Tennisopolis : Tennis Social Network

I'm a bit of a literary person, but have been surprised to learn that quite a few of this type have been or are very good tennis players. Richard Wilbur, e.g., the former poet laureate of the U.S. is quick to describe the old image of the centipede getting his legs all twisted up from self-consciousness. Thousands of people always want to ask him how to write a sonnet. In his prose pieces he compared this to the drop-shot. Yes there are a bunch of parts to both, but if you just focus on the thing completed, everything gets simple!

The next day after reading that I had a match point. I said to myself, "Now I'm going to write a sonnet" and I hit the most perfect drop-shot of my life. But my arm was sore for a week! In any case, I have loved the drop-shot ever since and have not had any more trouble with my arm.

Richard Wilbur's hitting partner, the late poet Theodore Roethke, coached tennis at Penn State, it turns out. Roethke says in his notebooks that any many-sided person possesses a number of natural rhythms. Think about that for application to tennis! And how Oscar gets you to the ball at just the right time for you to make such discoveries on your own. Oscar knows when not to get too detailed.

But some people, such as myself, try as they might, are always going to analyze. The secret for them is to press through this wish to something more beautiful and imagistic and right-brain! The analysis itself is usually worthless and even counter-productive until...until it leads to a really simple cue. And everybody with a brain knows how effective Oscar's cues are. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't make up some of your own! This is the direction I'm following. Maybe it's not for everyone, I don't know, but personally speaking, I've never had more fun in this sport, and I'm not kidding when I say that John Escher at 69 would beat John Escher at 59, who would beat John Escher at 49.

Enough about me, though. Has anyone watching the UTube videos of Roger Federer practicing noticed the little
pause just after he straightens his arm on his famous forehand (still good enough to model upon, unforced errors or not). The city champion in Winchester, Virginia had the same pause, and I always thought it silly. No more.
That man was lead detective for the police department, and he had figured something out.

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Comment by John Carpenter on May 21, 2009 at 8:45pm
Hi John,

Good to run into you again. Lot's happening in the world of coaching as you'll soon find out. By the way, Federer is hitting with a straight elbow hitting arm structure. I can send you some great info written by Jeff Counts, one of our MTM coaches if you would like to know more about the SEHAS that was apparently started by Mark Phillipousis. Oscar has some great insight to why it is rarely used in the pros (Schichaphan, Nadal, Verdasco being a few others) and even Federer does not use it except when "going for it" or inside out on the FH, maybe 30 percent of the time. Johnny Yandell took Counts work and expanded on it, but as usual, Oscar points out something that everyone seems to miss. Let me know and I'll email you some good stuff. Oscar is now certifying coaches in his MTM and if you haven't seen the revolution in England, even the LTA is granting MTM coaches points. Browse around www.playmoderntennis.com to see what Oscar started over in England. The videos of the English kids are incredible.
Comment by Dean Wright on April 20, 2009 at 8:07pm
As a lefty I understand wanting to be creative, It;s just a natural thing to us. SIMPLE, a lefty, NEVER. We don't care what really works, we just want to invent the next shot to drive righhties crazy, ( read my blog, Revenge against righthanders at the group EXCUSE ME!!!) I just read yours.

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