19 September 2011

KingCast Tennis Tips: How to learn when you lose.

As if on cue someone today Googled my old sparring partner Jane Cohodes and wound up on my page.... Jane and I were about an even match in the late 90's but only because she wasn't playing so much anymore and I was playing almost every day. She's a kick ass player runner up for Ohio girls in '81 and '83 and winner in '82 and Georgia Bulldog MVP in '88, she was ranked as high as 33 in the Country. Yesterday I played a 6.0 NTRP tournament player. I am a 4.5 NTRP club player so guess what? I'm gonna lose that one every time unless I give him a Tanya Harding kneecap treatment. But the key is this: Never take an ass-whupping without learning something from it. What I learned yesterday is this:

1. Play more often. You cannot expect to play a stronger player if you have played 3 times this summer. The stronger player can play you successfully if he hasn't, but it doesn't work the other way around.

2. Even stronger players have weaknesses. Exploit them to the best of your ability. Most players don't like my sliced backhand if I get a good cut on it and they definitely don't like my inside-out two hander. So instead of worrying about why I'm not hitting my forehand better, fuck it. Just do what you can on the forehand side and make him work to pass you off the backhand. Make him beat you.

3. Even stronger players have hitting patterns. Jonathan was tricky because he can change direction on a ball very well and he holds his shot a long time so you don't know WTF is coming. But nonetheless I can tell he prefers to hit an inside out forehand so as I come to net if I play him again I'm going to make him hit the crosscourt. Take his favorite shot away.

4. Be agressive on any and all short balls. Guys (and gals) today hit the ball a ton, and if you don't take advantage of any short or off-pace ball you're going to get your ass handed to you by a stronger player. But in so doing you can still improve your own game. It's all relative, I do the same thing to an intermediate to low intermediate player as the advanced tournament player does to me. It's all part of the tennis food chain, so keep on eating and bon apetite to all!

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