Wednesday, July 20, 2016

5 Tips for Playing College Tennis

Katelyn Caniford | Towpath Tennis Pro

So you just graduated from high school and you’re getting ready to head off to college. You’ve signed your letter of intent to play tennis and now your focus is all on your training. You feel prepared, but are a little unsure of what to expect. College tennis is a whole new environment, and it can be incredibly overwhelming at first. Here are some tips to help you adjust to your brand new team.

Exercise and Train
One of the most important aspects of playing tennis in college is the training regimen. You’re now playing at a much higher level than you were before. Because of this, you’re going to have to exercise and train much harder. Spend your summer playing as much tennis as you possibly can (aim for 4-5 days a week) and try to hit with players that are at your same level or better. Also, develop an exercise plan for yourself that utilizes a lot of sprints as well as drills for changing direction. If you’re lucky, your coach might even have a summer program for you to follow which will make this even easier for you!

Get to know your new team

One thing I was very happy I did prior to officially going off to college was getting to know some of my teammates ahead of time. This made the transition into college tennis that much easier. If you’re close by, go to some of their matches and start talking to them about the team, what their competition is like, etc. In this age of social media, it’s also incredibly easy to connect with some of the other recruits in your class online. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find a roommate ahead of time if you make it a point to reach out to them.

Be a team player

In a lot of cases, your college team is going to consist of the players who were all the best on their high school teams. Because of this, it’s easy to expect to walk in and be one of the top players. Leave that mindset behind. College tennis is a completely different level and everyone’s a good player. Try and be open to wherever your coach thinks you would fit best. Maybe they see you as a doubles expert or a guaranteed win at six singles. Regardless of where you get placed, have an open mind and be a team player. Remember that both your coach and your teammates are counting on you to play your part for the overall success of the team.

Develop a relationship with your coach

Your coach is the most important link between your game and your success on the team. They recruited you, which means they think that you’re not only a great player, but a great person as well who they want to be part of their success. Show them the appreciation and respect they deserve. Of course there are going to be times where you disagree, but the more you take it upon yourself to get to know them the better off you’ll be. Don’t be afraid to talk to them if you’re unhappy or uncomfortable with something. If the team is important enough to them, they’ll be happy to sit down with you and listen to what you have to say.

Stay Positive

There are going to be times where it’s going to get hard, real hard. You’re going to want to give up and quit and that’s ok. It’s only natural to feel that way when you’re dedicating so much of your time to something of this magnitude and missing out on other fun opportunities in the process. The best advice I can give here is to stay positive and stick with it. Nothing is ever easy, especially in the environment that is college tennis. However, once it’s all over you’re going to look back on those years and be glad you did it.

Having the opportunity to play college tennis is a huge blessing. You’re going to get to travel to all kinds of cool places and get to know incredible people. Remember that not everyone gets an opportunity like this so be open to all the endless possibilities and most importantly, have fun!  

*Follow us on Facebook to get a first look at new posts, pictures and on-going events or visit us at and check out the latest arrivals in the shop!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

12 Things You Didn't Know About Wimbledon

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Contributor

In it's first week of the 139th run of the oldest Grand Slam in history, The Championships, Wimbledon, we've seen a fair share of drama as well as a lot of rain. But while cheering on players like Marcus Willes, your average tennis instructor from England who beat somebody ranked 719 spots ahead of him, or cringing as defending Champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic crack under pressure, trivial thoughts creep into our head, "What's with all the white? Has there ever been a Wimbledon where it hasn't rained? Why is it that strawberries are synonymous with Wimbledon?" Not to worry, because we thought about that too and took it one step further to present you with the 12 things you didn't know about Wimbledon!
ESPN2 - Wimbledon Championships on Vimeo
  1. Before Wimbledon was Wimbledon, the tournament began in 1877 consisting of only 22 players in its first Gentleman's Singles Championships. 
  2. Tennis players wear white because back in the 1800's it was unsightly for them to show any sweat spots on their clothes. Wearing all white disguised the problem. 
  3. The All England Club that hosts this historic tournament has a total of 54 grass, clay, and indoor tennis courts-19 of which are 'show' courts which are preserved for the Championships. 
  4. You may be denied admission as a spectator if you show up in ripped jeans, dirty trainers (sweat pants and shirts), sports shorts, or generally look like a punk rocker or biker.
  5. Tennis Champion Shirley Fry from Akron, OH is among only 10 women who have won a singles title at all 4 Grand Slams (Wimbledon 1956), and only among 6 women who have won all 4 doubles titles (Wimbledon 1951-1953).
  6. At the Champions Dinner there was a long held tradition of dancing between the two Singles Champions, which had ceased until Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams brought it back in 2015. Also, before they started dating, Andre Agassi had the pleasure of dancing with Steffi Graf after his only Wimbledon title in 1992.
  7. You can be a member and play all year round at the All England Club. The membership which is limited to 376 members are past Wimbledon Singles Champions, high politicos or are among the rich and famous. But not to worry, because if you know at least 4 full members who are willing to write a letter of recommendation for you, then you're a shoe-in for the waiting list with all the other 1,000 hopefuls.
  8. Even though Buckingham Palace is a mere 7 miles away from where the tournament is held, the Queen of England has only attended Wimbledon 4 times in her 64 year reign (1957, 1962, 1977, 2010). 
  9. The official Wimbledon headband is too colorful for Wimbledon. Nick Kyrgios was forced to turn it inside out during his 2015 run at the tournament.
  10. The longest recorded tennis match in history was played on Court No. 18 at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships when John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68 after a grueling 11 hours. The shortest recorded Men's match at Wimbledon was a Men's Singles Final in 1881, when William Renshaw defeated John Hartley, 6-0, 6-1, 6-1, in only 36 minutes! 
  11. The Wimbledon Championships only has a completely dry tournament about once every 20 years. The 'Middle Sunday' is reserved as a day of rest, however rain has forced play four times in Wimbledon history-1991, 1997, 2004, and now 2016. 
  12. Strawberries were the fashionable thing to eat back in the late 1800's, and they just happen to make their seasonal appearance at the start of the tournament. And there you have a delightful coincidence and a yummy tradition!