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Thu, Dec. 12

Universal tennis catch-phrases to be aware of

As we learn the game of tennis, through lessons, clinics, reading books and magazines, certain catch phrases are repeated time and time again, referred to and pronounced.

Sentences such as; Get your racquet back, bend your knees, keep your eyes on the ball. These are very general and generic statements, but I will list some in this article that pertain to groundstrokes that might be of help when you are correcting miss-hit balls during your next match.

GROUNDSTROKES

•In the ready position, keep the racquet in the center of your body.

•Shake hands with your racquet for your forehand grip.

•Get 12 inches lower than the ball and maintain a flat racquet face when hitting the ball.

•Power comes from not swinging hard, but from rotating your hips and shoulders.

•For a one-handed backhand, rotate your hand back 1/4 to maintain a flat racquet face.

•For a two handed backhand, your non-dominate hand, shakes hands with the racquet, while your other hand abuts from below to stabilize the racquet.

•When the ball is in your strike zone (knees to chest) on your forehand or backhand, think of tracing the top of an imaginary wheel, from eye level and then down and around. This type of stroke is known as the loop or C motion backswing.

•On faster balls, no back swing or much less. Drop your racquet straight down…lower than the ball and then swing forward. This is good for any ball that might be tough to control.

•Topspin is the name of the game today. Learn to use your loop swing and brush up on the ball. Make sure you maintain a flat racquet face, or the 10-foot fences will not be high enough for you.

•Play the ball, don't let it play you.

•Turn sideways (pivot) and then the nice shots you've been hitting wide will have a better chance of landing in.

•Reach out to meet each shot, shifting the weight from your back foot to your front foot.

•Set your sites high over the net. Over the net is good, but two to five feet over the top of the net is much safer and will give you depth, keeping your opponent at bay.

•Don't hit any harder than you can consistently keep it in play. You may feel better by hitting it like the pros, but you'll only lose faster without consistency.

•Slowly work your way through these three area's; consistency with your shots, then placement and lastly power and touch. With solid fundamentals this is your path becoming a better player.

•The worst mistake you can make is to hit the net…and for three good reasons. 1. If over the net it has a chance to land in. 2. Even if it's going out they still might hit it. 3. If it does land out, they have to chase it, not you (which can be demoralizing on your 39 foot march to the net to grab the ball.)

One phrase that never seems to change is, "Watch the ball, bend your knees, that will be $20 please."

"BEAT THE HEAD RESULTS"

This last Saturday night, 44 tennis players converged on the Roughrider courts from 6 to 11 p.m. to remove themselves from the summer sun and play some night tennis. The die-hards then went on after the tournament to "Prescott Live" to finish the night off with a bang.

In the A division, Matt and Andy Maraz outlasted Mark Jurica and Jack Cullen to take the 10 team round robin.

Semi-finalists were, Lander Sims and Dave Justice, Steve Pierce and Cody Williams.

Fred Goldman and Morgan Liese won a thrilling victory over peter Stevens and Susan Reibel in an 8-6 tie-break to win the B's. Semi-finalists were Judy Puntenney and Isabelle Kimball, Michael and Justin Curtis.

Sandy Tomlinson and Shelly Williams ousted Lola and Lew Davis for the C title, with Ruth Lilley and Nadine (KAHM) Kurtcher and Nannette Oatlely and Kathy Valley as semi-finalists.

LAST AND LEAST…

a tidbit for cartoonist Jim Willoughby and his "Can of worms." The game of croquet can be traced to at least the 14th century and was known under various names. One of which just might be of interest to he and the City Council…since he brought it up in last Sunday's feature.

Croquet was played during the 17th century by Charles II and his courtiers at St. James's Park in London, the name was then called Pall Mall. Which also became the name of a nearby street. "Mall" then turned into a generic word for any street used for public strolls. And now, of course, it usually refers to an enclosed area where people stroll and shop from store to store.

My point being with fuzzy warm feeling running around town, maybe in some strange way the game of croquet has a close tie to our new shopping mall, which the City Council and others might also consider "A Can of Worms" to some degree.

(Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 25 years in the fitness and racquet industry.)

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