Monday, September 26, 2016


Tips for Senior Tennis Players                                        Image result for senior citizen tennis

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:
                                         Image result for senior citizen stretching
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 :
 Image result for senior citizen weight training
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:
Image result for senior citizen volleys
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:
                                   Image result for senior citizen exercises
 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:

                    Image result for senior citizen tennis serving
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.
                          Image result for senior citizen tennis
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:
 Image result for senior citizen tennis
'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 :
                              Image result for senior citizen eating
 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:
                                        Image result for senior citizen hiking
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 :
 Image result for senior citizen tennis
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.

 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. 


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. 


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
Image result for Forehand senior playerImage result for Forehand senior player
 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 the next 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."

 Analogous to  
" It does not matter if you win or lose-it's all about the joy of playing tennis" !
Shoulders should be aligned vertically (Left) and NOT horizontally (Right)

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

                                                   Image result for shoulder over shoulder tennis 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.
Image result for shoulder over shoulder tennis serve
Shoulders should be aligned vertically (Left) and NOT horizontally (Right)
    One way of doing this is to tilt your head to the left while serving as shown below:Image result for shoulder over shoulder tennis serve
       This aligns the shoulders vertically and you can achieve the shoulder over shoulder motion.            
                        Image result for shoulder over shoulder tennis serve                
                   COACH OF THE YEAR
                              Shawn Holzmann

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 Email:

Shawn's web site:
                      It's time to party !!
Coach Vic Ricci's Legendary Tennis Parties are not to be missed
With the outdoor season slowly but surely disappearing, it's time for League Players to move indoors. With limited indoor courts and even more limited availability, here is the most cost effective option:
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 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
        For a few hours ( though it felt longer), the Woodstock Open was transformed into the 'Woofstock' Open as 2 retrievers battled for glory in the Men's Finals. 
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 

    Winners of other equally important and  faster moving matches:
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

 More pics:

"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
Image result for Slice backhand
Hitting a slice with a straight shoulder
                                            One of the common mistakes League Players make is to have too much bend in their elbows when they slice a backhand. This leads to 2 problems : you get too close to the ball and the ball tends to sit up too much.
Image result for Slice backhand
Sorry,Roger-that's the wrong way to hit a slice !!
       Of course it is possible to bend the elbow,like Roger Federer is doing above and straighten it as you hit the ball but that takes a lot of coordination,skill and timing. When you are moving towards the ball , the ball is moving towards you and your opponent is moving, it gets difficult to slice the ball well every time.                                               

'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.
                                                Image result for Slice backhand
                                            The Shoulder Volley

We have always been taught to hit a volley by 'hinging' and 'unhinging' our elbow or by 'punching' the volley.
Image result for tennis volley
Wrong way to hit a volley consistently

 Though this might have some merit,most of the time it ends up with the player spooning up the ball resulting in either chopping the ball into the net or spooning up the ball beyond the lines.

One way to avoid this is by hitting the volley with your shoulder. 

Image result for tennis volleyImage result for shoulder use in tennis volleyImage result for tennis volley
Let the pendulum swing from your shoulder and hit with a straight shoulder. 
 Image result for shoulder use in tennis volley
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
The 2016 Woodstock Open,in contrast to its cousin the Ulster County Open,is a very audience friendly and players' choice event. The directors Karen Gill and Steve Josephs make it a very cordial tournament as well as a very competitive one. In fact there were more entries this year in this tournament compared to the Ulster Open. The club members support this tournament and many of them attend to watch the matches as they and the players feast on the free snacks,beverages and food laid out in the club house shack. 
Jessica Walther(l) with Vern Chrisjohn and Jesse Chalfin

This year Ulster County champ Shawn Holzmann leads the seeds. Top players in the area including Jihyuk Han,Bill Blake,Greg Tellier,Vern Chrisjohn are participating alnon with a big draw of doubles,mixed and ladies events.
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 Play  
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
                Image result for serena serve
 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..... 
Image result for nadal shot at 6-6 2016 us open
   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

Forsythe Park
 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 !!