Quantcast
nodot nodot
Mortal Tennis
October 2004 Article

Contact Greg Moran

Mortal Tennis/Circle Game Archive

Get Greg Moran's book Tennis Beyond Big Shots at Amazon.com

Tennis Server
HOME PAGE

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

Then Sign Up For A Free Subscription to the Tennis Server INTERACTIVE
E-mail Newsletter!

You will join 25,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano that won't be found on the web site.
 
Best of all, it is free!

Player Profiles:
 
Top Pros (Women)
tennis ball Serena Williams
tennis ball Na Li
tennis ball Simona Halep
tennis ball Petra Kvitova
tennis ball Agnieszka Radwanska
tennis ball Maria Sharapova
tennis ball Eugenie Bouchard
tennis ball Angelique Kerber
tennis ball Jelena Jankovic
tennis ball Victoria Azarenka
 ... more profiles
 
Top Pros (Men)
tennis ball Novak Djokovic
tennis ball Rafael Nadal
tennis ball Roger Federer
tennis ball Stanislas Wawrinka
tennis ball Tomas Berdych
tennis ball Milos Raonic
tennis ball David Ferrer
tennis ball Juan Martin del Potro
tennis ball Grigor Dimitrov
tennis ball Andy Murray
 ... more profiles
 
Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

BETWEEN THE LINES - Ray Bowers takes an analytical and sometimes controversial look at the ATP/WTA professional tour.
 
PRO TENNIS SHOWCASE - Tennis match reports and photography from around the world.
 
TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
 
TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
 
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
 
TENNIS SET - Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D. looks at tennis science, engineering and technology.
 
MORTAL TENNIS - Greg Moran's tennis archive on how regular humans can play better tennis.
 
MENTAL EQUIPMENT - Explore the mental side of the game with Dr. John Murray.
 
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
 
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.
 
TENNIS EQUIPMENT TIPS.

Tennis Community Icon TENNIS COMMUNITY:


Tennis Book, DVD, and Video Index
 
Tennis Server Match Reports
 
Editor's Letter
 
Become a Tennis Server Sponsor

Explore The Tennis Net Icon EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:

Pro Tennis Calendar & Event Links
 
Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
 
Tennis Links on the Web
 
nodot
Mortal Tennis By Greg Moran


 

Green Dot
 
Tennis Warehouse Logo
 
Green Dot

 
nodot
Is Andy Roddick Bad For Tennis?

Greg Moran Photo
Greg Moran

One of the many things that arrive during middle age, aside from sore joints, slower reflexes and tuition bills, is the urge to step back and take a look at years gone by.

As a long-time tennis junkie, I find that I've recently developed a (perhaps long overdue) curiosity about the game's history and concern for its future. An organization called the Tennis Industry Association shares the same concern.

One of the chief objectives of the TIA is to gauge the state of the game. To do this, they have a variety of ways to measure how popular tennis is and they constantly strive to find ways to, as they call it, "grow the game."

Recently, I was asked my opinion on the state of the sport. Armed with my new found philosophical perspective and the fact that I've taught thousands of players over the past thirty years, I had some very definite thoughts on what it takes to grow the game.

I've always felt that once you first get a racket in a player's hand for the first time the key to making them long-term, recurrent players, hinges on two things: fun and success.

First and foremost, the game has to be presented in a manner which is enjoyable. Be it a gym teacher, a Parks and Rec counselor or a teaching professional, that person must be trained so that their primary goal is to make the game a fun activity. Technique can come later, fun must come first.

I am a classic example of this. I'll never forget my first lesson with a young pro named Rick. I was ten years old and because both my parents played, they wanted me to give it a shot. So I took some lessons from, what I now realize, were very mediocre and under motivated pros. To be honest with you, I hated it. I was a baseball and basketball player. Tennis was "stupid."

Then I met Rick and the moment I stepped on the court with him I was hooked. He had an enthusiasm and passion for the game that made his lesson court a "fun" place to be. Information was being conveyed and learning taking place, but always under the umbrella of "fun." As a result, I fell in love with the game.

From Rick, my philosophy of teaching evolved. Of course, I want my students to improve, and they do, but the improvement in their skills is always secondary to their enjoyment of their time on the court with me.

For most, tennis is a recreational activity, a pause from the hectic schedule that is their lives. So clearly an initial experience with the game should be with a person who is enthusiastic, encouraging and has a true passion for the sport.

While having fun will keep people coming back for a while, most also want to see improvement--which brings me to the title of this column.

Be it "hit homers like Barry," "be like Mike," or "serve like Sampras," all sports depend upon the dream of greatness to help them grow. Tennis is no different. We all want to be like the stars on television with their 140 m.p.h. serves and supersonic forehands. It's human nature.

What's wrong with that? In the past, nothing. However, I feel that with the way tennis is being played today at the professional level, the argument can be made that the pros of today are hurting the long-term growth of the sport.

Let me explain. I live about an hour away from Flushing Meadow, the site of the U.S. Open. As a result, most of my students make it out to the Open each year or watch a good portion of it on television.

Coincidentally, the first week of my winter session usually coincides with the end of the Open so the tournament is always a hot topic of conversation as the season begins. This year was no different.

After the initial "good to see you again, how was your summer" comments, the conversation in each lesson quickly turned to the Open. After a few minutes discussing the great Serena robbery (and she was robbed and it did make a difference) the talk turned to the actual play. I always make it a point to ask my students what they noticed about the players at the tournament. For the last few years the comments has always been the same:

"I can't believe how hard they hit the ball."

And with those words begin the worst week in the life of a tennis teaching professional. After being fed a two week diet of ballistic serves and Richter scale forehands by their tennis superheroes, mortal players around the world develop a serious case of "I can do that too" disease. They don their capes and attempt the tennis equivalent of leaping tall buildings in a single bound: big serves, monster forehands and line-skimming backhands.

This "I can do it too" approach brings a few fleeting flashes of brilliance, many more moments of frustration and enough tennis elbow to make an orthopedic doctor salivate.

Yes, I know, it feels good to "go for it" but at the end of the day, this style of play will leave you with little more than a string of impressive sounding errors as well as a sore arm and/or shoulder.

Now, before all of you teaching pros grab your mouse, I am well aware of the fact that there is a lot more strategy going on out there with the big boys and girls on the tour. However, most recreational players do not pick that up. They only notice how hard the pros hit the ball and the number of aces they serve in each match. They then head out to their weekly game, trying to emulate their heroes. And that is when the problems begin.

I suggest that emulating the way the tennis pros play it today can be hazardous to both your physical and psychological health.

The next time you're at the tennis courts take a look at the number of people with tennis elbow. The vast majority of tennis elbow comes from two things: hitting the ball too often or hitting incorrectly. Given the recent statistics on recurrent play, I don't think people are playing too often. Western grips, open stances and a hit it hard, big shot mentality are the culprits at the recreational levels. I know this to be a fact because I see it every day of my life! What's particularly disturbing is the growing number of injuries among junior players.

The go for broke style of play is also not an enjoyable way to play the game. We've all been on the court with that player who can't wait to tee it up and let it rip. Regardless of whether he or she makes or misses the shot, the point is over very quickly. As a result, the actual game is being played for a very short period of time, there's very little strategy and a minimal amount of exercise.

Additionally, improvement with this approach is more often than not slight. So, what you end up with are players who, at the end of their 60 minutes on the court, have had a few, very brief moments of greatness and many, many more moments of frustration. The only real exercise they've gotten came from repeatedly slapping themselves on the thigh after another error and, on top of that, they're angry at themselves because they "should be better."

They then leave the court and head straight for the ice machine, in search of relief for their throbbing arm." Where is the fun in that? Who can blame them for not wanting to rush back to the tennis court?

Now think back to the pros of the 60's 70's and 80's. They displayed a game of control and consistency. They worked to develop a point. So you see, though we were still trying to "play like the pros," their style of play was something we could realistically emulate.

More important, even though we would never reach their actual level of play, we did learn a style of play that brought us long rallies, better exercise and a heck of a lot of fun. I wonder if the tennis "boom" of the 70's might have had a bit to do with that.

So the argument can be made that the way the pros play today is actually hurting the growth of the game. What do you think? Let me know using this link.

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Mortal Tennis/Circle Game Archive

If you have not already signed up to receive our free e-mail newsletter Tennis Server INTERACTIVE, you can sign up here. You will receive notification each month of changes at the Tennis Server and news of new columns posted on our site.

This column is copyrighted by Greg Moran, all rights reserved.

Greg Moran is the Head Professional at the Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, Connecticut. He is a former ranked junior and college player and certified by both the USPTA and USPTR. Greg has written on a wide variety of tennis-related subjects for numerous newspapers and tennis publications including Tennis, Tennis Match and Court Time magazines. He is also a member of the FILA and WILSON Advisory Staffs.

Questions and comments about these columns can be directed to Greg by using this form.


 

nodot
nodot
Google
Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
 
Rogers Cup Tickets Toronto 8/4-8/10
 
Western & Southern Open Tickets Cincinnati 8/9-8/17
 
US Open Tickets 8/25-9/8
 

 

Tennis MindGame

 
Popular Tennis books:
 
Smart Tennis by John Murray
 
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert, Steve Jamison
 
The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance by Jeff Greenwald
 
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
 
Most Recent Articles:
 
July 6, 2014 Between The Lines: Glory At Wimbledon 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
Tennis Warrior: The Great Tennis Divide by Tom Veneziano.
 
July 2014 Tennis Anyone: Prevention by John Mills.
 
July 2014 Turbo Tennis: Perfect Volleys by Ron Waite.
 
June 21, 2014 Between The Lines: Spotlight Wimbledon 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
Tennis Warrior: Tennis University by Tom Veneziano.
 
June 2014 Tennis Anyone: High-Low vs. Low-High by John Mills.
 
June 2014 Turbo Tennis: 'Sensible' Tennis by Ron Waite.
 
May 2014 Wild Cards: Michael Chang Wins Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Challenge in Arizona by Vince Barr.
 
April 2014 Wild Cards: Revenge of the Yankees! Great Britain Dominates The U.S. In San Diego by Vince Barr.
 

 

 

 

 
 
Featured events in the Tennis Server Ticket Exchanges:
 
  Featured Tickets:
BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells CA Tennis Garden
Sony Open Tennis Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
 

  Featured Tickets:
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 5 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 6 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 7 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 8 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Quarterfinals Session 21 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Quarterfinals Session 20 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Quarterfinals Session 19 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 18 Men's Fourth Round Women's Quarterfinals New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 17 Men's Fourth Round Women's Quarterfinals New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis Session 5 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 1st Round Women's Singles 2nd Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 6 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 1st Round Women's Singles 2nd Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 7 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 2nd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 8 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 2nd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Great American Beer Festival Tickets Denver CO Colorado Convention Center

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 2 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 1 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Grounds Admission Pass Flushing Meadows Corona New York NY National Tennis Center 8/26-9/9
Arthur Ashe Kids' Day Tickets Flushing Meadows Corona New York NY
Great American Beer Festival Tickets Denver CO Colorado Convention Center

 
 
"Tennis Server" is a registered trademark and "Tennis Server INTERACTIVE" is a trademark of Tennis Server. All original material and graphics on the Tennis Server are copyrighted 1994 - by Tennis Server and its sponsors and contributors. Please do not reproduce without permission.

 

Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
Editor-in-chief
2323 Clear Lake City Boulevard
Suite 180-139
Houston, Texas 77062-8120
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Fax: (281) 480-7715
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy