Thursday, September 26, 2013

The first step to getting better at tennis

Dallas Aleman | Towpath Tennis Owner | Tennis Guru

I had recently gotten a call from my son Alex, who is playing at Duquesne University, and he wanted to alert me about a Davis Cup match being played against Serbia vs Canada. This summer Alex had a chance to rub shoulders with quite a few ATP ranked players after competing in the $30,000 Cleveland Racquet Club Invitational. He and his partner played four matches and finished 1st in the 2nd back draw consolation (which as a collegiate player, he didn't claim the prize money).  But what was interesting to him is that he was one round away from playing one of the men from Serbia's Davis Cup team, Ilija Bozoljac, who lost in the semifinals of the final round in the Davis Cup. I could sense my son thinking, 'Wow I'm not that far off from this level.'
Alex Aleman (left) with doubles partner Pete
Carpentar (right) at the $30,000 Cleveland
Racquet Club Invitational. 
This is one of the most pivotal points in any young person’s tennis career--the thought and belief that you can get that good. What seemed so far away is not impossible. That mindset is what makes the difference between champions and mediocre players. It's what elevates a player to the next level.
However, the thought does not come from just being on the court. Playing against really great players can be intimating until you realize that they too make their share of errors (maybe not as many as you at the moment), but nevertheless it proves their human. That 'what if' becomes a reality when you work hard, play competitive matches, and see not only can you improve but that you can earn a couple of points (baby steps) even against the best. The thing is, you won't know how good you can be until you put yourself in the arena with champions and venture into their territory. Swim in their water and see that there is a way to climb that mountain. The challenger will believe; the meek will give up.
So the question is, do you want to get better? Are you willing to believe? Even though he didn't express it, I could tell my son is fired up thinking I can climb to the next level. What is it going to take for you?

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

When to replace old grommets

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Online Shop Manager

You might have strung your racquet to have it returned with a note indicating you need new grommets. Let's be honest, you may be a diligent student of the game and follow suit but most likely you're probably thinking why bother or saying, "I need what?"
Grommet strips are what line the top of your racquet for additional protection. Think of it like a helmet, they're there to keep your frame in tip top shape from the abuse it gets on the court. When your grommets get worn, your frame gets a lot of wear and tear which can be very abrasive against your strings. This eventually leads to destructive cracks causing issues with future stringing and playability. It would be like driving around with your tires down to the rims--no way you'd let that happen!
If you are in need of new grommets, make sure to have your stringer find out if they can even order grommets for your racquet. If not, it might be time to turn your racquet in for a new model. 

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