Did you play today?

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ponchi101 Venezuela
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Did you play today?

#1

Post by ponchi101 »

We talk a lot about tennis. We seldom talk about OUR tennis.
---0---
I went back on court today, after 2 1/2 years off. Multiple reasons, which include an elbow injury and the pandemic.
To say I was rusty is an understatement. Very little mobility, and the footwork was clumsy and slow. I did not lose too much power in my grip (I did re-grip my racket with a tacky overwrap, which helped) but had to take it very slow. Started with some volleys, moved to the back, just wanted to get depth and height over the net, and be able to keep a 50% pace rally for more than 10 shots.
Had to take more frequent breaks: one every 10 minutes, as opposed to my usual 1 every 20. My strokes were not as terrible as I expected (they were still putrid, but not as much) but I was able to whiplash two good BH's down the line.
My service motion is gone. I can't toss the ball in any consistent spot, and my arm speed is null. Still, after a few tries, I got a few serves in. No kicks, slices or any technical shots, just flat and smooth, trying to get some arm strength and speed. It will take a while for me to recover the stroke, as it has always been my most difficult shot.

But the joy. I walked off court and was so happy. I love skiing, I love my diving, I have fun when I play padel with my loony friends. But I am a tennis player; this is the purest form of joy I get in life. The discipline, the challenge, the setting. I have joked that I am not sure if I want to be buried under the snow of a skiing slope, or under a tennis court. But now, after today, please, let it be on the court. Not now, of course, but when the time comes, let me croak my last breath at the Service T. It will be adequate.
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Re: Did you play today?

#2

Post by meganfernandez »

ponchi101 wrote: Wed Sep 14, 2022 1:42 am We talk a lot about tennis. We seldom talk about OUR tennis.
---0---
I went back on court today, after 2 1/2 years off. Multiple reasons, which include an elbow injury and the pandemic.
To say I was rusty is an understatement. Very little mobility, and the footwork was clumsy and slow. I did not lose too much power in my grip (I did re-grip my racket with a tacky overwrap, which helped) but had to take it very slow. Started with some volleys, moved to the back, just wanted to get depth and height over the net, and be able to keep a 50% pace rally for more than 10 shots.
Had to take more frequent breaks: one every 10 minutes, as opposed to my usual 1 every 20. My strokes were not as terrible as I expected (they were still putrid, but not as much) but I was able to whiplash two good BH's down the line.
My service motion is gone. I can't toss the ball in any consistent spot, and my arm speed is null. Still, after a few tries, I got a few serves in. No kicks, slices or any technical shots, just flat and smooth, trying to get some arm strength and speed. It will take a while for me to recover the stroke, as it has always been my most difficult shot.

But the joy. I walked off court and was so happy. I love skiing, I love my diving, I have fun when I play padel with my loony friends. But I am a tennis player; this is the purest form of joy I get in life. The discipline, the challenge, the setting. I have joked that I am not sure if I want to be buried under the snow of a skiing slope, or under a tennis court. But now, after today, please, let it be on the court. Not now, of course, but when the time comes, let me croak my last breath at the Service T. It will be adequate.
I love this! You haven't hit a ball in 2.5 years? Wow... I can't imagine. It's going to take several months of regular play to shake off a decent amount of rust. Give yourself time, enjoy the process, don't get hurt. Are you going to be able to play regularly?

Were your strings still good??

I've been off a week and I thought that was a lot. I usually play 3-5 times a week, but backed off a little this summer and haven't minded. I was losing some joy for it for sure. Burnt out, frustrated, elbows hurt. Looking forward to fall leagues, though. I don't think I love it as much as you do. Sometimes I think I don't LOVE tennis at all. My sister has fun every time she steps onto the court. She just likes to be out there. Not me. I'm not uptight about winning or losing, but it's not sheer fun for me, either. Some days are more fun than others. I feel lost on the court more than I should. I just want the clarity of knowing what to do in a match (mostly singles) and as things change. I feel feeble-minded sometimes and I hate that and it shouldn't be like that as long as I have played.

Anyway, I agree, I wish we talked more about our own tennis.

I did not play today. I walked by the courts in my neighborhood and a local college team was practicing. I support that team and take clinics with the assistant coaches, so it was great to see them hitting. Made me want to play. I don't even have anything lined up until next Thursday, but will probably get out there this weekend. Maybe tomorrow evening.
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Re: Did you play today?

#3

Post by Deuce »

So far in the 13 days of September, I’ve played tennis 3 times, and pickleball 4 times. So, basically every 2 days or so, it’s one or the other. The pickleball is scheduled with a league on certain nights, but the tennis is just informally self-arranged. There was a potential mixed doubles thing with some new people last weekend that fell through - maybe it’ll happen this weekend...

As much as I enjoy pickleball (a lot more than I thought I would), I am first and foremost a tennis player at heart. I’ve been playing tennis for a little over 40 years. They’re putting pickleball lines on some tennis courts around North America, which I hate... and if it ever came down to a rumble between tennis players and pickleball players for the territory, I’ll be on the tennis side all the way.

It’s not easy for me to find tennis players of a compatible level... I’ve been playing for a long time, and so obviously know and understand the game well.... and I used to be able to play at a 5.0 level (on certain days - and 4.0 on other certain days!)... So I play at a higher level than the vast majority of players who use public courts... but most of the players at a similar level as me are honestly younger than me by several years - and they can simply maintain that level for longer than I can on a given day.
I’ve taken to playing more in the evenings, when it’s cooler - because the heat was really limiting me during the day - between the heat coming from the sun and the heat coming up from the (hard) courts, I felt like I was like suffocating inside an oven sometimes. Recent updates to 3 different local courts have resulted in excellent new LED lighting, so that certainly helps when playing at night.

I don’t play in the winter anymore, and when I go out for the first time in the spring, I can hit wonderfully or terribly - like pretty much every time I play throughout the season. I never know how I’ll hit until the first game is done with.
Last edited by Deuce on Wed Sep 14, 2022 4:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Did you play today?

#4

Post by ptmcmahon »

Did get out and played once with Son this summer, although we both play for fun. We went mid day in middle Summer so we only lasted about an hour or so.

Funny enough someone from my field hockey team showed up to play and he would blow me out of the water :)
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Re: Did you play today?

#5

Post by ashkor87 »

It is raining here in the early hours so the court (outdoor mud,) is not playable...should be ok soon...monsoon ending in a day or 2
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Re: Did you play today?

#6

Post by Owendonovan »

I play in the gym of the school I work any day I can sucker someone into playing with me. No net, just hitting back and forth, with lots of running around. I haven't played on court since the pandemic.The ball moves pretty fast on a polished hardwood floor.
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Re: Did you play today?

#7

Post by meganfernandez »

Owendonovan wrote: Wed Sep 14, 2022 12:45 pm I play in the gym of the school I work any day I can sucker someone into playing with me. No net, just hitting back and forth, with lots of running around. I haven't played on court since the pandemic.The ball moves pretty fast on a polished hardwood floor.
I bet! Yikes. But you never make an unforced error.
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Re: Did you play today?

#8

Post by dave g »

Living in a small town in northeastern Minnesota means that I can only play tennis in the summer, because there are no indoor courts near me. While we have someone who will drive 60 miles each way to play on indoor courts, I am not willing to do that, yet. We do have a one-night-a-week tennis group. We usually have a singles league followed by a doubles league. Participation is down this summer; I thnk that is because people feel like they can travel again and are tyring to fill their backlog of travel wishes. Since a large portion of us are retired, people have gotten into traveling a lot this summer.

So, like Duece, I play a fair amount of pickleball, three days a week, because you can play it indoors year-round.

I use to be a 3.5 when I was living in Charleston S.C., and playing a log. I am still not back up to that leverl. Most of the other people in my community are either 3.5 or 3.0. While my serve and some other strokes aren't fully back yet, my biggest problem has been caused by changing glasses. With my new glasses, when the balls get close to me they are about 2-3 inches closer to me than they looked using the old presciptions. So, I went a year or two framing and mishitting the ball alot before I figured out what was going on. I have learned to try to hit my groundstrokes with the tip of my racquet, so that the balls actually hit the strings. But volleys are still problematic, which is made worst by the fact that I am basically a doubles player.
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Re: Did you play today?

#9

Post by ponchi101 »

Thanks for the comments.
@Megan. The strings were alright. I am using Wilson Revolve Spin, 17 gauge polyesters, so they felt fine. Anyway, I do not string them too tight, around 56 Lbs, so they did not lose much. They felt well for my old Wilsons N-Code Tours (Justine's and Lindsey's racquets).
I was not playing a match yesterday as much as I was just training and hitting the ball. I made a decision, ages ago, NOT to play anymore in "competitive mode"; I really am not looking at wins or losses, I only focus on how well I played. Like Deuce, at my peak I am a 5.0, although usually I am around a 4.5. It also depends a lot on whom I am playing, as I use my opponent's pace a lot.
I will go play again tomorrow.

Bit of a fun story.
About 5-6 years ago, I had finished a training session and the owner/pro at the place I train approached me to see if I wanted to hit with a young guy. The pro is a former Colombian DC player, who played and worked with the likes of Ashe, Laver and the early 70's crew. The young guy was training for the Bogota Cup (still played in the men's in those days) and needed a work out. I said I was not good enough, but they said it was just for losing up his arm. We did several drills and kept the ball in play, and then he asked if I minded a quick set (he did not say quick, he was very polite). He wanted to warm up his serve. We did, and he beat me 6-1, and I actually broke his serve.
He played the cup and lost in the first round, 1 & 1. And it is funny now because, you know who he lost in R1? Casper Ruud (he was like 17). So my degree of separation with the ATP is 2 ;)
Today: my arm does not hurt so much. I am surprised.
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Re: Did you play today?

#10

Post by atlpam »

I stopped playing tennis about 10 years ago due to foot issues, so I could focus on hiking/walking as my primary activity. I miss the fun of playing with friends but I had grown tired of the leagues because people took it far too seriously. I have started to play pickleball when we are at our Vermont home since they created a court at the bottom of the mountain where we live. It is lots of summer/second home folks and most of us are new to pickleball (although many are former tennis players). The smack of the paddle on the whiffle ball doesn't feel quite as nice as hitting a tennis ball in the sweet spot, but the enjoyment of hitting for fun has returned.
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Re: Did you play today?

#11

Post by ponchi101 »

Day 2 of the return.
Today the focus was on extension of my shots. Making sure that at impact my arm is properly extended and the shot is hit with the racquet by my side, not scooping it. A lot harder than day 1; I don't have the strength yet to keep the racquet firmly going through the strike zone. It was easier on the BH because I have always had better mechanics there, but of course, I am trying to dictate with the FH.
Did a drill for that: from the baseline, hit the ball on a low trajectory but hit it OUTSIDE of the court. First six balls, 2 out. Second 6, 4 out. Third 6, 5. We then started rallying.
I also did my usual "two at the net volleying" drill, for warm up. But then we moved to volleys from the service line, so you have to punch them more solidly.
Blisters are forming in hand. A good sign. It means I am working harder. A long way to go, still.
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Re: Did you play today?

#12

Post by ashkor87 »

Drills are always more fun than playing points ...
I always prefer to just hit than to play a set...unfortunately most of my club buddies are too competitive so they want to play a set .
My wife is the only person who enjoys just hitting, so we do that when we can...competing with your spouse is never a good idea anyway!! Btw that Wilson Clash racket is working out great for her...
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Re: Did you play today?

#13

Post by ponchi101 »

We had not asked you about it (the racquet). Glad to hear that.
Yes, I prefer to just hit nowadays. Too many lousy memories of hyper competitive people behaving as if it was Championship point at Wimbledon. Just go out, work out, strike the ball. Enjoy the hour.
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Re: Did you play today?

#14

Post by Deuce »

ashkor87 wrote: Fri Sep 16, 2022 3:40 am Drills are always more fun than playing points ...
I always prefer to just hit than to play a set...unfortunately most of my club buddies are too competitive so they want to play a set .
My wife is the only person who enjoys just hitting, so we do that when we can...competing with your spouse is never a good idea anyway!! Btw that Wilson Clash racket is working out great for her...
I much prefer to play sets than to just rally. And I never do drills of any sort.
First of all, by playing a set, both players get to serve and return. When just rallying, these two strokes are ignored.
Secondly, and most importantly, in playing a set, you also get to practice situational tennis, and how to deal with different circumstances. And so it's a psychological practice/sharpening just as much as it is a physical one. You don't get that when just rallying, obviously.

I long for the day that I play just as freely and just as well in a set as I hit when just rallying. Countless are the times when I've been hitting great in the brief warm-up before starting a set, but once the points are counted, I play terribly. That's 100% psychological - the addition of consequences makes a huge difference (BUT IT SHOULDN'T!!).
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Re: Did you play today?

#15

Post by ashkor87 »

There were only 3 of us at the court today, so we played 'tringles' - 2 against 1 .we play 3 games and then rotate..the player playing alone has to defend the singles court, the pair has to defend the entire court..everyone serves once..
I find this game very interesting tactically..when you are playing alone, against 2 players who are good volleyers, you need to get to the net right away! Scoring is- every game has 2 points ..the doubles team splits them if they win...
Lots of fun and good exercise!!
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