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Last call for the gotta play tennis podcast

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.

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