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Zen Tennis :a series of articles to help League Players reach tennis Nirvana
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.
5. This is where having a ritual will help you center yourself and forget about the previous long point.
So turn the tables against your opponent by using the point after a long point to your advantage !
U.S Open Finals 2001(before our world changed)
|Leyton Hewitt d Pete Sampras |
7-6 6-1 6-1
|Venus Williams d Serena Williams |
Lessons from the 2013 U.S. Open
1. Even at the pro-level,matches are determined by unforced errors!
Regardless of the the shot making skills on display in the men's finals,the following stats will help League Players make an informed judgement why Nadal won (hint: despite hitting more winners than Nadal,the player
who made more unforced errors (Djokovic) lost the match):
Winners: Djokovic : 46 ----Nadal: 27
Unforced errors: Djokovic: 53----Nadal: 20
2. One handed back hand lives on !
Many players in the final rounds sported a one handed backhand:
Federer/Gasquet/Warwinka/Haas and many more. This is good news for League Players who are toying with the idea of learning a two-hander. The advantage of a two handed backhand is deception-your opponent cannot say where the shot is going. The advantages of a one hander are versatility,ability to slice,get to low balls and ,of course,flamboyance.
3. It ain't over till it's over :
Victoria Azarenka came back from a 1-4 deficit and took the match to a 3rd set.League Players might take note of the fact that Azarenka did not play tentatively when she was down and out. Rather, she played very aggressively and took calculated chances. Remember-- your opponent is also under tremendous pressure to close out the match.By being persistent you can force errors and get back in the match.
And on a minor note:
4. "Never let them see you sweat......"
|The geniuses at Nike are going back to the drawing board on this design|
Something tells us that this pink dress is not exactly going to fly off the shelves.
Zen Tennis :a series of articles to help League Players reach tennis Nirvana
Take your (allotted) time !
As per the rules,you have 2 minutes between sets,90 seconds while changing sides,20 seconds between points and a few seconds between first and second serves. Most people tend to rush through without pausing,regrouping or even breathing !
As per the rules,you have 2 minutes between sets,90 seconds while changing sides,20 seconds between points and a few seconds between first and second serves. Most people tend to rush through without pausing,regrouping or even breathing !
Take a look at some of the top players on TV. You will always see them making use of their time ( sometimes more than allotted ) either by glancing at their strings,toweling off or bouncing the ball before serving. What they are doing is to re-focus and get mentally prepared for the next points. They even have unique rituals (more on rituals in a forthcoming article).So try to walk to the back fence after every point,don't rush your serve,bounce the ball before each serve or just take a breather like Sharapova is doing below.
|Maria Sharapova straightening her strings as she gets ready for the next point|
|Bounce the ball a few times to get into rhythm|
|Justine Hennin pauses and glances at her opponent before each serve|
Father-son duo make history !
|Singles A League Player Steve Hack(left) and his coach Bradley|
Steve Hack is presently trying to win his first Woodstock Open Tennis title under the tutelage of his son.
Bradley,who recently won the Junior Ulster Open tournament, has been contracted to play in next year's Mid Hudson Tennis League.
Zen Tennis - a series of articles to help League Players reach Tennis Nirvana
This is due to the power of mind-body connection. A lot of top ranked athletes,including tennis players use 'visualization'. Downhill skiers and race car drivers trace their route in their minds before the event. Basketball players -before a free throw- visualize the path from their hands to the basket. Many professional golfers try to visualize the path from their putter to the hole before they putt. Tennis players can use this form of visualization to place the ball close to where they want.
The concept of 'aim point' is the simplest form of visualization. Look ('aim') at where you want to hit the ball and then visualize that aim point it in your mind. So if you want to serve to the corner of the service box,visually map out the path to the corner and then hold that aim point in your mind's eye. Most likely you will hit your aim point. It is CRITICAL to hold the aim point in your mind while you are hitting the ball. If you don't then the shot will not land where you aimed to.
Another way of looking at it is this:let's say you were shooting an arrow at a wooden target board. You chances of hitting the center of the wooden board are better if there was a bull's eye painted on the board. If the board was blank (with no bull's eye painted on it),the chance of hitting the center of the board is much smaller.
On your ground strokes, as well, think of an aim point on the court and keep that point in your mind's eye as you are hitting the ball. You will be amazed at your accuracy !
What does 'hitting deep' mean?
The term 'hitting with depth' generally signifies the ball landing just inside or a foot or two inside the baseline. Hitting the ball deep in the baseline area has a lot of advantages:
1. It is very difficult to hit winners off a deep ball.
2. It increases the distance the opponent has to return the ball.
3.It gives you time to set up for the next shot.
4. It might even increase the chances of your opponent hitting a short ball thereby giving you an easy ball to put away.
5. It keeps your opponent pinned to the baseline.
However hitting deep does not mean hitting just to the baseline area. Rather it signifies hitting 'deep' relative to the position of your opponent. So the effect of hitting to the baseline can also be achieved if you hit close to where the opponent is standing. If he/she is standing at the service line then hitting to the service line or slightly beyond will produce the same effect as if the opponent were standing at the baseline and your shot lands on the baseline.
Therefore 'hitting deep' is the same as hitting to an imaginary line drawn across the width of the court where your opponents' feet are situated.
As long as you hit near this line or just beyond it
( not beyond the baseline,of course) your opponent will not be able to take a full swing and you will either win the point outright or get an easy ball to put away
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.
The pictures below are meant to SHOCK League Players to resume playing in the Circle of Life League,
after the Ulster Open !!
|America's # 1 player John Isner|
|Wimbledon Finalist Agnes Radwanska|
"Fatigue makes cowards of us all"
-Vince Lombardi,Legendary football coach
League Players pay attention !
|Good Luck,Mike !!|
Mike is now off to Baltimore where he will be the tennis coach at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University.The team he is coaching has been rising in the NCAA rankings and undoubtedly will rise even more with Mike on board. We wish Mike all the best with his future plans
and hope to have him play in the League whenever he is back in town !
Court Availability : September/October
Now that the dreaded scholastic season has started,League Players need to scramble for courts. To make it easy,we have compiled a list just for that !
NOTE: Red dates are home games and courts will not be available
Black dates are away games and courts will be available all afternoon except :
Kingston available only from 5 pm on away games days
1.Rosendale : Only one court is usable. The other court has a missing net post.
2.Loughran Park: One court usable. The other court has no net strap
|3.UCCC: All courts available|
|4.Kingston High School (MJM):|
|6. Forsyth Park:|
A primer for the area's indoor tennis facilities
Name : Hudson Valley Indoor Tennis
470 Old Neighborhood Road Kingston,NY
Court costs/hour: $32.00/hour and $42.00/hour after 5 pm and weekends
Membership fees: $50.00 ( Guest fee: $5.00 if playing with a member and $10.00 for others)
On site teaching pro : No
What membership gives you (apart from using tennis courts): watch tennis on TV in the lounge, enjoy free Wi-Fi, or use the elliptical machine and stationary bike.
Pros: -Brand new state of the art U.S. Open surface courts
-Tennis friendly staff
-2 courts might limit availability
-No teaching pro on site
(but on the other hand, you can learn everything you need to know on this web site !!)
Name : Rhinebeck Tennis Club
2 Salisbury Ct, Rhinebeck , NY
Court costs/hour: $48-60/hour
Membership fees: None
On site teaching pro: 3.
What membership gives you (apart from using tennis courts):N/A
Pros: -Outdoor clay and indoor Deco-turf court
-Lots of teaching programs for all levels.
- Owner Bob Myerson is a respected teaching pro
- Ulster County champs Shawn Holzmann
and Andrew Constant also run tennis programs
Cons: -Single court limits court time availability
-Court cost/hour higher
Name : Black Acre Tennis
23 Chimney Road,Woodstock,NY
Court costs/hour: $26-34/hour
Membership fees: $50.00
On site teaching pro: No
What membership gives you (apart from using tennis courts): Changing room with sauna
- High ceilings,good lighting,private,
Cons: -No teaching pro
-Single court limits availability
-Courts need resurfacing
Name : Total Tennis, Saugerties
Court costs/hour: $40-50/hour
Membership fees: None
On site teaching pro: Multiple
What membership gives you (apart from using tennis courts):N/A
Pros: -5 courts means more availability
-Excellent teaching pros
-Tennis parties for $20.00 for unlimited tennis
Cons: -Courts not resurfaced for years and hence fast and slick
Name : Dutchess Racquet Club Club
375,Salt Point Tpk, Poughkeepsie , NY
Court costs/hour: $32-38/hour(lowest in the Hudson Valley)
Membership fees: $365.00 ($235.00 for winter only)
On site teaching pros: 3
What membership gives you (apart from using tennis courts):
-365 days of indoor/outdoor membership
-unlimited use of outdoor courts at no cost
-free round robins outdoor(3 a week)
-discounts on all lessons,programs,and events
-VIP booking privileges on indoor courts.
-free indoor subbing on contract courts
-free indoor play if needed to fill inPros: -Low court costs
-Lots of tennis
- Lots of teaching programs for all levels.
-Head pro Chad Lookabaugh is an excellent teaching pro
Cons: -Distance ( but for the tennis it's worth the ride)
It ain't over till it's over.....
(or in League Players' jargon : "There is no finish line..." )
"Twenty-eight seconds were left on the clock when the N.B.A. began prepping for the San Antonio Spur's coronation — their first in six years, their fifth since 1999. The lead was 94-89. The Miami Heat were wheezing, their fans turning away in despair.The end was that close."
- Howard Beck, The New York Times
Those who stayed awake experienced the greatest comeback in NBA Finals' history. Those who fell asleep were awakened the next day wishing they had not dozed off.
|The Miami Heat pulled off a 'from the jaws of defeat' victory against the Arizona Spurs in the final minutes|
League Players should not take anything for granted on the tennis court. You are only as successful as the next point. Just because you are in the lead or won the first set does not mean a win is certain. The player on the trailing end also has to believe that he/she can win the match and have a 'one point at a time' attitude. Even on the pro-tour players have come in from the brink of defeat. Always cling on to hope and try your best. Always cross the finish line ( if there is one) with your head held high and your eyes on the ball !
NBA Game 6 : Game tying shot:
It ain't over till it's over Part 2:
Player Profile: Kevin Dodd
|Strong legs and fierce determination sets Kevin apart|
Suffice to say that Kevin never gives up --even when the lady with the high BMI starts singing.
Playing under pressure
The difference between good players and great players is how they play under pressure. Most of us tend to be cautious and tentative towards the end of a tight set / match tie-break when the scores are level or when facing break point.The best players tend to be relentless at this stage and pull all stops to pressure the opponent. In other words, they make their opponent earn every point. Jimmy Connors comes to mind as does Roger Federer (see videos below).
Roger Federer *************************
Player Profile: Don Tegeler
|Don Tegeler wearing a very cool - or rather- a very COL T-Shirt !|
The Home of the Brave
|Sebastien De La Cruz|
Sebastien De La Cruz is a 10 year old who has been wowing the audience with his rendering of the National Anthem at the NBA finals. Sadly,there has been a backlash-some of them exposing deeply bigoted sentiments-from people across the country who feel he should not be singing the anthem because of his Latin American roots.
In the context of the Circle of Life Tennis League, there is no distinction between A/B/C players. We are all in the same circle and we all have an equal chance to advance to the finish line...and there is no finish line. So please challenge your fellow players regardless of their level of play. There may be players who refuse your challenge and may not consider you worthy of playing but as Sebastien De La Cruz found out,there are enough out there who would embrace the fact that you are part of an united ,single tennis world.
The Cecada connection
"Children of the night-what music they make"
-Bela Lugosi in the movie Dracula (1931)
|2013 : The year of the Cecadas|
Cecadas are insects that appear once every 15-17 years.
They dig themselves out of the ground,make magical mating music,procreate,lay eggs in the ground and die. Simplicity at its best.
The best tennis players keep it simple : Watch the ball,hit through it and move the feet. 3 simple things which most of us make too complicated. Next time you are on the tennis court : keep it simple. Just 3 tenets.And don't forget to thank these glorious creatures.
Player Profile : Frank Ferracane
|Frank Ferracane in his Circle of Life T-shirt|
tennis court,it probably is League Player Frank Ferracane( B Singles). Sidelined by injuries last year,he is making a determined comeback and working hard to regain his fitness and form. For him there is truly no finish line.
How to make things happen on the tennis court
There are 3 types of tennis players:
Those who don't know what happened,
Those who wait for things to happen,
And those who make things happen.
Even though most matches are won on the number of errors rather than winners, the 'winningest' players turn things around to their advantage. They play a proactive instead of a reactive role in deciding their fate. In other words they take their game to their opponent and challenge them to play better. They do not wait for their opponent to make an error-they force them to.This is especially true in the closing stages of a match or when the match is evenly poised.
1. Go for it :
|Take a chance randomly|
Every now and then try to hit an ace or a winning return. This is a good strategy to tilt the scales. You might just hit the perfect shot and win an important point.
2. Keep your opponent on the move:
|Wear down your opponent|
You will be testing his/her conditioning as well as not letting them set up for a shot.
3. Get to the net:
|Play the net when you get your opponent on the run|
Send the message: "Pass me if you can'. Even if you do get passed it will still put pressure on your opponent to come up with the shot.
4. Don't play defensively :
|Defensive tennis can lose tight matches|
Play to win rather than not to lose.
Hit with intent. As you hit more aggressive shots many of them will go in and force errors from your opponent.
|Bad body language|
|Good body language|
Theories abound regarding how this works but it does. Pumping yourself up on court will keep you playing aggressively.
Don't wait and hope for your opponent's error. Go and get it !!
Player Profile: Magda Toro
Says Magda:"Pilates allow people to improve the strength and flexibility of the supportive muscles that are used to maintain a stable core. When correctly performed Pilates exercises can improve the control of the body and reduce chances of getting injured...which could be a good thing for playing tennis. I will be charging apprentice fees-which could be a great thing for many players !!"
Magda works at the Rosendale Pilates Studio in Rosendale and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you want more info on the Pilates studio:
When you contact Magda, remember: she never says,"No" to playing a League Match !!
( Past articles from this web site that had high viewership around the world based on Google stats)
Even the pros have a tough time in windy conditions. When the wind starts to pick up you have to adjust your playing to counteract the ball movement:
1. Keep your feet moving. This will help you reach the ball as it drifts around.
2. Figure out: which side is the wind blowing ?
Do you feel it on your face or your back ? Which direction is your hair blowing ?
|Hair on a bad hair day can act as a windsock !!|
4. When playing against the wind (breeze blowing on your face), hit harder and higher over the net.
5. Lob cautiously when playing with the wind (breeze behind you).
6. Lob deep when playing against the wind (breeze on your face)-otherwise the ball might stall giving your opponent an easy over head.
Playing on a windy day can be frustrating but with a little ingenuity you can work it to your advantage ! *********************************************
How Not To Double Fault
A double fault is like giving away a free point to your opponent since the serve is the only shot where the shot is not influenced by the opponent. Most of the time the pressure of the moment makes the player change the mechanics resulting in a bad serve.
1. Practice your 2nd serve before and during a match:The more you practice your second serve,the more reliable it will get. There is no need to pound the first serve in. You could serve second serves only for the first 2-3 games to get it grooved.Get the muscles loose and your mind confident.
2. Develop a ritual before serving :
|Bounce the ball a set number of times|
3. Don't think 'double fault' :
Always have a positive attitude when you serve.You are in control of the start of the point.
4. Don't slow your swing for the 2nd serve:
Swing harder with spin and your ball will have a better margin for error.
5.Get your first serve in :
If you get your first serve in,you will never double fault !
Coincidence or Destiny ?
Less than a week after getting a "There is no finish line..." Circle of Life Tennis T-Shirt, League Player Sharon Crego found this in her fortune cookie !!
|Fortune cookie echoes the philosophy behind Circle of Life Tennis League|
Player Profile: William Coy
|William Coy travels from New Paltz to play in the Circle of Life League|
(Note: He has a Circle of Life T-Shirt-a badge of a good tennis player !)
Hot Potato !
|Dashing Bill Roberts shows off his volleying skills and his new Circle of Life T-Shirt|
|Sharon Crego and Lisa Cutten in their very own game improving lavender Circle of Life T-Shirts|
First Look (at the Circle Of Life T-Shirts)
|Wayne Schaeffer,John Kasten and Frank Ferracane proudly display their COL T-Shirts|
Player profile: Francine Wizner
|The indefatigable Francine Wizner|
Francine Wizner ( C Singles/Doubles) is a maniac-a tennis maniac that is. She can be found on the courts either playing, taking lessons or recruiting players for the League.In fact she will be the first female player to enter the Inner Circle in the Circle of Life League.
Her secret after tennis recovery snack ? A Tootsie Roll !
( We have tried it and it works !!)
When your game goes to the dogs....
Every League Player has had one of those bad days when they play so poorly that they wish they had not stepped on the tennis court that day. Shots sailing out,double faults, balls hitting the net-in fact everything to make them take a silent vow to take a long break from tennis.Everyone,including the pros, has these slump days and it seems to happen,curiously enough,without any warning.
Fortunately,here are some dog tricks to help you avoid those dog day afternoons on the tennis court:
1. Eye on the ball :
|Try to watch the fuzz on the ball|
This is the day you need to 'hyper-focus -wide- eyed' on the ball. It will make a tremendous difference.Pretty soon your shots will start to go in.
2. Hold your racquet loosely in between points:
Stress plays a big role in how you play. Perhaps you had a bad day at work,maybe a domestic dispute or just plain aggravated at the world. Most players tend to grip their racquet tightly under stress. This makes the muscles very inflexible and the strokes very rigid. For a free flowing stroke making, grip your racquet loosely with your non-dominant hand in between points.
3. Exaggerate your shoulder turn on both your ground strokes and exaggerate your service toss:
This tip works very well on 'bad days'. Exaggerate your shoulder turn on ground strokes and exaggerate your toss on your serve. This will make the strokes more fluid and your muscle memory will start to kick in.
|Exaggerate your shoulder turn...but don't forget to keep your eyes on the ball !!|
4. Don't wait for your opponent to make a mistake:
Even when things are not working for you, try to take the game to your opponent rather than waiting for your opponent to make errors.Sooner rather than later,your strokes are going to click.
5. Enjoy holding the tennis ball and racquet:
Even if you feel like walking out of the court on a bad tennis day, think of what tennis means to you. Think of how much you enjoy and love the game. Take pleasure in the fact that you have the opportunity to play this great game and that a bad day on the tennis court is better than a good day at work !
COL T-Shirts now available !!
|In soft cotton and color !!|
Wear with pride your T-shirts with the Circle of Life logo !!
All profits will be used by Mid Hudson Valley Tennis Association to refurbish public tennis courts and other projects to help tennis players in the area.
We even deliver !!
Cost: $ 20.00/shirt.
( Not available at Walmart/ Not scannable with Amazon app !!)
(Checks can be made out to Mid Hudson Valley Tennis Association and sent to
48, Dewitt Mills Road, Hurley, NY 12443 )*********************
|Live from MJM tennis courts|
Player Profile: Coach Andrew Constant
|Upcoming junior Michael Esposito with Coach Andrew Constant|
Top Seed Unseated !
|Kevin Dodd is all smiles after his improbable but impressive win|
Tennis purists might call it a fluke, but statisticians will say 'a win
is a win'. In any case the player at the top of the ladder was
knocked down by the second ranked player who is now the top
ranked player making the formerly top ranked player a second rate
or rather a second rated player---anyway you get the idea.
2nd seed Kevin Dodd won a close match against top seed Ravi
Ramaswami in a tight 3rd set tie-break on a windy Sunday
afternoon. After winning the first set
in a close 6-4 set, and going up 2-0 in the second, Kevin lost the
next 6 games but managed to bounce back in the super tie-break
which he squeaked through 10-8. Good win,Kevin ! The target is
on your back now !!
How to relax on the tennis court
|Pre-stretching muscles before a game helps relax the swing|
Stretching before a match helps loosen ligaments and reduces restriction of movement. It also helps relax the mind.It is also important to stretch after a match.
|Holding your breath while hitting can restrict your fluidity|
3. Focus on the ball and not the results:
|Focusing on just the ball will keep fearful thoughts out|
Relax but don't fall asleep ! *****************
Player Profile: Sharon Crego
5 weeks later she was out on the court playing a USTA match !
Atta girl,Sharon !
The 4 who dared !
Talk of die hard tennis players and you can include the names of Francine Wizner, Vicky Kallen, Diana Matthews and Linda Freisitzer. On Mother's Day they were not found at the florist
or at a restaurant enjoying a bite of Tiramisu . Rather, they won a special place in our hearts by choosing to celebrate the event in a sun-baked tennis court playing their League Match !
|Vicki,Francine,Diana and Linda-the four who dared to play tennis on Mother's Day !|
How to be a retriever
In tennis, a retriever is a player who manages to get every ball back. They may not have fancy shots but somehow manage to scratch,claw,scramble and get the ball back. They also end up in the winner's circle more often than not.
Here are 3 ways to become one :
1. Fast feet : As soon as you see the ball leave the opponent's racquet, proceed to the direction of the ball path.
2. Early preparation: Here is a tip that will really, really help you:
As soon as you see the ball leave the opponent's racquet,rattle your brain till you recognize where the ball is heading. ( Clever hint: it is only going to one of two places: your forehand side or your backhand side-so don't agonize about it.) As soon as your grey cells figure which of the two sides the ball is heading to : get your racquet back as you wait for the ball. Get your racquet back BEFORE the ball bounces.
3.Hit the ball cross court with a high trajectory.
Then as your opponent gets ready to hit,you get ready for Steps1,2 and 3. See ? Very simple !
The 3-0 rule from both vantage points
When you challenge a player 5 places above you and get an automatic 3-0 lead,it leads to a set of complex dynamics which will improve your tennis match play game.
1. The challenger:
Getting ahead in the set by a break of serve ( which is what a 3-0 lead boils down to) can be unnerving. First of all you have to make sure you are not broken back because if you do get broken,the match is now even. It also puts pressure on you to hold the lead or to put it another way : it puts pressure on you not to blow the lead.
2. The player being challenged :
Getting behind in the set by a service break is not a lost cause. You still have at least 2 opportunities to break back. You have to focus on holding serve and then be aggressive and fearless in the return game and then hold serve again to even the match.
Whether you are up or down by 3 games, the only way to operate is to minimize errors, and you do this by not going for low percentage shots and keeping the ball in play. It is a trip back to tennis basics : eye on the ball,early racquet preparation, good footwork -and perhaps most important of all : not thinking of the consequences.
Overall, playing with a 3-0 lead can test both players but playing a lot of 3-0 challenge matches can make you mentally tough, improve your shot selection and make you a good match player.
That is precisely why we have incorporated the option of a 3-0 challenge in the Circle of Life Tennis League. It will change the way you approach the game when faced with a tight situation.
David White ( aka The Terminator Part 2)
|Inner Circle Club member David White (The Terminator Part 2)|
"I love the League and I just like to go and do my best-and win. I have played some good matches and learned a lot".
Tennis Lessons from the Jodi Arias Trial
Now that the Jodi Arias trial is finally over,League Players can breathe a sigh of relief and resume their tennis activities. But wait a minute....we can actually learn from it to improve our tennis game ! The reason for this is a trial pits two teams ( prosecution and defense) fighting for a win. Things done in the court of law can also be employed on the tennis court.
1. Always change a losing game:
Jodi's lawyers started off with an 'innocent' plea which progressed to
'abused woman self defense' to 'crime of passion'. Every time it seemed that the ruse would not work,the plan changed. In tennis when things are not working you need to change your game style: If you are double faulting serve second serves only, if you are missing volleys stop going to the net,if you are missing backhands try to move to hit more balls with your forehand etc;
2. Body Language:
|Strong body language|
|Weak body language|
|Extremely strong body language|
During closing arguments,prosecutor Juan Martinez exhibited strong body language in contrast to the defense lawyer. On the tennis court, the outside observer should not be able to make out whether you are winning or losing. Strong body language shows confidence and confidence removes nervousness which will play a role in improving your game in a match.
3. Sometimes you can try to be outrageous:
Jodi slashed her lover's throat,stabbed him 29 times and then shot him point blank. Afterwards she had the audacity to claim it was an act of self defense ! On the tennis court,it is acceptable to come up with an off the wall shot once in a while: go for an ace, take a swing at the return of serve,hit a drop shot or hit a weird spin chop. It might just win you the point.
4.Chip away slowly:
The prosecution did a masterful job at slowly chipping away at the defense theories rather than wait and unleash a Perry Mason bombshell. Rather than trying to win the point on huge shots,you should try to construct the point by going back to basics: keep the ball in play, high percentage shots, getting first serves in and preparing the racquet early.
5. "If the glove don't fit,you must acquit " :
Ooops wrong trial-- but certainly pertinent in a match. Always go prepared for a match with 2-3 game plans : e.g. stay at the baseline vs come to the net vs run your opponent ragged. This way if a plan does not seem to fit that particular day either due to your opponent or your poor execution,you can acquit Plan A and go to the next one.
Disclaimer: Regardless of the Jodi Arias analogy,we do not endorse you stabbing,slashing or shooting your opponent.
|Inner Circle Player Tomasz Andruczyk|
Tomasz has done very well in singles in previous Leagues as well and is presently at the top in the Circle of Life League.
"The League has really helped me with becoming mentally tough in match play. When I started out I used to be nervous before a match but now I feel calm. I also enjoy meeting various tennis players in the community whom I would not have met if not for the League"
The Reese Witherspoon tennis tip
|Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon trying her hand in tennis ( Notice correct forward weight transfer)|
What do you say when a cop pulls you over ?
A. "Sorry,I am running late for my League match ! "
B. "Sorry,I just won a challenge match and lost all sense of speed !"
C. "Do you know my name? You are about to find out who I am !"
If you answered C, congratulations-you probably are keeping up with important world news !
Reese Witherspoon, of the 'Legally Blonde' film series fame recently shot into even more fame for her histrionics when she was pulled over. She was an intoxicated passenger in a car driven by her intoxicated husband. Her belligerence and, now, world famous tirade against the police officer is a lesson to all League Players in how to exhibit an attitude even when faced with an impossible situation.
When you go out on the court you need to go there with an air of confidence and even manic defiance regardless of whom you are playing. You are there to get one more ball over the net than your opponent and you will do what it takes to get the job done no matter what the end result is. Call it false ego or overconfidence,but this very attitude will help you play your best and most importantly help you overcome fear, and nervousness playing a match as well as prevent becoming overly intimidated by your opponent. The next time you face a formidable opponent, just send out the message : "You are about to find out who I am".
Here is a video of that encounter with the transcript :
Trooper (as Witherspoon approaches him administering test to Toth): Ma'am, what'd I just tell you to do?
Witherspoon: I'd like to know what's going on.
Trooper: He's under arrest. If you don't get back in the car...
Witherspoon: I'm a U.S. citizen and I'm allowed to stand on American ground...
Trooper: Actually, you're not allowed to do anything...
Witherspoon: ...to ask any question I want to ask.
Trooper: Go ahead. Come on (moves to handcuff her).
Witherspoon: You better not arrest me.
Trooper: Yes, ma'am
Witherspoon: Are you kidding me??
Trooper: Nope. I told you.
Witherspoon: I'm an American citizen!
Trooper: I told you to get in that car and stay in there didn't I?
Witherspoon: This is beyond!
Trooper: I told you.
Witherspoon: This is beyond! (while handcuffed, turning to yell at him) .
Trooper: You fight with me, I promise you. (inaudible)
Witherspoon: This is harassment! You're harassing me as an American citizen! I have done nothing against the law!
Husband: Reese, can you please?
Trooper: Yes, you have. You didn't obey my...
Witherspoon: I have to obey your orders?
Trooper: Yes, you do.
Witherspoon: No sir, I do not.
Witherspoon: Absolute nothing,
Toth: Reese, Reese.
Witherspoon: I'm now being arrested and handcuffed?? (as she's taken out of view to the police car)
Witherspoon: Do you know my name sir?
Trooper: Don't need to know it. (inaudible)
Witherspoon: You don't need to know my name?
Trooper: Not quite yet...
Witherspoon: Oh really. Ok, you're about to find out who I am.
Trooper: That's fine. I'm not real worried about you ma'am. I done told you how things worked. You want to get out and get up in my investigation, that's OK.
Witherspoon: Yes sir, I do.
Trooper: Well guess what. We have a law for that. It's called obstruction.
Witherspoon: I'm obstructing your justice?
Witherspoon: I'm being anti-American?
Trooper: Yep. Go ahead and sit down. (as they approach car)
Trooper: Sit on your butt first, it'll be a lot easier on you.
Witherspoon: Interesting....Arresting me???
Trooper (back in view) to husband: I tried.
Husband: I'm sorry.
Trooper: I absolutely 100 percent tried.
Toth: I had nothing to do with that.
Trooper: I know.
How to play when your opponent is down
|When their opponent is down many players lose focus|
One of the commonest times players loses focus is when their opponent is struggling. This is a pivotal moment in any match because there are subtle shifts in momentum that begin. The player might get sympathetic and 'take it easy' on the opponent so as not to be perceived as 'cruel' or the player might 'go for the kill'. Either way the player has to change his/her game to enable these actions. That change can sometimes result in errors that could alter the outcome of the match.
1. The 2nd set after the first is won easily:
If you won the first easily,it probably means that your opponent made a lot of errors or you played out of your mind. Both of these factors are not sustainable and therefore expect a tighter second set. It is natural to let your guard down but if you do,you can kiss goodbye to the second set.
2. The injured opponent:
When your opponent starts to show signs of injury,it can be most distracting. The injured player starts to swing freely to make up for the injury and that can be dangerous. The non-injured player must continue to play his/her game as if the opponent were not injured. Many matches have gone in favor of the injured player. So focus is critical.
3.The mid-court put away ball :
After pinning the opponent to the corner and getting a sitter to put away many players make a mess of the finishing shot. The key is not to try too hard to finish the point. Rather hit a firm shot to the open court and wait for the easy volley. Chances are that the volley will not be necessary.
4. After a service break:
Many players lose their serve immediately after breaking their opponents'. It is important to focus even more and get your first serve in at this point.
5. The tired opponent :
When your opponents show signs of tiredness you need to attack their movement i.e. make them hit an extra ball or make them take at least one step to get to the ball. After a long,exhausting point,you should take a chance and either go for an ace or return the ball hard. You are probably going to win the point if your shot lands in.
The Drop Shot
The drop shot is a dink shot hit just over the net which drops in and bounces 3-4 times before crossing the service line. It can be used to draw the opponents to the net for a passing shot,get the ball out of their reach if they are camped at the baseline or just to tire out your opponent.
To hit the drop shot,hit under the ball making it rise a few feet above the net but dropping just a foot or less from the net by relaxing your arm and following through high.
Other rules to hit an effective drop shot:
1. Never try it from the baseline. The ideal position is if your opponent is behind the baseline and you are inside the court.
2. Move in after hitting just in case your opponent returns it with a drop shot.
3. Disguise it by hitting it like a regular ground stroke but abruptly finishing it by carving under the ball.
|Disguise a drop shot for more effectiveness|
Hydration Part 1
Hydration is,of course, an important component in match play.The kind of hydration varies from plain water to a myriad of sports drinks available.
Sports drinks contain 3 important components relevant to prolonged play : sugar ( that you burn), sodium ( that you lose through sweating) and potassium (that is vital in muscle functioning). The difference in sports drinks is really the ratio of these three components. For recreational players it really does not make a difference how you titrate this. In fact unless you are playing a prolonged match under trying weather conditions,water is all you need.
As a rule of thumb: a 50/50 dilution of water and a sports drink is sufficient for most tennis players.
Rather than confuse you with tall claims and every popular sports drink available here are the commoner and common sense sports drinks analyzed based on efficacy and taste ratings.
This is the most marketed and popular sports drink in the world. It has a good balance of all 3 elements
This is the second most marketed sports drink. The only difference is that it tastes less sweeter than Gatorade . However the sugar/potassium/sodium content is almost identical.
3. Home made #1:
The simplest and effective home bathtub made concoction is a 50-50 blend of orange juice and water with a dash of salt. Tastes good,cheap and gives the same electrolyte balance as more expensive sports drinks .
4. Home made #2 :
Another simple formula with more flavors is a combination of
Sugar-free Kool-Aid + Salt substitute ( which has potassium as well as sodium) and Stevia/Sugar blend. Easy to make and the sweetness can be altered to suit taste buds. ( Of course you need to be partial to food colorings !)
Then there are diet drinks like Powerade Zero and Gatorade G2 but one of the drawbacks is the lack of energy-providing sugar in these.
Overall water is the best hydrating fluid but sodium,potassium and sugar are needed for long matches on hot days or when you go to play without eating a proper meal.
Hydration Part 2
A gauge for hydration
How do you know whether you are well hydrated ?
We don't want to be scatological about it but there is a reliable way to find out. We found this chart on a NCAA Division I women's tennis locker room wall and took a picture of it.
(It shows to what extent we will go to help League Players !)
Web site for new tennis facility now live !
Mid Hudson Tennis is pleased to be the first to announce the web site for the new tennis facility opening in October in Kingston. The facility,devised,designed and managed by two elite tennis players in the area will offer two state-of-the-art courts and a clubhouse.
The web site also lets you pick and reserve court times for the upcoming (groan) 2013-14 winter season.
Check it out at
Hudson Valley Indoor Tennis
470 Old Neighborhood Road
Kingston, NY 12401
470 Old Neighborhood Road
Kingston, NY 12401
The 4 ball drill
|Famous tennis coach explaining how to use the 4 ball drill|
Next time you practice or when your shots lack depth during a match,think '4 balls' and your strokes will be doggone good.
Circle of Life Tennis League Begins
with Inaugural Challenge Match !
|Francine Wizner (C singles) challenged Ravi Ramaswami (A singles) in the COL inaugural match|
More matches are expected to be played this weekend.
How to beat a pusher Part 2
"If I was the President of this land,I would declare total war on the pusher"
1. Be ego neutral:
|Never show your anger to the pusher|
Regardless of the fact that the pusher 'is not a real tennis player' the plethora of trophies in the closet of the pusher contradicts this. Just go out and respect your opponent and be up to the challenge.
2. Keep your cool :
|The pusher loves to see opponents get frustrated and angry|
You are going to make some shots and miss some in any match. Against a pusher the missed shots seem to be conjure up a dastardly image. Remember it is just a missed shot, as in any other match. So get over it and go on to the next point.
3. Keep a Jodi Arias demeanor:
|Keeping a calm face will confuse a pusher..|
|...while berating yourself will make the pusher ecstatic|
Those of you who are brave enough to admit watching the Jodi Arias trial know that despite shooting,stabbing and slashing her lover's throat,she keeps an expressionless face throughout the trial while claiming self-defense. The last thing you want is to let the pusher know you are getting frustrated. Pushers generally take that as an indication that they can move in for the kill. Not shouting " How could I miss that shot?" or "I can't believe I missed that easy shot" after each miss actually applies a reverse psychology on the pusher who gets confused why you have not become frustrated yet making the pusher do something he/she is unaccustomed to: trying harder.
4. Hit every shot at 50 % : You should never be deceived by the pace and powder puff nature of the pusher's shots and try to kill every ball. Rather try to hit every ball firmly but with less pace than tempted.
You are not under any pressure because the pusher's shots are slow and you have enough time to get tp them and send them back.
5. Be prepared for a long day at the office :
You need to realize that you need to be able to have long rallies with the pusher. If you try to shorten things,you will be in trouble.
6. Draw the pusher to the net:
In terms of strategy this works very well. The pusher is generally not used to coming to the net and is not a great volleyer. Try to bring the pusher forward and then hit an average slow passing shot or lob. The drop shot/lob/passing shot strategy has traditionally been the pusher's Achilles' heel.
7. Imitation is the best form of snobbery :
|Imitating the pusher's shots can be unnerving and embarrassing to the pusher resulting in loss of focus|
8. Hit ground strokes high over the net cross court :
Add a little gentle top spin. There is no need to rush-the pusher is not going to crush winners.
9. Don't waste a first serve:
Try to slow down and spin the first serve.. Pushers have an uncanny ability to block hard serves back. By spinning you will serve less faults.
10.Get the serve back in play:
|Don't get too aggressive with the pusher's weak serve|
|A victory against a pusher is a great feeling|
How to beat a pusher Part 1
"God damn the pusher ! "
There are valid reasons why Steppenwolf and most tennis players agree on the subject. All of us have played a pusher sometime and have dreaded,felt humbled,got humiliated,or just pretty much been reduced to tears because- to once again quote the rock group-"The pusher don't care if you live or if you die".
Let's recap who a pusher is :
1. A pusher always gets the ball back in play.
2. A pusher's shot making skills are minimal (but see #1 above).
|Fabrice Santoro was one of the most feared players on the tour with his unorthodox strokes and ability to keep the ball in play|
3. The pusher gives the wrong impression during the warm up that the score is going to be 6-0,6-0 in your favor.
4. The pusher's shot lacks pace (but see #1 above).
5. The pusher,to the outside observer, lacks grace and style in strokes (but see #1 above).
6.The pusher is in great physical shape and gets to every ball.
7. The pusher practices the tennis version of waterboarding on hapless opponents.
8. The pusher enjoys watching opponents lose their minds.
|A sight to behold for the pusher who delights in seeing opponents unravel|
9. The pusher tries to encourage you every time you miss an easy shot on the 10th rally by saying,"Oh.. you almost had me" or "I didn't think you were going to miss that".
10. The pusher,after beating you,has a tendency to remark, "I was a bit off today. I generally play better than that" and gets back home to admire a closet full of trophies.
We reckon Steppenwolf was correct in assessing that ,'The pusher is a monster'.
Now that the Springbreakers are going to be back in school,the Springleaguers have to find tennis courts to play as the dreaded scholastic season is upon us.
Here is a breakdown of the schedule for 3 commonly used courts*:
* Courts at Rosendale,Loughran Park,Hurley Park and Andy Lee field in Woodstock are all available.
On 'Home' days: Courts unavailable from 3 pm
On 'Away' days: Courts available all day
Forsyth Park: Courts unavailable from 3- 5 pm daily except:
UCCC: Courts unavailable from 3-5 m daily except:
Saugerties: Courts unavailable from 3-5 pm daily except:
Kingston MJM courts are unavailable on weekdays after 3 pm.
Weekends should have good availability
(The above schedule can change without notice !)
Punxsutawney Phil charged with fraud !!
|Actual court document|
The patron saint of the Circle of Life Tennis League was officially charged with 'misrepresentation of early spring' by an overzealous prosecutor in Ohio. He is seeking the death penalty.The groundhog was reported to be absconding and one source,who declined to be named due to 'I need this job' excuse, stated that the furry hero was seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy. Embassy officials,already burdened by housing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange,did not release an immediate statement. Meanwhile Headline News executives privately expressed concern that their gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Jodi Arias trial might take a beating in the ratings if they had to compete with the groundhog's trial.
|Punxsutawney Phil is on the run|
How to turn tables on your opponent
It's been a long first set and your opponent has won it. It's time for Plan B except you don't have one. Here are a few tips that will help tip the scales in your favor.
1. Analyze the match thus far.
Have you been going for too much ? Has your opponent been hitting winners ? How close has the match been?
2. Start the first game of the second set by trying to see how many strokes in each rally you can hit. Count softly how many shots you hit in a rally.
3. Go cross court and high over the net with every shot to give you a bigger margin of error.
4. Hit your first serve like a second serve to minimize double faults.
5. Exaggerate your feet movement by moving your feet or hopping deliberately before during and after hitting the ball. Do this even in between points- before you start to serve or receive.
You will be amazed how these simple things can change the balance of the match
This video recommended to us by Men's A singles League Player Joel Iskowitz,shows the masterful strokes of one of the greatest tennis players in history,Roger Federer.
If there is one thing League players need to note, it is the HIGH FINISH of the hand on all his strokes. This carries the ball over the net and in many cases makes the ball land deeper in the court. If you keep your shots deep in the court, it makes it difficult for your opponent to hit winners off them.