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The Power of Practice

When I started coaching professionally about a year back, I had a belief that ‘quality’ practice for a shorter time will triumph over many hours of tennis practice (quantity).

But then I look at some of my students’ performance and see a startling trend. Continue reading →

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How to tackle the Underspin?

The other day, I had a nice coaching session with a young player who hits the ball really hard.

I would describe his game as that of an ‘Aggressive Baseliner’- he hits the ball really hard  on both sides, is almost always aggressive, and has good footwork.

But as I expected, the flaw that showed up in his game was the same as what I usually observe in almost all aggressive baseliners.

It was the inability to counter the change of pace. In other words, -– they can’t tackle the Underspin (Slice) shot that well. Continue reading →

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Choose Process Over Results

I look back at my 14 year tennis playing career.

I reminisce on my major achievements – Ranked Asia No. 1 in U-14, ranked on the ATP, making the finals of the Nationals, etc.

One thing that strikes me – I never dreamt I would achieve these things. Or to put it another way, I never set goals for the above mentioned achievements.

The achievements just happened. I never thought I was going to achieve them.

More importantly, I stayed focussed on the job at hand- working hard, working on the basics, working on the weaker aspects of my game.

The results just came. Continue reading →

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Key to a Great Volley

Volley.

The stroke that you hit without letting the ball bounce.

The stroke that is (or should be) ideally played from near the net.

Come to think of it, can a volley be anything but aggressive?

You are close to the net. You have gone close to the net to finish off the point.

What could be more aggressive than that, in terms of intent or court-positioning?

Source of the pic: http://www.tribuneindia.com/1998/98nov27/sports.htm

My experience as a player and coach tell me that if there is one stroke that can be improved with just a little bit of effort, it is the volley.

How to improve the volley? Continue reading →

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Develop Mental Toughness by doing Physical Conditioning

Recently, during a tennis counselling session with a 13 year old boy and his parents, the father asked me, ‘What can we do to develop ‘the killing instinct’ in my son?’

And I considered the question and answered it in three parts.

The three parts were:

  1. The Mental Aspect
  2. The Technical/Tactical Aspect
  3. (Surprise, Surprise!) The Physical Aspect

A lot of you might be thinking, how can physical conditioning play a role in developing mental toughness or the killing instinct? Continue reading →

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Ball Toss on the Serve

Two weeks back, I stated that the best way to improve your serve is to improve your ball toss.

(If this does not apply to you, congratulations! But it definitely applies to a vast majority of tennis players)

I had suggested that a better phrase is ‘placing the ball’ & not tossing the ball.

Listed below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on a good ball toss. Continue reading →

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The best tip for improving your serve

I have been into tennis coaching now for about 2 years, after having played competitive tennis for about 14 years.

And when I look around, look at young kids playing matches and tournaments, I see that almost all of them struggle with one particular stroke. The struggle with this one stroke is common to all.

It is the serve. Continue reading →

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How to grow tall?

Last week, in my blog ‘The Taller, The Better’ I detailed about the benefits of having a good height for a tennis player. You can read the blog here http://www.samasamtennis.com/index.php/2011/06/the-taller-the-better/

When one of my friends read the blog, he got really excited and wanted to know how to go about increasing his height.

But he mentioned, “Please do not give advices like ‘Complan piyo’”J

So here are a few facts about the increasing your height.

Source of the pic: http://growingtallerguide.com/

Continue reading →

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The Taller, The Better!

In January, I witnessed the Chennai Open in person.

I reached the courts on Friday, mingled with some top notch Indian players  (Somdev, Devverman, Vishnu Vardhan, Karan Rastogi, Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan to name a few, some of who are friends from my days on the National circuit) and a few foreign ones as well.

I got the opportunity to watch the matches for five consecutive days.

And one thing struck me immediately: The height (and build) of the professional players. Continue reading →

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Finding Practice Courts during Tournaments

Last week, I got the following query from a player from Lucknow:

“How should I warm-up before a match if there are no (practice) courts available?

Normally finding practice courts during a national tournament in India (say a Talent Series or a Championship Series) is a problem.

Unlike the US Open practice courts shown below!

Source of the pic:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/nyregion/24courts.html

But let us first look into the reason to practice before the match. Continue reading →

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