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Old 03-07-2013, 05:05 PM   #19
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: On the courts; hard & clay ...
Posts: 4,340

As all children did where i grew up i played a lot of football (the foot kind)... ever since i can remember really. playing the neighbourhood, school, etc... and as a young child played table tennis daily with my brothers and friends. sometimes i played against the adults in my family for snacks as prizes, but mostly we competed for pride. I was hooked on competing.

pestered my parents into signing me up for group tennis (not the table kind) lessons at the national academy one summer. first time i noticed that there were kids that could hit harder than me. was quite the hit to my ego, so i swung harder! the problem was there was no competition. just drills. we didn't play sets, on a few points occasionally and lots and lots of drills. I wanted to compete*.

I remember agruing with my friends about grips. continental vs. eastern. having one grip vs. changing for each stroke. hitting closed face vs. flat... my racquet felt so heavy.

used to play with my cousins and friends at a club my uncle was a member of. that was more fun, competing. i remember having a buggywhip forehand when on the run** (some strange amalgam of my football and table tennis habits); i remember people trying to coach me out of it, telling me to stop and set up and to swing across to my shoulder not above my head, but the ball seemed to keep me in points so i stubbornly stuck with it.

but that was defense, i was mostly an attacking player. i used to take everything on the rise until i got to the net. wanted to end every point with a smash, sampras style. i remember the nerves when girls were watching us play. i remember how cold the pool was when we'd jump in after practice and i remember the end of day barbecues.

fast forward to my 30s... most of the friends i used to play with are busy child rearing. i still go to the courts to hit, practice and play whomever. i still swing all out. still take the ball on the rise, still have that buggywhip forehand when on the run. still love to compete. still stubborn about how i play tennis.

* I had no idea that there were tournaments for children, or teens. i thought only adults played those.
** My regular forehand was very flat and was either a winner or in the back fence.
Disclaimer: I'm NOT a coach...
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