennis There are numerous places that are all available to play tennis and most cities have several options that you can explore based upon your individual needs. Finding a suitable place to play is often based upon where you live, how long you have to devote to playing and what type of surface you are looking for in terms of the court. There are grass courts, clay, asphalt and even an indoor wooden court. You need to decide which type you are most interested in before you obviously make a final decision, but having several options available to you will make it much easier to find a good tennis court that you can use. Local gym -- this is a place where you can generally find at least one indoor tennis court. While not all gyms will have an outdoor tennis court you can generally schedule a game or two a week. In addition this is a great place to find a tennis instructor that is able to work with you to improve your technique if you are interested. One of the biggest benefits to using the court at the local gym is there is typically no additional charges to use the court, you just may need to reserve the court in advance for your use. Country club -- many country clubs offer several tennis courts for members. Golf and tennis sometimes go hand in hand and the majority of country clubs will offer several different tennis courts that you can use. One of the biggest advantages is this will allow you to play more often because you have a greater chance of finding an open court. However, the bad news is that you generally will need to pay a membership fee for the country club, which can run as much as several hundreds of dollars a month. Nevertheless, there is some good news, finding a very good and successful instructor at a country club is an almost guarantee. City parks -- many local cities are pushing residents to get into shape and as such they are opening more parks that offer sports facilities for the general public to use. The disadvantage here is that they tend to be very busy and sometimes have limited hours. Additionally, there usually is not a staff available so there is no way to actually reserve the court. You will have to hope when you arrive that it is empty. However, the biggest advantage is that they are almost always free, plus it gives you a great chance to get out and meet new people in the area around you. If you are looking for a tennis instructor it may be a bit difficult since most public tennis courts do not have a place where instructors can post a sign advertising their services. Tennis clubs -- if you are already fairly skilled at playing you may be able to look for a local tennis club in your area. This would allow you to play with other players who all have various skill levels. The benefits are that you can learn from the more advanced players, plus it is a great way to find out about local tournaments. The disadvantage is you may have to pay additional fees each month in order to use the court. You can however usually find a great instructor this way. As you go along you may notice that you need to reserve the court in advance, however most tennis clubs offer more than a single tennis court, which helps to reduce the congestion on the courts. Finding a good tennis court is quite possible and of course larger cities will have even greater options to find the perfect court for your needs. Tennis Equipment -- New or Used? If you are trying to get started in tennis you have no doubt discovered that many of the different pieces of equipment that are necessary are a bit expensive. However, if you are willing to purchase some equipment used you can save a lot of money. The problem becomes determining what you can really purchase used without putting yourself at risk for injury, or even potential frustration. Savings money should never be a greater priority so it is important to follow the advice that is listed here if you are considering buying any used equipment. Tennis Racquets are a piece of equipment where being new or used generally does not matter. However, while it is ok to choose used from a price perspective without jeopardizing safety it is also important to realize that you need to know exactly what you are looking for in a tennis racquet before you ever buy one used. If you are trying to find a power racquet and end up buying a tweener then you have just wasted your money. However, if you are looking for a racquet and manage to find one that is a level up, such as looking for a power racquet and finding a tweener then you can purchase the higher level racquet and hang onto it for later on. It is still important to use the recommended racquet in the meantime however. Tennis balls are one of the biggest expenses that people tend to have simply because they need to be replaced so often. Generally speaking it is best to avoid used balls unless you know for sure that they are not pressurized. If you suspect that the ball is a pressureless and it still has a suitable fuzzy felt surface then you may be able to save a few dollars. However, you should check to ensure that they are the right type, remember tennis balls come in Basic, Extra duty and high altitude models. The tennis bag is another place where you can save some money and buy used. As long as you carefully check the bag you should make out fine picking up a used model. This will allow you to reap some huge financial benefits. Key things to check are the zippers, pockets, the straps and any hardware that the bag includes. You do not want anything that is damaged. Additionally, you need to ensure that the bag is the suitable size. You are not going to save any money at all if it is the wrong size for your needs. You will still ultimately purchase a new bag in the correct size so avoiding this hassle is best. The final pieces of equipment that you can buy used without problems are the various tennis clothes that you pick out. This is a great way to get a good deal on the tennis clothes that you need. However, while clothing is fair game, shoes are off limits. Never purchase used tennis shoes. You do not know how the other person has worn them; you do not know if they are worn out and the chances of used tennis shoes have less lateral support is quite high. This increases your chances of injury ultimately. Take the money you saved from buying the other equipment used and make sure you put it onto a good pair of tennis shoes that fit you properly. Tennis and Sports Medicine Concerns Many people do not realize that beyond the initial beginnings of tennis that the sport can actually be very dangerous. Yet at the same time even those who do realize that it is dangerous often do not realize just how important it is to have a good sports medicine doctor that you work with. Most tennis injuries are caused specifically by the sport itself, which makes the need to have a sports medicine doctor quite large. If you are playing tennis at an advanced level or even professionally or semi-professionally you must have a good sports medicine doctor. Those players who are on the lower levels can typically avoid using a sports medicine doctor; however it is still a wise decision to have a doctor. If you are injured for any reason due to playing a sport, which includes tennis seeing a good sports medicine doctor can often speed up your recovery time greatly. While you may not realize it, taking the time and effort to find a good doctor can ensure that you are not sitting around in pain struggling to find a doctor that can see you after you have been injured. Being able to simply call someone up to take care of your needs is very important, however waiting until after you are injured is a recipe for disaster, especially since not all doctors take new patients at all times. You should take your time selecting a good sports medicine doctor. With the list of acute injuries for tennis being rather large it is important to ensure that you are working with someone that you trust. You also need to ensure that your doctor is highly experienced in sports medicine and is readily available in the event that you have a problem. For example, if it would take two weeks for you to get an appointment with your chosen sports medicine doctor it would be a very wise decision to search for a new doctor that could see you sooner. In addition to helping you stay healthy by treating your injuries a good sports medicine doctor should be able to help you prevent injuries as well. They should be able to recommend specific exercises and safety equipment that will help you to avoid being injured. If you are working with a doctor that barely wants to ever talk to you then again you need to find a new doctor. Sports medicine doctors are typically quite hands on, however there are some that are just not as hands on in their treatment methods. Typically a hands on doctor will give you much better results. If you do not already have a sports medicine doctor picked out you should consider talking to your coach or instructor to see whom they recommend. Most coaches are fairly well aware of which sports medicine doctors are good and which are not as effective at treating tennis injuries. You may also discover that simply by taking the advice of your coach that you find the absolute best sports medicine doctor that is in the area. Remember, one of the biggest keys to preventing injuries is prevention itself. If you want to avoid being injured it is important that you establish a good working relationship with your sports medicine doctor before you are injured. This will allow them to help you in prevention, and help you treat the injuries themselves much faster when they do occur. Tennis and Children Parents are always looking for a good sport for their child and more and more parents are starting to turn to tennis as the perfect sport for their child. The benefits of tennis go far beyond simply learning good sportsmanship skills, it also goes deep into learning good skills in terms of eye coordination and even hand eye coordination just to mention a few. Deciding if tennis is the right sport for your child is sometimes easy and at other times a bit more complicated, but you should always take a cue from your child as you make the final decision. The first step should be deciding if your child enjoys playing with large groups of people such as with football or soccer or if they prefer to play solo sports. While tennis is not so much a solo sport you are playing against another three people, rather than an entire field like many team sports involves. If your child does not like the idea of playing by themselves then tennis may not be the best match for them. Children should also feel comfortable having a ball flying at them at high speeds. While nobody really sets out to walk onto the tennis court and be hit in the head with a ball, it is a possibility that is entirely possible to happen. If your child is quite shy they may not be comfortable with this idea, however if they are not easily intimidated then you may not have any problems with your child being upset over this. Many children take this as the perfect time to get started really improving their skills and technique in order to protect themselves from the ball. You should also look at the benefits that tennis can provide. It is a great form of exercise that allows your child to move around the tennis court a very great deal thus providing them with plenty of exercise. At the same time, it is also possible to practice improved hand eye coordination, teamwork skills and even learn how to make quick decisions as a split second. A child who has issues making a decision is generally not cut out for tennis, however a child that is able to just jump in and make a fast decision will generally do very well at tennis. Another good benefit of tennis is the ability to practice on their own. While many sports need a child to interact with numerous other people in order to actually practice a solid wall, tennis ball and racquet can allow your child to easily practice almost anywhere, even at your home. This allows your child to have the time to practice that they need which can be a huge help if you are looking for the best sport possible that will not potentially damage your property. For parents who are looking for a competition sport tennis makes a wonderful choice, you can choose just how many or how few competitions you are comfortable with your child participating in and ultimately they can even play in the Olympics or as a professional if they are skilled enough when they get older. This can allow you to consider that tennis is a great sport because it has a serious future ahead that is very much possible for virtually anyone to learn. Essential Considerations for Your Tennis Bag What you may not realize is that while having a great racquet will help you on the court, a good tennis bag will help you to do just as well off of the court. This is the primary reason why it is so important to have a tennis bag and will leave you wishing that you had a good bag on the days when you discover that you have forgotten an essential item. There are several things that you should keep in mind when you are picking out your tennis bag and if you are careful in your decision, you will have a bag that makes you very happy and lasts a long time. You need to first ensure that you select a bag that is a good size for your needs. If you only need to carry a few things with you then an oversized bag will be a pain for you to deal with. However, if you need to carry a lot of equipment with you then it will be important to look for a bag that is much larger to ensure that you can carry everything that you need. If you just need a small bag then an oversized bag will just be a huge hassle that you will likely not take with you like you should. In order for your tennis bag to be effective, you need a bag that fits your needs without weighting you down. If you are looking for a bag that will carry everything that you could possibly imagine and it is necessary to have it rather large in size then you will need to ensure that the bag that you select is constructed from very strong materials in order to ensure that it does not break. Many of the problems with cheaper bags is that they tend to break under the weight and pressure that a full bag will bring. You need to look for something that is reinforced and constructed with at least two layers of material in order to ensure that it will not tear up. If you can use a much smaller bag then it is generally a good decision. This will allow you to carry fewer items with you, which reduces the amount of things that could be lost or stolen, plus it reduces the weight that you are carrying around to a level that you can comfortably handle. This can be a huge help when you are trying to ensure that you do not overweight your body. The choice of color, brand and even style is something that you can decide upon based upon your personal preference; however ensuring that you have at least a shoulder strap on the bag will be a good idea so that you can comfortably carry the bag without hurting your hands. If you try to use a bag that only has hand straps you are going to be looking at a lot of weight and pressure on your hands, this is completely unnecessary and should be avoided at all costs before a game or even practice. Picking the right bag will ensure that you are organized, as well as not hurting yourself carrying a bag around. However, if you are trying to pick out a bag that is bigger than you are then you are likely setting yourself up to be injured. Choose a bag that is small enough that you can reasonably carry it, in addition ensure that the bag has a padded shoulder strap so that you can protect your shoulder from enormous levels of strain. If you are unable to protect your shoulder then you are putting yourself at risk of an injury simply from carrying your bag, which will cause you several problems. A great bag is essential, but choosing the right bag will be a process that generally takes a while to decide. In addition, you should avoid the idea of purchasing the cheapest bag that you can find. This will almost always result in increased amounts of frustration because the bag will break, rip, or even hurt you as you carry it. A good quality bag is well worth the price. Is Tennis Camp a Wise Investment? If your child is training to be the next great tennis player then you may be wondering if a few weeks at a tennis camp is a good idea. The plain facts of the matter are that each child is different. What is best for one child may not be best for another, but some general guidelines will usually be quite helpful in deciding if sports camp is a good idea. Making a good decision can mean encouraging your child, making the wrong decision could turn your child against tennis for life and may be potentially devastating so always proceed with caution. You need to first consider your child. If you have a child who is ready and determined to train for the Olympics for example then working towards finding a suitable tennis camp is a good idea. However, if your child merely enjoys tennis as a hobby then finding a tennis camp for much longer than a couple of hours a day may have the result of burning them out on the sport. Ensure that your child is participating at a reasonable level, this means if all year long your child is practicing tennis for a couple of hours each day that perhaps a few weeks off in the summer will be good for them. You should also carefully look for the perfect camp. Never choose the first camp that you find. You want to look around and see what the focus of each camp is, whom the instructors are, what type of safety precautions they provide and you should also ask how they screen the staff. It is especially important to be cautious now with so many horrible adults gaining access to children. You need to know that your child is safe if you send them to camp. Additionally you need to compare the costs of the camp with what you are getting. If the camp costs more than several months' worth of lessons you need to be assured that they are going to have plenty of time to work on their skills. If all they are doing is sitting around a campfire singing and dancing then there are better uses for the money. However, if you are looking for just a fun camp and they also offer some tennis classes then this would be much more acceptable. A camp that is geared specifically towards tennis needs to provide some good reasons why your child should attend in order to really earn your business. One of the last things that you need to consider is your own personal schedule. If you are planning another family trip at the same time then perhaps skipping the summer tennis camp is a wise idea. Spending time with the family is much more important than getting a few extra hours of tennis practice worked in. Take the time as a family to get away from everything and then allow your child to pick back up on classes when you return. This will work wonders towards giving your child a much needed break, allow your family to bond and help everyone ensure that they have time for some other activities as well other than those they engage in all of the time on a normal daily basis. Work to make time for a few family activities and you should see your child improve on the court. Beginners Tournament Tips If you have decided that you want to try your hand at a few tournaments you are likely to be looking at a very long and hard road ahead of you. While a tournament can be a lot of fun, it can also be a huge hassle if you do not approach it with the right mindset and fully prepared both mentally and physically. However, if you are prepared then a tournament can be a great learning experience for you. Always get a good night's sleep before the tournament. Never try to play in a tournament after you have only gotten 2 or 3 hours of sleep. You increase the risk of getting hurt badly if you are overly tired and you really run the risk of making numerous mistakes. All of this compounded together will result in a very bad experience with a tournament. Pack your bag for the tournament the night before. At the wee hours of the morning, you really do not want to be searching around your room looking for your tennis racquet. If you pack your bag the night before then you are setting yourself up to be successful. However, searching around for items that you need will have you leaving the house thoroughly stressed out and ready to rip your hair out before you even arrive at the tournament. Eat a good breakfast high in carbohydrates. This will allow you to have plenty of energy to ensure that you can play a good game. If you skip over breakfast, you are going to be more concerned with your empty stomach rather than playing the best game possible. If you are going to be at the tournament all day, you also need to ensure that you take a couple of healthy snacks along as well. This will allow you to keep your energy level up and make sure that you can concentrate on the important aspects of the game. Always act self-confident. If you look as if you are scared, you are going to be more likely to make mistakes. Realize that you need some experience with competitions and playing against new players in order to really boost your mental strength. If you are not looking confident then your opponent may be successful in psyching you out which can really harm your game. If you act and look confident then you are going to be much more likely to scare or worry your opponent, which will automatically give you the upper hand. You should also take the time to prepare your outfit at least a day before the tournament. If something can go wrong it will, this means that your cute little dog will run off with your socks, shorts or even chew on your shoes. Preparing ahead of time would ensure that you have an extra pair of shoes on hand in case this comes up and have ensured that all of your clothes are put up in a safe place where you will not have to worry about them becoming the dog's favorite chew toy. Remember, being prepared will allow you to really boost your confidence, after all there is nothing worse than losing a match before you even start playing because you freaked out over a small problem. As a final preparation, you should ensure that you spend some time practicing the day before the tournament. This will allow you to practice your skills and ensure that you have mastered your killer backhand before you show it off to everyone at the competition. If you are able to practice the morning of the competition even better, but be careful not to overdo the early morning practice. You need your strength and energy for the competition itself. Always ensure that you have practiced any skills that you plan to use at the competition, because this is not the appropriate time to try out new skills that you have not had time to thoroughly practice. Can You Learn Tennis Online? With the internet becoming a much more iatrical part of many people's lives it is only natural that people turn to the internet more and more to learn things. This includes even learning about sports, but can you really learn tennis online? Is it a good method or just a waste of time and money overall? What are the benefits and is it really worth your time or would you be better off finding an instructor in your local area to teach you? For the vast majority of people, the internet contains a wealth of valuable information. However, one of the biggest problems is you need to ensure that you are trying to learn something that is capable of being taught online. For example, you can learn about scoring, terminology and even find tips on tennis but you are generally not going to find anything that allows you to learn tennis from beginning skill level to advanced player. You are also not going to find anything that can replace the value of hiring a good quality instructor to help teach you. However, with this in mind there are occasions when the internet can help you improve your skills even if they cannot teach you everything that you need to know. For example, if you know where to look you can find plenty of books that will help you troubleshoot some of the problems that you are having in your game style. Whether you are needing to improve accuracy, power or even control you can get a plethora of tips from a book that you have found online which will ensure that you have plenty of ways to improve your game. When combined with the information that an instructor gives you this can be quite helpful. Additionally, looking around online for the information, you need about terminology and scoring as well as rules can be a very wise decision. This will allow you to focus your time with an instructor on actual playing, rather than learning the more mundane aspects of the game. If you are having to pay your instructor for a vocabulary lesson, you will quickly see the benefits of using the internet to do vocabulary on your own time rather than paying the instructor to help you with it. One of the biggest parts of tennis is your mental approach to the game. If you look around online, there are thousands of books that are designed to help you turn yourself into a mental monster. You can train your mind to block out distractions, fine-tune your skills and overall improve your game if you are patient. Using the internet for this skill alone can be very helpful, especially since the internet is full of suggestions on how to improve your mental preparation for a good game of tennis. While you can learn how to improve your tennis skills on the internet, realizing that you cannot actually learn tennis online is important. Many people simply do not realize that you cannot replace a physical human instructor with a computer. However, since a computer cannot correct your swing, nor tell you how to stand for the optimal power in your swing you will be able to quickly see why having a real instructor is quite so vital in order to be truly successful. Learning ahead of time that you cannot learn tennis entirely online is important. Keeping your expectations reasonable is very important. Yet the internet can help you improve your game as long as you are working with a good instructor. From giving you some new drills, to advice on how to prepare for a tournament to even how you can psych out the competition the internet is packed with plenty of information that can be very helpful to you. Learning exactly what you are doing is essential in order to know how to improve and using the tools that are available to you to your benefit is important. Should You Teach Tennis? If you have ever considered yourself a stellar tennis player you may have had the idea of teaching tennis cross your mind. The freedom and flexibility that this provides can be almost unmatched and it also provides a great excuse to play more tennis. If you thoroughly enjoy the sport then this is the perfect thing to seriously consider. However, before you go jumping into a new career there are some things that you should take into consideration to ensure that it is a good match for you and your personal goals in life. The first consideration is do you really like tennis. Some people simply tolerate tennis; if this is you then teaching tennis may not be the best idea. Someone who is successful at tennis absolutely loves it and there are few things that they would rather be doing than play tennis. This love is part of what drives the most successful instructors and it is also what has been known to produce the best coaches at the higher levels. Ensuring that you love tennis is a great first step because as a teacher you will need to practice yourself, plus spend time on the court teaching others. You should also consider your people skills. While a teacher certainly does not need to win a popularity contest based upon their individual style it is important that they at least know how to successfully talk to people. Having good people skills will ensure that not only can you teach people, but you can also gain the trust of people as well. Someone is not going to be likely to pay for an instructor whom they dislike. It is important to treat people well in order to have students who return after the first lesson. Of course you could always have poor people skills and still attempt at teaching; however you are not likely to be very successful, have few good references and also have problems with students returning after the initial lesson. You are also going to need to look into the certification process to become a certified teacher. This may seem frivolous if you only plan to teach occasionally, but it shows that you are dedicated to teaching the proper methods rather than simply turning someone loose on the tennis court with a racquet and a few balls. By being a certified teacher you can command higher rates for your time, plus you show your perspective students that you care before they have even met you. The final thing you need to consider before taking on a new career is exactly what your skill level is. If you are just a beginner at tennis yourself then it is impossible for you to teach someone else. This means you are going to have to wait on your career change until you have the skills necessary to really successfully teach someone else. If you are a highly skilled player then this is not a concern for you, but the old saying of the blind leading the blind is never good. Especially in the situation where someone is paying you to teach them a skill, if you do not have all of the techniques mastered yourself you will not be able to teach someone else. If you are at least an advanced player you generally have enough skill, there is no reason to not teach just because you are not a professional tennis player. Tips to Pick the Perfect Racquet In tennis, it is essential that you have the right racquet according to your skill level as well as playing style. If you have the wrong racquet, you will likely have problems with improving your game and really ensuring that you can play the best game possible. A good racquet should help you improve slowly, while a poorly matching racquet can cause you problems with playing, much less improving. If you are working with a good coach, they should be able to give you some tips on selecting the perfect racquet for your individual needs, however in the meantime there are some basic guidelines that you can follow to help you until you get the best advice from your coach. If you are just an occasional player or if you look to start playing it would be a wise decision to purchase what is called a power racquet. This is a racquet that is designed to give more control and support in how the racquet is handled. This works perfectly for those with just beginning skills because it helps to compensate for the lack of skills that you have currently. By providing a much larger head, you have a much greater area that you can hit the ball with. This is very important for those who are not always the most accurate with their swings. In addition, a power racquet provides a much heavier head, which is effective in helping to give more actual power when you are swinging the racquet; this allows greater force to hit the ball, which will provide a much stronger return. The next racquet that is good for intermediate players is called a tweener racquet. This tends to be much lighter than a power racquet and it provides you with a choice of a large or a small head to allow you to move between the two depending upon your exact skill level as well as how well you can play. If your accuracy is good you can use a smaller head, if you are still working to hone your accuracy skills then a larger head will be a good idea even with this racquet style. The good news about tweener racquets is that they are much longer than a power racquet. This will allow you to learn more control as well as power from your own strength and skills, rather than just what the racquet provides you with. Your next step up the ladder is called a control racquet. These are typically much heavier and provide a much smaller head size than a power racquet and many of the tweener racquets. Before you move onto a control racquet, you need to have some fairly basic skills established first. A control racquet will generally allow you to have more control during your game, but at the same time, you are losing some of the power that a power racquet game you to start with. This makes it highly important that you are capable of providing enough power in your swing to handle the ball appropriately. If you are not strong enough to handle it without a power racquet then you will need to avoid a control racquet for a little while. If you are just starting to play tennis you should always seek the advice of your coach before you actually purchase a racquet. If you have been playing a while then you should wait until your coach tells you to change to a new racquet. This will allow you to use the racquet that is best suited to your particular skill level. While your skill level does come into play, it is also important to ensure that you pick out a racquet that is appropriate for you based upon your size, for example someone who is only 3 or 4 feet tall would need a shorter racquet than someone who is taller. Always take your time selecting a racquet to ensure that you are using the most appropriate racquet possible.
Tips to Avoid Tennis Elbow If you have ever heard anyone talk about tennis elbow then you surely know that it is not a pleasant situation. It can be rather painful and it is quite possible to do a lot of work to help prevent the injury. However, if you do not treat your body nicely you are putting yourself at a much greater risk for the injury as well as others. This is something that you should work hard to avoid, after all tennis elbow can cause serious pain that is not just whisked away with a heating pad. You are first going to want to focus on prevention and in this spirit; it means that you need to ensure that you are getting the rest you need between playing. This means there is no reason that you should go out and play a 4-hour tournament then turn around and practice for another 2 hours. No matter what you think, this is not a wise idea. Rather a better idea would be taking the day off after you have finished the tournament so that you can give your arm the rest that it needs. Take some time to get into good physical shape. This includes ensuring that you strengthen your arms and back. If you ensure that your arms and back are in good physical condition you will have the muscle strength built up that will help you to prevent the injury. However, failing to make sure you are in good physical condition can make you exceptionally vulnerable to problems. If you have problems with getting into good muscular shape, you should talk to your instructor or coach if you have one. If you do not then turn to the internet to help you develop a good exercise routine that will effectively allow you to strengthen these essential muscles. For those who do not play tennis for hours a day it is important to pace yourself. This means no playing for four weeks does not give you the right to run out and play for 4 hours straight suddenly. You should play for much shorter periods after you have had a long period of time away from the court. Your arm is abused in the process of playing tennis and suddenly jumping in with both feet will put you at risk of wearing it out badly. Instead, play much easier on your body and work to get back to the game that you prefer to play. Remember, pushing yourself to achieve the results that you want may seem like a great idea, but pushing too hard will leave you with an injury. Always stretch before you start playing a game or even practice. In addition, you should stretch after you are done playing as well. This will allow you to keep the muscles surrounding the tendon as supple as possible. Often tense muscles can help factor into a tendon injury and will have you in pain quite quickly if you forget to stretch one day. A few minutes of stretching can go a very long way towards keeping you in good shape and injury free. The last major consideration that you should take into account is you need to avoid continuously repetitive movements that drag on forever. If you are practicing a swing or a serve then that is wonderful but at the same time, you need to ensure that you stop on occasion to take a break. This will be quite helpful in working with you to avoid injury. If you are overworking your muscles without a break, you are putting yourself heavily at risk of an injury and you are not likely to enjoy the results. Taking care of your body is the primary thing that you need to be concerned with, not trying to stress over practicing your serve for another two hours straight. The time you spend on the court will be much more effective with a few small breaks sprinkled into the day. Common Tennis Injuries There are several things that you need to be well aware of as you consider how you are playing tennis. The body is susceptible to so many different potential injuries in the process of playing tennis that it is very important to be careful about how you play so that you can avoid as many injuries as possible. Yet even the most careful player will likely have an injury at some point in time. Learning to avoid most injuries and also learning which are most common will give you the advantage in a fast treatment, which will ultimately lead to a quick healing process. Of course true to the name tennis elbow tends to be a very common injury. This is an injury that occurs to the upper arm on the inside close to the elbow itself. This tends to create problems with the way that you use your arm overall and if you are not careful you can badly injure your arm even further. The best for of prevention for tennis elbow is some rest as well as ensure that you are stretching thoroughly both before and after any time that you play. Even if you are only playing for a short period of time while you practice a good stretch is still useful to avoid injury. Another highly common problem is tendinitis. There are several different types that tend to strike at tennis players and they include shoulder tendinitis, rotator cuff tendinitis, Achilles tendinitis and even wrist tendinitis. Tendinitis itself is defined as inflammation of the tendons. This means that for each area where tendinitis can occur for a tennis player that the tendons have become inflamed, irritated or even swollen. The exact amount of time it takes for tendinitis to heal generally varies greatly but it can be anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks. Another highly common problem is osteoarthritis that occurs in the knee. Because of the huge amount of impact that occurs to the knees it is very important to ensure that they are as strong as possible as well as the shoes that you wearing are very strong. If you wear shoes without proper cushioning and do not take good care of your knees then you are at a much higher risk for osteoarthritis. The biggest thing that you need to always keep in mind is that most tennis injuries are either acute or cumulative. This means that either they occur over time due to being over used or they occur suddenly due to trauma. Regardless of the exact type of injury taking the precautions necessary to ensure that you are wearing the appropriate safety equipment will go a very long way to ensure that you avoid as many injuries as possible. It is also a wise idea to look into finding a good sports medicine doctor that you can work with in the event that you get an acute injury such as a torn rotator cuff, shoulder separation or even an Achilles tendon rupture. Taking proper care of injuries quickly is very important so knowing exactly who you will see if an injury occurs is a very wise decision to have worked out that will help you ensure that you stay as safe and healthy as possible no matter how long you play tennis. GENERAL TENNIS PSYCHOLOGY. Tennis psychology is nothing more than understanding the workings of your opponent's mind, and gauging the effect of your own game on his mental viewpoint, and understanding the mental effects resulting from the various external causes on your own mind. You cannot be a successful psychologist of others without first understanding your own mental processes, you must study the effect on yourself of the same happening under different circumstances. You react differently in different moods and under different conditions. You must realize the effect on your game of the resulting irritation, pleasure, confusion, or whatever form your reaction takes. Does it increase your efficiency? If so, strive for it, but never give it to your opponent. Does it deprive you of concentration? If so, either remove the cause, or if that is not possible strive to ignore it. Once you have judged accurately your own reaction to conditions, study your opponents, to decide their temperaments. Like temperaments react similarly, and you may judge men of your own type by yourself. Opposite temperaments you must seek to compare with people whose reactions you know. A person who can control his own mental processes stands an excellent chance of reading those of another, for the human mind works along definite lines of thought, and can be studied. One can only control one's, mental processes after carefully studying them. A steady phlegmatic baseline player is seldom a keen thinker. If he was he would not adhere to the baseline. The physical appearance of a man is usually a pretty clear index to his type of mind. The stolid, easy-going man, who usually advocates the baseline game, does so because he hates to stir up his torpid mind to think out a safe method of reaching the net. There is the other type of baseline player, who prefers to remain on the back of the court while directing an attack intended to break up your game. He is a very dangerous player, and a deep, keen thinking antagonist. He achieves his results by mixing up his length and direction, and worrying you with the variety of his game. He is a good psychologist. The first type of player mentioned merely hits the ball with little idea of what he is doing, while the latter always has a definite plan and adheres to it. The hard-hitting, erratic, net-rushing player is a creature of impulse. There is no real system to his attack, no understanding of your game. He will make brilliant coups on the spur of the moment, largely by instinct; but there is no, mental power of consistent thinking. It is an interesting, fascinating type. The dangerous man is the player who mixes his style from back to fore court at the direction of an ever-alert mind. This is the man to study and learn from. He is a player with a definite purpose. A player who has an answer to every query you propound him in your game. He is the most subtle antagonist in the world. He is of the school of Brookes. Second only to him is the man of dogged determination that sets his mind on one plan and adheres to it, bitterly, fiercely fighting to the end, with never a thought of change. He is the man whose psychology is easy to understand, but whose mental viewpoint is hard to upset, for he never allows himself to think of anything except the business at hand. This man is your Johnston or your Wilding. I respect the mental capacity of Brookes more, but I admire the tenacity of purpose of Johnston. Pick out your type from your own mental processes, and then work out your game along the lines best suited to you. When two men are, in the same class, as regards stroke equipment, the determining factor in any given match is the mental viewpoint. Luck, so-called, is often grasping the psychological value of a break in the game, and turning it to your own account. We hear a great deal about the "shots we have made." Few realize the importance of the "shots we have missed." The science of missing shots is as important as that of making them, and at times a miss by an inch is of more value than a, return that is killed by your opponent. Let me explain. A player drives you far out of court with an angle-shot. You run hard to it, and reaching, drive it hard and fast down the side-line, missing it by an inch. Your opponent is surprised and shaken, realizing that your shot might as well have gone in as out. He will expect you to try it again, and will not take the risk next time. He will try to play the ball, and may fall into error. You have thus taken some of your opponent's confidence, and increased his chance of error, all by a miss. If you had merely popped back that return, and it had been killed, your opponent would have felt increasingly confident of your inability to get the ball out of his reach, while you would merely have been winded without result. Let us suppose you made the shot down the sideline. It was a seemingly impossible get. First it amounts to TWO points in that it took one away from your opponent that should have been his and gave you one you ought never to have had. It also worries your opponent, as he feels he has thrown away a big chance. The psychology of a tennis match is very interesting, but easily understandable. Both men start with equal chances. Once one man establishes a real lead, his confidence goes up, while his opponent worries, and his mental viewpoint becomes poor. The sole object of the first man is to hold his lead, thus holding his confidence. If the second player pulls even or draws ahead, the inevitable reaction occurs with even a greater contrast in psychology. There is the natural confidence of the leader now with the second man as well as that great stimulus of having turned seeming defeat into probable victory. The reverse in the case of the first player is apt to hopelessly destroy his game, and collapse follows. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MATCH PLAY IN TENNIS. The first and most important point in match play is to know how to lose. Lose cheerfully, generously, and like a sportsman. This is the first great law of tennis, and the second is like unto it to win modestly, cheerfully, generously, and like a sportsman. The object of match play is to win, but no credit goes to a man who does not win fairly and squarely. A victory is a defeat if it is other than fair. Yet again I say to win is the object, and to do so, one should play to the last ounce of his strength, the last gasp of his breath, and the last scrap of his nerve. If you do so and lose, the better man won. If you do not, you have robbed your opponent of his right of beating your best. Be fair to both him and yourself. "The Play's the thing," and in match play a good defeat is far more creditable than a hollow victory. Play tennis for the game's sake. Play it for the men you meet, the friends you make, and the pleasure you may give to the public by the hard working yet sporting game that is owed them by their presence at the match. Many tennis players feel they owe the public nothing, and are granting a favour by playing. It is my belief that when the public so honours a player that they attend matches, that player is in duty bound to give of his best, freely, willingly, and cheerfully, for only by so doing can he repay the honour paid him. The tennis star of today owes his public as much as the actor owes the audience, and only by meeting his obligations can tennis be retained in public favour. The players get their reward in the personal popularity they gain by their conscientious work. There is another factor that is even stronger than this, that will always produce fine tennis in championship events. It is the competitive spirit that is the breath of life to every true sportsman: the desire to prove to himself he can beat the best of the other man; the real regret that comes when he wins, and feels the loser was not at his best. The keen competitive spirit that stimulates a match player also increases the nervous strain. This should be recognized by tournament committees, and the conditions of play should be as nearly standardized as weather permits. The first thing to fix firmly in your mind in playing a match, is never to allow your opponent to play a shot he likes if it is possible to force him to make one he does not. Study your opponent both on and off the court. Look for a weakness, and, once finding it, pound it without mercy. Remember that you do not decide your mode of attack. It is decided for you by the weakness of your opponent. If he dislikes to meet a netman, go to the net. If he wants you at the net, stay back and force him to come in. If he attacks viciously, meet his attack with an equally strong offensive. Remember that the strongest defence is to attack, for if the other man is occupied in meeting your attack, he will have less time to formulate his own system. If you are playing a very steady man, do not strive to beat him at his own game. He is better at it than you in many cases, so go in and hit to win. On the other hand, if you find that your opponent is wild and prone to miss, play safe and reap the full crop of his errors. It saves you trouble and takes his confidence. Above all, never change a winning game. -------------------------------------- Always change a losing game, since, as you are getting beaten that way, you are no worse off and may be better with a new style. The question of changing a losing game is a very serious thing. It is hard to say just when you are really beaten. If you feel you are playing well yet have lost the first set about 3-6 or 4-6, with the loss of only one service, you should not change. Your game is not really a losing game. It is simply a case of one break of service, and might well win the next set. If, however, you have dropped the first set in a 2 out of 3 match with but one or two games, now you are outclassed and should try something else. Take chances when you are behind, never when ahead. Risks are only worth while when you have everything to win and nothing to lose. It may spell victory, and at least will not hasten defeat. Above all, never lose your nerve or confidence in a match. By so doing you have handed your opponent about two points a game a rather hard handicap to beat at your best. Never let your opponent know you are worried. Never show fatigue or pain if it is possible to avoid, since it will only give him confidence. Remember that he feels just as bad as you, and any sign of weakening on your part encourages him to go on. In other words, keep your teeth always in the match. Don't worry. Don't fuss. Luck evens up in the long run, and to worry only upsets your own game without affecting your opponent. A smile wins a lot of points because it gives the impression of confidence on your part that shakes that of the other man. Fight all the time. The harder the strain the harder you should fight, but do it easily, happily, and enjoy it. CHOP, HALF VOLLEY, AND COURT POSITION. Chop stroke. ----------- In Tennis, a chop stroke is a shot where the angle towards the player and behind the racquet, made by the line of flight of the ball, and the racquet travelling down across it, is greater than 45 degrees and may be 90 degrees. The racquet face passes slightly outside the ball and down the side, chopping it, as a man chops wood. The spin and curve is from right to left. It is made with a stiff wrist. The slice shot merely reduced the angle mentioned from 45 degrees down to a very small one. The racquet face passes either inside or outside the ball, according to direction desired, while the stroke is mainly a wrist twist or slap. This slap imparts a decided skidding break to the ball, while a chop "drags" the ball off the ground without break. The rules of footwork for both these shots should be the same as the drive, but because both are made with a short swing and more wrist play, without the need of weight, the rules of footwork may be more safely discarded and body position not so carefully considered. Both these shots are essentially defensive, and are labour-saving devices when your opponent is on the baseline. A chop or slice is very hard to drive, and will break up any driving game. It is not a shot to use against a volley, as it is too slow to pass and too high to cause any worry. It should be used to drop short, soft shots at the feet of the net man as he comes in. Do not strive to pass a net man with a chop or slice, except through a big opening. The drop-shot is a very soft, sharply-angled chop stroke, played wholly with the wrist. It should drop within 3 to 5 feet of the net to be of any use. The racquet face passes around the outside of the ball and under it with a distinct "wrist turn." Do not swing the racquet from the shoulder in making a drop shot. The drop shot has no relation to a stop-volley. The drop shot is all wrist. The stop-volley has no wrist at all. Use all your wrist shots, chop, slice, and drop, merely as an auxilliary to your orthodox game. They are intended to upset your opponent's game through the varied spin on the ball. The half volley. --------------- This shot requires more perfect timing, eyesight, and racquet work than any other, since its margin of safety is smallest and its manifold chances of mishaps numberless. It is a pick-up. The ball meets the ground and racquet face at nearly the same moment, the ball bouncing off the ground, on the strings. This shot is a stiff-wrist, short swing, like a volley with no follow through. The racquet face travels along the ground with a slight tilt over the ball and towards the net, thus holding the ball low; the shot, like all others in tennis, should travel across the racquet face, along the short strings. The racquet face should always be slightly outside the ball. The half volley is essentially a defensive stroke, since it should only be made as a last resort, when caught out of position by your opponent's shot. It is a desperate attempt to extricate yourself from a dangerous position without retreating. never deliberately half volley. Court position. -------------- A tennis court is 39 feet long from baseline to net. There are only two places in a tennis court that a tennis player should be to await the ball. 1. About 3 feet behind the baseline near the middle of the court, or 2. About 6 to 8 feet back from the net and almost opposite the ball. The first is the place for all baseline players. The second is the net position. If you are drawn out of these positions by a shot which you must return, do not remain at the point where you struck the ball, but attain one of the two positions mentioned as rapidly as possible. The distance from the baseline to about 10, feet from the net may be considered as "no-man's-land" or "the blank." Never linger there, since a deep shot will catch you at your feet. After making your shot from the blank, as you must often do, retreat behind the baseline to await the return, so you may again come forward to meet the ball. If you are drawn in short and cannot retreat safely, continue all the way to the net position. Never stand and watch your shot, for to do so simply means you are out of position for your next stroke. Strive to attain a position so that you always arrive at the spot the ball is going to before it actually arrives. Do your hard running while the ball is in the air, so you will not be hurried in your stroke after it bounces. It is in learning to do this that natural anticipation plays a big role. Some players instinctively know where the next return is going and take position accordingly, while others will never sense it. It is to the latter class that I urge court position, and recommend always coming in from behind the baseline to meet the ball, since it is much easier to run forward than back. Should you be caught at the net, with a short shot to your opponent, do not stand still and let him pass you at will, as he can easily do. Pick out the side where you think he will hit, and jump to, it suddenly as he swings. If you guess right, you win the point. If you are wrong, you are no worse off, since he would have beaten you anyway with his shot. Your position should always strive to be such that you can cover the greatest possible area of court without sacrificing safety, since the straight shot is the surest, most dangerous, and must be covered. It is merely a question of how much more court than that immediately in front of the ball may be guarded. A well-grounded knowledge of court position saves many points, to say nothing of much breath expended in long runs after hopeless shots. GRIP, FOOTWORK, AND STROKES IN TENNIS. Footwork is weight control. It is correct body position for strokes, and out of it all strokes should grow. In explaining the various forms of stroke and footwork I am writing as a right-hand player. Left-handers should simply reverse the feet. Racquet grip is a very essential part of stroke, because a faulty grip will ruin the finest serving. It is a natural grip for a top forehand drive. It is inherently weak for the backhand, as the only natural shot is a chop stroke. To acquire the forehand grip, hold the racquet with the edge of the frame towards the ground and the face perpendicular, the handle towards the body, and "shake hands" with it, just as if you were greeting a friend. The handle settled comfortably and naturally into the hand, the line of the arm, hand, and racquet are one. The swing brings the racquet head on a line with the arm, and the whole racquet is merely an extension of it. The backhand grip is a quarter circle turn of hand on the handle, bringing the hand on top of the handle and the knuckles directly up. The shot travels ACROSS the wrist. This is the best basis for a grip. I do not advocate learning this grip exactly, but model your natural grip as closely as possible on these lines without sacrificing your own comfort or individuality. Having once settled the racquet in the hand, the next question is the position of the body and the order of developing strokes. All tennis strokes, should be made with the body' at right angles to the net, with the shoulders lined up parallel to the line of flight of the ball. The weight should always travel forward. It should pass from the back foot to the front foot at the moment of striking the ball. Never allow the weight to be going away from the stroke. It is weight that determines the "pace" of a stroke; swing that, decides the "speed." Let me explain the definitions of "speed" and "pace." "Speed" is the actual rate with which a ball travels through the air. "Pace" is the momentum with which it comes off the ground. Pace is weight. It is the "sting" the ball carries when it comes off the ground, giving the inexperienced or unsuspecting player a shock of force which the stroke in no way showed. A great many players have both "speed" and "pace." Some shots may carry both. The order of learning strokes should be: 1. The Drive. Fore and backhand. This is the foundation of all tennis, for you cannot build up a net attack unless you have the ground stroke to open the way. Nor can you meet a net attack successfully unless you can drive, as that is the only successful passing shot. 2. The Service. 3. The Volley and Overhead Smash. 4. The Chop or Half Volley and other incidental and ornamental strokes. THE VOLLEY AND OVERHEAD SMASH. The net attack is the heavy artillery of tennis. It is supposed to crush all defence. As such it must be regarded as a point-winning stroke at all times, no matter whether the shot is volley or smash. Once at the net hit from the point at the first opportunity given to get the racquet squarely on the ball. All the laws of footwork explained for the drive are theoretically the same in volleying. In practice you seldom have time to change your feet to a set position, so you obviate trouble by throwing the weight on the foot nearest to the ball and pushing it in the shot. Volleys are of two classes: (1) the low volley, made from below the waist; and (2) the high volley, from the waist to the head. In contradistinction to the hitting plane classification are the two styles known as (1) the deep volley and (2) the stop volley. All low volleys are blocked. High volleys may be either blocked or hit. Volleys should never be stroked. There is no follow through on a low volley and very little on a high one. You will hear much talk of "chop" volleys. A chop stroke is one where the racquet travels from above the line of flight of the ball, down and through it, and the angle made behind the racquet is greater than 45 degrees, and many approach 90 degrees. Therefore I say that no volleys should be chopped, for the tendency is to pop the ball up in the air off any chop. Slice volleys if you want to, or hit them flat, for both these shots are made at a very small angle to the flight-line of the ball, the racquet face travelling almost along its plane. In all volleys, high or low, the wrist should be locked and absolutely stiff. It should always be below the racquet head, thus bracing the racquet against the impact of the ball. Allow the force of the incoming shot, plus your own weight, to return the ball, and do not strive to "wrist" it over. The tilted racquet face will give any required angle to the return by glancing the ball off the strings, so no wrist turn is needed. Low volleys can never be hit hard, and owing to the height of the net should usually be sharply angled, to allow distance for the rise. Any ball met at a higher plane than the top of the net may be hit hard. The stroke should be crisp, snappy, and decisive, but it should stop as it meets the ball. The follow through should be very small. Most low volleys should be soft and short. Most high volleys require speed and length. The "stop" volley is nothing more than a shot blocked short. There is no force used. The racquet simply meets the oncoming ball and stops it. The ball rebounds and falls of its own weight. There is little bounce to such a shot, and that may be reduced by allowing the racquet to slide slightly under the ball at the moment of impact, thus imparting back spin to the ball. Volleying is a science based on the old geometric axiom that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. I mean that a volleyer must always cover the straight passing shot since it is the shortest shot with which to pass him, and he must volley straight to his opening and not waste time trying freakish curving volleys that give the base-liner time to recover. It is Johnston's great straight volley that makes him such a dangerous net man. He is always "punching" his volley straight and hard to the opening in his opponent's court. A net player must have ground strokes in order to attain the net position. Do not think that a service and volley will suffice against first-class tennis. Strive to kill your volleys at once, but should your shot not win, follow the ball 'cross and again cover the straight shot. Always force the man striving to pass you to play the hardest possible shot. Attack with your volleys. Never defend the ball when at the net. The only defensive volley is one at your feet as you come in. It is a mid-court shot. Volleys should win with placement more than speed, although speed may be used on a high volley. Closely related to the volley, yet in no way a volley stroke, is the overhead smash. It is the Big Bertha of tennis. It is the long range terror that should always score. The rules of footwork, position, and direction that govern the volley will suffice for the overhead. The swing alone is different. The swing should be closely allied to the slice service, the racquet and arm swinging freely from the shoulder, the wrist flexible and the racquet imparting a slight twist to the ball to hold it in court. The overhead is mainly a point winner through speed, since its bounce is so high that a slow placement often allows time for a recovery. Do not leap in the air unnecessarily to hit overhead balls. Keep at least one foot, and when possible both feet, on the ground in smashing, as it aids in regulating the weight, and gives better balance. Hit flat and decisively to the point if desired. Most missed overhead shots are due to the eye leaving the ball; but a second class of errors are due to lack of confidence that gives a cramped, half-hearted swing. Follow through your overhead shot to the limit of your swing. The overhead is essentially a doubles shot, because in singles the chances of passing the net man are greater than lobbing over his head, while in doubles two men cover the net so easily that the best way to open the court is to lob one man back. In smashing, the longest distance is the safest shot since it allows a greater margin of error. Therefore smash 'cross court when pressed, but pull your short lobs either side as determined by the man you are playing. Never drop a lob you can hit overhead, as it forces you back and gives the attacking position to your opponent. Never smash with a reverse twist, always hit with a straight racquet face and direct to the opening. Closely connected to the overhead since it is the usual defence to any hard smash, is the lob. A lob is a high toss of the ball landing between the service-line and the baseline. An excellent lob should be within 6 feet of the baseline. Lobs are essentially defensive. The ideas in lobbing are: (1) to give yourself time to recover position when pulled out of court by your opponent's shot; (2) to drive back the net man and break up his attack; (3) to tire your opponent; (4) occasionally to, win cleanly by placement. This is usually a lob volley from a close net rally, and is a slightly different stroke. There is (1) the chop lob, a heavily under-cut spin that hangs in the air. This, is the best defensive lob, as it goes high and gives plenty of time to recover position. (2) The stroke lob or flat lob, hit with a slight top spin. This is the point-winning lob since it gives no time to, the player to run around it, as it is lower and faster than the chop. In making this lob, start your swing like a drive, but allow the racquet to slow up and the face to tilt upward just as you meet the ball. This, shot should seldom go above 10 feet in the air, since it tends to go out with the float of the ball. The chop lob, which is a decided under cut, should rise from 20 to 30 feet, or more, high and must go deep. It is better to lob out and run your opponent back, thus tiring him, than to lob short and give him confidence by an easy kill. The value of a lob is mainly one of upsetting your opponent, and its effects are very apparent if you unexpectedly bring off one at the crucial period of a match. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SINGLES AND DOUBLES IN TENNIS. Singles, the greatest strain in tennis, is the game for two players. It is in this phase of the game that the personal equation reaches its crest of importance. This is the game of individual effort, mental and physical. A hard 5-set singles match is the greatest strain on the body and nervous system of any form of sport. Singles is a game of daring, dash, speed of foot and stroke. It is a game of chance far more than doubles. Since you have no partner dependent upon you, you can afford to risk error for the possibility of speedy victory. Much of what I wrote under match play is more for singles than doubles, yet let me call your attention to certain peculiarities of singles from the standpoint of the spectator. A gallery enjoys personalities far more than styles. Singles brings two people into close and active relations that show the idiosyncrasies of each player far more acutely than doubles. The spectator is in the position of a man watching an insect under a microscope. He can analyse the inner workings. The freedom of restraint felt on a single court is in marked contrast to the need for team work in doubles. Go out for your shot in singles whenever there is a reasonable chance of getting it. Hit harder at all times in singles than in doubles, for you have more chance of scoring and can take more risk. Singles is a game of the imagination, doubles a science of exact angles. Doubles is four-handed tennis. Enough of this primary reader definition. It is just as vital to play to your partner in tennis as in bridge. Every time you make a stroke you must do it with a definite plan to avoid putting your partner in trouble. The keynote of doubles success is team work; not individual brilliancy. There is a certain type of team work dependent wholly upon individual brilliancy. Where both players are in the same class, a team is as strong as its weakest player at any given time, for here it is even team work with an equal division of the court that should be the method of play. In the case of one strong player and one weaker player, the team is as good as the strong player can make it by protecting and defending the weaker. This pair should develop its team work on the individual brilliancy of the stronger man. The first essential of doubles play is to PUT the ball in play. A double fault is bad in singles, but it is inexcusable in doubles. The return of service should be certain. After that it should be low and to the server coming in. Do not strive for clean aces in doubles until you have the opening. Remember that to pass two men is a difficult task. Always attack in doubles. The net is the only place in the court to play the doubles game, and you should always strive to attain the net position. I believe in always trying for the kill when you see a real opening. "Poach" (go for a shot which is not really on your side of the court) whenever you see a chance to score. Never poach unless you go for the kill. It is a win or nothing shot since it opens your whole court. If you are missing badly do not poach, as it is very disconcerting to your partner. The question of covering a doubles court should not be a serious one. With all men striving to attain the net all the time every shot should be built up with that idea. Volley and smash whenever possible, and only retreat when absolutely necessary. When the ball goes toward the side-line the net player on that side goes in close and toward the line. His partner falls slightly back and to the centre of the court, thus covering the shot between the men. If the next return goes to the other side, the two men reverse positions. The theory of court covering is two sides of a triangle, with the angle in the centre and the two sides running to the side-lines and in the direction of the net. Each man should cover overhead balls over his own head, and hit them in the air whenever possible, since to allow them to drop gives the net to the other team. The only time for the partner to protect the overhead is when the net man "poaches," is outguessed, and the ball tossed over his head. Then the server covers and strives for a kill at once. Always be ready to protect your partner, but do not take shots over his head unless he calls for you to, or you see a certain kill. Then say "Mine," step in and hit decisively. The matter of overhead balls, crossing under them, and such incidentals of team work are matters of personal opinion, and should be arranged by each team according to their joint views. I only offer general rules that can be modified to meet the wishes of the individuals. Use the lob as a defence, and to give time to extricate yourself and your partner from a bad position. The value of service in doubles cannot be too strongly emphasized since it gives the net to the server. Service should always be held. To lose service is an unpardonable sin in first-class doubles. All shots in doubles should be low or very high. Do not hit shoulder-high as it is too easy to kill. Volley down and hard if possible. Every shot you make should be made with a definite idea of opening the court. Hit down the centre to disrupt the team work of the opposing team; but hit to the side-lines for your aces. Pick one man, preferably the weaker of your opponents, and centre your attack on him and keep it there. Pound him unmercifully, and in time he should crack under the attack. It is very foolish to alternate attack, since it simply puts both men on their game and tires neither. If your partner starts badly play safely and surely until he rounds to form. Never show annoyance with your partner. Do not scold him. He is doing the best he can, and fighting with him does no good. Encourage him at all times and don't worry. A team that is fighting among themselves has little time left to play tennis, and after all tennis is the main object of doubles. Offer suggestions to your partner at any time during a match; but do not insist on his following them, and do not get peevish if he doesn't. He simply does not agree with you, and he may be right. Who knows? Every doubles team should have a leader to direct its play; but that leader must always be willing to drop leadership for any given point when his partner has the superior position. It is policy of attack not type of stroke that the leader should determine. Pick a partner and stick to him. He should be a man you like and want to play with, and he should want to play with you. This will do away with much friction. His style should not be too nearly your own, since you double the faults without greatly increasing the virtues. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PHYSICAL FITNESS. Physical fitness is one of the great essentials of match play. Keenness can only be acquired if the physical, mental, and nervous systems are in tune. Consistent and systematic training is essential to a tournament player. Regular hours of sleep, and regular, hearty food at regular hours are necessary to keep the body at its highest efficiency. Food is particularly important. Eat well, but do not over-eat, particularly immediately before playing. I believe in a large hearty breakfast on the day of a big match. This should be taken by nine-thirty. A moderate lunch at about one o'clock if playing at three. Do not eat very rich food at luncheon as it tends to slow you up on the court. Do not run the risk of indigestion, which is the worst enemy to dear eyesight. Rich, heavy food immediately before retiring is bad, as it is apt to make you "loggy" on the court the next day. It is certain injury to touch alcoholic drink in any form during tournament play. Alcohol is a poison that affects the eye, the mind, and the wind three essentials in tennis. Tobacco in moderation does little harm, although it, too, hits eye and wind. A man who is facing a long season of tournament play should refrain from either alcohol or tobacco in any form. Excesses of any kind are bad for physical condition, and should not be chanced. "Staleness" is the great enemy of players who play long seasons. It is a case of too much tennis. Staleness is seldom physical weariness. A player can always recover his strength by rest. Staleness is a mental fatigue due often to worry or too close attention to tennis, and not enough variety of thought. Its symptoms are a dislike for the tennis game and its surroundings, and a lack of interest in the match when you are on the court. I advocate a break in training at such a time. Go to the theatre or a concert, and get your mind completely off tennis. Do your worrying about tennis while you are playing it, and forget the unpleasantness of bad play once you are off the court. Always have some outside interest you can turn to for relaxation during a tournament; but never allow it to interfere with your tennis when you should be intent on your game. A nice balance is hard to achieve, but, once attained is a great aid to a tournament player. The laws of training should be closely followed before and after a match. Do not get chilled before a match, as it makes you stiff and slow. Above all else do not stand around without a wrap after a match when you are hot or you will catch cold. Many a player has acquired a touch of rheumatism from wasting time at the close of his match instead of getting his shower while still warm. That slight stiffness the next day may mean defeat. A serious chill may mean severe illness. Do not take chances. Change your wet clothes to dry ones between matches if you are to play twice in a day. It will make you feel better, and also avoid the risk of cold. Tournament players must sacrifice some pleasures for the sake of success. Training will win many a match for a man if he sticks to it. Spasmodic training is useless, and should never be attempted. The condition a player is, in is apt to decide his mental viewpoint, and aid him in accustoming himself to the external conditions of play. All match players should know a little about the phenomenon of crowd-psychology since, as in the case of the Church-Murray match I related some time back, the crowd may play an important part in the result. It seldom pays to get a crowd down on you. It always pays to win its sympathy. I do not mean play to the gallery, for that will have the opposite effect than the one desired. The gallery is always for the weaker player. It is a case of helping the "under-dog." If you are a consistent winner you must accustom yourself to having the gallery show partiality for your opponent. It is no personal dislike of you. It is merely a natural reaction in favour of the loser. Sometimes a bad decision to one play will win the crowd's sympathy for him. Galleries are eminently just in their desires, even though at times their emotions run away with them. Quite aside from the effect on the gallery, I wish to state here that when you are the favoured one in a decision that you know is wrong, strive to equalize it if possible by unostentatiously losing the next point. Do not hit the ball over the back stop or into the bottom of the net with a jaunty air of "Here you are." Just hit it slightly out or in the net, and go on about your business in the regular way. Your opponent always knows when you extend him this justice, and he appreciates it, even though he does not expect it. Never do it for effect. It is extremely bad taste. Only do it when your sense of justice tells you you should. The crowd objects, and justly so, to a display of real temper on the court. A player who loses his head must expect a poor reception from the gallery. Questioned decisions by a player only put him in a bad light with the crowd and cannot alter the point. You may know the call was wrong, but grin at it, and the crowd will join you. These things are the essence of good sportsmanship, and good sportsmanship will win any gallery. The most unattractive player in the world will win the respect and admiration of a crowd by a display of real sportsmanship at the time of test. Any player who really enjoys a match for the game's sake will always be a fine sportsman, for there is no amusement to a match that does not give your opponent his every right. A player who plays for the joy of the game wins the crowd the first time he steps on the court. All the world loves an optimist. THE FUNDAMENTALS OF TENNIS. I trust this initial effort of mine in the world of letters will find a place among both novices and experts in the tennis world. I am striving to interest the student of the game by a somewhat prolonged discussion of match play, which I trust will shed a new light on the game. May I turn to the novice at my opening and speak of certain matters which are second nature to the skilled player? The best tennis equipment is not too good for the beginner who seeks really to succeed. It is a saving in the end, as good quality material so far outlasts poor. Always dress in tennis clothes when engaging in tennis. The question of choosing a racquet is a much more serious matter. I do not advocate forcing a certain racquet upon any player. All the standard makes are excellent. It is in weight, balance, and size of handle that the real value of a racquet frame depends, while good stringing is, essential to obtain the best results. After you have acquired your racquet, make a firm resolve to use good tennis balls, as a regular bounce is a great aid to advancement, while a "dead" ball is no practice at all. If you really desire to succeed at the game and advance rapidly, I strongly urge you to see all the good tennis you can. Study the play of the leading players and strive to copy their strokes. Read all the tennis instruction books you can find. They are a great assistance. More tennis can be learned off the court, in the study of theory, and in watching the best players in action, than can ever be learned in actual play. I do not mean miss opportunities to play. Far from it. Play whenever possible, but strive when playing to put in practice the theories you have read or the strokes you have watched. Never be discouraged at slow progress. The trick over some stroke you have worked over for weeks unsuccessfully will suddenly come to you when least expected. Tennis players are the product of hard work. Very few are born geniuses at the game. Tennis is a game that pays you dividends all your life. A tennis racquet is a letter of introduction in any town. The brotherhood of the game is universal, for none but a good sportsman can succeed in the game for any lengthy period. Tennis provides relaxation, excitement, exercise, and pure enjoyment to the man who is tied hard and fast to his business until late afternoon. Age is not a drawback. The tennis players of the world wrote a magnificent page in the history of the World War. No branch of sport sent more men to the colours from every country in the world than tennis, and these men returned with glory or paid the supreme sacrifice on the field of honour. The following order of development produces the quickest and most lasting results: 1. Concentration on the game. 2. Keep the eye on the ball. 3. Foot-work and weight-control. 4. Strokes. 5. Court position. 6. Court generalship or match play. 7. Tennis psychology. concentration. ------------- Tennis is played primarily with the mind. The most perfect racquet technique in the world will not suffice if the directing mind is wandering. There are many causes of a wandering mind in a tennis match. The chief one is lack of interest in the game. No one should play tennis with an idea of real success unless he cares sufficiently about the game to be willing to do the drudgery necessary in learning the game correctly. Give it up at once unless you are willing to work. Conditions of play or the noises in the gallery often confuse and bewilder experienced match-players playing under new surroundings. Complete concentration on the matter in hand is the only cure for a wandering mind, and the sooner the lesson is learned the more rapid the improvement of the player. The surest way to hold a match in mind is to play for every set, every game in the set, every point in the game and, finally, every shot in the point. A set is merely a conglomeration of made and missed shots, and the man who does not miss is the ultimate victor. THE DRIVE IN TENNIS. The forehand drive is the opening of every offensive in tennis, and, as such, should be most carefully studied. There are certain rules of footwork that apply to all shots. To reach a ball that is a short distance away, advance the foot that is away from the shot and thus swing into position to hit. If a ball is too close to the body, retreat the foot closest to the shot and drop the weight back on it, thus, again, being in position for the stroke. When hurried, and it is not possible to change the foot position, throw the weight on the foot closest to the ball. The receiver should always await the service facing the net, but once the serve is started on the way to court, the receiver should at once attain the position to receive it with the body at right angles to the net. The forehand drive is made up of one continuous swing of the racquet that, for the purpose of analysis, may be divided into three parts: 1. The portion of the swing behind the body, which determines the speed of the stroke. 2. That portion immediately in front of the body which determines the direction and, in conjunction with weight shift from one foot to the other, the pace of the shot. 3. The portion beyond the body, comparable to the golfer's "follow through," determines spin, top or slice, imparted to the ball. All drives should be topped. The slice shot is a totally different stroke. To drive straight down the side-line, construct in theory a parallelogram with two sides made up of the side-line and your shoulders, and the two ends, the lines of your feet, which should, if extended, form the right angles with the side-lines. Meet the ball at a point about 4 to 4 1/2 feet from the body immediately in front of the belt buckle, and shift the weight from the back to the front foot at the MOMENT OF STRIKING THE BALL. The swing of the racquet should be flat and straight through. The racquet head should be on a line with the hand, or, if anything, slightly in advance; the whole arm and the racquet should turn slightly over the ball as it leaves the racquet face and the stroke continue to the limit of the swing, thus imparting top spin to the ball. The hitting plane for all ground strokes should be between the knees and shoulders. The most favourable plane is on a line with the waist. Never step away from the ball in driving cross court. always throw your weight in the shot. The forehand drive from the left court is identically the same for the straight shot down your opponent's forehand. For the cross drive to his backhand, you must conceive of a diagonal line from your backhand corner to his, and thus make your stroke with the footwork as if this imaginary line were the side-line. In other words, line up your body along your shot and make your regular drive. Do not try to "spoon" the ball over with a delayed wrist motion, as it tends to slide the ball off your racquet. All drives should be made with a stiff, locked wrist. There is no wrist movement in a true drive. Top spin is imparted by the arm, not the wrist. The backhand drive follows closely the principles of the forehand, except that the weight shifts a moment sooner, and the R or front foot should always be advanced a trifle closer to the side-line than the L so as to bring the body clear of the swing. The ball should be met in front of the right leg, instead of the belt buckle, as the great tendency in backhand shots is to slice them out of the side-line, and this will pull the ball cross court, obviating this error. The racquet head must be slightly in advance of the hand to aid in bringing the ball in the court. Do not strive for too much top spin on your backhand. I strongly urge that no one should ever favour one department of his game, in defence of a weakness. Develop both forehand and backhand, and do not "run around" your backhand, particularly in return of service. To do so merely opens your court. If you should do so, strive to ace your returns, because a weak effort would only result in a kill by your opponent. Do not develop one favourite shot and play nothing but that. If you have a fair cross-court drive, do not use it in practice, but strive to develop an equally fine straight shot. Remember that the fast shot is the straight shot. The cross drive must be slow, for it has not the room owing to the increased angle and height of the net. Pass down the line with your drive, but open the court with your cross-court shot. Drives should have depth. The average drive should hit behind the service-line. A fine drive should hit within 3 feet of the baseline. A cross-court drive should be shorter than a straight drive, so as to increase the possible angle. Do not always play one length drive, but learn to vary your distance according to your man. You should drive deep against a baseliner, but short against a net player, striving to drop them at his feet as, he comes in. Never allow your opponent to play a shot he likes if you can possibly force him to one he dislikes. Again I urge that you play your drive: 1. With the body sideways to the net. 2. The swing flat, with long follow through. 3. The weight shifting just as the ball is hit. SERVICE-THE OPENING GUN OF TENNIS. Service is the opening gun of tennis. It is putting the ball in play. The old idea was that service should never be more than merely the beginning of a rally. With the rise of American tennis and the advent of Dwight Davis and Holcombe Ward, service took on a new significance. These two men originated what is now known as the American Twist delivery. From a mere formality, service became a point winner. Slowly it gained in importance, until Maurice E. M'Loughlin, the wonderful "California Comet," burst across the tennis sky with the first of those terrific cannon-ball deliveries that revolutionized the game, and caused the old-school players to send out hurry calls for a severe footfault rule or some way of stopping the threatened destruction of all ground strokes. M'Loughlin made service a great factor in the game. It remained for R. N. Williams to supply the antidote that has again put service in the normal position of mere importance, not omnipotence. Williams stood in on the delivery and took it on the rising bound. Service must be speedy. Yet speed is not the be-all and end-all. Service must be accurate, reliable, and varied. It must be used with discretion and served with brains. Any tall player has an advantage over a short one, in service. Given a man about 6 feet and allow him the 3 feet added by his reach, it has been proved by tests that should he deliver a service, perfectly flat, with no variation caused by twist or wind, that just cleared the net at its lowest point (3 feet in the centre), there is only a margin of 8 inches of the service court in which the ball can possibly fall; the remainder is below the net angle. Thus it is easy to see how important it is to use some form of twist to bring the ball into court. Not only must it go into court, but it must be sufficiently speedy that the receiver does not have an opportunity of an easy kill. It must also be placed so as to allow the server an advantage for his next return, admitting the receiver puts the ball in play. Just as the first law of receiving is to, put the ball in play, so of service it is to cause the receiver to fall into error. Do not strive unduly for clean aces, but use your service to upset the ground strokes of your opponent. Service should be hit from as high a point as the server can COMFORTABLY reach. To stretch unnecessarily is both wearing on the server and unproductive of results. Varied pace and varied speed is the keynote to a good service. The slice service should be hit from a point above the right shoulder and as high as possible. The server should stand at about a forty-five degree angle to the baseline, with both feet firmly planted on the ground. Drop the weight back on the right foot and swing the racquet freely and easily behind the back. Toss the ball high enough into the air to ensure it passing through the desired hitting plane, and then start a slow shift of the weight forward, at the same time increasing the power of the swing forward as the racquet commences its upward flight to the ball. Just as the ball meets the racquet face the weight should be thrown forward and the full power of the swing smashed into the service. Let the ball strike the racquet INSIDE the face of the strings, with the racquet travelling directly towards the court. The angle of the racquet face will impart the twist necessary to bring the ball in court. The wrist should be somewhat flexible in service. If necessary lift the right foot and swing the whole body forward with the arm. Twist slightly to the right, using the left foot as a pivot. The general line of the racquet swing is from RIGHT to LEFT and always forward. At this point and before I take up the other branches of serving, let me put in a warning against footfaulting. I can only say that a footfault is crossing or touching the line with either foot before the ball is delivered, or it is a jump or step. I am not going into a technical discussion of footfaults. It is unnecessary, and by placing your feet firmly before the service there is no need to footfault. It is just as unfair to deliberately footfault as to miscall a ball, and it is wholly unnecessary. The average footfault is due to carelessness, over-anxiety, or ignorance of the rule. All players are offenders at times, but it can quickly be broken up.
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