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Posted: 10/29/2012
Lapse in Concentration by Scott Baker
General Articles

There are a few times in a match that I feel are key moments to make sure you do not slack off and lose focus. As a player you should be aware of these times and realize that these moments are when you need to focus the most. Also realize that there are times that your opponent might slack off mentally and be sure that you take full advantage.

There is a saying that goes "The best time to break serve is right after being broken". The reason being is that players tend to relax a little after they break serve since they know they now have the advantage. If you break your opponent's serve you need to stay focused and do not try to just go through the motions. If you relax and think everything is going to be a walk in the park you may find yourself getting broken back. On the flip side, if you get broken, do not get discouraged. Look for a lapse of concentration from your opponent and look to break right back.

The one that used to get me time and time again is the second set. I would almost always win the first set and I would be playing well. However, I had a tendency to relax in the second set and lose focus. The last thing you want to do is to lose the second set and give the other player confidence going into a third set. Stay focused if you win the first set and continue to put pressure on your opponent. Just because you won the first set does not mean you will win the match. Once again, looking at it from the other side of things. If you lose the first set do not get discouraged. Stay focused and look to win the second set and push your opponent to three sets.

Down Love-40? It is always a great feeling to come back from Love-40 and show your opponent that you will fight for each and every point. However, Love-40 to 40-40 (deuce) is only good if you seal the deal and win the game. Many players here feel the battle is to just even the score and get to 40-40 and they relax a little. The real battle is to win the game. Do not relax just because you evened the score, keep the motivation going and work your heart out for those last two points. Winning a game from Love-40 is a great way to deflate your opponent's confidence. If you were the one up 40-Love and and you still lost the game, it is a game that will fester in your mind for a while.

There are many times to lose focus during a match, realize what they are and stay focused. Recognize when your opponent loses focus and make them pay for getting lazy on the court.

Posted: 10/25/2012
General Quick Tips
General Articles

1. When hitting topspin, swing low to high. You can swing as hard as you want at the ball as long as you generate enough topspin to bring the ball down into the other side of the court.

2. Always bring the racquet back as early as possible. This allows you more time to prepare your shot and will help you to feel less rushed, especially against big hitters. Bringing the racquet back early also helps you to adjust for bad bounces or weird spins.

3. Take little steps to adjust your position to hit the ball, never large strides. Taking smaller steps helps you to make the right adjustments to hit the ball. It helps keep you balanced as well as adjusting to any bad bounces.

4. Always watch the ball into your strings. Avoid taking your eyes off the ball before impact, many people look to see where they are going to hit the ball before they actually hit the ball. If your head lifts up, so does your racquet, often causing miss-hits. Most of us have played enough tennis to know if the ball will go in or not once we hit the ball if we never even look at the court. Trust yourself and keep your eyes on the ball.

5. Do not be afraid to lob. Lobbing can get you back into a point and is sometimes the smarter play.

6. Always aim to get your ground strokes beyond the service line. Hitting your shots short in the court can set your opponent up to attack.

7. Swing as hard at your second serve as you do at your first serve, just use all spin.

8. On the return of serve do not take a big backswing swing if your opponent has a big serve. Instead, keep your backswing compact and short. This will allow you more time to adjust and hit the ball.

9. Use different spins on your shots to help keep your opponent off balance. Hitting the same shot with the same spin every time will allow your opponent to get into a groove on their shots.

Posted: 10/22/2012
7 Benefits of good footwork
General Articles
Tennis footwork is probably the most misunderstood skill behind successful tennis.

Most players realize that footwork is vital for their success but the majority of them don't really understand how to go about improving it.

The sad thing is that unlike most of the other components that make up great tennis, footwork is something every player can improve regardless of age and ability.

It is also the one component that can transform your game to new heights without you having to pick up a racket or learn a bunch of new shots.

Often, when a player hits a wall with their game and they don't seem to be improving like they once were, a period of improving their footwork breathes new life into their game and propels them to new heights.

But what exactly can improved footwork do for you?

Here are seven great reasons why you need to start working on your tennis footwork... today!

1. Increased Shot Options

The thing about having poor footwork is that you are often left to play the only shots open to you because other more suitable shots are out of reach because of poor positioning.

Normally what happens is that players still go for these "more suitable" shots and miss them because their poor footwork and court coverage meant they weren't properly prepared to execute the shot.

Improving your footwork means you get to balls sooner and in better position than ever before -- and this gives you a greater choice about what to do with the ball.

Crosscourt, down the line, deep or angled... the choice is yours. And not only are you better placed to play a variety of shots, you soon begin to see an improvement in your shot selection.

2. Reduced Unforced Errors

Reducing unforced errors is the quickest way to see your tennis results dramatically improve. This is true for all levels of the game, especially at the club level where the ability to hit lots of winners is usually less than in the pro game.

Not having to play shots from too close to the ball or too far away helps you to keep the unforced errors down while increasing your chances of winning the match.

3. Increased Power

As your footwork improves and you get to the ball in good time and in good position, you increase your ability to strike the ball with more power.

You get to use your legs better and drive into the ball which only leads to more powerful shots -- and a headache for opponents.

4. More Control

Winning in tennis is all about control -- control of the tennis ball and control of yourself.

Improved footwork and court position allows you to control the ball with the shots you play. It also allows you to control your movements around the court, which means that you get to play more shots every point. 
5. Faster Speed

Speed is the X-factor behind winning in sport, and tennis is no exception.

Better footwork allows you to move and change direction on the court at increased speeds, and that not only keeps you in many points, it helps you turn defense into offense. It also helps you convert attacking situations into winning points.

6. Energy Conservation

One of the big factors behind club players not playing at their best is the fact that too many of them get tired too quickly, which in turn cause their form to dip.

Improving your footwork helps you conserve your energy because of the superior mechanics involved.Training to improve footwork is a great way to get fitter in all areas of your tennis fitness.

The end result is ability to play at a much higher level than before and for longer periods of time.

7. Injury Prevention

Injury is something that happens in sport, but you can affect the amount of times you get injured by improving your footwork.

By getting yourself into improved position on the court you significantly reduce the loads placed on the body at compromising angles, which subsequently leads to reduced injuries.

Also, by improving your fitness you delay the time before your body begins to fatigue, which is the state in which the chances of injury quickly increases.

In short, improving your footwork allows you to create more shot options, reduce unforced errors, hit with more power and control, move at increased speeds, all while conserving your energy and reducing your chances of injury. Do you think that would make you a better player?

The best news of all is that you only need 10 minutes at a time to start seeing a difference in the way you move and play. And you don't need to learn any new shots -- these benefits will happen with the game you have already.

Posted: 10/16/2012
Hitting Slice by Scott Baker
General Articles

The way a ball spins when hit in the game of tennis can greatly affect a large part of your game as well as your opponent's game. High bouncing balls may cause your opponent to have trouble returning the ball. Maybe your opponent has a problem hitting balls that do not bounce but a few inches off of the ground. Balls can also bounce side ways, jamming or stretching out your opponent while they try to hit their return. In whichever case, there are different types of spins and several ways to use them to your advantage. In this article we first look at what slice is and then how to hit the ball with slice.

Slice Groundtroke
Flat Groundstroke
Topspin Groundstroke

Slice is just the opposite of topspin. Slice is generated by hitting the ball with a high to low motion with your racquet. Balls that are hit with slice have "backspin" on them. This backspin does not allow the ball to bounce high. (See diagram above) The ball stays relatively low when it hits the ground, and the ball slows down as well. The slice is not used as much in today's game as it was in the past. With so many players now using the extreme western grips the days of seeing lots of slice shots are gone.

The slice is a very fluid motion and does not need to be hit hard. A slice shot is good for placement and keeping the ball low. I personally use them mainly for approach shots (forehand and backhand) depending on the situation. You will notice that the extremity of the high to low motion is not the same as the topspin's low to high. You do not need to chop at the ball. It is a smooth motion mainly swinging forward but with a high to low motion of the racquet. The more "high to low" you hit, the more backspin you create and the lower the ball will bounce. If you hit enough "high to low" the ball may bounce backwards depending on how hard you swing at the ball. Usually this technique is reserved for drop shots. Drop shots are always hit with backspin to keep the ball from getting any closer to the opponent once they bounce and it keeps the ball low giving the opponent less time to get to the ball.

Slice is great weapon to have, especially if your opponent has trouble hitting balls that bounce low. Some players don't bend their knees well when hitting low bouncing balls. Slice also gives you a great way to mix up your shots so your opponent is not always hitting the ball in the same strike zone. Even if you do not use slice a lot, it is good to know. A lot of players when running down a ball that is almost out of reach get stretched out. Players with a 2 handed backhand sometimes have to let go with one hand, and this is when slice would be good to use. With the slice you are able to keep the ball lower and hit a better return than just blocking the ball back when stretched out wide. Learn to hit with slice to have another weapon in your arsenal.

Posted: 7/17/2012
BBT& Atlanta open
General Articles
Donald young losses in the first round at the BB&T Open in front of his hometown fans. Young is by far one of the most talented young Americans to climb the ranks on the ATP circuit, but what does it take for him to break into the top 10?
Posted: 1/29/2012
Djokovic Wins Australian Open in Longest Final
General Articles
MELBOURNE, Australia January 29, 2012 (AP)



Novak Djokovic ripped off his shirt and let out a primal scream, flexing his torso the way a prize fighter would after a desperate, last-round knockout.

This was the final act in Djokovic's 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 victory over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final — a sweat-drenched, sneaker-squeaking 5 hour, 53-minute endurance contest that ended at 1:37 a.m. Monday morning in Melbourne.

Djokovic overcame a break in the fifth set to win his fifth Grand Slam tournament and third in a row. None, though, quite like this. This one involved tears, sweat and, yes, even a little blood. It was the longest Grand Slam singles final in the history of pro tennis and it came against Nadal, the player who built a career on his tenacity — on outlasting opponents in matches like these.

"It was obvious on the court for everybody who has watched the match that both of us, physically, we took the last drop of energy that we had from our bodies," Djokovic said. "We made history tonight and unfortunately there couldn't be two winners."

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