Thursday, April 30, 2020

Home Tennis - Tennis at Home: Six Ways to Improve Your Tennis Game from Home (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

Six Ways to Improve Your Tennis Game from Home
1. Practice Shadow Swings
2. Get Creative with Tools You Have Around You
3. Practice Visualization Techniques
4. Get in Tennis Shape thru Home Exercises, Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates
5. Learn from the Best Players thru Online Videos
6. Improve Your Tennis IQ thru Articles, Books, Websites, Podcasts, Videos

For more on this topic, see: How to Improve Your Tennis Game at Home, by TennisGate Online Academy

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Virus and Tennis: Poignant Photos in the Age of the Virus (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

Competition and Tennis - What Players Should Know (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown: Knowledge from Home)

Competition in Tennis: Here's a few unvarnished pointers from experienced coaches that players should know:

1. Competitive tennis is hard work.  Stop looking for short cuts. 

2. There is no such thing as an indirect win.  Peter beat Tony and I beat Peter so I beat Tony.  Sorry! You have to beat Tony on the court.

No one cares if you lost because you played badly.  Stop annoying us and keep it to yourself.

Before you beat anyone, you have to win the battle against yourself. Conquering your fears and emotions is step one during competition.

5. Thinking you are better than someone else is not quite the same as beating him/her on the court.

I am sorry to shock you but tennis is a running game.  Shut up and run!

If you want to win, there is one rule you cannot ignore: The ball has to land inside the lines and clear the net.  There are no points for style.

The most important element of a clean winner is the “in” factor not the “hard” factor.

You get a point for a winner and you lose a point for an unforced error.  They both count the same. Make sure it balances in you favor at the end of the match.

You cannot always practice with better players because better players want to practice with better players.

For many more pointers, see: What Every Coach of Competitive Players Hopes His or Her Players Will Eventually Understand, by TennisGate Online Academy

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Pilates and Tennis (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown: Knowledge from Home)

Pilates is a physical fitness exercise system developed in the early 20th century by German physio-trainer Joseph Pilates. It's methodology is called "Contrology", and aims to elevate optimum health by improving the human mind and body. Pilates seeks to strengthen the core or "powerhouse", enhance lower-body stability, and improve overall flexibility through controlled movements. 

Qualities of Pilates applicable to tennis include
*Core strength and stability
*Balance and coordination
*Flow, alignment and centering
*Breathing and relaxation 

For more reading on Pilates
3. The Effect of Pilates Reformer Exercises to Tennis Skills on Tennis Players (Study by Mine Gul, Kocaeli University, Turkey on 14 Elite Female Tennis Players Age 16 to 18 Finding Positive Effect on Ability to Reach Ball and Recover for Next Shot - July 2019) 

Watch Wimbledon Champion Pat Cash Demonstrate PilatesCourtesy: Firefly Entertainment

Monday, April 27, 2020

Yoga and Tennis (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown: Knowledge from Home)

Yoga consists of a collection of physical, mental and spiritual practices originating from ancient India. It constitutes a school of Hindu philosophy about the body, mind and the Universe. In the West, it has developed into physical fitness exercises offering stress relief and relaxation. Yoga has cross-training benefits with other sports such as, of course, tennis. 

Qualities of Yoga applicable to tennis include:
*Core and Lower Body Strength and Stability
*Mindfulness of "the Present" and Breath Control

For more reading on Yoga:

Watch ATP Player Sam Querrey Demonstrate Yoga
Courtesy: ATP Tour

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Tai Chi and Tennis (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown: Knowledge from Home)

Tai Chi is the Chinese marital art and exercise regime from the 16th Century practiced for self-defense, health benefits and meditation. It utilizes the Chinese cosmological concept of yin and yang (the opposing forces of balance in mind and body). Tai Chi also offers to enhance the body's natural biological and spiritual "flow" called Qi.

Qualities of Tai Chi applicable to tennis include
*Core and Lower Body Strength and Stability
and body awareness

*Projecting internal energy
*Focus and stillness 

For more reading on Tai Chi
Observe Tai Chi Moves of Roger Federer and Serena Williams
("Upper Half Body Turn" and "Upper Quarter Body Turn")

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Confidence and Tennis: Tennis Quote of the Day - "Confidence" (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

"Confidence comes from disciplined hard work. A supremely confident player has lost the fear of losing and the fear of winning." Paul Annacone, Former Coach to Roger Federer and Pete Sampras

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Movies and Tennis - Let's Go to the Movies (Tennis-style)! A few choices . . . (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

1. Love Means Zero (2017): Documentary on the life of legendary Coach Nick Bollettieri with his relentless desire to win and troubled relationship with 8-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi. (Hulu, Amazon Prime, Showtime)
2. Resurfacing (2019): Documentary showcasing the hip injury and recovery of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray from 2017 to 2019. (Amazon Prime) 

3. Battle of the Sexes (2017): Biographical sports film loosely based on the 1973 exhibition tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome, the most watched sports event of all time. (Amazon Prime) 

4. Borg v. McEnroe (2017): Biographical sports film showcasing the famous rivalry between tennis stars Bjorn Borg (Sweden) and John McEnroe (USA) culminating in the 1980 Wimbledon Championships. (Hulu, Amazon Prime) 

5. 7 Days in Hell (2015): A "mockumentary" comedy inspired by the Isner-Mahut marathon men's singles match at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships. Two players battle in a tennis match over seven days. World-class cameos by Serena, McEnroe, Evert and others. (HBO, Hulu) 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Vision and Tennis: *Knowledge from Home* (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

You can't hit well, what you can't see well. What we have always been told is: "Watch the ball!" and "Keep your eye on the ball!" and "Keep your eyes on the contact point!" The problem, however, is "visual wandering" and lack of visual discipline. 
But like any other set of skills, Visual Skills can be improved. 

"Watch the ball" is either watching the ball coming towards you or away from youBroken down as: 
1. TRACKING (ball towards you): From the opponent's contact point to the ball bouncing on your side.
2. ZOOMING (ball towards you): From the bounce, the ball is ascending, at the top, or descending (or in hit in the air).
3. SCANNING (ball away from you): After your ball strike, anticipating your next shot by observing the opposing player, and his or her posture, balance, contact, strike zone, preparation and patterns. 

Read more about Building Visual Skills in Tennis: 
"Acquiring Visual Skills Essential for Tennis"
Feisal Hassan, USPTA Master Professional

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Balance and Tennis: *Knowledge from Home* (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

"Balance is the key fundamental. It is what makes the expert game look so easy. Proper balance means an economy of motion: achieving maximum results from minimum effort." Coach Welby Van Horn, "Secrets of a True Tennis Master

Balance = Control Your Body's Center of Gravity

Read more about Building Balance Skills in Tennis:

"Acquiring Balance Skills Essential for Tennis"

Feisal Hassan, USPTA Master Professional 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Good Posture and Tennis (On Court and Off): *Knowledge from Home* (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

Some Simple Steps to Better Posture
1. Use a "Mental Mirror": Think about how your body looks to others. This automatically makes you look straighter, etc. 
2. Look Up: when you walk, talk or sit. 
3. Clasp Your Hands Behind Your Back: forces you to think about posture and get straight.

4. Set an Alert on your fitness watch or alarm clock to check your posture.
5. Get Up Each Morning mindful of putting on good posture. 

Source Credit:"8 Simple and Surprising Ways to Improve Your Posture, You'll Have More Energy and Confidence", Bottom Line Personal Magazine (, Joel Harper, Trainer and Author

Body Posture and Tennis (Video by Coach Jorge Capestany, USPTA Master Professional) (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

Courtesy: Jorge Capestany Tennis

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Confidence and Tennis (and Business & Life): *Knowledge from Home* (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

You Create Confidence
"No one feels confident 100% of the time. . . Confidence is not just something you have - it's something you create. It's a sense of certainty. It's the feeling that you can accomplish anything that comes your way. It's a state of mind . . . "

When they see you, they say: "That person looks confident and knows what they are doing." 

Use Body Language to Create Confidence
"[L]earn how to appear more confident simply by using your body to your advantage . . . [Create] confidence by taking a power stance, putting a relaxed expression on your face and holding your head up high." 

Six Ways to Get It
1. Adjust your posture to be straight and relaxed
2. Stop fidgeting
3. Check your hands and how you are holding them
4. Work on eye contact
5. Improve your handshake (or "social-distance greeting") 

6. Stay mindful of your facial expressions and voice 

Credit: For more see, 6 Ways to Exude Confidence, Tony Robbins,

For FREE download of the 101 Page "Re-Awaken the Giant Within", a condensed and republished version of the almost 30-year-old #1 National Bestseller "Awaken the Giant Within", by Tony Robbins, world-renowned personal success coach, offered by the Tony Robbins Foundation, click below.

**Testimonial of Serena Williams, 23-time Grand Slam Champion, for Tony Robbins success' methods
“Tony Robbins’ coaching has made a remarkable difference in my life both on and off the court. He’s helped me discover what I’m really made of, and he’s enabled me to see things from an empowering new vantage point. With Tony’s help, I’ve set new standards for myself, and I’ve taken my tennis game—and my life—to a whole new level!” 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Spin and Tennis - The Game of Spin: *Knowledge from Home* (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

"TENNIS HAS BEEN called the game of inches, of kings, of poets, of love, of errors, of endurance, of a lifetime. But those are mostly metaphors. Really, tennis is the game of spin." 

Spin is king. Spin kills. Spin wins points and matches. 

The great tennis superstar of yesteryear Bill Tilden wrote a book still considered a classic called "Match Play and the Spin of the Ball." Rafael Nadal hits a massive topspin forehand 3 feet above the net with record-breaking RPM (revolutions per minute) which drops down into the opponent's court like a bomb. Roger Federer hits an unequaled, biting underspin slice which fiercely dips down into the opponent's court and forces an impossible reply.      

Understanding and appreciating SPIN in tennis elevates your tennis knowledge to a higher level. 

Credit: Read about the Mind-Bending Physics of a Tennis Ball's Spin (Wired Magazine, Nick Stockton, September 12, 2015)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Tennis Forehand Firepower - Swing from the Shoulder: *Knowledge from Home* (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

CHALLENGE: Getting a massive free-swinging stroke with loose grip, smooth backswing, natural wrist lag, maximum "contact-point" time with the ball, "feet-legs-hip-core-dominant shoulder-wrist-hand" all firing in sequence, with a full flowing follow thru (kinetic chain).

PROBLEM: It can't be forced. It can't be tight. It can't be "arm-y" (all-arm). It doesn't come naturally or intuitively or without training or without informed knowledge. 

ANSWER: Follow the science. After the Unit Turn, and Backswing and Body Load (with "full stretch" in the chest and side): Focus on the pulling the non-dominant shoulder and hitting with the dominant shoulder. This automatically fires the kinetic chain and pulls the body sequence: hips-core-dominant shoulder-arm-wrist-hand-butt-cap at ball. This maximizes the full ARM & SHOULDER WING SPAN and makes it work together with the hips firing and core rotation. 

SOURCE: "The primary source of power was the horizontal adduction torque, which was used to accelerate the arm in the transverse plane."

Biomechanics of the Tennis Forehand Stroke, Rafael E. Bahamonde, Ph.D., Indiana University, (Page 5, 2001).

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Nutrition and Tennis: Better Nutrition for Tennis Players (and Everyone) (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

1. Vary Your Food Choices
2. Take a Fresh Look at Fat (Choose Polyunsaturated)
3. Less Added Sugar
4. Cut Sodium, not Potassium

Credit: For more information, see What's New in Nutritional Guidelines? (March 2016), Harvard Men's Health Watch, Harvard Medical School

Friday, April 3, 2020

Sleep and Tennis: Better Sleep in Uncertain Times (for Tennis Players and Others) (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

Daytime Tips
1. Consistent routine
2. Get morning light
3. Exercise
4. Don't use your bed as an escape
5. Avoid late night caffeine
6. Helping others with kindness

Nightime Tips
1. Prepare for bedtime with a routine and a comfortable sleep environment
2. Blackout news, cell phones and electronics
3. Minimize alcohol and caffeine
4. Set a regular bedtime
5. Reduce stress
6. Minimize time in bed while not sleeping

Credit: For more information, Strategies to Promote Better Sleep in These Uncertain Times, Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Medical School, Suzanne Bertisch, M.D., M.P.H. (March 27, 2020)

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Relaxation and Tennis: Improve Your Relaxation Skills (On and Off the Court) (Tennis and the Coronavirus Lockdown)

Part I: Conceptual
Improve Your Relaxation: "Harnessing the Upsides of Stress"

Harness stress:
1. Move from "Excite-to-Delight": Using "excitement" energy to passionately "capitalize" on the task at hand.
2. Ask "Why Am I Nervous?": Realize that you're nervous because it matters to you, and that it reinforces your values.
3. "Convert Stress" to: rituals that reinforce positive self-image, strong body language, connections to people and the environment, reinforcement of your "aliveness", and a focus on the bigger purpose of your task or activity.

Credit: For more information: "Harnessing the Upsides of Stress", Healthbeat Blog, Harvard Medical School, from The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You and How to Get Good at It, Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. (New York, NY: Penguin Random 2016)

Part II: Practical
Improve Your Relaxation: "Psych-down Techniques"

Relaxation Tips

1. Deep, slow breathing, with mental focus on the exact point when the inhale becomes the exhale
2. Muscle relaxation: Passive and Active
3. Slow the Pace of Competition
4. Process Focus: Pay attention to the process, not the outcome
5. Repeat Keywords or Numbers Sequence
6. Music
7. Smile

Credit: For more information, see "Sports: Psych-down Techniques", Psychology Today (May 13, 2010), Jim Taylor, Ph.D.