Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The benefits of a short memory

Dallas Aleman | Towpath Tennis Owner | Tennis Guru
Rafael Nadal stuns at Wimbledon
with a loss in the first round

After watching Nadal go down in the 1st round at Wimbledon, it just proves that everybody (even the best) can have an off day. The question is, can he recover quickly after such a disappointing loss? A player may have the fastest serve, most powerful forehand, and be the best in the world, but if you can't learn to forget and move on, you're no better than the next player.

Having a short memory might be one of the most valuable assets a player can have. Bad shot--move on, double fault a whole game--move on, lose 6-0, 6-0 to somebody you normally can beat blindfolded--move on!

The fact of the matter is, if you're drowning in self-wallow over some bad shots, you're giving yourself no hope in improving and getting back into a positive mindset. In fact, you begin inviting more errors by not allowing yourself to recover from those crummy experiences. Remember, when you make a mistake it's not the end of the world, so train your mind to brush off the negatives by starting with a blank slate.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The best and worst doubles formations

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Legit Tennis Fanatic

Towpath's Sean Turner and Hassan Malik
move as a team up at the net
When it comes to doubles, there is one rule we players often drill into our heads--rush the net! An effective strategy? Yes, but is it always the right strategy? No. 

Charging the net as soon as you possibly can is a common misconception of what's considered 'good doubles strategy'. If the net game is not your game there are other configurations you can try that might work in your favor. The goal is to find a position where you and your partner feel confident about your game. 

What we want to see: 
Both up - Of course in doubles, the preference is to close out the point by 'closing in' on the ball. If you or your partner have skilled volleys and can successfully cut off an approach shot, then you should definitely make your way up to net. Shorter strokes and a quicker pace is the game up front so stay on your toes and be ready for a sudden change of position.  

Both back - If your net game is off or your faced with lobbers, you can always choose to stay back and play off other strengths whether that's a deep lob, an angled passing shot, or drilling them at the net with solid ground strokes. But if you're back should your partner stay back?  If you want to cover the same amount of court then yes, your partner should stay back with you. Move as a team together.  

What we don't want to see: 
One up/one back - There are many times you find yourselves one up/one back and have success, but the only way to really succeed that way is if you and your partner have strong ground-strokes and poaching skills. If that's not the case, the issue with this configuration is that you both are leaving more than enough open court space available for your opponents to have a field day.  

Start up then retreat back - The only time you should retreat to the baseline when up at net is if you're running down a lob or preparing for an overhead return. 

"I" formation - This only works well during a service formation. But if you find you and your partner in "I" formation during a point, you might as well be playing 2 on 1--just don't do it.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mental Toughness Tip: Positive Body Language

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Legit Tennis Fanatic

The key to having positive body language is to get yourself into the right mindset, meaning you want a good attitude that exudes confidence. But come on, we've been in those down and out matches and sometimes the only thing keeping you going is the fact that this ugly match is almost over. We don't expect you to perform psychological magic, but do as the pros do--fake it til you make it!

Juvante Johnson keeps alert at Towpath

1) No slouching! Slouching is a sign of defeat so walk around with your shoulders back--even if you are down 0-5.

2) Stop dragging your feet. The last thing you want is for your opponent to see you're tired. Even if your feet feel like bricks, kick them around a bit to prove you still have some gas in the tank.

3) Run don't walk. Every so often, pick up a light jog while retrieving a ball or getting back into ready position. Even in the 5th set of the French Open, we saw Nadal gunning to the baseline after a changeover. This will not only energize you but it will terrify your opponent into thinking you aren't getting enough of a workout from them.

4) Get enthusiastic! If you're playing doubles, your forced enthusiasm can be contagious. Soon your slumping partner will have an extra skip in her step too.

Stick with these tips and before you know it, you're game will rise up to your attitude.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Odd foods and drinks that will help your tennis game

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Legit Tennis Fanatic

We all know that bananas and Gatorade are well known court-side foods that will help your game, but there are plenty of natural on and off court foods that many of us have never considered trying that will do the same job.

  • Pickle juice - Relieves cramping. The sodium in pickles help retain essential electrolytes lost during a match, preventing the onset of cramping. HOWEVER, pickle juice is so high in sodium that players are warned to drink only in moderation or dilute with water or a sports drink.
  • Gummy bears - Refuels body with easily digestible sugars. A small handful should suffice but experts say to avoid eating an entire bag since it will do more harm than good.
  • Tart cherry juice - Relieves joint pain & inflammation. Drink 1 glass a day.
  • Coconut water - It's added potassium helps to not only hydrate your body but it also aids in recovering muscle function. Drink 1 glass post workout.
  • Mustard - Relieves leg cramps. Eat 1 tsp. or 1 pack of yellow mustard.
  • Chocolate milk - Aids in refuel & recovery after a match or workout. Drink 1 glass post workout.
  • Beetroot juice - Increases stamina. Though wildly popular in Europe, this juice might be hard to find in the U.S. Drink 1 glass a day.

Some of these items have been recommended as tried and true from our very own staff, but we'd love to hear what 'odd' foods you swear by that help your tennis game.

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