There’s a sort of intoxication that is available to anyone who plays a sport consistently. There’s always another layer of excellence that beckons you, like Bali Hai in the musical South Pacific…
If you only play now and then you are as if starting over every time.
The story about Baryshnikov is that the would perform for thousands one night and the next day be back at the barre for hours of drill.
You have to play tennis almost daily to keep your edge.
Right now I’m taking Mondays off.
Yet on Monday is when I watched two videos that took my serve to a new level and then on Tuesday beat Alan* in our one weekly set 6-2.
Beating Alan sounds harmless enough, except when you consider that he is all of 40 years old, a big lefty server and I’m 71, and that I lose to him 95% of the time on hard courts and about 70% of the time on clay.
What I want to do with this publication is to share extremely detailed elements of what I’m working on between posts, and to also share the amazing on and offline assets that I’m monitoring for strategic, mental game and stroke mechanics tweaks and rebuilds in the interest of an optimized game.
I’ve worked as a tennis pro in multiple situations (I was a USPTA Certified Pro with a P-1 rating), but there are so many good pros in my town without day jobs so I now mostly focus on my own game.
Even as a teaching pro there are so many things yet to learn and stabilize as a player, and even though I am a competent instructor with beginning students, I never had high level player coaching myself. But there are so many wonderful coaches now working online, so I am seriously enjoying the stroke mechanics and strategic information that is available right now, and want to share what I am learning and applying on court each day, while also providing links to the articles and videos that are empowering real changes in my game.
If you love tennis and want to take a walk on court with me, so to speak, while we share tennis discoveries, you are in the right place.
One of my favorite online pros is Brady Hiete (sp?) of https://www.dailytennislesson.com/ Brady has all kinds of great videos that are simply thrilling and expansionary even for someone with 50 years of tennis experience (like me). It’s not just about the forehand. There’s the forehand on the rise, the inside out, the buggy whip, the short ball drive, the underspin, the drop (and more). The level of detail and nuance is fascinating to those of us who are already watching and the game closely and tinkering with it on court. You’ll be hearing more about Brady’s stuff if you stay tuned to this publication.
But today’s breakthrough was due to Jeff Salzenstein of Tennis Evolution. Check out this video about the platform stance on the serve. I tried the platform before based on Jeff’s recommendation, but I didn’t stick with it, but that video gives a lot more detail and I actually got a set off of Aron while trying it on day one.
Watch for the section on externally rotating the back foot – that was the magic key to some unheard-of new power on my serve.
More on my opponents/tennis buddies later.
* Alan is not his real name. If I use his real name he might hear about it and take our practice matches seriously, which will in all likelihood mean that we will no longer be having fun, and my win percentage will go down to near zero, maybe absolute zero.
*Photo credit: