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We're offering some great bonuses to signup for TennisOne in November. We've also setup some bonuses for existing members. Some (not all) of these bonuses are limited (one is worth $400) and can only be secured by acting quickly. I'll be sending a separate email out at 9 am Pacific tomorrow, November 16th, to give everyone an equal opportunity to secure these limited bonuses.
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"What's New" Product Video
- from Tennis Warehouse -Men - adidas Cool Long-Sleeve Fleece and Hoodie; Bosworth collection of vintage wood racquets
Center of gravity. Base of support. Posture. On center. Standing tall while engaging the legs. The Alexander Technique. Feldenkrais. Performance Fundamentals. McEnroe. Federer. This one is all about balance. But not in an obvious way. Just as in a group of friends, you can easily notice who stoops, who stands somehow rigidly tall, and who holds themselves in a way that appears both up and relaxed. The same occurs on court. More often than not, players are hunched over in the ready position, or lean over and into the ball at impact. And over time, slight off-centered movements become habitual, and awareness of these inefficiencies becomes obscured.
My initial introduction to these intricacies came from the meticulous tinkering of Tom Stow. Somehow I (and many others) was never exactly on balance with my turn to the forehand (or backhand) side. And worse, somehow I was never precisely on balance as I finished the stroke. Over time, as I got a little better at this; my consistency improved, and my game as well. At about the same point in time, I became interested in related readings on balance and posture. This opened doors in to Feldenkrais, Alexander, Swigard, and many others. Always about the same thing, how posture becomes habitual, but in all things there might just be a most efficient way to stand, to move, and by extension, to play the game of tennis.
So over the years I have collected various balance boards and tools that challenge centeredness, give insight into balance, and provide, at the same time, excellent workouts for the legs. And you can find many of these tools from an internet search. The two I am most familiar with are the Indo Board and the Cosom Board (that I ride with some difficulty in this article). And the point of these tools and the demonstration is that whenever even slightly off-balance, the arms move reflexively, and sometimes quickly, as a counter-balance. I believe the same thing happens, if less obviously, when we move about the court. Any time off-balance, there are muscular tensions used to hold us up (imagine the Leaning Tower of Pisa) – or rather quick physical actions with our arms that influence, if not corrupt, many of our hits. Graceful players make the game look easy. Off-center players somehow make the game look entirely different.
And this even applies to vision. Bill Harrison has done similar work with baseball batting, combining balance training with visual acuity (in fact he listed Tom Stow as a resource within his book, Vision Dynamics). Harrison shows rather convincingly, that any time one is off-balance, the eyes immediately move off-task to horizontal or vertical elements in the line of sight to regain balance. And if one’s eyes deviate even slightly from the moving ball at off-centered moments, this many explain many of our inexplicable unforced errors.
In the professional game, all the men and women are generally on-balance. Years of practice has honed and simplified their movements, but equally, as regards natural selection, players extremely off-balance are winnowed from the competitive ranks for they are either less likely to win or more likely to become injured. But that said, some players have an even more refined sense of balance than others. Federer would obviously come to mind, but perhaps McEnroe even more so. To play at such a high standard at the age of 50, one must be economical to the extreme, and as regards posture, balance, and grace, to my mind Mac leads the league.
The clips of McEnroe (above) show an effortless balance, gliding movement, and the quietest of hands, all the result of playing on center. You can approach this awareness, but only if you put balance on the top of your list when evaluating your game.
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
Sensational Tennis: Adding Pace Sensations
In his series on Sensational Tennis, Wayne Elderton, emphasizes that it is the "feelings" of a stroke more than the movements themselves that players need in order to develop better technique. In this article, Wayne covers such things as swing scale, racquet rhythm, and linkage, and he relates them to three of the basic moves in tennis, the hit, the throw, and the punch.
Sliding on Clay
American players generally do not do well when forced to play on clay courts. That's because, unlike Europe or South America, most of the courts in this country are hard courts. Dan McCain, however, grew up playing on the green and red clay courts in Florida, and was lucky to be around some of the great clay court players of the day, so he has some definite ideas about playing and winning on the dirt.
ProStrokes 2.0 – Fernando Verdasco's Forehand
This powerful 25 year old Spanish southpaw has ascended to the top 10 of the men's game. Currently ranked 8th, with an excess of $5 million in prize money, Fernando looks to move higher in the coming months. He works part time with the Agassi team of Darren Cahill and fitness wizard Gil Reyes. Getting into the top ten is an achievement (for anyone), climbing higher will require Fernando to develop more court savvy, continued confidence in his serve, and the ability to shorten the occasional point.
The Etcheberry Experience DVD
For more than twenty years Pat Etcheberry has been providing athletes from around the world with the winning edge. We call this the Etcheberry Experience, and players with an Etcheberry experience have hoisted Championship Trophies at over one hundred major championships, including 28 Australian Opens, 18 Wimbledons, 22 UP Opens, 22 French Opens and 15 Olympic medals.
And now it's your turn! This is your chance to experience the same drills, exercises and words of tennis wisdom that Pat gave to Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and others, that helped launch them on their incredible careers. For the first time, Pat Etcheberry shares his training secrets in a series of DVDs for players of all ages, their coaches, and trainers.
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