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Last call for the gotta play tennis podcast

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2012
The Spirit of Wimbledon 2012

The 126th Edition of the All-England Championships at Wimbledon has started!

Gary Bala has sought out this very substantive and brilliant retrospective of this prestigious Grand Slam tournament. If you are a fan of tennis, and especially a fan of Wimbledon, you will not want to miss this.

By Gary Bala
Enjoy this extensive Video Documentary Tribute to the Spirit of Wimbledon, by World of Rolex!

Parts One Through Four
(Each Video is about 28 minutes with an Intermission at about 12 minute mark)
View videos...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

REFLECTIONS: Maybe it's time to enjoy the Gotta Play Tennis podcast

If you are currently a podcast listener, thank you very much. I truly appreciate you taking the time to listen to my show, and I hope it has been helpful.

But if you have never listened, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

  • Podcasts are FREE
  • Gotta Play Tennis podcast typically lasts a but 15 -20 minutes
  • Many different tennis topics are covered
  • The insights shared are from both current and past experiences from over three decades
  • I personally guarantee you will learn something you did not know about tennis
What others are saying:

"He mixes technique with tennis history.
He gives a good macro-type overview of the game in an entertaining way"
Leftie Bill

"Fast-paced and pointed ideas and insights to help club and rec. players at all levels"


"His background in education comes through almost as much as his love for, 
and teaching of, the sport"

Thinking About Tennis

"Please continue–all my friends in my club tennis league are now hooked"


"Ron delivers a lot in a brief time–yet one is not overwhelmed. He is practical, yet has a 
dry wit that lighten's one day"


Real comments, by real people, taken from the iTunes COMMENTS section.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2012
The Making of a Tennis Logo: Novak Djokovic

See the video at www.timelesstennis.net

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Posted: Monday, June 11, 2012
Making History: The 2012 Roland Garros French Open

Paris - Roland Garros - Single's Championships

Rafael Nadal (Spain, No. 2) defeated Novak Djokovic (Serbia, No. 1) in four rain-soaked sets over two days...read more

Saturday, June 9, 2012

NEWS: Technology comes to tennis with Babolat's Play & Connect

When is a tennis racquet not just a tennis racquet? When it is a digital information gathering device as well. Enter the Babolat Play & Connect racquet being introduced at this year's 2012 French Open. Imagine comparing data about how you hit the ball with your tennis buddies, evaluating how you fared against a particular opponent, or reviewing an analysis of your strokes - from the on-board computer – and seeing how they match up to the pros.

The concept is a smart one (pun intended): gather "objective" data instead of "subjective." As tennis players, we depend very much on feel or perception of our strokes. Take the personality and pride out of the equation and we have hard facts that can help us determine the idiosyncrasies of our playing style and how they affect our strike of the ball based on the impact zone. This data can, for example, help players determine the weight distribution of the racquet that suits their game – notably head light, head heavy, or evenly balanced.

Not slated for release until 2013, players including Rafael Nadal, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga , Kim Clijsters and Li Na gave it a whirl for an audience that watched the action as live game statistics (on the big screen, tablet computer or smartphone) that included shot type, power, and consistency.

As somewhat of a tech geek, I applaud this effort and look forward to how this can help connect my love of technology with my love of tennis. But as a traditionalist, I'm a little worried about how sterile data can be. By the very nature of this game and it's subjectivity, we all get our own strain of passion, inspiration and awe from watching or playing a match. Let's hope we don't remove those factors thanks to silicon and microprocessors.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Look at a photograph that lacks enough contrast and you will see a mediocre and washed-out photo. Our eyes need to be visually stimulated in order to enjoy what is before us. When everything blends together, our brain has a harder time differentiating between various images and shapes. Our taste buds are very much the same. What makes a meal great is the variety of flavors and textures we get to experience. 
    Tennis is another item in this category–at least from where I sit. Recently at the French Open, I got to watch – on video streaming – Roger Federer vs. Juan Martin Del Potro and then Rafael Nadal vs. Nicolas Almagro. What do these two matches have in common? Besides both matches being in the quarterfinal round, each featured a one-handed backhand vs. a two-fisted shot. Somehow, this makes the match even more entertaining since there is still something special about the one handed backhand wing. It just so happens that Federer has one of the best single-handers ever in the game, and at age 30, he still holds the number 3 ranking in the world. But as we look at the rest of the top ten, double fists rule the roost. Looking down the list a little further, we see Almagro at 13, Richard Gasquet at 20, and Federer's compatriot, Stanislas Wawrinka at number 21 in the world with a world-reknown one-handed topspin backhand.
    So let me be the first (well, maybe not the actual first) to raise my voice for "Save the One-handed Backhand." We seem to be a people obsessed with saving things that have a chance of going extinct. The one-handed backhand is a perfect candidate for this category. For years, only the one hander was taught as the "correct" way to hit. Using the other hand on the racquet was nothing more than a crutch for those having difficulty developing the strength or coordination on the non-dominant side of the body as we used  the lead shoulder instead of the rear one to facilitate the shot. 
    I, myself, have been guilty of pushing forward this classic stroke as my belief was that, when taught and then hit correctly, neither extra strength or extra agility was necessary. But I have changed my tune with the advent of the 10andundertennis initiative by the USTA and ITF.  I not only encourage the two-hander as the primary stroke on that wing, but I actively discourage a child from not using both hands for better gripping and stability. There is a negative cost however, when kids are just starting to learn, since they sometimes get themselves confused and start to use two hands on the racquet when hitting a forehand on the opposite side. 
    So if this is what I'm doing as an instructor, a traditional one-handed player pushing the two-handed shot, then what are others providing for our youth? If they are doing the same, we are essentially hastening the disappearance of the single hand backhand for all future players.  This may eventually become so prevalent that the contrast that I still get to enjoy today, the little that is left it, will go away permanently. Two hands on the backhand side will be the accepted norm, and the elegant beauty facilitated by the eastern backhand grip and straight arm extended forward–bringing the racquet into the ball path well in front of the body–will go the way of the rotary phone. Sad indeed! 
(not so much for the rotary phone however)

FAVORITE SITES: Essential Tennis by Ian Westermann

Recently, I submitted a question to tennis teaching pro Ian Westermann of Essentialtennis.com and the Essential Tennis podcast on iTunes. My question to Ian was regarding the imitation of pro styles based upon one's own strengths and weaknesses in their game. 
He was nice enough to use my question as the basis for podcast episode #204 entitled "Copying the Pros." I would encourage you to take a listen to this episode as well as the other 203 shows that Ian Westermann has available at Essential Tennis on iTunes or from his website

Thanks to Ian for his insight on this topic and also for his recommendation of my show to his listeners. We truly provide different formats as we pursue similar but alternate paths–the ultimate goal being to help others with their tennis knowledge and skills.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

FAVORITE SITES: Timeless Tennis by Gary Bala

Can Tennis History Improve Your Game? Yes!
And here's how...
Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2012

- By learning from the styles and attributes of the great stars of the past, says Peter Burwash in his latest piece for Tennis Magazine, "Learning from the Past", pp. 38-43 (June 2012)

In this masterful article, Burwash readily admits that there's a lot to admire in the games of today's top pros…read more

Sunday, June 3, 2012

EPISODE 91 (Podcast): The dusty road to Roland Garros

We take a look at the clay court swing as an indication of those with opportunities at Roland Garros. This podcast is an audio presentation of blogs written over the last two months as players took to the dirt in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, and Rome.

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