Make Tennis Great Again !
We have no one to blame but ourselves for letting tennis dwindle in our region.
1. Forsyth Courts : 4 years later,the courts are 'an absolute disaster'. The Town Authorities have been less than exuberant to get the courts done. The Town politicians have been a worse disaster.
2. Grassroots tennis: No good junior tennis player has emerged from the area in years. Lacrosse and soccer -both user friendly games-have absorbed any talented athlete who might have taken up tennis.
The National Junior Tennis League in Kingston has been more of a babysitting service than an avenue to groom budding tennis players.
3. Empty tennis courts: The number of active recreational players registered record lows in 2016. Witness the empty courts in the summer.
Though facilities like HVIT fill up during the winter, they serve an area where there are enough players to fill up their two tennis courts.Meanwhile clubs with 4 or more courts have reported a dip in their census and junior enrollment.
4. Lessons: Teaching pros have reported less people taking lessons which might indicate people do not have the motivation to improve,excel and keep climbing up the tennis ladder. Statistically,people who improve their game tend to play tennis longer.
And tennis is,after all, a game of a lifetime.
What does this all mean ?
It means tennis is losing steam,tennis players (with some exceptions) are playing less and there is no junior development- all of which will result in less maintenance/upkeep of courts and a gradual extinction of the sport to be replaced with pickle ball and other similar tennis wannabe sports.
So let's get out and make a statement. Let us fill the courts and the indoor facilities. Let us regain the joy of playing tennis.
( And don't forget to vote on November 8th-either to make America great again or to make America Clinton again. Not that it matters since neither of them is a tennis player ! )
The Wanderer Part 2
After a long point.........
|Use the changeover wisely|
There are several key moments in a match and one of those is after a long point. Fall League players are used to being engaged in long games and long rallies. 10 or 15 rally points. Tie-break sets. Deuce games.
There are moments in these extended situations when the right strategy can give you a point or two and even an extra game. And sometimes that little extra can be the difference between a win and a loss.
At the end of a long point,both players are in a state of excitement: the winner is exalted and the loser is frustrated.You may lose the NEXT point if you do not exploit the situation.
After a long point, both players are tired,flustered and not interested in another long point.
1. Get your first serve in. Don't go for an ace. Just hit a nice high percentage spin serve to start the point.
2.If you are receiving,hit your return cross court . Again don't go for a winner.
3. Try to keep the ball in play. Chances are your opponent will want to rush the point and hence make errors.
4. Take your time in between points to catch your breath and relax.
|Calming down and breathing will help you with the next point|
So turn the tables against your opponent by using the point after a long point to your advantage !
"I with my two fists of iron and I'm going nowhere
I'm the type of guy that likes to roam around
I'm never in one place"
How many times have you lost the next point :
1. After a long point with ten or more rallies ?
2.After you break serve ?
3.After your serve gets broken ?
4. After a long set ?
Not to worry. Even on the pro tour, these have been shown to be the common scenarios where the mind gets cluttered and wanders from the present....
In order to combat this wandering mind you need to focus on percentages.
So on the next point after an arduous rally or game, make sure you:
1. Return serve cross court.
2. Take pace off your serve and just get it in.
3. Shorten the court i.e. aim the ball 6 feet inside the lines.
By taking fewer risks you will be able to turn tables against an equally tired opponent.
TEQUILA AND TENNIS
After reading the article on ' Chocolate and Tennis' ( scroll down for article ), a reader had inquired about whether wine had benefits for tennis players. During our research we came across important information about Tequila,the famous drink from Mexico.
Tequila is harvested from a special plant called the Blue Agave. The ingredients of Blue Agave are reported to be a 'bone booster'. These substances are capable of improving the absorption of calcium and magnesium, essential minerals to maintain bone health.
Tequila also has a sugar called 'fructans' which increases the protein osteocalcin which in turn causes bones to get stronger-even in the presence of osteoporosis. "It was found that mice that consumed fructans, synthesized nearly 50 percent more of osteocalcin and the diameter of their bones was higher compared with mice which were not supplied with derivatives of the agave" , said the report in Science News .
What does this all mean to us as tennis players ?
First of all strong bones mean stronger anchor points for muscles and stronger mobility. Stronger bones also reduce the risk of breakage and other injuries.And this could mean longer days on the tennis court and tennis longevity for older players.
Our job is to give you the information you need and your job is to interpret it to your liking !
( And please do not drink and drive your forehand.)
The Lob Part 2
(How to hit an effective lob)
|The defensive lob|
1. A lob is a FULL ground stroke.
2. The only difference is that you are hitting the ground stroke VERTICALLY as if the opposite baseline is above you,
3. The vertical take-off point for the lob is a few feet IN FRONT of you.
4. So IMAGINE THE BACK FENCE is a few feet in front of you. You have to clear the fence to hit the shot.
5. Remember you are trying to HIT DEEP and OVER your opponent's outstretched arm.
6 With a lob, the HIGHER THE BETTER.
|If you don't 'clear the wall' in front of you, it will be an easy overhead for your opponent|
The most important thing to rememeber for hitting an effective lob is to clear the imaginary high wall a few feet in front of you and drive the ball as high as you can.
The Lob Part 1
The lob is the least practiced shot in the game-even less than the return of serve. The only time it is 'practiced' is when you give your opponent some overheads to hit during the warm up. But you are doing exactly that: helping your opponent practice overheads-you are not practicing how to hit a effective lob. Consequently when the match begins you continue to feed your opponent lobs to smash rather than lobs to win you the point.
A good lob needs to be high enough to go over the head of your opponent and land deep enough in the court. Adding topspin to the lob is an advanced shot but very effective as the ball runs away even further. The higher you hit the lob the deeper it is going to land and the higher it is going to bounce. So go for height on the lob rather than trying to hit it over your opponents head.
Here are 2 videos to illustrate the efficacy of the lob
First the defense specialist Andy Murray:
And, of course, how can we forget Jimmy Connors' famous lobs ?
Tennis- Have the time of your life
One of the best things about tennis is that it can be played at various levels and for an indefinite period of time. It can either be a family outing or something more fiercely competitive. You decide what you want to do with it. Along the way you learn a lot about success,failure,wins,losses and most importantly how to deal with them. The more accomplished tennis lovers treat 'both imposters alike'. There are some who drop out of the game after a heartbreaking loss ( it's also happened on the pro level) while there are others who become better players due to the loss. The object of the game is not just to win but to enjoy being on the court and having the time of your life for a couple of hours-a concept that eludes many tennis players.
And to those who have lost the reason to enjoy tennis and have a time of their lives on the tennis court, we dedicate this short duet that has gone viral post-Presidential debate:
Chocolate and Tennis
A recent NY Times article talked about cyclists and chocolates. Apparently in this study,cyclists who substituted one of their daily snacks with 2 dark chocolate squares
( 80% cocoa ) were found to perform 10-20% better in their cycling time.
No question this also translates favorably to tennis players. In another article (see below),the use of chocolate milk as a recovery food after playing tennis is discussed.
Cocoa contains a substance called epicatechin. Epicatechin is known to make cells that line blood vessels release extra nitric oxide which widens blood vessels, increasing blood flow and oxygen supply to cells and also improving cardiac function. It also results in muscle cells taking in more blood sugar, thus providing them with more energy.
So pack a chocolate bar in your tennis bag but make sure it doesn't melt in your bag. You don't want sticky line calls !
The complete NY Times article can be found here:
Got (chocolate) Milk ?
|More tennis players are drinking chocolate milk after a strenuous work out|
Chocolate milk is now considered a great recovery drink if taken within 30 minutes after playing a long and tiring match.When you play a long match,the tissues get parched and depleted. Chocolate milk has the right blend of protein,carbs and calcium. It also gets absorbed quickly. Muscle proteins get replenished and recovery is faster. The tissues essentially absorb chocolate milk nutrients like a sponge and process them quickly. Thus carbs and proteins used in a match are replaced and the muscles recover quicker preventing subsequent injury.
|Older players tend to benefit more from calcium and protein replacement|
|One of the world's top doubles team,the Bryan Brothers, use and endorse chocolate milk for recovery|
Finally (and our favorite reason),after a tough tennis match loss: what better way to deal with your depression than reaching for something chocolatey ?
The Windshield Wiper Forehand
The windshield wiper forehand is now standard operating procedure on the men's tour and among many women pros who play 'big babe tennis'. It generates loads of top spin and can be hit very hard. The ball has a lot of action on it and takes off after it bounces.
The following steps are needed to hit this shot:
1. Grip has to be at least an Eastern forehand where the index knuckle is behind the racquet or even a semi-western grip.
2. You have to get well below the ball before you start the wipe.
3. The racquet face faces the opponent's court THROUGHOUT the stroke.
4. The finish is at the opposite shoulder or below it.
Tips for Senior Tennis Players
Sad but true fact: There are less younger players taking up tennis than ever before. Consequently there are more seniors playing tennis on any given day. Tennis is a physical sport unlike other activities like golf or bowling. In fact tennis is the only competitive sport that is regularly played by seniors. ( That is if you exclude golf -though someone said "any activity that can be performed while drinking beer or smoking is not a sport ! ")
Seniors can increase their longevity in tennis by following certain routines:
1. Always stretch before and after play:
Muscles tend to lose elasticity as you get older. Therefore stretching helps them get 'softer' and thus muscle fibers are less likely to get 'snapped off'.
2.Strengthen your muscles :
As you get older lean matter gets depleted and there is more fat. Keeping the muscles toned and/or strengthened increases their function and reduces inflammation.
3. Change your style of play:
Be more adept at finishing points early by running your opponents around or by coming to the net more.You don't want to get bogged down by long rallies.
4. Increase your endurance:
Participate in aerobic exercise like running,walking or swimming and anaerobic exercises like short spurts of high intensity work outs. A 10 minute walking regimen with 3-4 20 second bursts of high intensity exercise is all you need.
5. Improve your serve:
The serve is one stroke entirely under your control. Getting your first serves in conserves energy. Winning easy points on your serve further conserves it.
6.Choose your racquets/strings wisely.
The modern day space age material racquets are lighter and more versatile compared to older racquets. They are also easier on the body.
A softer string like gut or high end synthetic is softer on the arm. Lowering your string tension by 3-5 lbs also is kinder on the arm.
7. Play more singles:
'Old man/woman doubles' is a thing of the past. Playing more singles increases your endurance,strength and also your agility which will make you a stronger 'old man/woman doubles' player !
8. Watch your diet :
Middle age spread is also due to a more relaxed dietary life style.Increase your protein and moderate your sugars/carbs and fats.And if you drink, 4 oz of wine or 2 oz hard liquor or 1 can of beer is the daily limit !
9. Be more active:
Retirement causes a major decrease in physical and mental activity. This will affect you on the tennis court. Try to remain as physically active as you can during the day and exercise your brain as well.
10. Enjoy the joy :
As one gets older, losses on the tennis court are a little harder to bear as you look back on your non-tennis related achievements.
REMEMBER YOU PLAY FOR THE JOY OF PLAYING THE SPORT !!
OLD FASHIONED Slice vs MODERN Slice
The backhand slice has undergone an evolution to keep up with the evolution of racquet technology and polyester strings. Even though it is still possible to hit the old fashioned way,the modern slice is vastly different. Here is an apples-to-apples comparison. Please re-play the videos multiple times and note the different aspects of the technique outlined below.
THE OLD FASHIONED SLICE:
Things to observe above:
1. The racquet is taken back at SHOULDER LEVEL.
2. The racquet face FACES THE SKY on the take back.
3.The racquet face STRAIGHTENS OUT and faces the opponent as it strikes the ball.
4. The racquet goes 'ACROSS THE TABLETOP' in a straight line.
5. The racquet travels PERPENDICULAR to the baseline towards the target.
THE MODERN SLICE:
Things to observe above:
1.The racquet is taken back BEHIND THE HEAD.
2.The racquet face FACES THE OPPONENT on the take back.
3.The racquet CONTINUES TO FACE THE OPPONENT as it strikes the ball.
4.The racquet goes ACROSS THE BODY in an arc.
5.The racquet travels PARALLEL to the baseline away from the target.
The 'Penultimate Shot' strategy
The 'Penultimate Shot' strategy can be incorporated successfully by League Players and it can have a positive impact on the match.
It can reduce errors,avoid rash shots and tire out your opponent.
A good time to use this strategy is on important points like 30-40 or 30-30 or the first point in a game or as you are trying to close out the set or you are trying to save the set.
The premise is very simple : keep the ball in play and make each shot set you up for the next one. In other words you keep postponing hitting a winner by one rally. So if your opponent gives you an easy opening for a cross court winner,you hit a firm cross court shot but not a put away shot. When your opponent replies with a short ball you hit it to the open court but postpone hitting a winner off that. In other words you keep telling yourself : "I will hit a winner off the next ball...off the next ball...off the next ball" .
Thus each ball is the penultimate ball until you finally decide to go for it. Chances are your opponent would have lost the point long before that.
3 Best FREE Online Tennis Instruction Sites
There is a plethora of online tennis sites on the internet from the grainy videos to sophisticated special effects filled ones. A lot of these sites try to sell you a course or other products. However,there are a few FREE sites where the pros exhibit a passion to teach with less emphasis on selling products-though they do have subscription lessons as well
( they still have to make a living).
Below are the 3 of the best free sites.
They have been chosen because :
1. They are free
2.The pros are congenial but passionate about teaching tennis.
3. The videos are well made.
4. The videos give tips that are easy to understand and incorporate in your game.
5. Videos are produced at regular intervals and come to your inbox.
Not listed in any particular order of merit, are the following
3 'must-view' sites:
1. Daily Tennis Lesson :
Coach Brady is a tall lanky pro,based in Los Angeles, whose 5 minute videos teach essentials of the game. He talks with clarity and gets to the point without any long lectures. His tips are golden pearls that will help your game.Here is an example:
2. Top Speed Tennis:
Coach Clay tackles tennis issues with a friendly Southern drawl. It's usually just him and maybe a ball machine. His tips are simple yet very effective. He comes across as genuine and wanting to help you with your game. As an example :
3. Feel Tennis:
Coach Tomaz runs this web site from Slovenia. With his voice bearing an uncanny resemblance to Novak Djokovic, his videos are, surprisingly for a free site, well produced and detailed . Most of his lessons run 15-20 minutes and he dissects his topic so that players of every level get the gist. As the title of his site implies,he bases his teaching on 'feel for the ball' which is an important but rarely mentioned component in tennis.
Here he is:
And as a prelude to tonight's debate........
............3 Trumpisms for Tennis Players
Whether you like him or not, these stated principles apply to Tennis Players.
Here are some words of wisdom from President Trump himself !!
" I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present."
In tennis you have to always try to be in the present. Forget about the shot you flubbed at break point. Don't think of winning or losing. Focus on the task at hand-which is keeping the ball in the court.
"Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war."
Almost every experienced player will tell you they learn from their losses more than their wins. In fact losing teaches you more than winning and you are wiser for the next time.
"Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score-the real excitement is playing the game."
" It does not matter if you win or lose-it's all about the joy of playing tennis" !
Don't forget to watch the debate tonight at 9 pm ,unless you'd rather be playing tennis-in which case you will look more Presidential to us than the candidates !!
Shoulder over shoulder serve
The shoulder over shoulder serve is the most accepted method of consistent powerful serving. Think of it as doing a cartwheel towards your opponent's service box. The serving shoulder kind of cartwheels over the tossing shoulder during the act of hitting the ball. Your shoulders should be lined up vertically.If your shoulders are horizontal when you hit the ball then you are serving improperly.
|Shoulders should be aligned vertically (Left) and NOT horizontally (Right)|
This aligns the shoulders vertically and you can achieve the shoulder over shoulder motion.
COACH OF THE YEAR
The one question students should always ask their potential tennis coach :
" How much tennis do you play ?"
Many coaches just teach tennis. The more effective coaches PLAY serious tennis either at the recreational level or in tournaments.
Why is this important ?
Tennis is a sport where you always hit AGAINST opponents who meddle/muddle with your game. If you can figure out what to do with your opponent, you can elevate your game to challenge your opponent. An effective coach has had his/her talents tested in the battlefield. If he/she can figure out what to do in the heat of battle,it is much easier for him/her to help your game in a more sedate situation-as on the practice court.
That is one of the reasons Shawn Holzmann is the 2016
Mid Hudson Tennis Coach of the Year
There is a difference in having book knowledge (theory) and practical knowledge ( field experience).
Coach of the Year Shawn Holzmann has both. He graduated with a degree in Sports Management (theory) and holds an USPTA certification ( theory), but has turned out to be a winning tournament player ( field experience).
Among the many matches he has been victorious in:
He has won the Ulster County titles three times including a triple crown twice and this year he also won the Woodstock Open.
This is the 9th year that Coach of the Year Shawn Holzmann has been a certified United States Professional Tennis Association pro. He is also certified by the United States Racquet Stringers' Association and is a certified physical trainer by the International Sports Sciences Association.
So contact Coach of the Year Shawn Holzmann and schedule a lesson. You will realize what a coach's match play experience can do to take your game to new heights !
Shawn's Phone: 845-389-3924
Shawn's web site:
It's time to party !!
|Coach Vic Ricci's Legendary Tennis Parties are not to be missed|
Coach Vic Ricci's Legendary Tennis Parties !
Held at Total Tennis in Saugerties,this is perhaps the most inexpensive indoor tennis option in the country.
In an exclusive statement to us Vic said the following:
I run the following tennis parties... Mondays,Thursdays and Fridays starting at 7 pm and going till 10 pm or even 11pm on Fridays.
I run a Tuesday party for intermediate and advanced player also starting at 7pm. This will be singles and doubles depending on court availability.
Finally, I am exploring interest in some Saturday night parties from 7 pm to 10 pm.
All of the parties are only $20/player per session. No need to reserve in advance. Walk -ins welcome. Please email Vic with any questions at
or text /call him at 917-449-8296
or text /call him at 917-449-8296
Or just show up* and announce :
" I am here to attend Coach Vic Ricci's Legendary Tennis Party" !!
(* Please call Vic to verify when the start date is)
This is one deal not to be missed especially when you have a last minute desire to play tennis.
And this is one deal that will keep your spirits soaring- even if
'Art of the Deal' Donald Trump becomes President !!
Woodstock Open Results
|Multiple finals took place during the window of weather opportunity at the picturesque Woodstock Tennis Club|
|L-R: Jacek Wojtowicz,chair umpire Rich Kaufman,Shawn Holzmann|
Reminiscent more of a WTA women's singles match ( no offense-but tennis players understand this analogy) the match between Shawn Holzmann and Jacek Wojtowicz was a series of endless who'll-blink-first rallies peppered with unforced errors,and grueling how-many-balls-can-I get-over-the net exchanges.Overall this prolonged match was low on strategy but high on stamina draining perseverance. In fact,there was more time spent by the players waiting for an error rather than forcing one.
|Wojtowicz grinding away at the baseline|
|The occasional foray to the net by Holzmann|
In the end, it turned out to be the longest finals in the history of this tournament, with as much excitement or tediousness (based on your point of view) as the infamous John Isner-Nicolas Mahut marathon Wimbledon match from 2010.
In the end, Ironman Holzmann prevailed 6-4,6-7 (15-17), 7-5.
|One of the longest time on the throne for chair umpire Rich Kaufman|
Women's Singles: Sara Satkowski
Women's Doubles: Vivian Hodges/Elisa Staub
Mixed Doubles : Karen Gill/Matt Canzonetti
Men's Doubles: Vern Chrisjohn/Rob Sohm
|"I am too nervous to watch my dad miss his first serve" Chris Metz' daughter with her mom at the Doubles semis|
|All matches had spectator support who in turn received entertaining tennis|
|Despite the USTA's definition of a 'permanent fixture', at the Woodstock Tennis Club 'permanent fixture' refers to Marshal Lipton (L) seen here with a co-member and John Zerbo|
|Doubles finalists Rob Sohm,Vern Chrisjohn,Jesse Chalfin and Ravi Ramaswami|
Overall it was a well run tournament with a large draw. The players and the overflowing crowd were well looked after .
Kudos to Karen Gill and Steve Josephs the tournament co-directors ! **************************************************************
The shoulder slice
|Hitting a slice with a straight shoulder|
|Sorry,Roger-that's the wrong way to hit a slice !!|
'Spacing' yourself from the ball keeps you at a consistent distance from the ball,straightens your shoulder and lets you hit a smoother slice and even a more powerful slice since you are using your shoulders and not your elbows.
The Shoulder Volley
|Wrong way to hit a volley consistently|
One way to avoid this is by hitting the volley with your shoulder.
Let the pendulum swing from your shoulder and hit with a straight shoulder.
Not only will your volley be crisper and firmer but it will also prevent you from making errors that occur by using the elbow as the primary source of power.
Here is a good example of the shoulder volley:
Results from the 2016 Woodstock Open
Seeds advanced in the tournament with semifinals/finals action to be held next weekend.
Top seed Shawn Holzmann cruised through his earlier rounds for a change while his nemesis at the bottom half ,Jacek Wojtowicz, cruised even more smoothly with a 6-0,6-0 victory in both his matches.
In men's doubles, club pro Jesse Chalfin hit some amazing shots and carried his partner,Ravi Ramaswami to the semi-finals where they will meet top seeds Bill Blake and Chris Metz.
In the other half Vern Chrisjohn and Rob Sohm will meet John Zerbo and partner.
Woodstock pro Karen Gill and partner Matt Canzonetti of HVIT are expected to shine in the mixed doubles.
Scenes from the 2016 Woodstock Open
|Karen Gill(r) and Steve Josephs co-tournament directors|
|Jessica Walther(l) with Vern Chrisjohn and Jesse Chalfin|
|Club pro Jesse Chalfin(r) with his doubles partner|
|Jihyuk Han(l) with Lisa Cutten and Bill Blake|
|Jesse Chalfin with Franz 'Joe' Kaisik(r)|
Doubles is supposed to be a game of movement and coordination of partners as opposed to shot making skills. But is that really so ?
Good doubles players do all of the above. The key is to support your partner and expect him to support you always moving in tandem-and don't forget to cover the middle !
Here are some examples of good doubles play :
When not to double fault
In the semi-final match at the 2016 US Open,Serena Williams was on the verge of coming back and there was a long acrobatic point she won that undoubtedly demoralized her opponent. The next point would have changed the complexion of the match had Serena won the point. She did not. She lost it in the worst way possible-by double faulting. In fact she also double faulted at match point ending her quest for glory this year.
When you are serving and finish a long rally you should not follow Serena's footsteps. This is the time when both you and your opponent are winded and tired. This is an excellent opportunity to win the next point by just getting the serve in. Your opponent is still weary from the previous point and chances are he/she has not regained focus. Why throw the point away with a double fault ? Even taking something off the serve and spinning it in may be all you need.
So remember: after a long drawn out rally, re-group quickly and get that first serve in !
A look at Serena's unusual backhand
One missed shot.....
2016 US Open: 6-6 in the 5th set tie-break. Nadal gets a put away forehand. He hesitates for a micro-second and then drills it...into the net. This has happened to many a League Player and has even turned the tide of a match. The problem is that little hesitation and a glimmer of thought before hitting the shot. The trick is to hit that shot with intuition rather than mechanics and not be result oriented. More importantly consider that shot as a one-two punch rather than as a point ending shot. When you are tight a lot things can go wrong especially with stroke mechanics. Couple that with the thought of winning/losing the point and all of a sudden the court becomes smaller and the net higher. So relax and let your reflexes take over and focus on seeing the ball.
Above all: r-e-l-a-x.
It may not be the commonest word used by League Players when they miss an easy shot but it is as distressing. Yes, the word 'Fall' conjures up images of breezy days,leaves on the court,cooling temperatures,shorter days and of course,the upcoming winter which makes Fall actually feel like tropical.
Anyway, here are the court locators for those of you who want to navigate the Fall season and dodge the scholastic tennis games:
Tennis Court finder:
Block Red: No courts available after 3 pm
Red: Courts available all day
Other days : No courts from 3-5 pm
Note: Kingston High School may have JV practice/games on some days
No games at UCCC/Forsythe but that might change if they field teams.
Kingston High School
No scholastic games scheduled
Courts available all day
No scholastic games scheduled
Courts available all day
Saugerties Cantine Field
THANK YOU ALL !!!
Thank you for participating in the Summer Ladder League.
Hope you had a great time hooking up with new players as well as old friends. Please continue to play in the winter at HVIT where they are having a winter ladder as well as contract time.
For an a la carte time schedule you can go to their web site and plan your tennis.
Vic Ricci will be holding his tennis parties at Total Tennis.
At $20.00 a person for unlimited playing based on court availability-and usually there is plenty of court availability-this is is one of the best tennis deals in the country !!