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December 2009 Article

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Been There, Done That!
By Tony Severino
Certified Instructor 4A
Professional Tennis Registry

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Tony Severino

It's interesting to note the vocal reaction some folks have when a sure winning shot goes awry. They come in different decibel levels, but they all have that "aw shucks" flavor.
Let's listen to a few.
Gina eyes a floating sitter lazing toward her, head high. Oh boy, she's going to whack that volley right into... the net. She screams: "Darn!" (Or something close to that.) Been there, done that.
John sees both opponents are lagging back at the base line. He moves in for a drop shot right into... the tape. "Arrrggh!" he growls. Been there too.
Jim turns and points at the easy overhead just inside the service line. He places it neatly in one corner but they get it back. Their return is another easy overhead. This one he'll smash right.... against the back screen. "Drat!" Done that too.
All Marie cares about is that she doesn't double fault, but she already put the negative thought in her head. It's there, and sure enough the darn net reaches up and grabs her first serve. Okay, now don't double fault! Tell that to the ball. It sails long on the second try. "Rats!" she grumbles and turns away to lose that picture. I've done that.
Here comes a soft, knee high forehand which George can easily chop for a winner. It's best to chop with pace directly at the tape because the ball can float long. Great shot, George, right at the tape; oops, right into the tape.... and dribbles back. "Can you believe it!!" he cries. Yep.
Remember Aunt Hazel? She pops a forehand long, snaps her head down and growls aloud, "Peanut Butter!" (She thinks she's Billie Jean King!) Done that too: how many times?
Fred has trouble with top spin. Either there is too much top and not enough spin and the ball careens off the back screen; or there is too much spin and not enough top and the ball fizzles meekly into the net. "Can you believe it," he demands of no one in particular, except maybe Self One, who is probably shaking his head. I can. Done both.
Carla hits her lob short, falling about mid service box. Margie salivates as she aims and smashes it toward the alley. "Ooooh!", she screams. Too bad, Margie; wrong side of the side line. Check with Paul Wardlaw on shots down the sideline. I'm guilty too.
Roger (not that one) sprints from the ad court alley, crosses the center line and steps in front of his stunned partner in the middle of the deuce court. He cries "I got it!" And he gets it ---- into the net. "Rats!" he apologizes, mainly to himself. His partner stands staring in disbelief. Never done that.
Chris comes up on a short ball. His opponent is on the far side at the net away from him. Easy put away, right? Wrong! It goes wide. "Oh no!", he declares. Oh yes! Been there once or twice.
Jessie has a a backhand you won't believe. One hand job. Chuck Kriese says it's a mortal sin to hit a return into the net or out wide. Jess just did it. "Oh my," is her mild retort. Done that too, Jess.
The half volley is a great shot to have. Charles blocks it and misses it, head up and looking toward the net. See the ball Charlie. "I don't believe it!" say Charles. I do, because... well never mind.
All of these faults might have come out differently had we watched the racquet's strings meet the ball and follow it through.
Now fess up. Haven't you been there, done that? I have.

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