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Tennis Anyone
February 2016 Article

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Tennis vs. Skiing

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John Mills, USPTA

After returning from a week skiing in Vail Colorado, I had an interesting conversation about skiing with my friend; an excellent skier and instructor who had also taught me to ski. He noticed that just about every ski lesson he took over many years was very similar. From beginner to advance, the basics were the basics. Also, very similar to teaching and learning tennis, the basics are the basics.
 
What changes? In tennis you are trying to compete against an opponent. In skiing, you are testing your skills against the conditions on the mountain, (snow condition, weather, the difficulty of run, (green, blue, black, double black). At the top level you are competing against another skier or another skier's best time.
 
I teach tennis very similar to a beginner and an expert. The difference is the type of ball that I use to feed to them. Some beginners start off with soft "foam type" balls. The ball is fed slow and basically right to them at their waist. As time goes on, the regular tennis ball is introduced; the balls are fed to them at different paces, spin and heights. But, the basics: watch the ball, point of contact, footwork, depth control, consistency, strategy and patience, etc., is always the same.
 
In skiing, the basics: lean forward on the front of the boot, learn how to shift your weight, try to ski in parallel, etc., is always the same. The conditions are always changing. You versus the mountain.
 
In general, whether you are playing tennis or skiing or playing a sport, stick with the basics. You cannot go wrong.
 
Good luck on the Court!
 

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

John Mills currently teaches tennis at the University of Houston, Clear Lake campus. John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


 

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