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Thursday, December 31, 2009

REFLECTIONS...Tennis resolutions for 2010

What do you resolve to accomplish in your tennis game in 2010?
  • What items are available in your current tennis tool belt?
    I have all the shots I need to be a successful recreational tennis player from both the ground and the air. But each shot can and should always be improved. Great shots are those that get the job done with just the right amount of effort produced. Not more, and not any less.
  • Are you being realistic about what needs to be added or adjusted?
    I believe so. There are shots I would like to further develop for the sake of instruction, but my game has evolved over the years and will certainly continue to do so. I realize that more effort must be placed on my overhead swings of the serve and overhead to create better consistency.
  • Have you given yourself credit for your strengths in 2009?
    Yes. I think my backhand swing is freer than it had been, and my court movement has definately been an asset. I'm thrilled to still have my feet mostly follow what my brain tells them.
  • What is your PLAN OF ACTION for 2010?
    More drills. With a more powerful ball machine at my disposal, and armed with my digital video camera, tripod and netbook, I plan to review my movement and stroke production more frequently and use this technology to make adjustments.
    More deep thought. I will be doing more reading and research this year as I take advantage of what others can share.
    Plenty of writing. In addition to my blog, podcast, and forum posts, I plan to put more effort into the tennis book I have been writing.
  • What sacrifices will be necessary to achieve your goals?
    Time. I will need to make more time for myself if I intend to make any significant strides. And I dare not be content with less than my very best on every occasion.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Episode 32: The Clash of Past and Present champions

A review of the 2008 NetJets Showdown match between current #1 Roger Federer and past #1 Pete Sampras at Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York.

LISTEN TO DISCUSSION...How has technology affected your tennis game?

Listen to a lively discussion between Ron Miller and Ian Westermann (of the ESSENTIAL TENNIS podcast) and callers from around the world as they discuss the effects of technology innovation on their tennis games (DEC. 17 episode of Essential Tennis Live accessed thru iTunes)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Q & A: Why is the U.S. in a six-year Grand Slam winner drought?

Tennis styles may be cyclical. The game has been maturing over the last 30 years or so and, thanks partly to technology changes, has grown up quite a bit. But perhaps it is time for the pendulum to swing back a few decades.

Stop by a tennis court today and watch our youth hit nothing but power topspin. They don't consider what kind of shot to hit. They just pound away and expect this cookie-cutter style to be good enough. Lets not dare use skillful control of the ball. Let's instead use tons of spin to make it fall within the court regardless of how bad we hit it. Here is a concept: if we slow the ball down a bit, and work more on better placement and keen strategy, the power might not be so necessary on every shot.
NOTE: from the book "OPEN", an autobiography of Andre Agassi, (Brad Gilbert, Agassi's coach comments) "Quit going for the knockout. Stop swinging for the fences. All you have to be is solid...just keep the ball moving. Back and forth. Nice and easy. Solid. Be like gravity man."

Since serves today are bigger than ever, why don't we see a return to serve and volley tennis? I watched a recent clip of McEnroe and Edberg in a 2008 tournament and marveled at how effective this style can still be even for those past their prime.

Maybe it is time to re-think a return to "style" in tennis instead of ball torture. We push critical thinking skills in school for students, but where is the critical thinking on the court when doing nothing more than hitting every ball in the same, predictable way? What if our up and coming players focused a little more on variety and good shot selection than increasing their topspin? Hey, could it make our American tennis record any worse in Grand Slams than it already is?

Where is the adrenaline-pumping tennis of a Connors? Maybe our US players are bored into mediocrity with the same-old repetitive shot that might be safer to hit but does little to inspire.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Episode 31: The 12 days of Tennis Christmas


A tennis slant on the well-known holiday classic

Friday, December 4, 2009

LISTEN TO DISCUSSION...Should we re-evalute the idolizing of sports stars

Listen to a lively discussion between Ron Miller and Ian Westermann (of the ESSENTIAL TENNIS podcast) and callers from around the US as they discuss the antics of our sports professionals and whether or not we should re-evaluate how we idolize them (DEC. 3 episode of Essential Tennis Live accessed thru iTunes)