Posts Tagged Bryan brothers

Tennis Fanatic

Fanatical…that’s what I have become. Playing tennis 25 days in the last 31 (or 16 out of 17 or 20 out of 24), reading tennis strategy books at night, watching tennis videos, practicing new serves (spin and kick), new ground strokes, new placements. I can’t get enough. Sometimes my game improves. Other times I can’t execute the new shots. But overall I am becoming better…just frustrated that there is still no consistency. At least when I play in the tougher competitions, my team no longer loses consistently. And my net game remains strong.

Of course I was glued to the TV during Wimbledon. And off today to Newport to watch the Campbell’s Cup ATP matches there, with Isner, Nishikori, Raonic and the Bryan Brothers playing.

In addition to all this, I have been working on new projects and handling my usual business and personal responsibilities. So no wonder I haven’t written much for this site. I miss those quiet moments of reflection and sharing.

My friend Joe is passionate about theater (he runs one), and no matter how tired he is, he always says that he is grateful to have such zest and zeal for the stage. Having a major interest that drives you incessantly isn’t something you can tack on to your life. It often takes over your life. It is a gift of sorts. There is no boredom, no wondering what you are going to do today, no feeling of “been there, done that.” There are many activities that no longer interest me, whether it is jumping out of planes, eating often in fine restaurants, shopping for wines and cheeses, attending black tie parties (those never did). But I am out of control, when it comes to hitting tennis balls. I love the challenge, the sweating, the cardio, the feel of a well-placed shot, or just hitting dozens of overheads—or mis-hitting them—launched by a ball machine. I love the tiredness, when the day’s playing is over.

I am very lucky to have found this sport, to be so passionate about it, however late in life. While I am so out of control, I will play as long as I can. And should my enthusiasm burn out, or I feel too many aches, or I am no longer able to play, well then it’s been a helluva ride.

At a business lunch this week, I heard two stories about two unrelated women who suddenly had headaches, went to the emergency room, and immediately needed surgery for inexplicable brain infections. Bacteria that are normal in the intestines had migrated to their brains and created life-threatening pain and injury. Both survived, although one took three years to recover her motor skills. Both had been healthy. This is the reality of being a human. Sure there are bombs and car accidents and burglars and hurricanes that can all damage or extinguish our existence. But there are also tiny organisms inside of us that can paralyze us and take away our good health without any warning or explanation. So if good health is this fragile, if life can be this fleeting, how can we not savor it, enjoy it, live it to the fullest when we are able? Have a great day!

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Two More Bryan Brothers Doubles Tennis Videos

Watch these two, #3 and #4, after viewing the first two that I posted on January 9th. If you only have time for two, watch the earlier two first. I applied some of the Video #2 techniques yesterday, and was very happy with the results. A shame I have been poaching at the wrong time all these years. But no one ever taught me the precise way to do it, which is to start moving toward the ball during the opponent’s swing…not after the ball is hit, and you see that it is a cross court shot. Duhhhhhh. No wonder I missed so many of my attempted poaches in the past, and some players are there all the time, as if they know where the ball is going and can anticipate where to move in advance. What a great feeling. And after you make this commitment, if your opponent drives it past you down the alley…don’t sweat it. It’s a low percentage shot.

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Keep Your Winning Secrets Secret

This is too funny. I am often grateful when others share tips and techniques with me from all their years playing a sport, like tennis. Yesterday at a squash clinic, I was urged to turn my shoulder more to gain power. I thought I would do it today during four hours of tennis, and it really helped.

Yesterday I also watched the Bryan brothers videos and learned the complete way to poach. So when I arrived this morning at the courts, I was anxious to try this technique too. Arriving early, I saw a tennis friend on another court and told her how excited I was to poach with my new knowledge. Then when she asked what I meant, I described it to her. However the three men for my game never showed up. The organizer had made a mistake, and I was not going to play at all…until one man (on the court there) said he was too tired and would be happy if I filled in for his doubles game. I did eagerly and quickly realized that my opponent was going to be the woman I had just told about my new poaching technique.

You guessed it: she did everything she needed to to prevent me from applying my newly acquired info. I think I was able to poach against her side just 3-4 times in the two sets I faced her. Next time I might keep my mouth shut…at least until after we play. But of course it’s all fun. Good thing I am not a desperate killer on the court.

By the way, this was the second time in a week that I have played four-plus hours of tennis in a day. And yesterday was continuously…no break for lunch or rest. I was definitely tired, almost punchy the last set of seven yesterday. And the last four sets were singles. But I can’t seem to get enough of this activity. I love it. And I am extremely fortunate that I have the time and physical ability to do it.

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Instructional Videos From World’s Top Doubles Team—Bryan Brothers

These are great strategy guidelines for doubles tennis enthusiasts. I know these guys are pros (75 world tour wins), not “ordinary” athletes, but I wanted to pass on the advice for those visitors who love the game like I do. It’s so amazing how easy some of these techniques are. You don’t have to be such a good hitter as much as a smart player who knows where to stand and move during the point. I can’t believe how much of what I have been doing is a mistake, according to these Bryan brothers’ ideas. I can’t wait to try out their strategies on the court.

Be patient with the dialogue and repetition, the slow delivery of the key information. Otherwise you will go crazy wading through these sluggish videos. Just enjoy the insights and the winning tips that are offered. Two more Bryan videos will be posted very soon.

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Life Is A Game Of Doubles

Here is a thoughtful article by Nic Brown (assistant professor of English at the University of Northern Colorado, and the author of the novel “Doubles.”) about why most people only watch professional singles tennis but play doubles themselves. He says the teamwork required in doubles adds an element of camaraderie and joy that you just can’t experience by yourself. Personally I love the doubles net game, which in singles is just a minor part of the contest. What do you think?

WHAT’S the last great tennis match you saw? The three-day Isner-Mahut marathon at Wimbledon last year? Almost any Federer-Nadal pairing? Odds are you’ve caught a classic. During weeks like this, when the world’s best players descend on Flushing Meadows, Queens, for the United States Open, tennis can seep into the country’s consciousness through some sort of sport osmosis.

But unless you’re a genuine tennis fan, and a particularly odd one at that, it’s unlikely you can recall a single doubles match. Why should you? The sport’s neglected stepchild, doubles tennis receives little attention. You might have heard of Bob and Mike Bryan, American twins who hold 11 Grand Slam titles and are the only things close to real stars on the circuit, but I doubt you’ve seen them play.

There are some obvious reasons doubles doesn’t draw more fans. It’s harder to build allegiances to shifting teams than to a single player. And doubles suffers from a lack of star power. Once, this wasn’t the case. John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Arthur Ashe — all regularly played doubles. Now, few top players, under pressure to keep pace with the inexorable rise in the game’s physicality, can risk an injury moonlighting in doubles.

But there’s something deeper at work. Think harder, and I’ll wager you can remember a classic doubles match after all. Maybe that spring weekend when you and your wife played your neighbors in the park? Or in high school, when you and your brother challenged two too-tan girls to a game? I vividly recall the last doubles match I played. My friend Katherine and I were losing, but I wasn’t concerned about that; I was more worried about whether she was going to kill me because I kept running in front of her to flail wildly for the ball when it was clearly on her side of the court.

People spend more time playing doubles than watching it for a reason. Read the rest of this entry »

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