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What Tournament to Play, Second in a Series

Attn: Jake Nelson





October 10, 2001









What Tournament to Play, second in a series.


So you have rallied for hours, hit hundreds of practice serves, passing shots, overheads…now what? Let’s test your game out for real. Let’s sign up for a local TENNIS TOURNAMENT!


The competition at the larger and more established tournaments can be tougher than the smaller local events. You will have to win several matches in a row to get into the finals, but you will learn quickly.  You will learn by playing your matches, and by watching other high-level matches being played during the event. You can learn skills, techniques, and strategies by scouting the other players.


With this information and experience you and your coach can then work out the best way to improve your game. Tournaments are hosted year around in sunny southern California. So plan your competition year, then plan your training regime to complement that schedule. 


Categories are Singles, Doubles or Mixed Doubles. Enter singles and expect to have at least one match. Winning takes you to the second round. Keep winning and you will end up in the FINALS. If not, some tournaments have a consolation round so you will have a second match if you lose in the first round.


If you need the experience, and have the energy, you can enter more than one category. Doubles helps you learn strategy and is not as taxing on the body. By playing as much competition as possible you can see how your skills and strategies hold up against the many different styles of play.


If you need tougher competition you can also enter in a higher rating level. With a rating of 3.5, also enter in 4.0. You may not win as many matches, but you will see what it takes to play at that level.


During singles matches – your mind is your partner. It is essential to develop a game plan and then execute it. If your plan is not working you must study the opponent and alter the plan to form a win. Doubles - needs a great deal of strategy and experience mixed with teamwork. It can also be an enormous amount of fun and a more social activity. Mixed doubles - can be serious tennis, but is more likely to be a fun and relaxing game. Whatever category you decide to enter each match will give you experience along with competition, time to meet new players and have a great time.


Most tournaments are sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association, USTA. This international governing body will test you and assign your NTRP level so you play opponents in your same skill level. Call well in advance to a club nearby to attend one of the scheduled rating clinics. You can get a USTA card and testing ahead by calling 1800-___ - ____. Several days after the rating clinic you will be mailed your USTA rating. The tournament director will confirm your card number at check in for the USTA sanctioned tournaments.



Tip of the month: Prepare for the immediacy of playing for points. Learn that each point is important to the overall outcome. During your training schedule, include playing for points. One good drill is to play a whole set, but start each game at deuce. You will have to win or lose only two points in a row to decide a game. The set can become very competitive and lots of fun. Change sides and play just like a complete set, but it will take less time and you still have to concentrate on accuracy, consistency, and exercise all facets of the game.



For further information or instruction, contact 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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