Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to improve the quality of your tennis practices



Per-fect-ing Practice makes Perfect


While being a tennis instructor working with students or just someone's hitting partner with a stranger out at a local park, you would surprised how many casual tennis players just "go out and hit". They are out there several times a week and take lots of lessons, but just seem to repeat the same mistakes.

So if your goal is to improve your game everyday and make better use of your time on the tennis court - read on:
  1. Smart use of Time.

    Showing up and being good on your word - whether for a lesson or to meet a friend - is a reflection on your character. Toni Nadal once said to Rafa, "if you are not 5 minutes early, then you're already late". This is the respect and courtesy you should always show. Of course if an emergency comes up, notify your partner ASAP.

    Be efficient with how you structure practice time. Simulate game timing as much as possible. Have an adequate warm-up session at half-court (2-3 mins), work rally balls, approaches, and volley/overheads (4-5 mins). Then take 6 serves from the ad and deuce courts (2-3 mins).

    One common mistake beginners make is that they spend far too much time being too isolated in their practice. They may spend 20-30 mins hitting short court and an hour serving one type of serve without the right mental targets and understanding the purpose. You need to translate those skills (ex: using topspin, enough racket head speed, work angles for half court tennis) into a real match.

    For serving, if you do not have the proper serve grip, toss and learn the basic serve fundamentals - it is a waste of time to try to hit a whole hopper of your hardest 1st serves. If only 2/10 actually land in the service box, you are depending on luck rather than dependable technique.

  2. Be prepared mentally

    When we show up hungry and eager to play, the brain will absorb a lot more. Too many times, when I've taught tennis lessons, the student may be there physically, but not above the shoulders.

    Just arriving at the court is not enough - especially if you need another 5 minutes to put on your shoes, run to the restroom, whatever it is... At least one other person is counting on you to fulfill your part of the bargain when you go out there.

    At a minimal level, be mentally there. Constantly checking your cell phone at every changeover means you're lacking focus. If your mind is elsewhere, you will not be 100%. Save the extra long chit-chat for the water break or afterwards, so someone else can use the court.

    Whether it is changing grips, putting on sunscreen, or hydrating - do this before arriving! Ideally, you should have done a bit of dynamic stretching too so you can play your best. This is most important when playing indoor tennis and time = money.

  3. Share your goals, start with a quick game plan

    Have in mind when you start a list of goals you want to work on when doing drills.

    You should have at least one or two areas they feel they want to improve. Share this with your hitting partner. Collectively agree on certain elements you wish to drill on during the hitting session.

    If necessary, adjust the drills to suit the other players' skill level. Most of the time they will not be very good at feeding consistently or pin point accurate, so give the necessary margin of error.

    It is a waste of time, to just jump right onto the court and start slapping balls from the baseline. It is about progression. Start with half-court; incorporate top spin, volleys, footwork. If you're lazy from the service line, it will only amplify when you move back.

  4. Establish rhythm and consistency first

    Nobody likes hitting with someone who just wants to belt balls for winners. Especially off the first or second shot when feeding, do not immediately try to hit winners.

    Get into a groove, perhaps work on cross-court shots first before hitting all-court. Let your partner know that you want to get at least 3-4 balls in play before either player should try to win the rally. Otherwise, you're just picking up most of the time instead of grooving solid technique.

  5. Work on ALL parts of the game - alternate offense and defense roles

    Both players should get a chance to be on the 3 phases: attack, neutral and defense.

    Hitting inside-out forehands against a slice backhand is one way. Playing medium pace passing shots against a volleyer at the net is another. Working on a good lob is a complimentary to the other person hitting directed overheads consistently. The key word is consistently. If one or the other is uncooperative or flaky, you will not produce quality - remember it takes two!

    Please do not just stand on the baseline the entire time! Practice feeding each other volleys, overheads, and even transition shots in order to improve.

  6. Practice and simulate real game play

    After about an hour or so, try to incorporate some serves and returns into the drills. It can be a live ball drill or play a few points with one person feeding underhand or tiebreakers with the serve.

    Whatever it is, just make sure at some point to incorporate the practice shots into a real point situation. Just working on pieces of the game in total isolation can be dangerous; it must fit into the bigger picture when you start playing. Otherwise you may let the rest of you game go idle.

    Finally at this point, you can also play a full set. If both players are roughly the same level, be competitive and do your best to use what you learned. It is not about winning 6-0 when one is clearly better. But instead, try building small improvements on the weakest parts of your game, so it can be a fair and enjoyable challenge on both sides.
Have fun, be mindful of the experience for all players, and work each time on forming good basic habits that will translate into winning tennis! Enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

3 Important tips for Watching the US Open Live!

US Open Singles ScoreboardImage by JC Tennis via Flickr
Have you ever wanted to see the top players in the world like Federer, Nadal, Murray...all in person at one place at the biggest Tennis event in North America?

Then you must go see the US Open at least once in your life!

Be a part of the excitement and enjoy the USA Grandslam!

It's located at NYC 
in late August through early September. A great time to visit a beautiful city around Labor Day and enjoy some great tennis, food and summer fun.  Here are some great tips for enjoying your tennis experience below...



Monday, August 11, 2014

NYC Broadway 2-for-1 Tickets Promo (9/1/14 - 9/14/14)


NYC Broadway Week = 2-for-1 Tickets!
See smash hits like Motown, Aladdin, Wicked and Lion King!

Get more Promo Codes via email --->> http://jc10s.com/eMail_list

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Citi Open in DC - a new fan's perspective


by: Jeamine Yoo (guest blogger and WTA consultant / DC tennis fan)


The Citi Opens

Shuttleloads of excited tennis fans were deposited outside William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center grounds Saturday morning, myself included. Today was the first day of the Citi Open and my first foray into viewing professional tennis and anticipation was high.

History of DC's Pro Tennis Tournament

The Citi Open is one of 12 ATP (Association of Tennis Players) World and WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Tour tournaments leading up to the US Open in New York. Players win points according to their results in each of the tournaments, with more points given to ATP World Masters 1000 and WTA Premier events. The Citi Open is a part of the ATP World Tour 500 series and on the third tier of the tournament, after the US Open and ATP World Masters 1000. It has gone through several changes since its inception in 1969 when it was called the Washington Star International - then more recently the Legg Mason Classic. The main update being men’s and women’s events merging to a joint tournament in 2012. 

Experiencing Summer Tennis at Rock Creek Park

The games today and tomorrow were and will be the qualifying rounds where 20 men compete for 6 spots in the main draw; and 16 women compete for 4 spots, including one woman that’s garnered my admiration, young up-and-comer, Taylor Townsend.

The qualifying games were quick—the best of three sets clinched the win. Men’s games were earlier in the day, followed by ladies’ matches, and the evening closed with doubles play.

The setup of the games was pleasantly accessible to viewers. The periphery courts—Grandstands 1 & 2, Courts 1 & 2, and the player practice courts—allowed spectators to come intimately close to the games and players, allowing tennis enthusiasts unrivaled views of the players’ choice of strokes and strategy.
As a recreational tennis player, I appreciated the close views and enjoyed the opportunity to wander from game to game in order to soak up the entire event holistically.

In addition to the accessible games, the community and family-oriented feel of the park was due in part to the distribution of 3,000 complimentary tickets, as well as the tennis clinics held for children and the multitude of colorful vendors handing out their wares and product information. The Citi Open is great at attracting varying levels of tennis fans by hosting special events throughout the tournament, whether it’s a Grand Marnier sponsored Happy Hour or a women’s tennis clinic, there are many activities to participate in between matches.

Friendly Venue for even casual sport fans

For all out there who haven’t attended or have been hesitant to go, try something new! Tickets are still on sale and can be purchased here. The matches are guaranteed to be exciting; pro players can be found strolling throughout the park and are friendly and engaging to fans.


A few tips for first-time visitors:

  • Parking on the field ($10) is limited, so metro into Van Ness and take the shuttle—it’s seamless, convenient, and runs about every 15 minutes.
  • Once inside, find the info booth and acquire a map of the venue
  • Acquaint yourself with the day's Schedule of Play so you can plan your outing according to your player preferences.
  • Do float around and soak it all in!
  • Remember to bring and liberally apply sunscreen as most courts have no shade.


Stay tuned for highlights and predictions, but first, go buy your tickets!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why you need to visit DC's Citi Open (Sept 26 - Aug 3)

Washington DC's Citi Open - 2014 US Open Series

by: Nik Subramanian (guest blogger and ATP consultant/expert)

It’s hard to believe we are halfway through the summer already and just 6 weeks away from the US Open in NYC. The good news is that the last week of July in Washington, D.C. means great professional tennis action at the Citi Open in Rock Creek Park.

The players’ list is packed with young and upcoming talent like Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Vasek Pospisil, Genie Bouchard, and others. So let’s dive right into the players you'll want to watch this year.

The Citi Open promises a lot of great matches with the top ATP players competing for the prize. If you haven't done so, grab your tickets, we'll see you there.

TIP: Use Promo Code: USTA25 and get 25% OFF (valid for most sessions)

The Next Generation of Stars: 3 ATP Young Guns to Watch

The three guys who most agree represent the next generation of top 5 tennis players, are all in the Citi Open this year. Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, and Grigor Dimitrov have each had breakthroughs in 2014.

Kei Nishikori (Japan)
Kei Nishikori reached a career high ranking of 9 at the end of last year. Despite some injury worries, I expect he'll finish the year in the top 10 if he stays healthy. Kei is speedy, has amazing ground strokes, a great return, and is fun to watch. He's as no-nonsense on the court as they come and Coach Michael Chang has been trying to pass on his killer instinct and set higher goals for Kei this year. If he ends up playing on one of the side courts, be sure to watch Kei’s nimble footwork together with his amazing balance and core strength. It’s not as easy as he makes it look!

Milos Raonic (Canada)
Despite an ankle injury early in the year, Milos reached a career high ranking of number 6 in the world and is currently ranked 7. He's put up solid results in the Slams and Masters 1000's - his first Grand Slam QF at Roland Garros (l. to Djokovic), a first Grand Slam semi at Wimbledon, (l. to Federer), QFs in Indian Wells, Rome, and SFs in Monte Carlo. The consensus in the locker room is that Milos has the best serve on tour right now. While I doubt we'll see Milos attempt his 155mph serve, watch him with a seat behind the player's baseline to admire the variety of his serves (slice, kicker, flat) with pretty much the same ball toss. The weakest part of his game right now is his return, so look for that shot to improve as he works out the kinks with Coach Ivan Ljubicic.

Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria)
If you hear a bunch of screaming, hysteric teenage girls around the practice courts, you've probably stumbled onto one of Grigor Dimitrov's practice sessions. Grigor was already somewhat of a celebrity in 2013, but after teaming up with super coach, Roger Rasheed, last year, Grigor is fitter, stronger, and extremely motivated to get to the top of men's tennis. Grigor's always had talent to burn, but he's found a way to channel it and I expect he's going to have a great 2014. He's just broken into the top 10 this month, following an SF showing at Wimbledon (l. to Djokovic in 4 close sets), QFs at the Australian (l. to Nadal in 4 close sets) and has a won a title on all three surfaces in 2014. I'd be shocked if Grigor does not make it to the year-end finals this year and be part of or finish near the top 5. Watch Dimitrov from any seat in the stadium, look out for his precise first serve and his use of speed offensively to win points. You’ll find Grigor is an all-around crowd charmer and will throw in a trick shot and a tweener every now and then.

Early Predictions and Dark Horses

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