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Coaches Corner - tip of the month

April 2010:

The Standing Around Syndrome

You’ve all heard the now classic lament, “There’s no crying in baseball,” proclaimed in total frustration by Tom Hanks, team manager in A League of Their Own, a movie about women’s start-up big league baseball during WWII. In the very same spirit, there’s no standing around in tennis!

Well over 50% of the time you spend on the tennis court in match play takes place in between the points, especially in doubles where the points tend to end sooner than in singles. How one utilizes this these continuous mini-time outs is key in staying mentally and emotionally focused and physically engaged leading up to the next point.

If you could Google Earth a good close-up sampling of tennis clubs around the land you would notice it immediately: that otherwise motivated players, seeking competitive success, unfortunately stand absolutely still - in place, not a muscle stirring, completely static - once a point ends.

Here’s an analogy the frequently offer up for consideration. Do you put your car in P and then turn the engine off when waiting for a red traffic light to turn green? Naturally, if you did, you wouldn’t be ready to go once the signal turned green, and you would be slow starting. Similarly, you’re not ready to go-play after standing around completely motionless for :10 to :15 to :20 waiting for the next point to begin.

The best club players, and of course tour professionals, spend their in-between point time pacing back and forth, going nowhere but moving, staying physical, the tiger in the cage, focused on and fiddling with their strings, making every effort to stay relaxed and fully engaged in the present, ready to spring both quickly and smoothly into action when the action goes green.

Going forward, start making the moment that you’re striking the ball the only time that you’re going to be relatively still - and perfectly balanced - for the fleeting moment, a mere split second, that it takes to swing the racket.

It’s man always in motion. 

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

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