Sunday, February 17, 2013

Court Report Winter 2013

                Slice Backhand Part 2
2 of the best slicers in the game : Ken Rosewall and Roger Federer show you how to do it:

 What is common: 
Big shoulder turn. Notice  how the front (right) leg has crossed over to turn the body sideways.

What is different:

1. Take back: Rosewall's is below shoulder level with the racquet facing the sky...Federer's is above the shoulder with the racquet facing the net.

2. Impact: Rosewall's racquet goes from facing the sky to facing the net at the point of impact...Federer's racquet stays facing the net.

3.Follow through : Rosewall hits through the ball and finishes high...Federer hits across his body and finishes low.

                                                       Sunday Funnies
                         The man has spoken !!

 In this Feb. 2, 2012 file photo, Groundhog Club handler Ron Ploucha holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 126th celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. Legend has it that if the groundhog sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last six more weeks. No shadow means an early spring.
 Punxsutawney Phil,the Yoda of groundhogs making the all-important announcement
Take heed ! The seer of League Players has spoken !! 
No shadow-no 6 more weeks of winter-early spring !!
That gives us the green signal to start planning for the Spring League. So start doing those half a dozen pushups and the minute jog. Spring tennis will soon begin !

                         Sunday Funnies

A lesson from the 2013 Australian Open Finals
Azarenka blocking out the collective hatred of  Australian tennis fans

              Even though World's # 1 player and the 2013 Australian Open champion,Victoria Azarenka cannot yet be considered for a 'tennis legend'  title, there was a champion like quality on display as she won the Australian Open-something League Players can try to emulate.

In the previous match, she was accused of gamesmanship as she took an extended medical time-out when she was on the verge of losing the set. She later came out and won the set as her hapless opponent lost her rhythm during the wait.
Newspapers worldwide condemned her action and for a period she was the most hated pro on the tour.
The infamous medical time-out that Azarenka took

                                                When it was time to take the court for the finals,Azarenka walked out,in a hoodie and ear phones,effectively shutting out the world,focused on her tennis and won the match. That takes a lot of inner strength,concentration and confidence. 
                      Often,when we play a match our mind  starts to wander onto other things and especially on the botched shot, noises from the adjacent court or about the outcome of the match. To be able to stop thinking and focus on playing the ball is not easy but those that do it will play their best tennis that day.

              3 tips to hit the ball on the rise
Agassi made it famous and now virtually every top pro does it 80% of the time. Hitting on the rise means hitting the ball sometime after it bounces and before it starts to fall. The advantages of this are many: since you hit the ball a fraction of a second earlier it also steals time from your opponent,you can use the balls kinetic energy and increase the pace of your shot (since the kinetic energy reduces as the ball starts to fall ) and since you have to  hit the ball with a closed face,you can hit it harder and still keep the ball in.
Heres how to do it:

1. Rhythm: From 'bounce-racquet back -hit' it becomes 'bounce-hit'.
Try saying,'Bounce- hit' to develop the rhythm
2. Closed racquet face: Since the ball is going to scurry off your strings keep a slightly closed racquet face.
Prepare with a closed racquet face
3. Prepare early: As soon as you determine which side the ball is traveling to (forehand or backhand),take your racquet back and wait for the ball. Once it bounces hit the ball before it peaks.
Hit the ball as it travels upward and before it peaks
                          Sunday Funnies

                  New Tennis Facility in Town

Coming this October in Kingston, NY :
 Finally the area is going to have a new indoor tennis facility ! If  your tennis playing plans include two cushioned hardcourts, deluxe lighting, generous ceiling height, and a deluxe clubhouse with radiant heat/fireplace/flat screen TV/walls of glass, etc. this new facility is for you ! 
Name: 'Hudson Valley Indoor Tennis'.
Address:  470 Old Neighborhood Road-behind Staples (near Anaconda Sports).

  3 ( or maybe 4 ) tips to play attacking tennis

 Even though the saying goes,"The best form of attack is defense", in reality, on the tennis court, the best form of attack is attack. Certainly, if you keep the ball in play longer than your opponent,the scales tip in your favor-but the true champions go out there, get the job done and find a way to win. 
One way to dramatically gain an advantage is playing attacking tennis. The three most effective ways are:

Agassi was one of the first players to consistently hit on the rise
1. Take the ball on the rise : This gives your opponent less time to react. Try to hit the ball before it reaches the peak of its bounce. Even if you don't hit it hard it will steal time from your opponent.(And next week, we will tell you exactly how to do that).
2. Come to the net when your opponent is pulled off court. The person at the net has plenty of options to place the ball and it further steals time from the opponent.
The net gives you so many options to angle away the ball

3. Run your opponent ragged. Keeping your opponent moving and then waiting for the right ball to put away can exhaust your opponent,make him/her play erratically and pay dividends for you in the second or third set.
Very few recreational level players can keep covering the court like Nadal

4. League Player (Singles A) Wyatt Sprague has this final tip: "When all else fails, attack at the changeover ."
(We assume he means compose your thoughts and strategy at the changeover !!)
                               Sunday Funnies
     3 words to chant for a wicked slice backhand

The slice backhand is one of the most undervalued shot in tennis. It is easy to learn,simple to execute and  will make your weak backhand into a consistent,effective and dependable shot.
 The legendary Australian Ken Rosewall used to ONLY hit a slice backhand  and he is considered to have one of the best players in the game. 
There are just 3 magic words to chant as you hit through the ball :
" Shoulder-arm-hand" "Shoulder-arm-hand" "Shoulder-arm-hand"

So what does the chant mean ? It helps you remember 3 key components of the slice :
1. Shoulder turn
2. Straight arm
3. High hand finish
Shoulder turn and straight arm

And here is Andy Roddick showing us the technique:

"Shoulder turn--straight arm--high hand finish"

As long as you keep a firm wrist and hit through the ball while chanting these 3 words to help your muscles memorize the sequence,you will have a dependable slice.
( Of course,if you chant during a match,you might lose the point if your opponent claims it for deliberate hindrance)

                                                    The 5 minute work out     
This video helped so many League Players last year that it is worth repeating . Just 5 minutes and you will be tennis ready  for the Spring League !!          

                                         Sunday funnies

                               3 Movie scenes to inspire tennis players

1. 'When you have to shoot,shoot don't talk !' (The Good ,the Bad and the Ugly)
When you get on the court you should just go out and play. This is not the time to think about technique.
Trying to analyze ,explain and second guess yourself will have disastrous consequences.

 2. 'Go ahead ...make my day !'  (Sudden Impact)
Exuding confidence will change your game for the better. Remember your opponent still has to play better than you to win. So approach your match with gusto and let your opponent realize that he/she has to work hard to win and you are prepared to battle.


3. 'Jo dar gaya samjho mar gaya !'  ' If you get afraid, assume you will die' ( Sholay )
In this highest grossing Bollywood film,(sorry-no subtitles) the bandit chief,Gabbar Singh, is upset with 3 of his henchmen who get chased away from a village,where they had gone to extort, by 2 hired guns. 
The dialog starts with him saying,'Kitne aadmi thay ?' ( 'How many men were they?') They tell him there were just 2 men which makes the bandit become ravenous with rage and he proceeds to chew them out.Gabbar then fires 3 bullets in the air and proceeds to play a game of Russian roulette with them which they survive and finally he menacingly tells the rest of his gang,' Jo dar gaya samjho mar gaya !' ( 'If you get afraid, assume you will die' ) In tennis,this dialog pertains to choking. Once the fear of losing gets going,even top ten pros have lost matches. So when the fear of losing sets in you are a dead man/woman walking. Keep these dialogs in mind as you play your next League match-starting Spring 2013 !!!
                                ******************************                  Egregious act by League Player !!
 People waiting for an elevator in a Florida resort were shocked by the outrageous behavior of one of our League Players as he revealed himself in a Gangnam style pose as the elevators doors opened. (The MHVTA was planning to send him a letter of censure but changed it to a letter of reprimand when he promised not to run for public office) .

Meanwhile League Champion, Sharon Crego, secretly recorded and compiled this video of even more outrageous activity of this League Player:

(Thank you, Sharon Crego!!!)
                                       One billion strong !
Two of our featured stories entered the 1 billion realm.
Gangnam Style reached 1 billion downloads on You Tube while 'Skyfall' raked in over 1 billion dollars making it one of the most successful movies of all time. To celebrate, we are re-publishing their respective videos:

The left hand in tennis  ( or the right hand for lefties)

 The non-dominant hand ( the left for righties and the right for lefties) is generally ignored by players but is actually one of the most important components for most tennis shots. Here are some Pro Players demonstrating the concept for you (along with League Players):

1. Forehand:
To hit an effective forehand it is necessary to coil with the body to avoid 'arming' the ball.

The Terminator,Greg Tellier,using his left hand to coil

2. Backhand:
Use the left hand to pull the racquet back. This will place your shoulder in the right position.
John Kasten shows how to use the left hand to take the racquet back

3.The Serve:
The left hand is crucial in the serve. Keeping the left hand outstretched can make the toss more consistent and prevent the hitting shoulder from dropping and prevent the serve from going into the net.

Rain Man Kevin Dodd shows how it is done
3.The Overhead:
Pointing to the ball with your left hand helps you turn your shoulders, guage the distance and keep your head up on the smash

High Priestess Milly Back shows the right way to track the ball

Pay attention to your non-dominant hand and use it to help you dominate your shots !

                                   Sunday Funnies


12 unorthodox tennis tips written on 12/12/12 to lift your game
Proceed with Caution: These tips are guaranteed to take your tennis to the next level !!

12. Off court mini-conditioning
 5 minutes of intense aerobic exercise a day
That's all you need ! 5 minutes of intense activity:stop and go/continuous movement/30 seconds of activity 20 seconds rest/lunges/push ups/skipping/jumping jacks - just let it be intense and continuous.
11. Stretch AFTER a game
Most of us stretch before playing. Though that it is important,it is after a tennis game that the muscles are warmed up and loose. This is when stretching is most effective. It reduces injury,aids in muscle recovery and helps prevent injuries.
10. Watch the server HIT the ball
Most players start tracking the ball only after it crosses the net. Early tracking means better returns.
9. Hit the BOTTOM of the ball
If you hit the bottom of the ball and hit through on a horizontal plane,it will lift the ball over the net and keep it deep in your opponents court AND impart top spin.
8. Sweep under the rug on ground strokes
The 'under' part is explained in # 8 above. The sweeping part helps you hit through the ball."Clearing the top of the table" or "hitting through 3 balls" are other expressions used to convey the same thought.
7. Throw the rope over the prison wall on lobs 
Imagine there is a tall wall in front of you when you hit a lob. Clearing the wall will give you height and depth on your lob and also make it tough for your opponent to hit an overhead smash.

6. Aim for the service line and go hard on shots from mid court
You will probably end up hitting the ball close to the baseline and win the point. Conversely if you aim deep,you will hit it over the baseline.
5.  Approach the net with a soft deep shot toward the center
A soft deep shot that lands  close to the base line is very difficult to hit a good passing shot on. It also gives you enough time to get closer to the net. Hitting it down the middle to the center of the court makes it tough for your opponent to generate angles to pass you.
4. Attempt a forehand on every shot
OK- not on EVERY shot but you will be forced to move better and hit your stronger shot.
3. Play 2 points in a game to test your opponent's conditioning
Wear down your opponent by moving him/her side to side especially early on in the game and in the third set.
2.Take the ball on the rise 
This means hitting the ball as it is rising up from the ground before it reaches its peak and before it starts to fall. This will give you more pace and your opponent less time to react to your shot. Andre Agassi made a decent living with this method.
1. Get an online tennis coach    
An online tennis coach ? If you find the right one it can be cheaper and even better than a live coach.
And if you want the best in the business we recommend former ATP tennis star Jeff Salzenstein. He is passionate about teaching and he has a free web site as well as an inexpensive subscription web site. Check out his web site: 
                                                              Cliff happens !    

How you can stop yourself from falling off  
                                                                                               the Tennis 
                                                                                                                       'fiscal cliff '
 Have you ever been in a match where you felt slowly being pulled towards inevitable defeat and you are running out of options ? No matter what you try does not seem to produce the intended result and defeat becomes a question of when and not if. There are a few things that happen commonly  in this scenario and perhaps modifying one or more factors  can prevent you from hurtling down the cliff or at least slow down the rate of descent enough to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

1. Feet: As you start towards the cliff your feet generally slow down.Always keep your feet moving- during rallies,after rallies and in between points. You will be amazed at what you can do with this simple concept of 'happy feet'.

2. Fear of losing: Fear can slow down your movement(see above) and make you tight with your strokes preventing you from swinging freely.

3. Fatigue: Fatigue is a result of lack of conditioning. Make sure you do enough aerobic,anaerobic and weight training. You don't have to go overboard with your training but sensible off court training translates to on court endurance.

4. Fortitude: Think Jimmy Connors. Always give your 110 %. On the other hand if you do the opposite,the cliff  just gets nearer and arrives faster.

5. Flashback: You can never win a match if you keep thinking of the last point you lost or the easy sitter you missed. Always treat every point as a brand new opportunity to win the point. 
Next time you are in a tight corner, prevent sliding further to the precipice  and both Obama and Boehner will be proud of you !

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