NerdTennis

Mar 292014
 
 March 29, 2014  Posted by at 11:01 pm Uncategorized 568 Responses »

Volleying in Tennis is one of the hardest strokes to learn because let’s face it, it’s quite intimidating when you first learn to volley at the net.   There are too many unknown, you have no idea where to stand, you have no idea how close to the net you should be, you have no idea how to hit the ball, and the most deadly of all, you are afraid to be nailed in the face by the on coming ball.  To top it off, the widely available tennis instructions are just plain wrong.

#10 No Strength Training
Strength training in tennis is one of the most neglected aspect in professional sports.  It pains you to watch a match between Venus William and Maria Sharapova.   They belong to two different weight group, how the hell on earth can a skinny tall girl beat some one strong than an average professional bodybuilder.  No matter how hard Maria scream, she just doesn’t have enough raw power to keep a rally going, let along win the match.

 

Mar 292014
 
 March 29, 2014  Posted by at 10:50 pm Tennis Tips 2,379 Responses »

You may have played tennis all your life, but you may or may not know the little fact that more points are won or lost during the tennis serve and return of serve.  Next time you watch a tennis match on TV, count how many points in a game was won by the serve along.  Here we will count down the Top 10 Tennis Serve Instruction Mistakes.

#10 - Asking You to Throw the Tennis Ball

If you don’t know how to throw a ball, you don’t know how to throw a ball.  If you already know how to throw a ball, you wouldn’t have much problem learning how to serve.  It’s really not so much about throwing technique, it’s really about having the muscle strength to throw something heavy at a fast pace.  In order to do that, you need to systematically break down your muscles, eat adequate protein and rest.  Your body grow to adapt to a physical challenge.  If you learn to throw with something as light as a tennis ball, you will gain minimal strength.

#9 - Asking You to Hit Up to the Tennis Ball

The reason you have trouble with the serve is not because you need a coach to tell you to hit up to the ball, it’s because most recreational players have very weak upper body strength.  The upper body strength training exercise mentioned in Monster Serve Formula 1.0 is the most effective way to improve your serve hands down.

#8 - Asking You to Toss the Ball and Catch it

The reason you can’t toss is because you are using your non-dominant arm to toss.   Most people are not used to upward orientation, meaning that you feel disoriented when you tried to hit anything above your head while looking up.  The reason why you feel disoriented is because you don’t feel balanced.  In order to feel balanced at all time, you need to strengthen your core muscles and engage your core when you look up.  It’s the same principal gymnasts stay balance and oriented.

#7 - Asking You to Loosen the Grip

For the love of god, please do not loosen the grip.  Most recreational players has WEAK grip, on top of that, they don’t know how to use the torque the body or weight transfer.  With a loose grip, you are essentially hitting the ball with a bunch of spaghetti.   In order to have good control, you need hold the racket firmly and apply pressure on the side of the handle that align with the string bed.

#6 - Asking You to Hit it Like a Whip

It seems that most tennis instructors used to work in the circus and worse yet, they think everybody else work in the circus too.  How could you teach someone something new by referencing something they have never done before?  Unless you are a whip master, you should ignore this instruction completely.

#5 - Asking You to Relax

Since most recreational players have weak upper body strength, relaxing your body actually make it worse.  You need to know that Modern Power tennis is all about STRENGTH.  The looks of the top pros are very deceiving, they might not look very strong but I can guarantee you that they are strong to the core to strike the ball hard while staying balance.

#4 - Telling You There is Effortless Power

This is actually coming from one of the better tennis coach on the internet.  There is no such thing as effortless power.  It’s like someone trying to tell you how to effortlessly lift 200 lbs over your head.  When you hear that from your coach, RUN!  However, there is down to earth, step by step way to build your body up to lift 200 lbs.  It takes plain old fashion drop set, good old protein and good sleep.

#3 - Asking You to Do The “Trophy” Position

What does it sounds like when a boxing coach ask a boxer to do the Rocky position?  Are you kidding me?

#2 - Asking You to Use the “Kinetic Chain”

Kinetic chain basically means transferring force from one part of your body to another.  When they mention kinetic chain, they often left out the most important aspect of the kinetic chain - Your core muscles.  A strong core is the foundation of the kinetic chain.  It is how gymnast is able to do handstand, lever, planche.  You need strong core to be able to hit a modern forehand, a decent serve, stay balance and reduce injury.

#1 - Asking You to Snap Your Wrist

Showing high speed videos of top tennis players to older generation coaches is like show fire to cavemen.  They were amazed to realize how wrong they were in their teaching for decades and how much the strokes mechanism and the game has changed.  And they discovered pronation!  Then they go around teaching people to snap their wrist to add 5, 10 or 15 mph to their serve.  This is true if you have a decent volleyball spiker, baseball pitcher or quarter back.  If not, you should learn to progressively strengthen your upper body.  Otherwise, you really have no business snapping your wrist, it takes a lot of strength and conditioning to control that snap.

Mar 092014
 
 March 9, 2014  Posted by at 1:44 am Tennis Travel Tips 1,104 Responses »

Wimbledon is said to be the most prestige Grand Slam.  Guess probably because the tournament want to be promoted that way, or  may be it’s a British thing.  They always think they are still the royalty for some strange reasons.  The impression of England in general is that it’s OLD.  It funny to see the typical houses here look like they come straight out of a Harry Potter  movie.  No, no, those are not medieval villages, they are modern  England.  Wimbledon Open is held at a high end country club where everybody wear white and talk with a British accent.

When to Get There:

Getting There:

You should be flying in to Heathrow Airport in London, then proceed with train or the London Underground to your hotel of choice.  If you are into old  castles, culture and museums, there are a lot of attractions for you to visit.  e.g. Tower of London, Windsor Castle, London Eye.  For more info, visit LondonPass.com for more info.

Rental Car:

You don’t really need a car in London.  The subway, or should I say the “Tube” will take you everywhere you want to go.  However, it’s a long walk form the closest stop to the Wimbledon court.  The closest tube stop is Southfields on the District Line which is before the grounds itself.  The village of Wimbledon is past the grounds and apparently is further away than Southfields.   You could either take a taxi or hop on a shuttle bus to get to Wimbledon.

Accommodations:

Booking online at Priceline.com or Hotwire.com will be your best bet.  Find something 3 to 4 stars anywhere in London would be fine.  The hotels are all quite ancient anyways, you will think you have traveled back in time.  If you are used to the spacious hotel in North America, it will take some getting used to, I hope you are not claustrophobic…

 

What to Watch?

If it’s part of your Europe tour, you can get up early (8 am) to line up for general admission tickets.  Once you get into the ground and watch some actions on the practice courts, you should head to the Charity ticket counter where they sell court side seats for $5 pounds.  Some good people, who paid upward of $200 pounds for those seats but only have time to watch the first couple matches, put the tickets for Charity auction.  Well, it’s not really an auction per se, but rather a nice charity gesture.

Mar 092014
 
 March 9, 2014  Posted by at 1:43 am Tennis Travel Tips 2,520 Responses »

US Open is the most convenient grand slam in North America.  It’s held in Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, New York.  It’s not as fans friendly as BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.   You will have a great time if you have never been to New York, or totally love New York and want to revisit.

When to Get There:

The US Open starts in late August every year.  You should get your tickets early.  It is recommended that you sign up for a USTA membership to get into the early round of ticket sales.  If you like to get the experience without losing an arm and a leg, you should get the mini package.  It will give you multiple day and night sessions.  Or you can go another route to buy the full series and sell the tickets you can’t use.  It is recommended to go in the early rounds if you want to see your favorite players, which means the first week.  If you are going to watch the final, you should definitely get one of the ticket plans.  The final tickets are hard to get individually and usually pricy if you get it from site like StubHub.com.

Getting There:

You can either fly in to JFK Airport or fly to New Jersey and take a cab, train back to the city.  Getting to Flushing Meadow is another story.  Take the subway, the #7 train runs from Grand Central Terminal to Mets-Willets Point Station.  Depending on where you stay, it takes as much as 45 min to get from Manhattan to Flushing Meadow.

Rental Car:

You don’t really need a car in New York unless you want to go to the premium outlet  and drive to the pier to take the ferry to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty up close.  Other than that, subway and occasional bus trips are more than sufficient.

Accommodations:

The hotel room rates are quite expensive, no matter how many stars the hotel has.  If you choose to stay in the Flushing Meadow area, the hotels are usually about 3 - 3.5 stars and they all charge as much as they can get away with during the two weeks.  If you want to stay closer to the night life, you should find a flight and hotel package inside Manhattan.  The schedule will go like this:  wake up early in the morning, get some breakfast and hit the subway.  You can enjoy your breakfast while on the train, that should save you an hour of sleep.  Once you are there and after you are done for the day, you can take the subway back to the Broadway/Time Square area to have dinner, people watching, watch a Broadway show.

What to Watch?

The practice courts here are not really designed with tennis fans in mind.  The top players love to practise at the far end of the practise area where they are undisturbed.  So good luck getting autographs and seeing you favorite players.  You could try getting up to the stadium court and climb to the top of the stand and watch with your long len DSLR camera.   Mind you, the top players tends to be a bit camera shy in US Open, possibly because they want to focus on the match since the stake is high.

Mar 092014
 
 March 9, 2014  Posted by at 1:42 am Tennis Travel Tips 1,170 Responses »

BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden is every tennis fan’s dream come true.   Indian Wells is located 30 minutes from Palm Spring, about 2 hours drive from Los Angeles Airport (LAX).  Unlike other tennis tournaments and grand slams, Indian Wells Tennis Garden specifically cater for tennis fan’s need.  With over 20 practices courts and the intimate atmosphere, tennis fans can watch their favorite tennis players practise up close and person.

When to Get There:

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells usually start in early March.  You should make up your plan, book flight, car and accommodation no later than November the previous year.  When to get there depends on your preference.  If you like to see your favorite players on the practice courts, you should come in during the early rounds.  There are frequent early round upset, especially on the WTA side, so be sure to come in early to catch all the actions.   If you like to sit inside the stadium and watch matches, you should get the mini package.  The biggest bang for the buck will be the first weekend, usually the first and 2nd rounds where one ticket in Stadium give you 3 day matches.  Night match tickets are sold separately.

Getting There:

You have the option to fly directly to Palm Spring airport(PSP) or LA (LAX).  Here are the pros and cons:
If you are planning to fly directly to Palm Spring, make sure your rental car way ahead of time, like a year ahead of time and confirm your car a couple weeks before you arrive.  One year, we arrived at Palm Spring and we were told that our rental has been cancelled because the rental company (Hertz) said they can’t confirm the reservation a few weeks before we arrive.  We ended up waiting for a rental car return at the rental company.  Luckily, one of the renter had some issue with his credit card, we ended up taking that car and had a free upgrade :D.

The moral of the story is, you are better off flying to LA, spend a few days at the tourist attractions like Universal Studio and Disneyland, go watch Lakers game or Clippers game.  Then head up to Indian Wells.  It’s nice to spend a sunny afternoon at the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade, and check in at your hotel of choice later the day.

The gate opens at 10:00am at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, and most of the big name players like to practice at the 10:00am sessions. The matches in stadium 1 and 2 both start at 11am. The traffic in LA could be unpredictable, it is better to drive up to Indian Wells the day before your ticket date. If you drive up to Indian Wells in the morning, you might miss the top players and the first match.

Rental Car:

Rental cars are in short supply in Palm Spring area during the tournament weeks.  It is partly due to the tennis tournament and partly because a lot of snow birds fly in from all over the east coast and Canada.  They usually stay for weeks or months.  Make sure you reserve at least half a year early and call them to confirm your reservation a few week before your arrival time.  Otherwise, your best bet is to fly in to LA.  There are plenty of rental in LA.

When you in Indian Wells, make sure you check out the La Quanta Resort.   This is where the players practise off site and there is na annual charity event where top players and celebrities play exhibition matches.   They offers the umpire chair for donors to bid.  The highest bidder get to be the chair umpire for a match.  You sure will have a fun filled afternoon.

Accommodations:

The La Quinta Resort is very nice and so are the Marriott Shadow Ridge Series.  But for the biggest bang for you buck, you should co-ordinate with the tennis players at your club to rent a house.  Renting a 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms house with pool, outdoor grill area for a week and share among your tennis buddies.   If could save you as much as 50% of the accommodation cost while stay at beautiful resort rental.

What to Watch?

If you want to catch the action up close or get your t-shirt signed by your favorite players, your best bet is to camp around practice court 1, 2 and 3.  They usually arrange the top seeds to practise on these courts since they can accommodate the most number of spectators.