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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! 

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