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Why So Many Players Refuse To Play Singles

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John Mills, USPTA

Recently, I asked several of my students why they did not play Singles. The following are some of the reasons they gave and my response:

  1. I'm too old and too fat: Your level of fitness needs to improve. Start an exercise program that you can fit into your schedule, such as walking at least 3 times a week. Exercise plus playing 45 minutes to an hour twice a week will get you on your way to better physical fitness. Playing singles will give you a good idea of your general fitness.

  2. Too hot: Schedule your singles matches before 10:00 am. and after 7:30 pm. Drink plenty of water before, during and after.

  3. Too old: After teaching tennis for over 27 years, I can honestly say that age is not a factor. I once knew a sedentary, novice man who was 68 and had had a recent heart attack. In two years, he was playing U.S.T.A. age group tournaments in singles and doubles. He is healthier and happier than ever.

  4. The court is too small: Thank God your opponent has a smaller area to hit into and a smaller area for you to cover.

  5. No Singles players: Enter a National Tennis Rating Program (N.T.R.P.) and you will find out about players in your area that enjoy competition. You will find yourself developing new friendships with your new practice partners, and the social interaction is wonderful.

  6. No Strategy: There are many good books at the library, or you can take a lesson from a pro to learn the basics. In Singles, try to keep the ball in play, forcing your opponent to make errors. If your opponent is good on the baseline, but weak at the net, learn to hit short balls and draw them into the net. If you are running hard into the corner hit higher loopy balls cross-court to give yourself time to recover. If your receive a short ball, approach to their backhand and follow it to the net. As you become more powerful, you can assume the offensive on weak balls.

  7. Strokes are not good enough: When you first start playing singles, just play and enjoy it. As you get frustrated with your strokes, find a good pro and have a tune-up.

  8. I don't like to lose: Singles at this level is for fun and health, both mental and physical. Do not let winning or losing interfere with this.

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

    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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