March 28, 2010

Yours and Mine

When you play doubles, do you:

A. Observe the line dividing the court down the middle, cover the shots that land on your side, and leave the balls landing on the other side for your partner; or

B. Go for every shot you think you can get to, no matter where it lands, constantly communicating with your partner about where you're going and what you're doing?

Well, obviously I think the right answer is B. And I think YOU should think the right answer is B too.

Why? Let's look at just one example. In doubles, you already know that the high percentage, easiest shot is usually the shot right down the middle. When you're aiming there, you have a lot of court you can hit, unlike the angle shot out towards the alleys where you better be pretty darn accurate. Also, you know that when you hit the down-the-middle shot, there is at least some likelihood that your opponents will have communication issues, meaning that shot will often pass right between them as they stare at each other in confusion.

If you put yourself in the position of the opponents in this example, it is clear that you not only have to communicate with your partner, you have to take the initiative to go for those down-the-middle shots.   If you hesitate, trying to figure out "Is that mine or her's?" you'll lose the point.  Sure, you may hit your partner's racquet. Heck, you might even occasionally hit your partner. And while I'm not advocating hitting your partner on a regular basis, you can't let those shots go by. So you have to call them ("Mine!") and go for them and not worry a whole lot about whether your partner is also going for them.

Having said that, if you find yourself with a partner who believes the tennis court is divided down the middle and balls that land on her side belong to her and balls that land on your side are yours and yours alone, no matter where you are positioned on the court . . . well, you may have problems.

So, communicate with your partner both before and throughout the match that you are going for everthing you can get to, whether its on "your side" or not, and you pretty much expect the same out of her. That conversation can very pleasantly go something like this: "Hey, I'm going to be aggressive today and go for everything I think I can get to. I'll keep an eye on you and be sure that I know what you're going for too. So don't worry about getting in my way.  I'll watch you.  Just go for everything you think you can get."

If your partner seems committed to the idea that she has a side and you have a side and never the twain shall meet, it may be time to get a new partner.


© Kim Selzman 2010
All Rights Reserved

March 21, 2010

Just A Lucky Shot - Part 2

How ironic that the day after I posted the "Just A Lucky Shot?" piece, I came up against the two "luckiest" ladies I've played in a long, long time.

From the time we started warming up, I kept telling my partner how dang sloppy they were. Both of them had terrible form and seemed completely unfocused. They were laughing and chatting throughout the warm-up and right into the match.

Now, I'm not saying I assumed we would win. I never assume I will win. I have had my butt kicked by plenty of ladies who were a lot older than me, a lot heavier than me and wore a lot more braces and devices than I will ever even figure out how to use. But I did believe we would PROBABLY win if we just worked hard and played aggressively.

And then the lucky shots started. I would hit a "winner" and the tall one would somehow stretch and reach it and get it back. I would slam an overhead and the chatty one would run back and just barely catch the ball on the bounce. My partner would hit hard, deep returns, and somehow, some way, our opponents kept getting them back.

At first, I told my partner, "Don't worry. That was just a lucky shot." But by about lucky shot number 12, I had to finally admit that not only were these ladies getting a whole bunch of lucky shots, I was getting beaten by these lucky shots!

Our opponents never stopped giggling. Their form never improved. But they kept hitting those weird, "I can't believe she got to that" shots, and in the end, they beat us. Not by a lot. But they beat us just the same.

So the first lesson I learned is actually the lesson I was trying to teach in my "Just A Lucky Shot?" post - don't be embarrassed when you win points with those seemingly lucky shots. You're doing something right and you can even win a match with those.

And the second lesson? Watch out for those sloppy, laughing, unfocused players who just keep hitting lucky shots!


© Kim Selzman 2010
All Rights Reserved

March 11, 2010

Just A Lucky Shot?

Do you hit winners with the frame of your racquet?  Do you serve aces that land nowhere near where you were aiming?   Do you hit shots that clip the net and somehow end up on the other side of the net, winning you the point?

Don't be embarrassed when this happens!  These may seem like "lucky shots" to you, and to your opponents, but the reality is - those shots only happen because about 85% of what you're doing is right.  Your racquet is pretty darn close to being properly positioned.  Your serve is almost going to the right spot.  Your shot is getting closer and closer to landing exactly where you planned for it to go.  Sure, we all hit "lucky shots."  But the more you practice, the more you try, the more lucky shots you'll hit. 

So don't be humiliated to win the point with these kind of shots.  Be proud!  Take that point and know that you're getting closer to playing exactly as well as you want to play!


© Kim Selzman 2010
All Rights Reserved

March 9, 2010

Eat Your Water!

Did you know eating your fruits and veggies can help keep you hydrated? These nutritious foods and not just full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Check out the water content of some of your favorites:
  • Apple - 84% water
  • Orange - 87% water
  • Avocado - 81% water
  • Broccoli - 91% water
  • Cabbage - 93% water
  • Lettuce - 96% water
  • Tomato - 97% water
Am I going to start carrying a tomato in my tennis bag to snack on? Probably not. But here's just another good reason to get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet!

For more helpful info on keeping hydrated, check out these posts:

Drink! Drink! Drink!

Quick Tennis Fix of the Day: Hydrate!


© Kim Selzman 2010
All Rights Reserved