Huggins in Wisconsin (Grateful Dead concert), Petit taking a day off, so no backup.

Hit serves and recorded on iPhone, securing phone to tennis basket with a bungee cord

Working on:

  • loose wrist, “cobra” hand preparation (serving hand raises up but racket trails the wrist like the head of a cobra). You could also call it a limp wrist but it sounds less macho.
  • toss with two fingers and straight arm to get consistency
  • deep knee bend to leap into serve
  • Then hit against the wall, focussed on
    • Split step
    • breathe and hit
    • get below the ball (carve up an imaginary valley before the hit)
    • flat preparation – racquet face faces the ball rather than with wrist cocked back – then loose wrist on the hit
      accept results in advance (no judging)

I’m at Lane’s hitting wall, and I hit over the wall a lot. I take three balls and when they are all hit over I go look for them. If a ball gets past behind me it goes into some tall weeds. I have to go after them right away or they will get lost for sure.

Whenever I pick up balls and there is one more ball somewhere I remember the parable of the Good Shepherd from Sunday school. It may seem silly to apply a Bible lesson to tennis, but that’s what comes up, since I always look hard for that last missing ball.

A similar lesson came from a church group leader on a Mississippi river boating trip who told us a story about the time when he was cleaning behind a stove. When he was asked why he cleaned where no one would know about it, he responded, “I would know.”

That sort of personal standard in quality control stuck with me.

It’s amazing how the different parts of your personal history can emerge into the present and color your experience, even while hitting against a tennis wall