I started playing tennis a loooooong time ago.
Like 40+years. I was 12 when I started.
Took lessons from THECUTESTPROEVER
and had a crush on him.
Never knew what happened to him!
I don't even remember his name.
Now. I have gone through so, so many hobbies and sports in my lifetime, but I always go back to tennis.
What a wonderful sport!
I have made lifelong friendships through the game, traveled so many places, kept relatively fit, and also relatively strong thanks to the game of tennis.
So, when my oldest decided she wanted to pick the game up this year, I was thrilled.
She is 31 and that is when I started playing "team" tennis.
I know so many people from all over the place through team tennis.
Now, with all this being said, I want to offer a few words of advice to those of you who want to start playing team tennis. This applies to adults.
First of all, you WILL NOT ever play in the US Open. Just idn't gonna happen...ever.
So, don't take yourself so seriously that you treat the game like a job.
You will never make money at this sport. Unless you're like one of my pros once "Phyllis Taylor" who learned to play as an adult and then taught. Awesome player.
You are out there to have fun, get a little exercise, and enjoy friendly competition.
I have seen some of the nastiest stuff happen on the tennis court. I've seen people leave the court, I've seen people get cussed out, I've seen lifelong friendships be broken.
But, I've also seen team camaraderie. Best friends made, and have had some of the most fun times of my entire life.
I'm going to give you newbies some tips from an old soul who has been on the court more times than I can count. This applies mostly to doubles.
1) A loss is never, ever one person's fault. ever. I will make an exception for nasty behavior. If you have to deal with that from your partner....time to get a new one.
2) One of the most important things you can do in doubles is learn to volley. I took an entire summer of lessons from a great pro Andy Veal who felt I had a pretty good chance of having a decent volley. I now call my volley my 2,500.00 volley. If you are scared of the net, you may want to find a new game. You WILL get hit at sometime in your tennis career. The volley is really such an easy stroke to add to your game. If you learn the volley, it will move you up AT LEAST a level in your game, if not 2. Just remember one very important fact. You do not swing the racquet when you volley. It's kind of similar to bunting a baseball. I'm not a pro so I can't give you specifics, I would just say get out there with a pro and work on it. If you can't afford a pro, get a book on volleys or look on the Internet. Then go out and hit with a ball machine over and over and over again. Remember the more repetitive you make a move, the better you will be at it instinctively.
3) Another "most" important thing you can learn to move your game forward fast is a serve. I grew up throwing a baseball with my cousin and my brothers, so a serve came easy to me. If you don't know how to throw a baseball, you are probably not going to grasp a service motion very easy. Go out and throw a ball over and over, and over again. If you don't know how, get your husband or child (yep) to teach you. It is very similar to throwing a baseball. Then you can move forward with your serve motion. At that point you can work on the toss. But that's for another blog.
4) Always move with your partner. If she moves to the side, you need to move with her. It's a partnership and you both have a job to do. Like a marriage, you each have your own way of doing things. If you can figure out how to compliment each other, you will have a winning game. Always and always remember....if he/she is having a bad day, chances are they didn't come to the court wanting that. Nothing can make a partner "loose" it like bad karma on the court. Meaning look. I know when I'm sucking. I don't need for my partner to huff and puff and roll her eyes at me. I have actually had that happen before and I totally threw the game. Yep. I'll admit it! Wasn't worth it to me to be treated like that!
5) Always remember that you should never ever act like you are better than your partner on the court. Being humble out there is a wonderful trait to have. I've played against many college players and have beaten the heck out of them because they came out with a cocky attitude. One of my very favorite partners is Mary Ramsey. She played at Florida State and she exemplifies everything a partner should be on the tennis court. Great player (and much better than me) but never, ever makes me feel that way. She's competitive while having fun.
So, when you gals who are just starting out go out there to play, just remember y'all. It's just a fun game. Please don't treat it like a job. It's just really not that important. Be a teammate, be a friend, be a good sport, and play tough.
But most of all HAVE FUN!!!
Have a great day y'all!