Do you love playing tennis at night?
Do you love playing tennis at night? Do you find that the feel and smell of nighttime air on a tennis court causes an unspecific joy to well up inside? Imagine this - an energy-efficient tennis lighting system that offers more light and saves you money. No need to imagine. The Tennis Optics Advantage Series provides higher lighting levels with lower wattage bulbs, meaning you see the ball more clearly and you save.
Click here to learn more.
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- from Tennis Warehouse - Prince Fall Apparel -Men
When to Push – How to Play Against One
Perhaps the most difficult of all opponents is the dreaded "pusher." They slow the ball down. They slow the game down. They seem to get to everything back. They rarely make errors. They almost never hit winners. And as often as not, they ultimately impose their game on the unfortunate opponent. But there are a few useful ideas here, both about learning when you might “push” as well as how to play against such a player.
The Art of the Pusher
Retrieve and Recover. Tennis is a game of hitting and moving. Though somehow, many of us are more aware of movement to the ball, than movement back to the center after impact. Always move back to the center of the opponent’s angle of play. And, whenever possible, always arrive at that location with time to spare. The pusher seems to hit the ball slowly and move quickly. That combination means he is rarely out of position, for he hits in a manner that gives him plenty of time to reposition himself.
Consistency. All points end with either an error or a winner. But somehow, an accumulation of errors can break one’s spirit. I think we have all played at least one match were we thought, “How could I ever have lost to that guy/girl?” And that very question obscures the real issue, “How could I ever have made so many mistakes?”
Well, as regards the art of winning, it may be that enabling an opponent to miss creates far more mental havoc than hitting winners. In this latter scenario, people are more willing to forgive themselves for a loss to a power-playing, winner-hitting opponent. Perhaps there is more “face” preserved, though truly a loss is a loss and a win is a win.
Patience. Pushers enjoy long rallies; in fact, the longer the better. They impose their willingness to play long points, such that an opponent becomes yet more error prone. And in the final analysis, patience becomes their ultimate weapon. They are willing and able to get just one more ball back across the net. So, in a 10 shot rally, they can make that 11th shot. And, in a 19 shot rally, they are certainly able to make that 20th shot. Frustrating isn't it?
Footwork. Pushers move their feet. Not powerful running, rather many small steps all about the court. And, from the above skill set, it takes a well-rounded multifaceted game to overcome a patient, consistent moonballer.
When to Push
As regards being centered or cornered, many times you and I can “push” the ball to gain slightly more recovery time. Recreational “bangers” seem to hit at the same speed whether they are in or out of position. But we can learn so much from Andy Murray, who plays at so many different speeds, and does in fact slow the ball down in many instances to gain recovery time. Experiment with under spin floaters. Create a little more “hang time” when retrieving from the corners. And importantly, note how your opponent handles these floaters. You just might be driving him crazy.
Embrace the lob. Whether singles or doubles, lobs travel racquet to racquet in as much as two full seconds. That creates a tremendous amount of recovery time. And if the overhead may be the opponent’s least practiced stroke, as often as, not your lob may forces an out right error. We may not see many lobs at the professional level, but that doesn’t mean you and I can’t give the ball some real air.
Countering the Pusher
What follows has no bearing, without first your commitment to be patient, to reduce your errors, and to play without expectation. For when expecting to win, when falling prey to what you “should” do, there is just too much pressure, especially when playing against the dreaded pusher. But as regards challenges, you take an important step when you decide you can compete against, rather than dread playing, a pusher.
That said, countering the pusher means taking away recovery time – but only when they are cornered, and then only when you can move forward. Pushers slow the game down. The longer you wait on the ball, the more time they have, and the slower the game feels. Moving forward will speed up the game and reduce their time. But execute this strategy only when they are out of position.
When both of you are centered, be patient. Repeat, when both of you are centered, be patient. But when the opponent/pusher is cornered and you are centered, pounce. Move forward quickly, take the pusher’s floater well inside the baseline as either a backcourt volley or a ground stroke met on the rise.
And finally, change your “likes.” Too often we lose control when faced with issues we don’t “like.” The tip off occurs when someone says they are “annoyed.”
Of course pushers will annoy you if you play error prone impatient tennis. But how about turning this situation upside down? The pusher creates a wonderful opportunity.
Thank him/her for this challenge, then go out there and compete.
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
Winning Doubles: Make it about Them
The pros know that winning doubles is not about hitting crowd pleasing winners, and it has little to do with stroke production, point management, strategic geometry, nor footwork. It's about getting the ball over the net one more time. It's about playing within yourself. Many players at all levels get so caught up in the “how” in regards to hitting a ball, they forget that the point of any rally is to get the ball over the net more than your opponent. Next time you take to the court, force your opponents to beat you. In other words, make it about them. Dave Smith
QuickStart vs. Full Court
Many coaches, parents, and players are becoming aware of the world-wide movement towards teaching young tennis players on the proper sized equipment. In the US, the program is called QuickStart. It is being done in virtually every country, but the programs are known by different names and we, at TennisOne, have done many articles on the subject. But, here, Jorge Capestany, presents the clearest visual evidence yet for this program's efficacy.
TennisOne Classic: The Millennium Forehand
At TennisOne, we have an extensive lesson library, featuring hundreds of lessons that are as relevant today as they were when they were first written. So, we have decided to feature some of our best each week, beginning with this classic from tour coach, Heath Waters. Using former number four in the world, Jelena Dokic, as his model, Heath takes you step by step through the Millennium Forehand.
ProStrokes 2.0 – Lleyton Hewitt's Backhand
Lleyton Hewitt has captured 27 titles and amassed over $18 million dollars in prize money. Ranked number one in 2001, with two Grand Slam titles under his belt, Hewitt still has some life in his legs and fire in his heart. But the art of Hewitt's game has never been about fire power, it's more about his cat like quickness and positioning skills. His shot selection minimizes his recovery footwork. When he and his opponent are centered, he often goes right back down the middle, and in that instance moves not at all after his shot. In crosscourt exchanges, he is generally more acute than opponents, so that with the acute angle, he again needs little if any recovery footwork steps. New this issue, the Hewitt backhand.
The Etcheberry Experience DVD
For more than twenty years Pat Etcheberry has been providing athletes from around the world with the winning edge. We call this the Etcheberry Experience, and players with an Etcheberry experience have hoisted Championship Trophies at over one hundred major championships, including 28 Australian Opens, 18 Wimbledons, 22 UP Opens, 22 French Opens and 15 Olympic medals.
And now it's your turn! This is your chance to experience the same drills, exercises and words of tennis wisdom that Pat gave to Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and others, that helped launch them on their incredible careers. For the first time, Pat Etcheberry shares his training secrets in a series of DVDs for players of all ages, their coaches, and trainers.
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