Quantcast
nodot nodot
Turbo Tennis
September 2006 Article

Contact Ron Waite

Latest Turbo Tennis Article

Turbo Tennis Archives:
2003 - 2014
1996 - 2002

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 Maria Sharapova
tennis ball Petra Kvitova
tennis ball Simona Halep
tennis ball Eugenie Bouchard
tennis ball Agnieszka Radwanska
tennis ball Ana Ivanovic
tennis ball Caroline Wozniacki
tennis ball Na Li
tennis ball Angelique Kerber
 ... more profiles
 
Top Pros (Men)
tennis ball Novak Djokovic
tennis ball Roger Federer
tennis ball Rafael Nadal
tennis ball Stanislas Wawrinka
tennis ball David Ferrer
tennis ball Tomas Berdych
tennis ball Kei Nishikori
tennis ball Marin Cilic
tennis ball Milos Raonic
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
Turbo Tennis
 
Green Dot
 
Tennis Warehouse Logo
 
Green Dot

 
nodot
Working Your Way to Victory

Ron Waite Photo
Ron Waite, USPTR

Last month’s column, Playing Not to Lose?, was a huge success, given the e-mail feedback that my readers have sent to me. Well, if you liked last month’s effort, I am hoping this month’s column will be equally well received.

As a senior tennis player, my body has taught me some hard lessons. Let’s face it. If you play competitive tennis on hard courts, your body (especially the joints) is going to take a beating, sooner or later. So, over the years, I have learned to ease my way into matches and through tournaments. In part, my body has to be able to "go the distance," if I am winning. But aside from this, I think that playing one’s best tennis requires a progressive approach in each match and contest.

I am sure that this sounds a bit vague, but I think that, as you read on, you will begin to understand what progressive tennis means and why it can be important to every player.

Before we get to progressive tennis, let me start with an analogy. Assuming that you have ridden a bicycle at some point in your life, it is one of those things that never seem to leave our memory bank entirely. You’ll hear people say, "It’s like riding a bike. Once you know how, you never forget." Well, this is true and somewhat misleading.

Let’s say that it has been 10 years or so since you last rode on a bicycle. You’ve decided to take a ride on a newly purchased mountain bike. My guess is that your first few minutes on this vehicle are going to be a little shaky. Your balance is not quite 100%...turning sharply can be a little challenging…and I am fairly certain that you are not going to venture out onto an off road trail with moguls immediately. Why? You need to ease yourself back into the art of riding before you venture into the challenges of off road biking (which can be lots of fun).

When playing competitive tennis, we usually are not at such a disadvantage. We have probably practiced quite a bit, and we may even have some tournaments under our belts. But still, I would argue that we need to ease our way into each match.

How can we do this successfully?

First, I would strongly encourage you to have a warm up session well before the match is scheduled. If I am playing, let’s say, a 1 pm match, I like to get out about 10 am for a 45 minute warm up. I won’t strain myself--I won't try to hit any ball with lots of pace. Rather, I will try to "get by eyes on" with respect to the ball, and to fine tune my timing when striking the ball. I will make certain to take groundstrokes, volleys, serves, returns and a few overheads. But, I won’t strain myself. Most importantly, I don’t want this session to cause me fatigue. So having a cooperative hitting partner who is not going to run you from corner to corner is essential.

Having photographed pros on the tours for many years, I can assure the reader that I know of no player who does not have some sort of pre-match warm up. Some players like to take this warm up close to the scheduled match time. Others seem to have a set time in the morning for such a "workout."

Each of you should discover your own pre-match warm up ritual and always take the time to schedule it at a time that suits your own body’s and mind’s needs. The length of this warm up can be as little as one half hour or as long as an hour and a half. It is up to you to discover what works best for you.

This is the first step is "easing your way into a match."

Following this pre-match warm up, I try to take a shower, rest (making certain that I am not in the sun), and I force myself to hydrate. Though I am not fond of them, I will eat bananas for energy and to help my body hold onto water. I make a deliberate effort to sort out what my basic game plan will be. Obviously, the opponent, the surface, wind and sun conditions, and my own physical sense need to be considered in fashioning this game plan. Frequently, my pre-match warm up will give me some important information about my own physical sense.

This is the second step in "easing your way into a match." Unfortunately, most players who are not on the pro tours neglect this all important second step.

Most of the time, matches that are scheduled at a given time are played as scheduled. Once in a while, weather can cause delays. All too frequently, opponents will be deliberately "stuck in traffic," or otherwise delayed. You need to know the tournament rules! Most tournament directors will give a player who has an honest problem a chance to make her/his match… even if it causes a delay. But, at some point, the default rule must be known and enforced. The last thing you want is to prepare carefully, and have an opponent who is careless or playing psych games force an unnecessary delay. Whenever, I have faced this situation, I always force the tournament director to identify at what time the opponent who is late must default.

Directors don’t often like to be pinned down to a time, but I force them to make a ruling… and to stick to it. That’s why they are tournament directors. As a general rule, 30 minutes is a sufficient amount of time for an opponent to be late. Now, once the opponent does arrive he/she should not be given more than 15 minutes to get ready to play (assuming they need to change into tennis apparel, etc.). Once again, I pin tournament directors down as to when match will begin. I will ask the director directly, "If so and so is not on the court ready to play at such and such a time, he will be forced to default, correct?"

I know this sounds harsh, but I have played too many tournaments where "friends" of the tournament director are given too much leeway in these matters. Being a stickler on these rules allows your first two steps to continue to have benefit to you.

Stretching before going on the court to play is the third step in "easing your way into a match." I generally do not recommend any stretching without a little jogging, or other aerobic activity. Why? My theory is that the muscles need to warm up a bit before they are stretched.

If you are uncertain how to stretch before a match, I would refer you to one of my previous articles: Turbo Training: Stretching it to the limit, but not beyond!.

Most tournaments allow for a five minute warm up before the match is to begin. In reality, most players take about 8 to 10 minutes. My goals in the warm up have been the focus of one of my previous articles. So, here is the link: How to Win the Warm-up.

In a 5 minute warm up, I try to focus on determining what are my opponent’s weaknesses and strengths. Of course, warm ups are not always the best indicators. Still, they can tell you much, and confirm the validity of your game plan. Once in a while, I will have a game plan that focuses on exploiting the opponent’s backhand. In the 5 minute warm up, I discover that the opponent has poor to non-existent volleys. Needless to say, I will change my game plan to include bring my opponent to the net.

Winning the 5 minute warm up is the fourth step in "easing your way into a match."

Well now, we are ready to play the match. The first few points and games are not necessarily indicative of what will happen in a match. First, both opponents are a bit nervous. Second, it takes a few games to develop true focus. Third, conditioning and fatigue play no role at this point. So, I don’t allow myself to rejoice or panic at the beginning of a match.

Early on in the match (the first few games), I have literally two goals: I want to strike my balls as perfectly as is possible, and I want to see what my opponent doesn’t like. I know my strengths. I just need to allow my mind and body to relax, and I am confident that my strengths will eventually appear or re-appear.

I don’t hit any big shots or any big serves at the beginning of a match. Rather, I spin all my serves in deep…looking for placement, not pace. With groundstrokes, I am focusing on clearing the net with some height. This means that I am automatically imparting topspin and probably hitting at a comfortable level of effort. I take my time between points (within the rules) and try to get into my "rituals." Rituals are essential in tennis. They allow are minds and bodies to remain confident and relax, regardless of the score. If you have not spent time on developing rituals on the court, it is important to do so.

Starting at a safe and conservative level of play is the fifth step in "easing your way into a match."

Whenever I play a match, I automatically assume that it will take me three sets to win. In having this mindset, I am never in panic mode. Ironically, the more I adopt this mindset before a match begins, the more likely it is that I will win the match in two sets. But, every player has to be willing and able to go the distance.

Being willing to play three sets is the sixth step in "easing your way into a match."

If all of the above have been performed, you will probably find that you have your ups and downs in games, and in sets. This is completely normal! Rarely, does one opponent totally dominate a match. You need to be patient with yourself and accept the errors and mistakes that will invariably occur.

Learning not to panic is the seventh step in "easing your way into a match."

By the second set, I have a firm idea of what is working well for me and what is not. Equally, if not more importantly, I know what is and is not working for my opponent. Once I have a firm grasp of this knowledge, I can play aggressively. Aggressive tennis takes two forms. First, aggressive tennis means that you are going for your shots at every reasonable opportunity. Second, aggressive tennis means that you are preventing your opponent from hitting her/his shots as often as is possible. Together, these two approaches win matches.

By the third set, if I need it, I am playing at full speed. I don’t play timid third sets. I truly believe that these sets need to be played with no holds barred. I am fortunate that I train for third sets. Fatigue is usually not a problem for me…it sometimes can be a problem for my opponent. I want my opponent to realize that I want to win the third set…whatever it takes. Third sets are about mental willpower and fortitude of faith in one’s self.

I have found over the years that, if I "ease my way into a match," my chances of winning go up precipitously. I have seen lots of "big guns" win a first set handily…only to lose the match.

So, take the time to "ease your way into matches." I promise that if you do, you will become that feared tennis overdog.

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Turbo Tennis Archives:
1996 - 2002 | 2003 - 2014


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 Ron Waite, all rights reserved. Questions and comments about these columns can be directed to Ron by using this form.

Ron Waite is a certified USPTR tennis instructor who took up the game of tennis at the age of 39. Frustrated with conventional tennis methods of instruction and the confusing data available on how to learn the game, Ron has sought to sift fact from fiction. In his seven years of tennis, Ron has received USTA sectional ranking four years, has successfully coached several NCAA Division III men's and women's tennis teams to post season competition, and has competed in USTA National singles tournaments. Ron has trained at a number of tennis academies and with many of the game's leading instructors.

In addition to his full-time work as a professor at Albertus Magnus College, Ron photographs ATP tour events for a variety of organizations and publications. The name of his column, TurboTennis, stems from his methods to decrease the amount of time it takes to learn and master the game of tennis.


 

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

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
 
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Tennis Tickets 11/7-11/14
 
Davis Cup Finals: France vs Switzerland Tennis Tickets 11/21
 
Chris Evert Pro-Celeb Tennis Classic Tickets 11/22-11/23
 
2015 BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells 3/11-3/22
 
2015 Miami Open Tennis Tickets 3/23-4/5
 
2015 US Open Tennis Tickets 8/31-9/13
 

 

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:
 
Tennis Warrior: Five Powerful Tennis Concepts by Tom Veneziano.
 
October 2014 Tennis Anyone: Why Can I Not Poach? by John Mills.
 
October 2014 Turbo Tennis: Momentum Revisited by Ron Waite.
 
October 12, 2014 Between The Lines: Home Stretch 2014 -- On the Hard Courts of Asia by Ray Bowers.
 
Tennis Warrior: In Tennis, Principle Trumps Emotion by Tom Veneziano.
 
September 2014 Tennis Anyone: Things To Do and Not To Do by John Mills.
 
September 2014 Turbo Tennis: The Only Thing You Have To Fear Is Fear Itself!!! by Ron Waite.
 
September 9, 2014 Between The Lines: Dissecting U.S. Open 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
August 2014 Wild Cards: The Tennis Round Table: Interviews With Jim Courier, Todd Martin & Mark Philippoussis in Arizona by Vince Barr.
 
May 2014 Wild Cards: Michael Chang Wins Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Challenge in Arizona by Vince Barr.
 

 

 

 

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

  Featured Tickets:
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 1 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 2 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 3 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 4 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Final Session 26 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Women's Final Session 25 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Semifinals Session 24 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Women's Semifinals Session 23 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Quarterfinals Session 22 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis All Session Strip Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 1 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles Qualifying Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 2 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles Qualifying & Women's Singles 1st Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 3 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 1st Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 4 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 1st Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 7 Second Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 6 Men's First Round Women's Second Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 5 Men's First Round Women's Second Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 4 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 3 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

 
 
"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