Monday, June 24, 2013

Get in the game!  Do your share in doubles.

As I see it:

While taking a lesson, a student queried me: “where should I stand in doubles.” At the same time demonstrating to me that, he stands about three feet from the net, and straddles the Singles sideline to prevent his opponents from hitting down the line.

He suggested “…by standing in the alley, no one could pass him down the line.  True!

He also offered that his position gave his serving partner more room in which to hit their serve.  Also true!  I volunteered.

I agreed his reasoning made sense to protect the alley, and to give his serving partner room in which to place their serve was sound and purposeful; however, the execution and performance of this stratagem was flawed for “winning doubles” for several reasons.  Let me explain.

Certainly, standing in the alley would discourage the down the line shot, but it’s not doubles in tennis; you leave so much territory uncovered, or to be covered by your partner.  Not a good idea.

In doubles each team must decide how to adequately cover the entire court, where a tennis ball might land without leaving certain areas vulnerable, and open to your opponent.

Dividing the court equally and at the same time moving in tandem, wherever your partner might wander permits the easy, and adequate means to defend your side of the court.  At the same time this makes it harder for your opponents to penetrate.  The need to take the net, as soon as possible, and at all cost, cannot be overemphasized.

On certain points you might feign forgetfulness about watching the alley, just to entice an unwary opponent to present you with an easy “diagonally crosscourt” volley; just as you would move to one side of the service area, when waiting for the serve. 

This trick is employed to invite your serving team to serve to a certain side of the court or to an opponents’ forehand, or backhand.

Standing to one side in order to protect the alley requires your partner to cover more than their share of the court because more of the court is exposed, thus standing in the alley to protect it should be avoided.  Doing so immediately identifies your knowledge of the game of tennis to be weak.

Since your opponents’ strokes will be coming towards you, my experience shows me that by standing back at the service line when my partner is serving permits me more reaction time if the receiver is able to nail the serve.

And, being back from the net discourages lobs over my head, while also giving my partner all the court they need to see to serve into, so don't just stand on the sidelines, get on the court and into the games.

Friday, June 21, 2013

If not to win, why compete?

"Winning is not everything; it's the only thing." Vincent Lombardi.  If not to win, why compete?

History tell us that as man evolved, and became more civilized, he converted his skills of hunting into a sport, since hunting for his meat, furs, and fish life was no longer necessary to survive.

Men and women today shoot at targets rather than enemies as a sport, [unless at war] in competition in high school, college and the Olympics, as well as other competitive sporting events.

Competition, as a Nation, a team, or individual--pitting your athletic ability, skills, intelligence against your peers in sport--has always been a source of accomplishment, pride, self-worth, and yes,  often accompanied with the "Agony of defeat," yet few handle the last part of defeat very well.

A case on point.  Recently I've noticed in my circle of tennis playing friends competition has taken a new bent.   When each team has won a set, rather than play a third set, or play a tie-breaker, according to the rules, play is often just stopped.

As I see it, and perhaps, this stems from the newest educational phenomenon of "dumbing down America's society, and education."  Dumbing down our kids--who later become adults--because parents, and teachers alike are afraid to let their kids fail.  In Tennis, "Champions are born in the labor of defeat.

We are producing a lot of kids, and ["adults, as I see it, who look for short cuts...]"  The "no fail, "no win" approach to tennis does more harm than good," in society as well.  In Tennis, being an individual sport, you can be as good as you want to be.

My likeable, well meaning peers, who enjoy tennis play, but won't,  can't,  or claim either not to have the time, the need, nor the money--they say--to devote to improving their game to make them truly competitive.  Instead, they simply change partners to try to win, or agree to play only two sets, rather than play long enough to determine a winner;  or play only with their select foursome.

My observation has been many strong players will let the weaker player play the ad side, knowing that the strongr player would likely win more points on that side, and effect the outcome of the match favorable.

However, As I See it, if the stronger players are somewhat evenly matched, but one stronger player feels that the other weaker player might not be quite as weak as his, that player will often let the weaker player play the Ad court.  This way the stronger player saves face, because his partner allegedly insisted on playing the Ad court.

I know.  I've done my share of losing, and after losing, on the way home from an event, makes for a long trip, because a loss is a "disappointing companion."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Threats to Tatoos by President

Recently, it has been reported that President Obama has attempted to deter his daughters from following the trend of young adults and teenagers today from getting a tatoo.

That reminds me of when I was going home on leave from basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. After training, we got a chance to hit the town, or in other words to celebrate our getting out of basic, and presented with our next training, or duty assignment.

Many of my class members headed to the saloons or the tatoo parlors, or the red light districts, and there are plenty of each just outside of Lackland.

Though I was educated in the early 50's with all upper classmates, in a one room school house, that also served as our church on Sundays, sex was not a subject that parents, or grandparents of my generation ever to discuss.  Hey! But, it was understood though never a word was spoken about sex or tatoos in our family.  Both were taboo subjects.

Those neighbors, workers who did have tatoos showing, usually were celebrating a love affair, or remembering a parent or loved one, which often were soon regretted.

When I came home on "Home Leave," I  mentioned to my mother--not my father, mind you--that I had thought about getting a Tatoo: "Dangerous Dan." 

Why Dangerous Dan?  Well, a family friend, who later would lose a leg in a mining accident in West Virginia, coached Sandlot Baseball and had given me the moniker: "Dangerous Dan" for relief pitching, and strike outs on our baseball team:  Chisler Motors.  Don't laugh, I did have a tryout with the Cleveland Indians in 1960.

My mother's response: "You better not get no tatoo."  That was that!  Had I mentioned it to my father I  might not be writing this blog.

Obama's attempt to threatening his daughters about getting a tatoo amounts to being a challenge:  "Like families who tatoo together stray together, or stay together."

A better approach would be: "Get a tatoo, and you're out of here." or "Fine, get a tatoo in lieu of Tuition."