A tennis tournament was held at Bandon Grammar school on Sunday 10th December for boys and girls aged from 7 years and upwards. We were most lucky with the weather as it rained for only 10 minutes during the 5 hours of play. Below are pictures of the girls who attended.
Winners are Ciara White and Lucy McCarthy
Runners up are Fia Johnson and Sarah Henry
Third place are Ciara Quinn and Sophie Collins
Winners are Caoimhe Collins and Ellie Collins
Runners up are Isabelle Harrington and Charlotte
Third place are Roisin Harrington and Niamh O’Mahony
We are holding a tennis tournament at Bandon Grammar school on Sunday 10th December for all involved in tennis coaching with Bounce tennis academy. The tournament is open to boys and girls from the age of 7 upwards. It will be played on the 3 outdoor tennis courts and so is weather permitting. Should we be rained off then we will postpone the tournament for a week and hold it on Sunday 17th December at the same venue. The tournament cost is 5 euro per child and all of the money goes towards court hire, tournament prizes and referee supervision. The times of the tournament are as follows:
Girls aged 7 to 9 years of age from 10am to 11.15am.
Girls aged 10 years and over from 11.15am to 12.30pm.
Boys aged 7 to 9 years of age from 12.30pm to 1.45pm.
Boys aged 10 years and over from 1.45pm to 3pm.
The competition will run in a “beat the champion” format. Racquets can be supplied to those in need. Please bring appropriate attire and footwear along with water for refreshment. Please arrive at least 5 minutes early to register. Should you have any enquiries then please contact me at 087 9757444 – Alan. Hope to see you courtside.
Some cars go down in history as classics because of their innovative design and for me there are some tennis racquets which are icons of the game. For my criteria, I have only chosen racquets that I have played with in the past and some of these are only very recently enough. I have based my choice on design, impact on the sport and their overall playability. Humans are fickle beings and what might have been in fashion six months ago may not be the case today. When I was growing up in Ireland and starting to play tennis there was only a choice of three manufacturers of racquets that you could buy and two of these no longer make them. They were Donnay, Snauwaert and Dunlop. Very occasionally would you come across a player wielding an exotic Wilson racquet.
Dunlop Maxply (Fort and McEnroe)
Debuted in 1931, this wooden racquet taught many generations how to play tennis and was still being used into the mid 1980’s. Now that is longevity for a racquet. Made with a composition of woods the most notable users were Rod Laver and John McEnroe. They had to be kept in a frame to stop them from warping and particularly so in wet weather. Dunlop, a British company, have been making sporting equiupment since 1910 and are still a leading brand in the field today.
Donnay 3 set.
The Donnay 3 set was originally produced in wood but it was the later version manufactured in fibreglass that I first used. I loved this racquet for playability and design. It was the first racquet that I played with that wasn’t made out of wood and the extra power and accuracy that I got was astonishing to me at the time. Donnay was a Belgian company who were the world’s largest producers of racquets and so many a tennis champion hopeful began with this brand. Bjorn Borg himself played with the wooden version of the 3 set and he didn’t do too bad with 5 Wimbledon wins and 6 French Opens. As far as I know they stopped making racquets in the late 1980’s and now just make sporting attire.
When John McEnroe moved over from the old Maxply McEnroe wooden racquet to the new 200G in 1983 when he was world number one he brought a lot of people with him. It was the first to be injection moulded and made out of a type of carbon called Grafil. Beautifully designed, though it was heavy and especially so for younger players when at a time junior racquets were pretty much non existent. Martina Navratilova used it for a while but the most notable player ever to grace it’s hands was undoubtably Steffi Graff, winner of 23 grand slam soingles titles. This racquet is a piece of history and anyone who has ever played with one will recall many fond memories. Unfortunately Dunlop discontinued the Max line in favour of their new revelation brand.
I was never a huge fan of Prince (the tennis manufacturer not the singer) and I have never actually bought one but I have occasion to play with one whenever the strings in my own racquet had broken. My mother owned a Prince pro, the large head sized one which seemed enormous compared to the racquets I had been playing with. I think it was 100 square inches and it was made of aluminium and it felt like a sledge hammer in my hands. Made popular by Pam Shriver in the late seventies it brought a lot more power to the game.
Wilson Six one:
I had two of these racquets but each with different specifications. One was the Wilson six one and the other was the six one team. The first had a 90 square inches head frame and was very rigid and the second I think had 100 square inches, was much more flexible and had a wider framed body. The Six one was most notably played by Roger Federer and came in a red and white design which was very pretty to look at. Wilson have since upgraded the six one and now it comes in a Basalt graphite composition and changed over to a black colour.
Babolat Aero Pro Drive:
The aero pro drive made famous by Rafael Nadal was a black, yellow and white racquet that caught the imagination of many a junior player. My wife bought me one about five years ago and I will still use it today from time to time because it’s lightweight, strong and still very stylish. It offers great playability and is very durable. There is a wide range in the Babolat Aero Pro range and other more notable players included Andy Roddick and Agnieska Radwanska. Babolat and Wilson are now probably regarded as the best tennis brands on the market due to their commonality of use.
Above are 6 types of racquets that I regard as icons in racquet history and I know some people will disagree with me but they had the biggest influence in my playing career. There are a few other racquets that I would like to mention here that are icons in their own right even though I have not played with any. Here’s a short list:
I have only ever held one of these steel made racquets most notably used by Jimmy Connors. It was extremely innovative for it’s time considering every other racquet made at that time was out of wood. To me it looked extremely ugly and heavy but Connors bought every one he could find when Wilson stopped making them.
The Snauwaert ergonom was one of the most unusual racquets ever produced, featuring a rotated head that allegedly stayed in line with the path of the ball longer than a conventional racquet head. Needless to say, it didn’t catch on and the company went out of business in 1994. Snauwaert’s were used by Gerulaitis, Pernfors and Mecir.
Another one of my mum’s racquets, the Prince o3 has large grommet holes to help swing the racquet faster because of less wind resistance. Much easier to string too I would imagine. Again, the series comes in a wide range, colours and specifications. I have played with it once or twice and though it is very lightweight and produces a lot of power I just couldn’t get used to it. An acquired taste, methinks.
We used to call them shock absorbers but I guess the correct technical term is vibration dampener. They are small rubber items fitted in between the base of the strings and they do exactly what they say on the tin which is dampen the amount of vibration of the strings after the racquet has contact with the tennis ball. It eliminates the “ping” sound you get from the ball coming off the racquet to become more of a thud. So, why is it that some players choose to use them and some don’t?. Well, most racquets produced nowadays will have in built dampening properties so the need becomes less apparent. Some people use them out of habit, some to incorporate their own little bit of personal style or character and some to reduce the onset of tennis elbow. There is no real scientific proof to suggest that they do reduce the risk of tennis elbow but they definitely don’t do it any harm. One thing is for certain, once you have used a vibration dampener, you will find it difficult to play without one.
These little tools come in all shapes, sizes and designs but the two most common are called button and worm. The button dampener is either usually round or square with grooves on the side to allow it to be placed inside the strings and the worm dampener is long and zig zagged through the strings with clips on the end to hold it in place on the strings. They cannot be placed anywhere inside the string pattern but must be put outside the pattern of the crossed strings so that basically means top left or right or bottom left or right. There is no limit to the amount of dampeners you can use on your racquet but nearly all find one sufficient to do the job.
Most tennis brands manufacture dampeners with their logo emblazoned across them which is another novel way of advertising. They range anywhere from about two euro up to five euro in cost and can all be applied easily enough to any racquet. I personally hate to play without one now that I’ve been using them for so long and I know many other players fell the exact same way. Perhaps that’s more of a mental thing now. My best advice is to test them out and see if you can feel (or hear) the difference and then go on to make your choice afterwards.
Either at professional or recreational level, when you have played against an opponent many times you get to recognise patterns in their play and shots they are most likely to play in any given situation. We are after all creatures of habit and when we recognise something that works for us on the tennis court we have a tendency to re-play that shot many times. When we see this in our opponent we can start to anticipate their next course of action and position ourselves accordingly. We don’t always get it right but it can make the difference in tight matches. When our opponents begin to recognise patterns in our play then we must learn to try and disguise our intentions and the most obvious ways we know we are successful in this endeavour is when we wrong foot our opponents or leave them flat footed on the court (stuck in the mud). So, how do we go about disguising our tennis shots? Here are some tips:
It may sound obvious but having a consistent toss during the service action regardless of the spin employed will not only disguise our intention but will keep our opponent guessing. I have a player at my local club who I play against regularly and whenever he is going for an excessive sliced serve it is very noticeable that his toss is exaggerated out to the right and that allows me to ready myself for the oncoming ball. A consistent toss should bring more consistency to your serve too but it may limit the amount of spin you can generate. On the overhead in general, varying your amount of wrist pronation will change the direction of your shot regardless of the stance you are using.
Return of serve:
It can be very hard to disguise your return of serve because you often get very little time and if your opponents serve is strong you may also have very little choice. Although not technically a disguise, the best way to hide your patterns on return of serve is to mix it up a bit. Go for the shot down the line eventhough you are aiming into the smaller part of the court and your recovery is a greater distance. It will break up the pattern of always returning back crosscourt and is a good ploy to use in doubles to test the servers partner to see if they are competent at the net.
In order to disguise a groundstroke it may be necessary to hit from a different stance. A lot of players will move from their usual open stance into a more neutral stance in order to hit down the line. By moving to this neutral stance you can convince your opponent that you are about to hit down the line but then hit crosscourt.
Another good trick is to use the classic “V” tactic and then hit back behind your opponent on the next shot in order to wrong foot hi/her. This strategy can be employed a number of times before your opponent becomes wise to it.
We should always try to disguise a dropshot. The most commonly used ploy is to backswing your racquet like you are going for a powerful drive at then at the last moment loosen your grip and bring the racquet forward slowly with an open face. Swing high to low to generate a little (or a lot) backspin to complete the execution. Federer is a master at reverse disguise in this instance. He will set himself up like he was about to hit a drop shot and then and the last moment he will slice the ball long after his opponent has committed himself to running forward looking for the short ball. I have also seen him look one way with his gaze and then go about hitting the ball in the opposite direction. This is a risky tactic as it involves the player taking their eye off the ball which could easily lead to a mishit. You need to be very confident that it’s going to work or otherwise you could look like a little bit of a fool out there.
A great volleyer is capable of disguising their volleys at will. Again, hitting back behind your opponent is a good tactic to use. The disguised drop volley can be a very effective shot to play if done right and at the right time providing you have the touch and softness of hands. The only way to disguise your volley really is either with the amount of depth employed or the choice of angle used. You can vary your pace but most drive volleys are hit with power.