Friday, June 19, 2009

Tennis is Brutal

Every point one side or the other loses. Every match one or the other loses. When you sign up for a tournament you’re signing up for a loss. Only one person wins a tournament. It’s not gonna be you very often, if ever. After each round, half the field loses. A player in the top 100 in the world will win far fewer matches than she loses. Week after week this goes on. She travels the world taking beatings.

You miss an easy shot, in a big situation. It’s a dagger through your heart. You get no such anguish sitting by the pool or watching a movie with your friends.

In some ways playing tennis is a bit like owning a pet. The more you love the pet, the worse the loss will be when the pet dies. The more you put into the relationship with the pet, the more you get out of it, but the harder the loss is. If you don’t really put much into the pet, don’t really bond with the pet, the loss of the pet won’t be tough to take. No biggie. That’s how it is with tennis. If you don’t put much into the match, don’t prepare that hard, don’t care that much about each point or the outcome of the match, you’ll take the losses well. No biggie. But if you put your heart and soul, your blood, sweat, and tears into your preparation and into the match, a loss will be a big deal.

So you’re stuck with a choice. Care, get the most out of the pursuit, and suffer the losses. Don’t care, get little out of the pursuit, and weather the losses just fine.

Of course, you can also play tennis just for fun. It is possible to go out, play the game, hit the ball, run around, try your best and not care about the outcome. You could even play tournaments with this mindset. But I can’t think of any who do it this way.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Tennis Lineups

In high school, college, and adult league tennis the rule is that you must play your best players higher in the lineup. This creates the obvious temptation for lesser teams to alter their lineups in order to win the team match.

An alternative to the existing rule is to randomly select players for matches. This method eliminates any stacking potential. It also eliminates intrasquad competitions for placement in the lineup. No more "I should be playing ahead of him" comments.

The downside to this arrangement is that you'll see more uneven matches, when the best player from team A is matched against the worst player from team B. However, when a superior team plays an inferior team, uneven matches are the rule, not the exception. By random assignment of matches we may see a lesser player from the superior team matched against the best player from the inferior team, providing a better match for those players.

I'd like to see some league take a chance on this lineup method.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

BB Two-Handed Backhand

Idealized Forehand

In the video below I'm trying to keep my right hand moving along a line throughout the swing to contact. The center service line and the center net strap show the line which I'm trying to trace with my hand.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009