How I Prepare for a Tournament: Mind, Body and Game
by Davida Dinerman
Let’s face it… we’re hooked. Tennis is our passion and we want perform well. It’s nice to just hit but I find that training with a goal, such as a Cup team or USTA tournament, is a great motivator and will help me improve my skills. And while the on-court practice is critical, it’s not the only factor for preparation. I divide it up into three categories: mind, body and game.
I found a quote by Venus Williams which we can all relate to: Tennis is mostly mental. Of course, you must have a lot of physical skill, but you can't play tennis well and not be a good thinker. You win or lose the match before you even go out there. Every day I use visualization – as I plan my day, when I write an article - I try to see how I’d like it to turn out and then work toward that. And visualization is a part of my tennis routine. I know what I want my shots and strategy to look like, so before I step on the court for practice or a tournament, I try to find a quiet place to loosen up and imagine myself on the court hitting each shot.
Tennis: More Than A Sport
By Deborah Larkin
This article is taken from an interview between Katrina Adams (KA), immediate past President and CEO of the USTA, Chairperson of the US Open and Chairperson of the Fed Cup and Deborah Slaner Larkin (DSL), former Executive Director of USTA Foundation, Former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation and lifetime member of NSWTA.
KA: Recent research has shown that people who played tennis tended to live longer than others who did not participate in this type of activity. Why do you think that’s true?
DSL: I don’t think there’s empirical research as to the why, but we do know, for instance there’s more social interaction in tennis, which we know can improve health and other types of behavior. When boys and girls play together there is greater interaction, not only on the court, but it can lead to greater interaction around developing other business and social skills off the court.
My “War” Stories
By Diana Kitt
Diana Kitt is a Mid-Atlantic tennis player with an interesting background. She worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for 40 years. She was on one of the final helicopters out of Saigon. Picture her trying to evacuate with her tennis racquets clutched to her chest. We enjoy bringing into focus some of our interesting members. Keep us in mind if you have a story to tell. (Photo: Diana is second from the left)
I joined the US Government within a couple of months of graduating from Washington State University in 1969. My first goal was to be able to get to Washington to participate in anti-Vietnam demonstrations—and I did just that (while not mentioning those activities to my office). My second goal was to go abroad, with no particular country in mind, spend six months there, then quit and return home to Spokane. Well, over 40 years later, I was still working with the same organization—so much for my initial career planning.
Youth vs Experience
By Kandy Chain
Years ago the Los Angeles Tennis Club held an annual event called “Youth VS Experience”. The top ranked seniors were called upon to play the top ranked juniors. The question became what was a good age match up? Obviously the younger seniors had better matches with the older juniors and the youngest juniors matched up better with the older seniors. It didn’t always work out well – Venus Williams, at age 10, defeated Dodo Cheney 6-0, 6-0. Dodo was in her early 70s at the time.
I thought of this event the other day because recently I have had the opportunity to play matches against the top juniors in Montana. I split my life in Montana and California. When I reside in California I never play juniors. They seem to be absorbed with their personal coaches, clinics and other juniors. In Montana the tournament playing juniors are scarce and parents sometimes ask me to play with their kids. First I started a few years back with Meg (10) and her older sister Maicy (13). We would play close sets and at the end of the summer I played them in an adult tournament and beat one in the semis and the other in the finals. I was 61 at the time. When I returned to Montana the next summer I could barely win a game against either one of them. Fortunately for me they have a younger brother named Mason who is 11 – I am now 65. Mason and I are about dead even. We will often play for an hour and a half and not complete a set. Mason is number 1 in his age group in Montana and he played 3rd position in the zonals for the Intermountain section.
Mason has a nice all court game and is very fast. I can match his speed with my anticipation. I, also, can throw him off with slice, drop shots and lobs. Mason, however, is catching on to my senior experience – he’s starting to pull out his own opportune drops. He is, also, learning patience and running me side to side. In any case Mason has become a carrot for me. I practice so that I can stay even with him. I have a strong hope that he won’t hit his growth spurt before turning 15. I could potentially have a few more summers with him. The reality is, however, that by the time I return to Montana next summer, Mason will overpower me like his sisters. I am sure I am a carrot for him as well. His motivation is to squash me like an old bug.
Kids grow and get stronger, faster, and smarter. Seniors shrink and get osteoporosis, arthritis and Alzheimer’s. Somewhere in this circle of life we can momentarily compete on an even stage. It’s a quick turnover but fortunately for me Mason has a younger brother, Madison, who is currently 5. I will definitely be stepping up my practices for my return to Montana next summer. I would hate to be “that” senior who lost to a 6-year-old.
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