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Tennis Anyone
July 2005 Article

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The "New Way?"

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John Mills, USPTA

I'm not sure the "New Way" of playing tennis is going to encourage players to continue playing into middle age and senior tennis. I cannot picture a 60 year old player hitting an "open stance," semi-western grip forehand while jumping off the ground. Because of the new technology, I see players of all levels hitting much harder. But, is that good?

As you know, the one-handed backhand ground stroke, the one-handed backhand volley and the one-handed slice is almost extinct. These are the most beautiful shots in the game. They have lost out due to the power of the "new game" and the longer learning curve to acquire these shots. Of course, all these shots are going to become invaluable to an older player. Also, where are our serve and volleyers? Extinct.

I do not know about everyone else, but 60% to 70% of my adult students play doubles. Why? Because of its social qualities and the need to only cover only half the court. Most of our leagues are set up to handle doubles. As a result, the serve and volley game is very important for any player to achieve in doubles.

My goal as a teaching pro is to teach all my students the skills needed to play for a lifetime. Not just to play great in one segment of their life. To me watching two players exchange ground strokes for hours is boring, like watching a no-hitter in baseball. However, watching a good serve and volleyer going to the net in doubles is exciting to watch and to play. Do yourself a favor and learn to play the whole game for a lifetime of fun.

Good luck on the courts!

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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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