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Coaches Corner - tip of the month


Insights to Mastering your Game, from Jak

RESPECTING THE GAME: Top 10 Do’s & Don’ts

Playing TennisTennis is a global game that is infused with tradition. Etiquette and protocol – born out of respecting the game and those you are playing it with and against – are both expected and required to maximize a positive experience for all, including spectators impacting it.

Too often, out of ignorance, things happen that are outside of the realm of optimal player interaction, i.e. conducting oneself with class, and can border on poor sportsmanship.

Here are a few friendly reminders to abide by:

  1. Know the proper pre-match warm-up protocol (see Dec. 2008 Monthly Tip, “Getting The Warm-up Right”).
  2. The server is responsible for announcing the score before every point begins.
  3. Absolutely do not try to gain any unfair advantage in line calling by making statements like: “I think it was out” or “I’m not sure, can we play it over?” If there is any reasonable doubt then the ball is good. Period. End of story!
  4. Make all line calls immediately, clearly, and audibly.
  5. Avoid interrupting play by returning clearly out serves. Either let them go or softly direct them into the net near the net post. One exception: the serve is so close to the line you’re already committed to returning it, but then realize at impact that it was slightly out. Make the call as quickly as possible and apologize for putting the ball in play.
  6. If your opponents play an out ball keep playing. It’s their call, not yours.
  7. If you play an out ball, but it’s too late to make the call in good conscience, the point is yours if the opponents stop playing because they thought it was out. It’s your call, not theirs.
  8. When returning an errant ball to an adjacent court wait until that court’s point is completed and announce, “Ct. 3, coming, or incoming.” Do not just send it in indiscriminately.
  9. There is no additional practice allowed once a match is underway. That includes gathering balls after a changeover and firing in a few practice serves while everyone else is getting a drink or toweling off. Also included is players forgoing their changeover time so they can have a quick hit.
  10. When a spectator of another match applaud all good play. It’s always impressive to witness Venus and Serena’s mother doing just that. If your teammates, or friends, win a well played point that ends on a bad error by the opposition always qualify your support with “good point.” Cheering big time after the opponent’s every error is best left for the world stage. It’s considered boorish to engage in that level of partisanship in clubland where you’re probably going to interact with those same individuals going forward. Why create hard feelings?

Hopefully, at the end of the day, you’ve been proactive, not combative, in attempting to educate any fellow players not with the program. In a worst case scenario with those who do not get it, and are not interested in getting it, do not let their errant ways get to you and disrupt your play. Always maintain your mental toughness – cool, calm, and collected – and use the situation to your advantage. One of Albert Einstein’s “Three Rules of Work” (he must have been a tennis player) included the following succinct mind set: “In difficulty lies opportunity.”

Questions and comments are welcome at anytime for all tips present and past via email.

This Tip of the Month is copyright© by Jak Beardsworth Tennis. All rights reserved. Copies may be made only with the permission of and by Jak Beardsworth. Contact him here.

Tips Archive

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