In keeping with the tradition of New Year’s resolutions, I thought it appropriate that we look at some practical ideas for 2003 that are sure to get your game to where you’d like it to be. Tennis is a terrific way to get in shape, provided you follow some simple guidelines.
1. STRETCH AND GET WARM! Take care of your body, and your body will take care of you. Make sure that your “warm up” and “cool down” include light stretching of all major muscle groups. A light jog in place, followed by a 2-5 minute stretch before play prevents injury, and will mitigate soreness the next day. It’s important to stretch lightly after you finish playing as well, while the muscles are warm.
2. FIND A PRACTICE PARTNER. This is not so easy if you don’t currently have one, but it’s the best way to improve, and stick with your workout program. The easiest way to find a practice partner is to join a community tennis association, the USTA, or the YMCA. Contact a tennis center, and let them know your level, and your interest in finding a group your level that you can hit with. You may need to join a “clinic” of similar rated players. In any event, make a concerted effort to find a partner!
3. PRACTICE ON IMPROVING YOUR GLARING WEAKNESSES. The reason teaching and touring professionals have such a solid game is simple. They work hard on their weaknesses. What is your weakness? Once you’ve determined your most glaring weakness on court, contact a teaching professional, and specifically address this in a lesson. Make sure that you’ve practiced the suggestions your pro gives you, or the lesson is all for not!
4. DESIGNATE A WEEKLY TIME TO PLAY, AND DON’T CANCEL! In order for you to achieve your goal of fitness and game improvement, this is a must. Put the time and place in your planner and make it a permanent part of your schedule. You’ll be grateful that it is in your schedule after a stressful week!
5. MAKE IT FUN! Be creative in your workout sessions. Tennis “practice” doesn’t have to be boring. Some ways to keep it challenging and interesting include the following:
a. Cooperative competition: hit 10-20 forehands in a row cross-court, then switch to backhand
b. Cooperative competition: have one player on one side of the baseline, the other on the opposite side, center of the court. Player on center baseline is moved side to side by “stationary” player. Go for 15 to 20 in a row, then switch.
c. Competition: Play “Tug of War.” Both players start on baseline. Game starts with both players at 5. Player 1 needs to reach 10 to win, and player 2 needs to reach 0 to win. If player one wins 2 points in a row, he has 7. If he loses 2 after having 7 points, he goes back to 5. Players must win a succession of points to win game.
These are just a few examples of games. Create your own!
In closing, make sure that you stick to your fitness and game improvement resolutions! If you follow these simple suggestions, your goal will be easy and fun to achieve! Good luck!
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