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Relax and Have Fun Part 2

Attn: Jake Nelson





October 10, 2002








Relax and Have Fun


Here are more ideas that will help you enjoy being invited to play tennis at a nice club as a guest. By keeping within the rules of proper tennis etiquette and customs you will be able to relax and have fun enjoying the game, friendships, and challenge of the sport.


Keep the noise level down. Players on the other courts are trying to concentrate on their game, not yours. Shouting from baseline to baseline is distracting. Go ahead and converse on court but gather at the net so you can speak in a normal tone of voice. Calling the lines and the score loud enough for your opponent to hear is of course acceptable. Yelling in anger or swearing is not acceptable. Swearing, racket or ball abuse can bring point penalties in tournaments. It is always a good idea to make your opponent earn all of his points, not give them away needlessly.




Take service warm-ups before the match starts. The warm up is not the time to work on changing your strokes, but hit enough of your serves and strokes that you are comfortable and warmed up enough to start out at full speed.




Once the match starts, practice is over. The time for strategy, talent and stamina come in to play. Give full effort, but enjoy the process. Analyze the points. Work your game plan. Watch the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. Adjust your play to figure out how to win.


Call the lines fairly. If you doubt your opponent’s call on a shot it is fine to ask “are you sure?” His reply is either yes or no. If he is not sure then he should give you the point. If he says he is sure, accept the call. The theory is those questionable calls, as well as net cord shots, will even out eventually.






Treat your opponent with respect. You can have thoughts in your head to assist you, but keep your actions cordial. Return balls correctly, don’t complain or make excuses. Don’t try to “psyche out” the player. Juniors talk about “getting in his head”. But, this game is hard enough for your mind to keep a hold of, much less worry about the other guy. Let your fine strokes, superior game plan, and tremendous talent win the psychological battle. When you win, be gracious. When you lose, be gracious.



Tip of the month: If just hitting back and forth with your practice partner is boring from time to time. Or, if you would like to play points without the anguish of serving, try this suggestion from reader Mr. D. Play the game like Ping-Pong. Start the play by dropping and hitting the ball over the net. To get the point started the first 3 shots over the net are courtesy shots, down the middle at medium speed. After that the point begins in earnest and is played out. Points are totaled like Ping-Pong, and the serve changes every 5 points till a total of 11, 15, or 21 is made. The games are quick and you can play as many as time will allow. Have fun.


For further information call Stan Carter, USPTA certified professional, at the Flint Canyon Tennis Club: 818-790-3355 or 213-321-8699.   You are invited to please email questions and comments to

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