TennisONE, April 15, 2003
"Developing a Weapon: Andy Roddicks Forehand," Rick Macci
To the TennisONE Community
This ever happen to you? You're waiting for your doubles partner to show up as you warm up your opponents. You work through the groundstroke warm-up, take some volleys, serve a dozen times, and finally your partner walks on to the court with an apologetic, "Just let me take a few and I'll be ready." Next to the opening proclamation, "I'm really hung-over," there are few more confidence-crushing words that can be spoken by your partner as he enters the court. True to the spirit of the moment, your partner then proceeds to bury a few forehands into the bottom of the net, bricks a few volleys, and frightens the players on the next court by drilling the back fence with his overhead. Now he says, "Okay, I'm ready."
Beware. The Ice Man cometh. The next three to four games do not bode well. If you escape just down one break, consider yourself fortunate indeed.
Tennis tips often don't work, as John Yandell pointed out in his excellent piece last issue. But here's a tip that will improve your game in the first set of every match you'll play for the rest of your life: WARM-UP DUMMY! Apply the resuscitator! Fire up the synapses! At least act more alive than dead walking onto the court!
Why do some players consistently refuse to warm-up when they consistently stink in the first set? Many players just haven't been taught the importance of warming up, and they can plead ignorance. Sheer laziness is another excuse, but we've now crossed over to the lame side. Yet I know players who aren't lazy, but who are still reluctant to commit themselves to a proper warm-up. They may say, "Hey, it's only a game, I don't want to take it that seriously," but watch them throw their racquets and curse the heavens when they're losing. I think it has to do with the hidden fear players carry. If you don't warm-up properly, you're giving yourself permission to lose. TennisONE contributor Allen Fox, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology, does a superb job of capturing this defense mechanism in his piece, "Beware of Hidden Fear" (you need to login as a TennisONE member to access the links). Here's what Dr. Fox says about the strategy of ego-protection, one variant being (in my view) the no warm-up approach to playing tennis:
"He subconsciously knows the more he wants to win and the harder he tries, the more agonizing it will be if he loses. In fact, he really wants to win too much and dares not risk the agony of fighting to the end and losing. The safe way for him to escape this painful dilemma is to claim he does not want to win any more and quit. That way he can't lose."
"Okay, okay," you may be saying by now. Stop with the puritanical scolding. "I'll do a little stretching before I walk on the court." Wrong again, Ice Man. Dethaw your brain, and read a few excellent pieces on how to warm-up properly from two of the top physical fitness coaches and TennisONE experts.
Forward this email to your Ice Man pals. Perhaps they'll get the hint.
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"Developing a Weapon:
Andy Roddick's Forehand," by Rick
Famed trainer Pat Etcheberry presents the aerobic component for Stage 1 of his worldclass cross training program. See what separates Pat's approach, and how he's trained numerous Grand Slam champions as well as current Belgium star Justine Henin-Hardenne.
Exclusively on TennisONE
At the start of the month, we put up her groundstrokes, and you folks viewed them (especially that backhand) by the thousands. Just added: her first and second serves. Next month, look for her returns and some great approach and volley sequences.