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Last call for the gotta play tennis podcast

Monday, December 27, 2010

Episode 61: Time to see how WE did in 2010

Last year around this time I did a self-evaluation of my tennis skills and made commitments and projections for 2011. I hope you did as well. Let's see how we did.
NOTE:  this would be a perfect time to drop me a line and let me know about your accomplishments in 2010.

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2010
High Five for Kids: The Match for Africa

Over this holiday season, the world's two best tennis players (and friendly rivals) offered their time, talent and celebrity...read more

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

NEW CONTENT OF NOTE: Tennis lesson Gift Certificates

(For residents of the South Jersey area only)
Why not give The Gift of TENNIS to a friend, family member or another loved-one on your holiday shopping list. 

Purchase tennis lesson GIFT CERTIFICATES in denominations of 1 or more lessons.
(price discount applies when purchased in 3-lesson bundle)

Monday, December 6, 2010

NEW CONTENT OF NOTE: Help me celebrate the downloads!

When I began this website and podcast in April of 2009, I really had no idea where it would lead or if anyone could be bothered to listen. After all, who was I to think what I had to say mattered?

Just  hit 20,000 Downloads!
Apparently someone IS listening, and I cannot describe how excited I am that something I have to offer is appreciated by so many.

I look forward to continuing to grow my audience as I work diligently to discover and apply new and greater ways  to help you with your tennis activity in life. Please drop me a line with what you like, or dislike, about this podcast and website. As always, with two ears and one mouth, I am listening.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Remember last year's rendition of the 12 Days of Tennis Christmas
Well get set for another zany attempt at tennis humor in 2010.

Jingle Bells music by Billy Gorilly available on iTunes.

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: Sunday, December 5, 2010
Tennis Players' Performance May Affect Perception

The Los Angeles Times on December 02, 2010 reported that the journal Perception released a recent study of tennis players and their perception of ball speed and net height.
In this very interesting study, Purdue University researchers Jessica Witt and Mila Sugovic concluded that read more

Saturday, December 4, 2010

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: Sunday, November 28, 2010
Who's "The Greatest"? History's best rivalries elevate the sport...

Federer and Nadal are widely regarded as two of the game's greatest players ever. And their rivalry has become...read more

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Episode 59: Holiday shopping the "tennis" way

Unsure of what to buy that special someone who happens to make tennis their passion? I take a look at some gift ideas missed in mainstream shopping that might just provide you with game, set, and match.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: November 23, 2010
Devvarman wins historic Gold for India at 16th Asian Games
Somdev Devvarman, of India, beat top-seeded Denis Istomin, of Uzbekistan, for tennis singles gold… read more

Friday, November 19, 2010

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: November 18, 2010
One Year Anniversary of Timeless Tennis
One year ago last November, when I started this Blog Timeless Tennis, I wanted to express my thoughts... read more

Monday, November 15, 2010

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: November 12, 2010
"Choose to be a Great Tennis Player" Video
"Choose to be a Great Tennis Player" is a tennis lesson video by Dale LePrevost. It's about self-confidence...read more

Friday, November 5, 2010

NEW CONTENT OF NOTE: Tennis Stroke Evaluation Form

Take advantage of this form that provides a breakdown of skills in a tennis player. These general categories, and the self-evaluation included, can help you determine a realistic approach towards future progress in your game.

Episode 58: Interview with author of the Timeless Tennis blog

As you've seen from my web presence at GPT, Timelesstennis.net has been identified in the Favorite Site category. For this episode, I interview it's author–Gary Bala–who not only explains the benefits of Timeless Tennis and his passion for tennis history, but we also discuss a recent posting on his site entitled "Quantum Tennis." 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Episode 57: Playing as a tennis "pusher" and enjoying the wins

Much is said about playing against a "PUSHER" in tennis, but not many discuss the benefits of this style. Could this be your way to keep on winning HAPPILY EVER AFTER?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: October 27, 2010
A couple of tennis lessons from the great Bill Tilden
Bill Tilden was the first great tennis superstar. In 1950, he was voted... read more

Friday, October 22, 2010

Episode 56: Proper tennis court behavior

Let's not forget the "public" in public courts. Following appropriate etiquette is part of being a respectable tennis player.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

REFLECTIONS...string woes

I've done a podcast about strings in the past, and although I hate to admit it, I am far from an expert on nylon, polyester blends, artificial gut and whatever whiz-bang string is popular on the market. Dammit Jim, I'm a tennis instructor–not a racket technician. There are people out there on the web far more qualified than I to explain the whys and wherefores of stringing.

At the moment, I wouldn't mind a little advice about how the weather, more specifically coldness, affects the life of a string. It makes sense that these materials would get more brittle as the weather here on the East coast cools down to the high 40s to low 50s at night. But I have now broken strings in two rackets in my last two hitting sessions and I'm wondering if it is just bad luck, bad stringing or something else I should be aware of.

If you as a player have had any similar experiences, or you are a racket technician, please let me know your thoughts and stories. I'm always looking to expand my own tennis knowledge which I can then share with others.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Want to support GOTTA PLAY TENNIS?

There are now several ways you can support my work at Gotta Play Tennis.
  • Amazon links: you can make purchases from your existing Amazon.com account from my site and Amazon will reward me with a small commission for displaying links to their site.
As a long time Amazon.com customer, this was a no-brainer for me. It also gives me a chance to recommend things that I like and use myself from their store. So instead of going directly to their site, do it through my link and help support Gotta Play Tennis
  • PayPal Donate button: you can make a donation to support my efforts of tennis evangelism using a credit card through YOUR PayPal account
If you like what you read, enjoy my GPT podcast, participate in the Forums, or gain insight from the Slide Shows, consider a small donation to my cause of bringing quality and experienced tennis instruction to families, friends, kids, tennis teams, or any others who enjoy the lifetime activity of tennis.

Thanks for your support.

Friday, October 15, 2010

NEW CONTENT OF NOTE: Tennis Stroke Slideshows

Recently I have expanded on my Tennis Stroke Slideshows available as a link from the sidebar under PAGES. Here is an opportunity to see, slide-by-slide, how I produce various types of tennis strokes.

By clicking the link under each picture, you are taken to my Picassa site where the slideshow can be viewed. As time permits, I will add captions to each slide explaining what is taking place.

I hope you can gain some insight into your own tennis game from this informative content.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

REFLECTIONS...why did I miss that shot?

When we miss a shot, do we know why? As a commissioned salesmen at one time in my multiple careers, I was told that the sign of a good salesman was not that he closed every deal. That would be great, but it is a bit unrealistic. No, I was told that a good salesman knows why a sale DID NOT happen. He can visualize in his mind's eye just where things went wrong. He may not be able to fix it, but he can at least learn from what occurred and carry that knowledge with him to help with the next potential customer.

I believe that a good tennis player is very much the same. One should know why the shot was missed. Was it positioning, shot selection, willingness to make adjustments, fatigue, or a loss of mental clarity? It could be many things. Even though I cannot take the shot back, here is what I do with my hitting partner (this is of course during practice and not a match): I attempt to make my next feed shot a replica of what I just missed. If my swing was too low, I adjust. If I did not get low enough, I adjust. If my feet were not correct, I adjust. If the racket path was offline, I adjust. I make whatever adjustment I believe would have made the shot successful. And if I hit the shot well, then I have just proven to myself the ability to identify the flaw and make the adjustment.

This would not work on things like a drop shot, etc. as there are limits to a hitting partner's patience. But if you have good rapport with your associate, then they will understand what you are doing and perhaps even admire you for your always striving to improve your game.

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010
QUANTUM TENNIS: A Path to Tennis Mastery
Quantum Tennis is a system intended to capture this fluidity in the game of tennis. It is both a mental philosophy...read more

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Episode 55: Gettin' Down leads to good volleying

While I may not be the cat's pajamas on the dance floor, I'm not afraid to get my knees dirty for great net play on a tennis court. Let's discuss those really-low volleys from the shoe tops that wreak havoc at the net. (see slideshow of low backhand volley)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: September 22, 2010
For God and Country: The Davis Cup–USA vs. Colombia 2010
In tennis, playing for God and Country means The Davis Cup, which carries a very special history of pride and passion.
I had the unique opportunity...read more

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Episode 54: You should see what I see...or maybe you already do

            U.S. OPEN 2010           

Vision is something we take for granted, but exactly what do we see or not see with our own two eyes?  I take a good look at the men's semi-final and final at the 2010 US Open and share some thoughts on what my eyes captured.

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: September 15, 2010
2010 U.S. Open: The Rafael Nadal Story & the Lessons of Rod Laver
The story of this U.S. Open is the career Grand Slam win by Spain's best player of this or perhaps any generation...read more

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Advancements occurred in tennis thanks to old school tennis fans

Tennis today is better than ever. So is technology. We have tennis players who are wonderful athletes–I think the best in the business–and play a game that is faster, harder, and more difficult to succeed at (at a professional level) than any other time in history. Technology has come a long way as well. I remember when a computer came out by a small company named Apple Computer. The year was 1984, and the computer was the Macintosh. It was revolutionary in design, user interface, and ease of use. But a funny thing happened on the way to Apple's success. Windows. An obvious and blatant copying of what had already come before it, Windows owes its existence to that which paved the way for its success.

We have many wonderful players in today’s game of tennis much like we have a great multitude of computing devices to choose from. But someone had to pave the way, and for that, we need to respect and revere what standards were set in the past. Players love to debate over old legacy tennis vs. newer contemporary skills. When those of us who have been around a while recall what a beautiful and craft-filled sport this was, the newbies call us winers. I say to those people that perhaps you are the one who needs to button the lip. We older players were on the court when you were in diapers. We blazed the trails in recreational tennis, clubs, and audience support for the game. We have an appreciation for what you will never know. When someone twenty years younger says "I can understand where you are coming from", to be honest, you really cannot. You see, we were THERE, and we are still HERE TODAY. We older players are more than aware that the game has changed, and I have certainly seen my own adjustments in play over the decades I have chased around a fuzzy yellow ball. I love seeing the athletic performance of these lean and mean tennis machines on the court today who can hit at over one hundred miles per hour 3+ hours into a match. But I beg to differ when it comes to saying that today's tennis is better. What we enjoy for ourselves is what is better–for us. So when we express our opinion about it, must we be branded as winers? Maybe we simply have a broader perspective from which to judge. 

Many of us believe that the serve and volley should be reborn. Some of us just want more variety in the "new" game. Maybe this is old fashioned thinking, but everything that is current is not always better. Windows 7 tries to compete and match the Macintosh OS X operating system in the computer world and does pretty well. But how were computers with DOS before we had a graphical user interface that introduced a mouse, folders, and point-and-click like the Mac did in '84? Android-based smart phones are all the rage in tech today and they are getting better all the time. But what phones worth mentioning existed before the iPhone? Once again, something had to set the standard.

Time brings innovation and new generations advance us forward. But sometimes it is three steps forward when we could actually benefit from two steps back. And when it comes to whether or not old school tennis fans have it right or wrong, just remember that we were here first. We're happy to have given you the benefit of our experience for you to grow with. Now if we can only get you to use our gift wisely and actually show some respect to those who laid the groundwork for what you enjoy today. That is why what we say is still relevant, and the apprentice would be wise to learn from the perspective that the older master might be able to provide.

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: September 4
A day at the 2010 U.S. Open
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the 2010 U.S. Open in Flushing, NY on Day 5, Friday, September 3, 2010...read more

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: August 31, 2010
Last night, the U.S. Open's Opening Night Ceremony "Reach & Dream" celebrated and honored the inspiring stories of four people...read more

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Episode 53: Fish or cut bait...tennis maturity makes a difference

Tennis players, like fine wine, get better with age. So let's discuss WHY, over a little white wine, how player Mardy Fish is a NEW/OLD contender at this year's US Open.

FAVORITE LINKS: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

The 2010 U.S. Open is HERE! Enjoy this great promotional video of last years action...see more

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

REFLECTIONS...never having to say you're sorry

I've heard it said that tennis players are held to a higher standard of courtesy with unwritten rules and lofty expectations. I will agree that from the earliest times of tennis history–where royalty were the main, in not the only, participants in this activity–there has been an air of class to what began as lawn tennis. But in the end, if one is being competitive, there is a winner and a loser. The winner is happy to have done whatever it took to win, and the loser understands that only one can walk away victorious.
This brings me to the question of apologies. If I'm hitting with my partner, and the ball hits the top of the net and trickles over, am I required (as tennis courtesy would dictate) to raise a hand in apology for winning the point in this way? Well, let's evaluate the situation and ask some basic questions: Did I mean to hit the top of the net? NO. Then there is no intended malice. Did I cheat? NO, it is legal to win a point in this way according to tennis rules. Did I mean to win the point? YES, and in fact I did. Am I sorry the point ended this way? NO, since it could have happened on either side as it is simply by chance. 
So if I meant to win, and I did not cheat, then why should I be sorry? Oh, I know. It is so I can give the appearance of courtesy even though it is a phony display of etiquette. I myself would rather abide by the principle of HONESTY. I'm thrilled I won the point regardless of how pretty it was. If this makes me a bad tennis player in your eyes, then perhaps you should look in the mirror a few more times before you judge others.

THE BOTTOM LINE: follow what feels good to you.

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: August 23, 2010

Do you like cinnamon? Cinnamon has a long history as a spice with medicinal benefit. In fact, it is one of the oldest spices known...read more

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gotta Play Tennis Forums

Check out the GPT FORUMS as a link from my site. This is the place to share your tennis insights, questions, personal anecdotes, and love of the game.

If you've never posted on a forum before and need assistance navigating the interface, please feel free to contact me. Although it is relatively self-explanatory and works like most other forums, I would be happy to walk you through it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis

Gotta Play Tennis welcomes: 
Timeless Tennis (a blog site that provides insight into both past and present history through reviews of books, DVDs, websites, attended tournaments and personal experiences on the court)

Profile: Gary Bala
I'm an immigration lawyer with a passion for the sport and hobby of tennis, especially tennis history and collecting memorabilia. I played in high school, and briefly in college. I'm now an avid recreational and club player, and attend many local clinics and classes. I enjoy watching many professional tournaments. Happy tennis... and may all your serves be Aces!
My E-Mail Contact: gb@garybala.com

Posting: August 16, 2010
The 11th Dimension of Tennis - the Super Relaxed State
In current theoretical physics, the 11th dimension is a characteristic of space-time proposed by physicists who study "quantum mechanics". It is used... read more

Episode 52: Swing away Merill...at least from the baseline

When is it time to swing away at the ball, and when is it prudent to simply guide the shot for a winner? Hitting all out may not always the best solution.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Check out the NEW Gotta Play Tennis Amazon.com Support Program

As a way to support Gotta Play Tennis and the efforts of all the podcasts, technique slideshows, book and DVD reviews and sharing of tennis experiences, please make purchase at Amazon.com though my link.

Amazon will provide me with a small percentage of your purchases as a way to help cover my operating expenses associated with the site.

As always, thanks for your support.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Episode 51: It's in the bag...I hope.

We once again take a look into the the experience of Brad Gilbert and discuss his suggestions on what to bring to the court. We also take a look at why even beginners need to be prepared in order to maximize their enjoyment of tennis.

Friday, July 30, 2010

REFLECTIONS...you might have been on to something

Have you ever seen someone discuss or display concepts or techniques or even idea that you had already either considered, used or was a part of your normal routine? And did they make it seem like it was some unconventional, special or unique idea? Did they give it a cool buzzword name that was destined for branding?

I've had this type of thing happen many times in my life. It usually takes place when someone gains prominence, authority or credibility with the masses or co-workers in some way. Therefore, since they are now supposedly "in the know", what they have to say becomes a revelation–or at least they make it seem so. In fact, it is usually a rehashing of what has already been.

If you are reading this blog, and you know how I feel about snootiness or pomposity in tennis, then take this to heart. You may already have discovered the same concepts as the "PROS" but without the associated hype. It is nice to label things as a way to categorize them and communicate them to others. But don't take any information as golden simply because it comes out of the mouth of a person who has gained success. Each person is an individual, and we gain knowledge and skill from a variety of sources. As a certified teacher, I know that everyone learns differently. I may say things in a way that make sense to you on a given stroke or concept, or someone else might use better words or illustrations that will fill your individual need. Use what works best for YOU always regardless of who said it.

Whatever I pass on to you is based on my continuing learning cycle, knowledge of almost four decades on a tennis court, and my best use of common sense. Does that mean I have all the answers? No way. But if I have ANY answers for you, then visit this blog frequently, download my podcast from iTunes, and even buy my book whenever I can get to finish it.

So whenever you think you have an idea or concept to share, and someone treats you with an eye-roll or makes you feel stupid for even bringing it up, just remember this quote by German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer–it is one of my favorites: "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

Friday, July 23, 2010

REFLECTIONS...is losing badly nothing but stupid?

Recently I listened to a podcast and felt a bit disturbed afterwards. It was mentioned that some folks lost a doubles set 6-0 and would have been stupid if they did not change their tactics for the second set. The idea of "if you keep doing the same thing you will get the same result" is a sound principle. But there is something also to be said for sticking to a plan, keeping the pressure on, and waiting for your opponent to cool off.

I don't think I could ever refer to someone as stupid for playing hard but losing a match. Shortsighted might perhaps be a bit more of an accurate term. Of course, without knowing how close a set might have been, 6-0 might be misleading. It is not appropriate, in my opinion, to refer to the winning team as "embarrassing" their opponents by a score of 6-0 when we really do not know how close the game points were. How many of the games went to deuce for example? Was the other team just a little bit better at playing the big points well? Were their other factors involved that we do not know? I think we need to be careful when analyzing how poorly one performed without really knowing the details.

Let's face it: no one likes to lose 6-0. But there is something to be learned from every set that is either won or lost. Don't let someone else define how you should feel about it. If I played a good, solid set, hit my strokes well, but was simply outplayed by a more skillful challenger, then I know more work is ahead of me if I want to win some games against this person in the future. And I would not take kindly to being ridiculed for the lack of games won marked on the scoreboard.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Episode 50: He who hesitates serves better?

What motion works best on the serve? A half-swing that stalls behind the back or a full windmill motion that keeps moving start to finish? We'll take a look at how effective both techniques seem to be.

Friday, July 16, 2010

REFLECTIONS...youthful shortsightedness and a return to craft

I recently watched a video clip of Louis C. K., professional comedian, actor, director, producer and writer from Boston, Massachussets. In an interview with Conan O'Brien, he was making light of how much technology has changed in his lifetime citing things like the rotary phone and airline travel. But what I found most interesting was his statement, "now we live in an amazing, amazing world and it is wasted on the crappiest generation of just spoiled idiots who don't care." For me, he was relating to the folly of our youth who seem to think that older adults are "so over" and have little to contribute to their world. They forget that WE CREATED THEIR WORLD. They need to be thanking us and not acting like they somehow know MORE about EVERYTHING as if our life experience over several decades is not relevant in today's world.

Case in point related to tennis: In a recent article from Paul Fein at TennisOne.com, I read that the International Tennis Federation had been approached by thirty well-know tennis figures, including the likes of John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova, with a letter that promoted the reduction of racket head size and racket length in an attempt to tame the over-powering game we see in today's game of professional tennis. Thanks to this out-of-control obsession with powerful baseline groundstrokes at the expense of net play, especially by our current generation of youthful players, there is less CRAFT and more CRUSH to the sport that has seen some professional mainstream sports go the route of monster-truck destruction as their mantra.

My contention for quite some time has been that power tennis sends the wrong message to the recreational player who tries, without the benefit of flawless timing and solid technique, to emulate the pros who hit bigger than the Empire State building. Perhaps these pros who want the racket face reduced from the current 12.5" to 9" have something beneficial to say that we can all benefit from. Mary Carillo, fomer tennis pro and current popular tennis analyst, suggests perhaps a compromise that allows larger rackets for recreational weekend-warrior-type players while providing a pro line that will keep the power game in check for both our current and future tennis professionals. I can virtually guarantee that none of these proponents of a more multi-dimensional tennis player for today's game were born much past the 70's.

Imagine that. An older person with wisdom, born out of life experience, that can benefit our youthful players whose injury rate is on the rise as they continue to bludgeon the ball to death and have seemingly all but lost the art of finesse.

Friday, July 9, 2010

REFLECTIONS...percentages of success

After hitting the other night, I mentioned something to my partner upon finishing up a longer and more-difficult-than-usual rally. Upon being fed a short ball on my forehand side from his angled volley, I ran up and had to decide whether to hit a hard drive with topspin or a softer, well-placed slice. I decided on the latter and hit a winner down-the-line as a passing shot. It wasn't extremely powerful, but I carefully guided the ball past his racket into the open court. It made me think about determining what percentage of success, in a split second, I was going for. I played this shot as if the match depended on it, but in fact, we were not playing for points at all. But in my mind, I leveled high importance on winning this rally. I chose what I considered to be an 80-20 shot or maybe even a 90-10. Had I gone for the big blast, it would have looked more imposing but the likely percentage for MY game would have dropped to maybe a 60-40 chance for success. Missing the shot would not be very imposing.

What does this mean to you? We usually practice differently than we play for a variety of reasons. Just realize that, in your mind, the rally can signify anything you want it to. And the key to making the right percentage play is in the true understanding of your personal strengths and weaknesses. A point won is a point won whether it hits the net cord and drops over or it knocks the racket out of your challengers hand by the sheer power of the stroke. When the game is won, no one really cares if it was pretty or ugly. Neither should you.

PRACTICE when it is practice time, and PLAY when it is time to simply apply what you learned in practice about yourself and your game.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Episode 49: Left-handed fair advantage

Why have left-handed players done so well in tennis? Do they have an advantage over righties on the court? We'll take a look at the facts, some history, and even some speculation about lefty vs. righty.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

REFLECTIONS...the paperwork of tennis and life

Paperwork. Who doesn't hate it. Credentials are paperwork, and in tennis, they are something I never felt the need to pursue. It's not that I haven't done diligence and attended seminars, workshops, etc. I've worked hard to learn my skills as both player and instructor. But there are those who will never recognize these skills unless you hold a certain piece of paper. Nowhere was this more of an issue than in public education. I remember working with kids in a before/after-school program around my full-time job and being denied the chance to act as a sub in the very same school where I ran the program. Same kids, same building, same principal. I was told that I needed a sub certificate.

So, I got a sub certificate. To make a long story short, in order to be a teacher, I needed to get a Bachelor's degree, a Certificate of Eligibility, and then a Provisional Teacher License. I also needed to attend yet more classes at night. More paperwork. But successful I was, and all those goals were accomplished. Every step was a battle, and with every battle came an inevitable victory.

The educational field has been up and down for many reasons, but from years of teaching tennis prior, I had decided that working with kids for the "lightbulb" moment was worth the struggle of changing jobs, careers, and juggling every part of my life.

So recently, I decided that I might get one more piece of paper. This one related to tennis. I did my research and found the Professional Tennis Registry or PTR based in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Yet more effort on my part produced another favorable result. I now hold the credential of being a PTR Certified tennis instructor.

Yes, more paperwork. Credibility established. Naysayers silenced (well, at least some of them). But my racket skills, teaching experience, and knowledge base had already been firmly in place from decades of effort that came well before that certificate.

Ah, but that glorious paperwork. Don't ever let it define what or who you are. And don't let others define your credence since you are whatever you believe yourself to be. Great men (and women) have irrepressible belief.

TENNIS NOTE: if you ever feel the pressure of winning or losing a tennis match, remember that there are much bigger challenges ahead and bigger victories in your life to be had (try raising children for example). This might help you relax and play better tennis than ever.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Episode 48: Sampras and Federer on the numbers

As we enjoy this year's Wimbledon, we look towards the numerical connection between Roger Federer and Pete Sampras. Besides their tennis greatness, do the numbers between them project a deeper link when we look at them more carefully?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Episode 47: Reflections from the Red Clay of Roland Garros

If you enjoyed watching the French Open, what if anything did you bring away from the experience that may apply to your own game? I'll tell you what I noticed from the two grueling weeks at Roland Garros.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Episode 46: A tennis ball with a purpose

Tennis balls come in a variety of styles, sizes and even colors. But each type has its purpose, and maybe there is more to these fuzzy spheres than meets the eye.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Episode 45: Four-score and 7 minutes ago

Let's talk basics of tennis scoring and how little separates a win from a loss. Or, let's not keep "proper" score at all!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Episode 44: Slice with your feet, then your racket

The slice backhand can be a successful shot in the tennis repertoire as both and offensive and defensive stroke. The difference lies more in the positioning of the feet than most would realize.
NOTE: pay particular attention to the feet and where letter A represents racket position and letter B represents ball position.
If the ball is in the same relative position (B), but the racket head is further along its path to the ball (A), then it stands to reason that the ball will be struck further in front at the hit zone. If the racket head lags behind due to having less time, the ball is struck more on the side of the body.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Episode 43: the board game named Tennis

Tennis has been compared to other sports and activities. Now I make the case for the similarities of tennis and backgammon. If you thought that a Chess match was like a tennis match, wait until you hear about the "oldest" game in recorded history.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Episode 42: Tennis stroke BANDAIDS

Reviewing Chapter 10 of the classic Brad Gilbert book "Winning Ugly", I present a snapshot of simple ideas that can provide assistance for forehands and backhands.

Friday, April 2, 2010

LISTEN TO DISCUSSION...Remembering the Battle of the Sexes

The early 1970's were a defining time in tennis. Hustler and former tennis player Bobby Riggs and female tennis pro Billie Jean King made history through the famous spectacle held at the Houston Astrodome known as the Battle of the Sexes. Listen to a lively discussion between Ron Miller and Ian Westermann (ESSENTIAL TENNIS) and callers from around the U.S. as we discussed the state of women's vs. men's tennis and the potential for an event like this to be repeated today.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Q & A: What would you pay?

Given the state of the economy, gas prices, and overall price gouging by many companies, what would you be willing to pay for a tennis racket? Sneakers? Other tennis equipment?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Episode 41: Kids starting tennis? Parents are the key to their success.

How can parents make an informed decision about their child's beginning involvement in tennis? Let's take at look at some available options that fit your schedule and your wallet.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Episode 40: Wearing your forehand inside-out

You may have seen pros running around their backhand and hit a forehand groundstroke. You too can capitalize on today's power forehand with some knowledge, a sharp eye and the legs to back it up.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

LISTEN TO DISCUSSION...Starting kids in tennis

Listen to a lively discussion between Ron Miller and Ian Westermann (of the ESSENTIAL TENNIS podcast) and callers from around the U.S. as they discuss the when, where and how of getting kids started in tennis (March 5th episode of Essential Tennis Live)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Episode 39: "Old School" not ready for retirement

So you've been criticized for being out-of-date with your approach to tennis. Perhaps we could all learn a thing or two from past tennis concepts before they are placed on a dusty shelf and left to be forgotten.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Episode 38: Warm up to tennis for better play

Walking onto the tennis court should begin as a warming experience. Let's discuss how to properly warm up according to Brad Gilbert, author of Winning Ugly (the first in a series of podcasts based on his book).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Episode 37: Healthy for a lifetime. Play tennis!

Tennis is proven to be effective against health problems and aging. Keep mentally sharp and physically agile. Play tennis!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

LISTEN TO DISCUSSION...Tennis rackets past, present and future

Listen to a lively discussion between Ron Miller and Ian Westermann (of the ESSENTIAL TENNIS podcast) and callers from around the U.S. as they discuss rackets of the past, those currently in use, and what could be arriving in the future (February 4th episode of Essential Tennis Live accessed thru iTunes).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Episode 36: A Gripping Tale 2–the sequel

The long-awaited follow up to episode #2, this reveals the common terminology related to gripping the racket.

NOTE: Podcast correction
When referring to the Eastern Backhand, the correct
bevel number should be 8 and NOT 7 as recorded in the podcast. Sorry for the confusion.

Friday, January 29, 2010

LISTEN TO DISCUSSION...Tennis Statistics and the recreational player

Listen to a lively discussion between Ron Miller and Ian Westermann (of the ESSENTIAL TENNIS podcast) and callers from around the U.S. as they discuss how tennis statistics affect the pro game, how useful they are for the recreational player, and which stats are the most helpful or tell us the clearest story about a player's performance. (January 29th episode of Essential Tennis Live accessed thru iTunes)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Episode 35: Eyes as windows to your strokes

Why the phrase "watch the ball" isn't just a tennis instructors line

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Episode 34: The Australian Open

The Grand Slam tournament from Down Under that provides a glimpse into the future and flashbacks from the past.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Episode 33: Review of Andre Agassi's book "OPEN"

How a talented kid from Las Vegas survived an overbearing father, opportunistic coach, and secret hatred of tennis to become one of the most successful and beloved players of all time.