Real Tennis Players - Like You! - Asking For and Offering Advice on the Sport They Love
Player to Player is USTA.com’s regular feature in which everyday tennis players are given a forum to ask advice on the sport they love – and their fellow players will dish out advice. We’ll post a number of the best responses we receive to our question of the week.
Player to Player:
This week's question from Jane:
Should players on a team get to play because they try hard, come to practices and are good sports or because they are stronger players and can win? In other words, is it about being fair and equitable, or is it all about winning?
Please share your thoughts by e-mailing Player@usta.com, and include your name and hometown.
Got a question of your own? Send that along, too!
READ OTHER PLAYERS' ADVICE
Last week's question from Peter:
(Please note: There is no need to send additional responses to this question.)
My son is a competitive 13-year-old tennis player. Since his coach cannot attend most of his tournaments, I would like to be able to offer guidance on strategy and technique. Do you recommend any specific books or video that would help me become more knowledgeable?
Kenny S., Highland Park, Ill.
I get inspired and learn a lot on technique when I watch live pro tennis or even people playing at clubs, tournaments or public courts. I do like when the commentators talk about technique and even slow down the video and go through the shots during the matches. If you have the Tennis Channel, there is obviously lots of tennis to watch and teaching videos they show and that you can buy. On sites like YouTube, you can find lots of videos by touring pros and tennis coaches by searching "How to play tennis" or "How to hit a serve" or volley or any shot. You can even watch old matches and highlights of classic matches.
As for books, I would look at books by Nick Bollettieri of the IMG Academy, as well as other leading coaches from different tennis academies, the ATP, WTA, ITF, etc. You can Google "tennis academies" and on their sites, they probably will have books and videos listed. I would also check out USTA and other world tennis publications.
You say that strategy is your No. 1 priority in a tennis book? Then get thee to yonder bookstore and buy a copy of "Winning Ugly." Brad Gilbert was adept as a player in using brilliant strategy to beat much better atheletes, like his personal whipping boy Boris Becker. Brad could "read" a tell in Boris B's toss and serve delivery so that he knew which direction to move ahead of time.
This type of strategic ability is mostly mental and does take the experience of a precise analytical mind. Anyone can get something out of this best-selling book of all time on the subject of strategy.
However, the best single piece of strategy is "IF" you are the player with more stamina, then use a variety of spins and back-and-forth, up-and-back placements to "body-punch" your opponent into submission.
From Bjorn Borg and Rafa Nadal to your public parks "C" level winners, this is far and away the highest percentage approach that has won since the first lob and drop-shot combination ploy was ever put into action.
Personally, I have faced many tourney foes who were physically more gifted in size, strength and speed than your humble scribe. I countered with mental tenacity and concentration ("The Inner Game of Tennis" by Tim Galwey is the bestseller world-wide on that subject).
Use of the drop shot and lob, and the "army tennis pattern" (you know -- left/right/left/right) is highly effective on most public and club-level courts. Use a variety pack of slow balls with different spins until a sitting duck allows you to change the pace for a forceful approach shot or put-away.
Lob into the sun to the opponent's backhand. Topspin helps tremendously in wearing down most players, but slice when hit hard and spinning low is equally effective (see Federer on YouTube).
Location, location, location is the single most important skill that fuels all these different strategies. Know your opponents likes and dislikes. Hit with intent. Do not just rally easy balls into his/her strike zone to wallop. Keep your shots too high with topspin and too low with slice.
Enjoy the journey.
*Please note that any advice given out in this forum should in no way be confused with actual medical advice. Before starting any new exercise regimen or altering your existing one, we strongly urge you to consult with your regular physician.
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