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Last call for the gotta play tennis podcast

Sunday, October 30, 2011

EPISODE 79 (Podcast): How to make tennis MAGIC out on the court

Wouldn't it be nice to have some simple tricks to call upon with the wave of your magic tennis wand? Author Steve Mallory may have just the right set of spells for you.
Also available in Kindle edition

Referenced in the podcast: 
David Ferrer vs. Andy Murray displaying a difference in balance

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gloucester Twp. Tennis Info

Gloucester Twp. Tennis Fall 2011 lessons are cancelled for Saturday, October 29th, due to inclement weather.
Week 5 lessons will move to November 5th.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

POSTED: Tuesday, October 25, 2011

From Ron Miller at Gotta Play Tennis: 
Full booklet available
from link

There are 34 powerful and compelling reasons to play tennis, according to an initiative by the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), Tennis - for the Health of It!...read more

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

REFLECTIONS: Don't oversell the idea of being "so competitive"

"I'm a very competitive person", the tennis player said, worn like a badge of accomplishment as if sewn to the shirt of a cub scout. The truth is that we are all competitive to a certain degree. Some are more so than others. But simply being the person who will race with another over the consumption of a peanut butter sandwich does not make them a better competitor than anyone else. No, someone who likes to compete should understand the value of preparedness and patience as well as understanding when, or not, scored competition is necessary to achieve their goals.
      In a recent interview heard on the Tennis Psychology Podcast with Dr. Patrick Cohn, he asked a question of his guest, Joe Doniffer, author of 16 books, founder of the company OnCourt/Offcourt, and both a PTR and USPTA master professional. The question focused on the kind of player who does not get motivated by practice but by competition alone. Mr. Doniffer shared that typically, but not always, this type of person has stroke and technique limitations, and their ability to improve is compromised by their mentality which is "let's just play."
      We all have our own reasons or motivations for playing tennis. For some, it may be winning points. For others, it might be getting a good workout. And yet for many it could be a stress release from a hard day at work. But for those who look down on others who choose, for whatever reason, to not play for a score, may I suggest that you be true to yourself and let others be themselves. I personally do not need a scoreboard to motivate my efforts on a court. Every hit of the ball might as well be match point at Wimbledon. No one is harder on me than me, and I believe there are lots of people out there who feel the same. And I would need to laugh at anyone who thinks that it is only being "so competitive" that makes one tough and motivated. You've obviously never seen me off the tennis court in the real world. USTA rankings or game and set score may mean the world to some, but to others, these are no more than numbers on a page just like the years on a calendar which make people pre-judge other far too frequently.
      Remember that you win some and you lose some. As Kenny Rogers said in song, you've got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them. When practicing and playing for enjoyment, hold your own as best you can using every ounce of what you know and have worked on. When competing, be aware of your limitations and learn from them as they become more obvious against a better player. And sometimes the effort may just not be worth it with the wrong opponent who only brings you down, regardless of the score. 
      Competitive, by definition, is "as good as or better than others of a comparable nature." I suppose that makes me competitive. How about you?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

NEW CONTENT OF NOTE: One of the best ways to improve your game

Experts agree that being able to SEE mistakes 
makes them much easier to FIX.

This is the idea behind The VolleyCam.

Through a special arrangement with 
creator Robert Kreppel, 
GPT can now offer this sure-fire way to capture all of your moves on the court–both good and bad.

And through this special offer, 
customers who purchase this product through 
Gotta Play Tennis will receive 

Combined with a 45-day Money-Back Guarantee, this may be the product that helps you achieve that next step in your tennis development.

Monday, October 17, 2011


What is going on with Andy Murray lately? Does he finally believe he can go all the way and take titles? It seems that Murray has been the bridesmaid so many times and not the bride. I almost began to feel embarrassed hearing his opponents sing his praises and then mention how some day he would definitely be taking home the trophy. 
    Now don't think that you maintain number four in the world for three years in a row by losing all the time. It's just that he has been so close to taking the big prize over and over again to no avail. If we take a look at 2011, we find the following: he lost in the finals of the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, to Novak Djokovic. He then made it to the semifinals of the French Open where he lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets. At Wimbledon, the third Grand Slam, he did very well but once again lost to Nadal, this time in four sets during their semifinal matchup. Last but not least, Murray made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Open where he once again faced Rafael Nadal. But in a repeat of the French, Andy lost in four sets. 
   Then began the Asian swing and suddenly something changed. In traditional Chinese culture, qì (also chi or ch'i) is an active principle forming part of any living thing. It is a life force or energy flow generated and it is tied to breath or air flow from the body. Is it possible that Andy has somehow found his inner force or vital energy that has turned on the  winner switch?
   In the last few weeks, he first won the Thailand Open over Donald Young in straight sets. He then went on to take the title at the Rakuten Japan Open where he finally beat Rafael Nadal in three sets. Murray capped off his run as the defending champion at the Shanghai Masters with a difficult but nonetheless straight sets win over David Ferrer. Not only did he play some inspired tennis to achieve these successive wins, but in the rankings, he overtook Roger Federer and now holds the position of number three in the world.
    I think the Asian people would say that Andy Murray used his chi very well indeed. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Episode 78 (Podcast): Champions Series shows the power of a solid foundation

Did you think that older tennis champions disappear to some farm where they can have fun and run free all day? Guess Again. These former Grand Slam winners are hardly out-to-pasture.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

REFLECTIONS: What is a GOOD hitting session?

Define GOOD! Something that is not bad. Perhaps tasteful. Maybe entertaining. Definitely satisfying. I was wondering if this was the correct adjective to describe my hitting session last night. We had been at it for one hour when first checking the clock, but it seemed so much longer. My partner mentioned something about us being in a time warp. I know my body felt as if more time had passed. But when balls are being struck with pace, intention, and successful placement, time does seem to change somewhat. One would think that, as the old expression goes, "time flies when you're having fun." We were having fun. Sweating profusely in high 60's weather on the east coast in the evening, being forced from corner, up and back, topspin to topspin and slice to slice, we were enjoying the moments. 
   But how was it that it seemed, at the one hour mark, to feel like about 30 minutes more? We know what that typically feels like since we always hit for about 1 hour, 30 minutes to about 2 hours. After some head scratching, I made my explanation of the phenomena. When we began, after about 10 minutes of getting the kinks out, I starting hitting my groove. Power, control, placement, and spin variety. All were present like a wedding party at your nuptials. As time went by however, I began to tire a bit. It becomes obvious in the footwork first, as always, since shots I was hitting before for winners were now just landing safely in the court. And other shots just beyond reach that earlier found their way back over were now finding the net or the back fence. 
   It was about then that my partner started coming on strong. Now no longer being held hostage by depth and power forcing him into a defensive posture, he got his offensive groove on. Winners were suddenly bunched like grapes. He attacked the net and forced me back. It was my turn to start considering how to counter this onslaught. And that I did. A bit winded and forced into my own defensive shell, I dug into my bag of tricks and began using what he has referred to in the past as my "wiley" game. Short slices, lob volleys, deep moon balls, and droppers were all on the list to break his stride. I started once again to see more balls laying on his side than mine. That is always an indication that something is going right.
   The tide was not totally turned however. He continued to pound, but with renewed confidence and a second wind, I began my own counter-attack. We gave it everything we had, and the end result were rallies of longer length and less unforced errors. This was no doubt why the session seemed longer than it was. We were two backgammon players, on either end of the game board called a court, strategizing each shot and making instantaneous decisions about how to handle each ball. It became a thing of beauty. 
We both walked off the court after about 1 hour, 45 minutes and it felt GOOD! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: Sunday, October 9, 2011
The Three Tests of Tennis Athleticism
Watch this video of the 3 tests of tennis athleticism, as explained by Coach Pat Dougherty of the Bollettieri Academy...see more

Thursday, October 6, 2011

SPECIAL EDITION: the loss of a true champion

Steve Jobs 
Chairman of the board at Apple, former CEO, and visionary of the Macintosh computer, iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

I know this is a blog, website, and podcast home for tennis. But as much as Jimmy Connors probably changed my life in a profound way in tennis, Steve Jobs affected my entire mindset of technology. Steve Jobs, age 52, passed away yesterday stemming from a physical battle originally from pancreatic cancer. 
There are many places to read about his incredible contribution to the world we live in, but let me share what he did for me.
In 1987, I used my first Macintosh computer. This was in the early stages of what was referred to as desktop publishing. It was the early beginnings of my career, and Apple was there. Now as I have moved on to other things, Apple and Steve Jobs are still here...well, at least until October 5th of 2011. I heard the sad news from a text message on my iPhone and then used the Safari browser on the device to read more. I write this today on a MacBook Pro, and both these devices were made possible thanks to Steve Jobs and his incredible teams at Apple. 
    I never met him or saw him in person, but my life and lives of my loved ones have been touched in a very profound way by this man. And for what he brought to us, including the courage to dream big dreams, I will be forever grateful. 
    Let me close with this early career message from Steve and Apple:
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

   You have changed the world Steve, and the world will miss you!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

REFLECTIONS: From humble beginnings, the sky is the limit

Recently, professional tennis instructor and podcaster Ian Westermann of the Essential Tennis podcast interviewed former U.S. tour player Todd Martin–a player who had been ranked as high as number four in the world when playing on the pro tour in the 90's. This ranking reflects his accomplishments of 8 career singles titles and five career doubles titles. In addition, he reached the finals at the Australian and U.S. Opens in 1994 and 1999 respectively and was a semifinalist at Wimbledon in both 1994 and 96. He continues to play on the Champions Tour with many of the other greats from the last few decades.
   We have seen many quality U.S. players that have achieved much in the world of tennis. Just take a look at a roster that includes such names as Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, and Jim Courier. Most of us would consider them to be special cases with silver-spoon beginnings at the best tennis clubs and in the best tennis programs money can buy. But in Todd Martin, we hear a different story. During his interview, when asked about how he got started in tennis, he mentions that his parents went to the local park tennis courts to play as recreational players. At age 5, his father cut a wooden racquet down to his size and let him hit what Martin referred to as "batting practice" on the courts. Martin continues in his story to mention "...before long, I was doing the once-a-week on the weekend park lessons..." 
   Now you might imagine that at this point in the interview a huge smile covered my face. Here was child who got his humble start on a tennis court with both his parents and public park lessons in his local Ohio community. This is exactly the kind of service I have been providing to recreation programs in Southern New Jersey for the last 30 years. I have introduced hundreds of kids, and their parents, to the joys of tennis. Low barrier to entry is key, and low-cost recreational programs are the doorway. There needs to be someone that will ignite a child's interest at a young age. I'm proud to have been one of those people, and I continue to do so every Spring, Summer, and Fall.
   So I ask you...what will your child do with the gift of tennis? As you can see from Todd  Martin, the sky is the limit.