May tip of the month: wholistic teaching


More and more, division and compartmentalizing seems to be the order of the day in all fields. It is clearly true of the medical profession and it is becoming true in tennis where specialist technical, tactical, fitness and mental ‘gurus’ are emerging everywhere.

However, it seems to me that everything is connected and to divide is to miss. Continue reading “May tip of the month: wholistic teaching”

April tip of the month: dis-identification

Do you get on an emotional roller-coaster that is the mind when you play tennis and compete?  It would seem that we are ALL on this roller coaster; it is a shared human experience.  Some of us are very vocal during our experience and others may keep it under tabs, but if we are alert to our inner happenings we will see that this roller coaster is taking us all for a ride!  Continue reading “April tip of the month: dis-identification”

March tip of the month: Effortless Effort or Relaxed Intensity

The zen tradition has many paradoxes, one that is very relevant to tennis is ‘Effortless effort’ or what I like to call Relaxed Intensity.

What do you think that means? Have you ever experienced it?

Effort denotes some sort of trying, while the word effortless is the opposite. To use both words together is to explore the mid-point between the two. Continue reading “March tip of the month: Effortless Effort or Relaxed Intensity”

February tip of the month: is tennis an arm sport?

 

February Tip of the month: Is tennis an arm game?

This tip is more for club players, but it can be relevant to any level of player because it reinforces fundamentals. In addition, if your game breaks down at crucial times during competition because of nerves this tip can also be helpful to you.

Look around at your local tennis club and you will see that one of the biggest ‘problems’ players have is that they do not finish their swings. It is possible for coaches to spend hours and even years screaming out ‘finish the stroke’ (I know, I’ve been there!), without any success. The reason why the reminding doesn’t work is because, although this looks like a simple technical issue, it is not! Continue reading “February tip of the month: is tennis an arm sport?”

Jan 2016: tip of the month: comfort vs winning

 

What do we really want from playing tennis?

Of course, the immediate response is that we want to win, but is that the most important thing?

When I look around at club players and even some very good junior and college players, I see many players who have managed their game in a manner in which they can be successful, but the strokes look awkward and the body is not at ease. Continue reading “Jan 2016: tip of the month: comfort vs winning”

Competition: the battle between the mind and body

The battle is between the desire to control and the ability to trust. The mind is about control and the body requires trust. The desire for control is usually so great that the mind takes over and trust evaporates.

The mind is constantly giving instructions, judging, cajoling, chastising, etc., and is not willing to trust the immense intelligence of the body.

Continue reading “Competition: the battle between the mind and body”

November tip of the month: exploration of yin/yang continued

 

Staying on the yin/yang theme for a little longer, let us explore how it applies to actually playing tennis.

As I experiment and continue to explore this theme on the tennis court, I am amazed at what I see and feel. Continue reading “November tip of the month: exploration of yin/yang continued”

October tip of the month: yin and yang

October tip of the month: yin and yang

In Chinese philosophy there are two, apparently opposite, but actually complementary energies at work in the world. One is the yin or feminine energy and the other is the yang or male energy.

We all have elements of both energies within us and yet we are usually predominant in one or the other. The key is, through keen observation, to determine which energy is most predominant within us.

For example, for me, it is the male energy that is most predominant and what I discovered with myself was that in many situations I ‘automatically’ did or behaved in a yang way. As long as I remained unaware of this ‘pattern’ I remained a slave to it, but as soon as I became aware of the pattern, in some way, I became free of it. Not that I chose to behave in another way, but yet my behavior changed regardless. Hard to explain or to make sense of, but true nevertheless.  

What are your patterns of behavior? Are you predominantly yin or yang? By watching your inner process carefully, you will discover many things about yourself. You cannot be free if all your behavior is determined by consistent patterns over which you have no control.

How is this related to tennis you may ask? For me, who you are determines how you do anything, including your competitive experience on the court. By discovering more about who you are, your competitive experience can change. For me, that is the only way it can change.

Those of you trying to eliminate the fear and discomfort you may be experiencing on the court will discover that this experience does not magically disappear through ‘faking it’, escaping, by accentuating the positive or rational counter arguments to the feelings that arise during the heat of competition.  

So, if escaping or avoidance does not work, what’s the alternative? Actually, there is no choice; there is only one thing to do.

Get into it!

 

Enjoy the journey…………….

 

 

 

August tip of the month, #5: waiting

August tip of the week # 5: waiting

For me, rhythm is the most important aspect of playing tennis. A stroke can be technically unsound and yet if the rhythm and timing are good, every ball will come back over the net.

The most important aspect of rhythm is waiting. Many players rush their swings. Notice the next time you are not hitting the ball well and try and see what is happening.

We have mentioned before in this blog that the hands need to move as soon as the eyes see and that is where the waiting needs to happen often. Obviously, the harder the ball is hit at you the less the waiting.

Why is waiting so hard? The waiting is uncomfortable. The anxiety surrounding what we want to do is so intense that calmly waiting for the ball to arrive becomes an impossibility. Who wants to be uncomfortable?

We need to notice this on the court and see how difficult it is for the hands to do nothing and just wait. Sometimes, the hands will get fast or the legs will want to keep going, but just waiting is so difficult.

Even volleys require waiting, even though we think we have so little time when at the net.

Once you bring attention to this phase of your game and notice the difficulty in just waiting, things will change. For one thing you will feel like you have so much more time. This sounds counter-intuitive, but check and see for yourself.

You do not need to do anything once you have become aware and felt the discomfort of waiting. Changes will happen by themselves.

Too easy? Explore and see for yourself.

enjoy the journey………..

 

August tip of the week #4: topspin serve

August tip of the week # 4:   topspin serve

When learning the topspin serve, many players struggle with the trust required to accelerate up to the ball. To swing up as hard as you can and ‘know’ the ball cannot go out requires something that many players lack.

In order to get comfortable with that racket acceleration, I suggest hitting a slice serve first. It is easier to get comfortable accelerating through a slice serve because it requires less trust.

Once you are comfortable with throwing your racket at the ball with speed, it will be easier to throw the racket up to the ball as is required in the topspin serve.  

Enjoy the journey………….

Happy hitting………….