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  1. sonicosa Aug 25, 2021

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    I started taking tennis lessons in June, and I am hooked.

    For most of my teens through my early-30s, my primary sport hobbies were snowboarding, skateboarding, and some occasional surfing (I was also a competitive swimmer from age 7 -18). I moved to Colorado after college so I'd be able to snowboard all the time, and the last few years I lived there, I actually enjoyed cross country skiing more than the board sports.

    I moved back to the east coast in 2013 and have been struggling to find a sport to pursue that I really enjoy, but I think Tennis could be it. My last lesson in this current series is tonight, and I've already signed up for lessons again starting in September. Its a small class with 4 students, and half the time there are only two of us, so I feel like I'm getting a lot out of it. I actually missed close to half of the classes due to vacations an unexpected surgery in July. I expect I'll probably miss a bunch this fall as well, as my wife and I are expecting the birth of our first child in about a month and a half. Even so, the times I'm able to make it to the lessons, I really enjoy myself.

    One of the biggest challenges for me is that tennis isn't a solo pursuit, and I need to meet others who also play so I can keep practicing. I'm hoping I'll progress to the point where I can join a league, and meet others to play with through the lessons in the meantime. There are also several courts with walls where I live, and I practiced against one of those for the first time on Sunday.

    Any other tennis players on OF? Any tips for someone who is new to the sport? I'm taking level 1 lessons again this fall, and am hoping I'll be ready for level 2 by the spring.
     
  2. BlackTalon This Space for Rent Aug 25, 2021

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    I used to play a lot growing up, and I had a couple periods after college where I got back into it for a couple years. It's been about 10 years since I last hit, and I will really suck the first couple times I go out, but I'm happy to go hit with you. Weekends work best, particularly Saturdays. There are a few courts not too far from me.
     
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  3. Duracuir1 Never Used A Kodak Aug 25, 2021

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    In the mid 1980s at age 15 I quit hockey to play Tennis. In the summertime we played for hours and I joined an indoor facility in the winter time.

    Here is the watch story that goes with my experience:

    One morning I arrived early and while I waited for my friend to show up, I found an Omega Constellation. It was the biggest and ugliest watch I had ever seen and it did not work. The crystal was damaged. Being 15, at an unsupervised facility with an ugly busted watch, I simply kept it.

    In the early 90s I had it fixed by taking it to a jewellery store and gave it to my dad. My dad was a big man, around 300 lbs. I never saw him wear it. He likes his Seikos. When I visit my folks - they are several hundred KMs away, I always ask to see the watch. My dad is older now and has lost a lot of weight.

    The original Omega bracelet is still set up for his 300 lbs days and clearly does not fit him anymore. The watch runs, has the correct crown and the crystal has the Omega symbol etched in. A beautiful watch that does not get used. I do not have the heart to ask for it.

    I don’t play tennis anymore, but I enjoy watching women’s matches. If men are playing I only watch if they don’t do that annoying moan when they hit the ball.

    Watch photo taken from a Google search but it looks like my dad’s. D050FC34-42B6-4E1F-B620-97E269313C64.jpeg
     
  4. gbesq Aug 25, 2021

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    I played often when I was younger (teens through 40’s), but eventually switched over to walking, bicycling and sea kayaking as I’ve grown older. I remain an avid tennis FAN though. My sister and I have tickets to the men’s final at the US Open on September 12th. Looking forward to it. :) My best advice: take lessons. Bad technique turns into bad habits that will keep you from advancing as a player.
     
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  5. TimeODanaos Aug 25, 2021

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    It's so nice to hear from someone who feels that genuine enthusiasm too. I never got beyond county standard, but it's always felt like part of what life is actually for. I get asked - including in a few job interviews - what's the attraction, but struggle to explain concisely. This year I've been sidelined since April with a knee injury, and I have sure missed it dreadfully (ask Mrs T - it's hard to live with!).
    @sonicosa , Good luck to you both with the baby ::love:: - although I think dad will soon find carving out a regular agreed tennis-playing timeout is a high priority! Wouldn't presume to hand out any tips to a beginner, just always aim for quality, build up muscle memory, and enjoy the hell out of it!
     
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  6. sonicosa Aug 25, 2021

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    @BlackTalon I did a make-up lesson a couple weeks ago, and I’m pretty sure the court was close to your neighborhood. Maybe we can get out and play a few a few rounds before the baby gets here. Even though you’re out of practice, you’d probably play at a much higher level than I do at this point.

    @Duracuir1 I love how you did us all the service of bringing it back to watches so early in the thread, and that’s a great story.

    @gbesq thanks for the tip. I’m lucky that there are so many options for lessons where I live. I hope you have a great time at the finals.

    @TimeODanaos I appreciate the well wishes with the baby and your enthusiasm. I hope your knee will be healed soon so you can get back to it. In the meantime, I will do my best to follow your advice for quality, muscle memory, and enjoying the hell out of it!
     
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  7. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Aug 25, 2021

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    I started playing regularly back in 2015, after having a heart attack in 2014. Before that my wife and I would go hit every so often, but I really had no idea what I was doing. Different grips for forehand and backhand, really? :eek:

    So you can tell what level I was at back then.

    I really love it, and we were playing 4 or 5 times a week right up until Covid hit. Since then we have played on the street in front of our house when all courts were closed, and have set up a mini court in the basement just to hit little shots back and forth during the winter, just to keep some kind of feel for it when the indoor courts were closed.

    During the warm weather we have been playing as much as we can. We belong to 2 different clubs, and regularly play on both hard courts and clay. When things go back to normal, I’ll be entering tournaments again, and going to group classes, but for now my wife and I are either playing against each other, or as a mixed doubles team.

    I’ve really worked on my forehand over the last while, trying to get more shape to it and generate topspin. Same with the one handed backhand, but that I find more difficult. The serve has suffered from not playing matches, so in the past few weeks I’ve been working hard on that.

    Still have to remind myself to watch the ball all the time, and to move my feet. Not sure if that will ever go away!

    We love watching too. Have been to the Canadian Open many times (ATP 1000, also known as Rogers Cup, and now the National Bank Open). We have been to the Australian Open twice, and loved it both times. Dream is to get to all 4 majors eventually. Work will suffer when the US Open starts!

    Cheers, Al
     
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  8. sonicosa Aug 25, 2021

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    I’m hoping my wife will take up tennis eventually as well. She was signed up for lessons with me originally, but as her pregnancy progressed, we quickly realized that trying to learn a new sport in the second trimester was a poor idea.

    Hopefully she’ll be able to sign up for lessons this coming spring. Hearing you describe how you and your wife pursue tennis together sounds like what I imagine and hope for us. It seems like it would be a great pastime to enjoy together throughout life.
     
  9. Braindrain Aug 26, 2021

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    I used to be an avid swimming, tennis, and vball junkie. Played 10+ hours a week (tennis) from about 15 to 25. The years past 25 were more into swimming and vball (with weight training thrown in to supplement the vball). Stopped entirely in my early 30s.

    Recently got back into tennis since my oldest one (still a young'un) has been taking lessons for about a year and has the bug. We hit the ball often. The biggest difference is the racquet makers have changed (somewhat) and the sheer number of models is simply staggering. Went back into the archives and got some 2013-14 Babolat APDs (adult and junior) for the both of us.
     
  10. ghce Aug 26, 2021

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    I used to be into swimming in a big way swimming 3km each day in the late 80's and early 90's but back in about 1990 I found my self in between jobs for a while so I took up Badminton as the yummy bored mummies preferred that to Tennis for some odd reason, had contemplated Tennis but found Badminton more intimate and less tiring lol.

    Oh well I was younger then though I did buy a new Hi-tech Badminton racquet a few weeks back, almost weightless compared to the 90's version.
     
  11. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Aug 26, 2021

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    We see a lot of couples playing tennis together. I think it's a great sport to play together, and since my wife grew up playing in Australia, she is certainly competitive with me, which helps us both get more out of practicing with each other. That Aussie side of her does tend to create a flow of expletives though when I move her around the court and hit a winner though, which is very satisfying for me personally. ;)

    Tennis is one of the best leisure sports for prolonging life, according this this observational study:

    Various Leisure-Time Physical Activities Associated With Widely Divergent Life Expectancies: The Copenhagen City Heart Study - Mayo Clinic Proceedings

    Last spring playing on the road...

    [​IMG]

    That road is currently completely torn up, so hopefully when they get i paved again the surface will be even better for road tennis. These are the public courts we play on - there are also 8 pickleball courts - we don't play that but many people do here.

    [​IMG]

    And this is our little mini-court in the basement...

    [​IMG]

    We hit little volleys and drop shots back and forth, and doing that for an hour gets us moving, and my wife's ability to hit drop and spin shots has greatly improved from doing this.

    There are lots of instructional videos out there, but I follow this channel a lot, and have found the tips quite helpful - this is a backhand video...



    Cheers, Al
     
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  12. queriver Aug 26, 2021

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    I took some tennis lessons for a short time in my 30s to improve technique ..... and came away with a wife.
    Don't play tennis any more but still have the wife.
     
  13. Mediocre Aug 26, 2021

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    Join a club or league (or both) if they are options for you. They are a great way to find others to play with. They can also pair you with persons of similar skill levels, so you can both have fun and learn together

    Also, if available to you, see if there is somewhere local that you can try different racquets. Some clubs offer a service like this. Getting the right one for you can make everything more enjoyable.

    Do not take it too serious, and do not compare yourself to anyone else. Enjoy it! I grew up competing and love the sport. I have had multiple friends along the way pick up the sport. The ones that stressed about progress or benchmarked themselves vs others almost always lost interest. For most, including myself now, it is a leisure sport. The competition is typically friendly, and it should be.

    Some of the best afternoons are playing a match with friends followed by hanging out, having your drink of choice, and enjoying good company. If your goal is not competing, training, or coaching for a living that is what tennis should be IMO.
     
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  14. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Aug 29, 2021

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    Out on the clay courts yesterday...

    [​IMG]

    This is a local country club that has a golf course, but also indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Over the years we have been members, the tennis side of things has not been well looked after. The clay courts were never properly taken care of, the indoor courts had many roof leaks, the surfaces had not been redone in a very long time. Finally the company that owned this place separated the tennis part and sold it off. The new owner has fixed the roof leaks, has redone all the indoor court surfaces, and last year completely dug up the 3 of the 5 clay courts, and resurfaced them as well. Now with someone actually taking care of the courts, they play so much nicer. This is Har-Tru green clay, which plays differently than the European red clay. I've played on both, but this is what I play on the most. Much easier on the body than playing on hard courts!

    Hot and humid weather here, so grip wraps are the bane of my existence right now...

    [​IMG]

    This is a Babloat wrap, which is great for the grip, but shreds to bits on no time flat - started peeling the first time I played with it, and the state you see it in is after about 5 hours of play. I've tried some Wilson wraps that are fairly long lasting and give decent grip, but if anyone has a suggestion on a wrap that will provide good grip when your hands are sweating, but last more than a couple of weeks, I'd be interested in hearing it thanks.
     
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  15. 64Wing Aug 29, 2021

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    Never played organized tennis. It wasn't available at my tiny private school growing up.

    My dad played in high school where he grew up and has loved the game ever since. I have such fond memories of going to the court with him and my brothers as kids just to smack a few around. In retrospect, I truly regret not committing more time to the game if for no other reason than that I would've liked to have given my dad someone to hit with seriously. He did play in a league for several years but over time the group aged out leaving him with no one to play with. Ultimately, the march of time caught up with Dad and he ended up with two new hips and a shoulder repair (he was also a gymnast in his prime). Now, I fear he may never really play tennis again and I'm sad that I didn't spend more time with him doing something he really enjoys.

    Alas, I can't rewind time. So the next best thing is that my four brothers and I are conspiring to take Dad to Wimbledon and the US Open in a few years. We're gonna make sure he's all set with all the proper swag, attire, etc to enjoy a Pimms on the lawn before taking in some real tennis. If I could get him to a Roger Federer match before the man retires that'd be great, but the clock is ticking on that prospect.

    When I think of my dad, I'll always think of his enduring love of the game and how he used to record countless VHS tapes of tennis that he really wanted to watch later and that he rarely ever got to watch later because he just worked so much and sacrificed his time for us.

    It hasn't gone unnoticed by his sons, and we're going to see to it he gets a return on that investment.

    Cheers, all!
     
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  16. imfagent449 Aug 30, 2021

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    What a great thread. I used to coach tennis for many years. I used to assist a coach that did (and does) coach top 10 players.

    My wife suggested that we start playing again - I think she was bored of walking up and down the street for exercise. We now play once a week at the court down the street.

    Having played so much in my younger days, it does come back, although the body responds less spritely than one imagines one would in ones mind.

    I have been looking for someone to play with in Los Angeles (just south of Culver City). I have been thinking about taking up some light coaching to get myself outside and contribute to others. Perhaps starting out some younger players.

    Here is a great video that I remember watching. It is a great introduction:



    The grip in the video is the continental grip that was used for the forehand and the volley. The only difference with the modern game is the the grip for the forehand is held one notch back as the eastern forehand rather than the continental grip (you can see pictures/ videos of this online). The volley is still hit with a continental grip. Otherwise, the basics of the game are largely the same as described in the video.


    Here is a video of Susanne Lenglen playing in slow motion. Although the way she strikes the ball is different to that with modern rackets, it is fun to watch:

     
    Edited Aug 30, 2021
  17. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Aug 30, 2021

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    Interesting old videos, in particular the first one. The rigidity in the swings is funny to see, and very different from what pros do now. No real whip in the wrist that you would see with top players now.

    The Eastern grip (knuckle of index finger on bevel 3) is common certainly, but so is semi-Western (bevel 4) and full Western (bevel 5). I personally use a semi-Western grip, in order to help generate more topspin on the forehand. Back in the wooden racquet days, topspin wasn't something that was important in the game as it is now. The more extreme grips make the transition from forehand to backhand grips more difficult, and that's one reason I haven't gone to a full Western. Here's 2020 French Open Champ Iga Swiatek's forehand grip - full Western...

    Iga Swiatek forehand grip.jpg

    Also the backhand grip shown is great for slices (which is what pretty much any backhand was back then) but it won't get you any topspin. I use a Western backhand grip for my single handed backhand, so knuckle of the index finger on bevel 8 of the racquet for a right handed player. Of course serving and volleys use the Continental grip.

    There's a lot of personal variation out there, so you will see players doing all kinds of things. I play against one person who serves right handed and then switches to hit the ball left handed for the rest of the point. It really threw me off the first time I played him. I kept forgetting that he hit left handed when I was serving to him, which didn't help my chances a lot...
     
    Edited Aug 30, 2021
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  18. TimeODanaos Aug 30, 2021

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    Is that the peerless Dan Maskell demonstrating? Still the greatest tennis commentator of all, and father of the "don't keep talking, let them savour" school. One "goodness me!" from him was enough to make a Wimbledon memory.

    Thanks for this - I thought it was absolutely fascinating, especially the early use of slo-mo. Even allowing for the total absence of topspin, I still cannot fathom at all how the Lenglen biomechanics achieved what they did - no power-chain from the ground, no rotation, it's just different physics! What a lady.
     
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  19. imfagent449 Aug 30, 2021

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    It is Don. I believe this is him commentating here:

     
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  20. sonicosa Aug 31, 2021

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    Glad I started this thread! Thanks to everyone who has weighed in so far. I haven’t been out to hit since my lesson last Wednesday. That was the final lesson in the series, and the next round starts up in a few weeks. I’m hoping I can get out to play against the practice walls a few mornings over the coming weeks. I also noticed that the virtual portal for my apartment building has a section where you can post for interest in partners for golf, tennis, etc, so I might give that a try.

    @imfagent449 That film you posted from the early 1900s was really cool to watch. I work in video production, so seeing a practical example of early high-frame rate recording was pretty awesome. I should actually share that with my team. I think they would enjoy it. I shared this film not along ago and it was a big hit.