Tennis Tips - Questions inspired by Roger Federer

Questions inspired by Federer – February 2020

Watching a genius at work…. almost without doubt Federer is one of the 3 or 4 greatest players’ to have played the game…. how can we fail to be inspired, not just in the context of tennis, but in life generally?

What can we learn from him?

  1. His attitude (mentality).

  2. His technique.

  3. His athleticism.

  1. Self-control (mentality): How does he stay so relaxed yet be so focused? He has

    proved to be one of the best ever ‘front-runner’s’ in the game.

  2. Technical improvement: He most recently held the top ranking the week of June 18, 2018, more than fourteen years after first becoming No. 1 on February 2, 2004. Impressive how his serve, backhand and volley continued to improve throughout this period.

    3. Physicality: He’s very seldom injured, explosively quick (seem to glide

    around the court), remarkably flexible and never seems to

    get tired? How much time would he spend training?

    Tony Roche (Lendl’s former coach), Stefan Edburg and Ljubicic have managed to instil a calmness and inspire constant improvement to his game, plus amazing fitness levels with almost no breaks for injury. How, as a team, have they managed this? We can only guess at their planning structure and the content and duration of their practice sessions?

    Nadal and Djokovic and their very smart coaching teams are constantly having to add more variation to their game just to find ways to penetrate Federer’s defences. But, over the years, just when they think they’ve ‘found a way’, Federer seems to do something new and different which is outside the scope of their game plan? Are they ever capable of ‘catching up’ and passing his grand slam tally? Possibly, as they both have huge weapons – only time will tell!

    Also, we must ask ourselves: What do the ‘next-gen’ young players need to do to challenge these top 3 players in the remaining grand slams this coming year?

    Here is your exercise: Analyse the 3 factors above and apply this analysis to yourself.

    How, in other words,

  1. Do you stay calm and relaxed, yet remain a front-runner and never let your opponent ‘off the hook’?

  2. How do you analyse what technical improvements you need to make and

  3. How do you add new dimensions to your game when you’re competing and playing tournaments?

  4. What sort of fitness programme do you need; and who should design this for you?

  5. Finally, do you set yourselves goals, both short and long-term?

    Gordon Birt



"Parents......Want to Practice with your Beginning Child?"

7 tips to make practice more fun

Joe Dinoffer

With millions of children in the United States playing tennis regularly, parents by the tens of thousands are asking, "How can I help my tennis-playing child improve and have more fun at the same time?" Of course, a large portion of these children are taking some sort of tennis instruction already, but you, the parent, want to also help. This question of how to help is a very important question to ask, and to the parents who have asked or thought about asking this question, we salute you. This article is written for you.

In this article we will suggest seven principles to keep in mind with all the games and exercises you play with your beginning child. Note that I use the word play, not teach or instruct. Parents who try to “teach" their children are typically doomed to fail. The child gets confused with just who this person is, parent or teacher.

You know the scenario. When you try to teach your own child, they don’t listen or become too familiar since you are, after all, the father or mother, and not the “normal" teacher. On the other side, the parent generally loses patience because their high expectations (a normal parent attitude) are impossible to be met by their child.

The good thing about wanting to help your young child through the beginning phase of playing tennis is that you don’t have to be a talented player yourself, or even know that much about the game. The most important qualification for a parent during this phase is desire and enthusiasm.

1. Enter the world of pretend — Young children (3-9 years old) have fantastic imaginations. The love the world of pretend. I remember playing a game with my own daughter where I got her to act like our own cat. You know what our cat does before jumping? She wiggles her rump. So, picture a little girl, giggling, making cat noises, wiggling when in a good ready position, pouncing towards the ball, and then pretending her swing is a cat pawing a ball of yarn. We had a blast!

2. Don’t be afraid to sing — Make up a rhyme or make up a song as you are tossing balls to your child. Pick a familiar tune like “London Bridge" and sing “Hit your forehand low to high, low to high, low to high…" You’ll be amazed how much fun you and your child will have with a little creativity and goofing around.

3. Get them giggling This is perhaps the best litmus test of them all with young children, assuming they giggle (yes, some are naturally serious and don't). Get them laughing on the way to the courts, keep them laughing on the courts, and have fun on the way home. Who knows? You might start laughing along yourself and having a better time as well.

4. Left-right balance By the time a child is about five years old, he or she has started recognizing their dominances, right or left-handed, footed, and dominant eye. Our goal in mentioning this point is not to have you think about changing anything your child is doing; however, you should do some exercises with your child with their non-dominant side to help balance out their coordination. An example would be to have them try running to balls to their right by starting with their right foot, and moving to their left by starting with the left one.

5. Develop skills for all sports This may sound heretical, but many children will play other sports than tennis. In fact, some may even like a different sport more. Just pray that they don't fall in love with bungee jumping as a focal point in their lives. Even avid bungee jumpers would have to admit that tennis is a safer lifelong activity. When working with your young children, vary the activities to include skill-building that will assist them in many other sports. An example is using agility ladders. Agility or footwork ladders can significantly help children develop multiple sport agility and balance skills while having fun.

6. Adaptive tools In order to achieve the following point of "success at every step," you will need to use adaptive tools according to the age and skill level of your child. Whether it be starting with a Hand Racquet , or using slower bouncing or foam balls, or a combination of both, depends on the child and how they respond. Just set your sights on using different tools to give your child a feeling of success.

7. Success at every step Besides fun, remember that your young child is probably not going to feel natural on a tennis court. It takes time to develop the skills needed to feel successful playing a set of tennis. In the meantime, make sure your child experiences far more successes than failures. I like to call this a positive "success to failure" ratio. If they leave the practice session with considerably more success than when they arrived, you'll get them eager to come back for more.

The tips in this article are intended to help make tennis the main sport for your entire family. But, just remember to go beyond the actual strokes of tennis if you want to really help your beginning child. The keys are to make it fun and build your child’s self-esteem at the same time. If you can accomplish both of these critical goals, you’ll have a lifetime of pleasure to look forward to with your children. And, as the song goes, “Who could ask for anything more?"



Quotation of the Month



"Champions take chances and pressure is a privilege"



What to eat and drink when playing & competing

It is important that you replace the nutrients used during training and competition. Keep well hydrated…. doing this will help you perform your best.

Before Competition
It can be hard to recover during a tournament and be ready for your next match. To help, make sure you eat and drink enough before the start of an event and, for optimum performance, take on additional fuel between matches.

Good foods to eat 2-3 hours before a match are:
This will depend on how your stomach tolerates different types of food. The most suitable should be established before you compete:

- pasta with a tomato based sauce
- Rolls or sandwiches with lean meat, chicken, fish or cottage cheese
- Baked potato with tuna or baked beans                   
Important… Keep drinking during the 2 hours before you play - use carbohydrate based sports drinks that contain electrolytes.

Energy top ups 1 hour before competing include:
- Energy or cereal bars
-White bread with jam and honey
-Hot cross buns
-Low fat muffins Remember to keep sipping an isotonic sports drink at the same time.

During Competition During a match or training session drink regularly, don’t wait until you are thirsty. A good guide is to take 4-8 swallows of a sports drink on every changeover (about ¼ of a cup).

Only use sports drinks recommended by your coach, they must provide your body with both carbohydrate and salts. This is most important when you are playing hot and humid conditions and will help prevent muscle cramping.

During long matches ‘top-up’ your energy levels with a cereal or energy bar, jelly beans, or an isotonic sports gel. When taken alongside your sports drink, it will give you an instant boost of energy.

After Competition To recover quickly you need to replenish your body’s nutrients - this will help repair muscles faster and make you stronger.

The Golden Rule is that this must be done within 30minutes after exercise. Things you could have:
- Low fat milkshake drinks
- Yoghurt based fruit smoothies
- Sports recovery drinks
- Skimmed milk and a cereal bar
- Lean meat sandwich and a piece of fruit
- Sports bar combined with sports drink

- Baked beans on toast
- Large bowl of breakfast cereal and milk.

Take some of these with you so that they can be eaten straight after a match or training.

Within 2 hours after Competition

Try to have a carbohydrate based meal or snack within 2 hours of finishing your match – this will help you restore your muscles energy.

Remember….. this food needs to be easy to digest. Some competitors even use a liquid ‘meal replacement’ drink.



The Banana – a Tennis Player’s ‘Best Friend’!

Never ever, put your banana in the refrigerator!!!


After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.
Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.
But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.


High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Brain Power:

200 students at a Twickenham school were helped through their exams this year    by eating  bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Temperature control:

Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of sportsmen.



Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.


Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!!!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 'A banana a day keeps the doctor away!'

PS:   Want a quick shine on our shoes?? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe...polish with dry cloth.

Bananas are the most amazing fruit (and herb) !!!

Tennis Trivia

Lawn Tennis Balls 1922

Having originally relied on imports of rubber cores from Germany, Britain’s tennis ball makers emerged from the Great War in patriotic mood. “Buy Ayres and you buy British” was one slogan, while Slazenger, established in Manchester by the grandsons of immigrants from Silesia, stamped their goods, “Made entirely in England”.

Joining them in this highly lucrative market were Gray’s, Wisden, Spalding, Sykes and tyre makers Dunlop, from their huge Fort Dunlop works in Birmingham in 1918.

Slazenger had entered the business in 1885. But their biggest coup came in 1902 when they ousted Ayres as suppliers to Wimbledon. It later emerged that Slazenger were donating their balls for free, a revelation that forced the club secretary to resign. But he soon bounced back, as managing director of Slazenger, and the company has retained the Wimbledon contract ever since.

These unused balls from 1922 were among the last made with Melton covers still stitched by hand. Thereafter, the covers were glued, thereby creating the familiar seam pattern that endures today.

Also dating from that era is the measurement of “bound”. As established in 1924, when dropped from 100 inches onto a rigid surface a ball should bounce no les than 53 inches and no more than 58. Currently some 360million tennis balls a year are produced to that standard, just one of many standards in international sport that can be truly said to have been “Made Entirely in England”.

Diameter 6.2cm

Weight 58g