The Western & Southern Open is one of my favorite events. It’s hard to explain the overall sense of wonder and excitement you feel when you are at a professional event and just feet away from some of the best athletes in the world. It’s easy to get lost admiring the 124 MPH ace or the 95 MPH forehand winner. Most people are content just enjoying the matches, cheering great points, and rooting for their favorite player. But I like to watch from a different perspective so I can bring back tips to our students and members.
One of my favorite things to do is film the practice sessions that are on the side courts. You get to be a few feet away from elite players while they train. The professional game plays too fast for the average eye to learn from so I find that these videos can be really helpful in breaking down the game.
Most people don’t realize the professionals are basically running the same drills as we do at LCRAC. The difference is how much work, time and repetition these gifted athletes put in. In these practice sessions they slow their game down to focus on the little things like footwork, body mechanics, keeping their head still through contact and precision timing while swinging or making contact. Bringing back these videos to students can help them recognize the attention to detail at a pace that can be retained.
Of course I also love to watch the matches like everyone else, but my viewing differs from the common tennis enthusiast. I prefer to sit off to the side of the court and get even with the baseline. I don’t try to watch the ball going back and forth, but instead focus on either the upper or lower body from the beginning to the end of the point. This allows me to focus on the incredible amount of footwork that it takes to win a single point. Sometimes a player will take 60 steps per point! Multiply this by 60 points per set for 3 or 5 set matches and you will have a whole new perspective on the endurance and ability of these athletes. And because of rain delays most players had to play 2 matches in a day on back to back days to complete the tournament. In my opinion these are some of the greatest athletes in the world, and it’s always exciting to watch them compete. It’s even more thrilling when I can bring back tips and techniques and watch the students and members at LCRAC improve!