Saturday, June 20, 2015

Marco Bitran - Double(s) Cross


The net person's main job is to guard the line. She has to make certain that the ball is not successfully hit down the alley. Most of the time, she would become a little paranoid about leaving the alley to poach at the middle of the net. Normally, if the serve is fast and hit near the center of the service box, then the fear of down the line return is muted because of the angle created by the serve. However, most hackers have slow to moderate serves which are hit to the middle of the service box. This serve gives the returner confidence to go cross-court or down the line. As a consequence of the returner's choices, the net person is rendered virtually motionless against the return.

I have my own solution to this problem. I am not sure if it is an original idea, but it makes perfect sense to me. It protects against the down the lines, most of the down the middles, and most of the lobs. Only a perfectly timed down the middle or a well hit lob deep to the server's side wins outright.

The maneuver is simple, but brilliant. The server hits the ball anywhere in the service box. Before the ball hits in the box, the net person moves directly over to the server-side box. At the same time, the server moves at a diagonal so that she makes it to the middle of the back line of the net person-side box. The players cover both lines and most other shots during the transition to and while reaching their final positions. The crisscrossing of the players protects against most down the middle shots. The timing of the down the middle pass would have to be picture perfect to win the point. Of course a deep lob to the server's side would be disastrous. However, if a player could consistently make that lob shot, then he deserves to win the match.

I have field tested this maneuver and it has worked beautifully. I experienced a high winning percentage as long as the maneuver was done without compromise. Once I had a partner, who as a server, deviated from the plan and ran along the baseline in the direction of the net person's court. This deviation opened up numerous passing lanes. Even when the server reached and returned the ball, the advantage at the net was lost to the returning team. The results of his actions severely lowered my winning percentage. If you follow this maneuver to the letter, then you and your doubles partner should be difficult to beat!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Marco Bitran - How to Hit a Federer Forehand From Your Own Backyard


If you've been following tennis for the last 10 years, you should be familiar with the name Roger Federer. No? OK, let's see if this jogs your memory a bit: 77 career titles. 17 Grand Slam titles. World Number 1 for 302 weeks. Often seen in expensive watch commercials.

Still, no? I hate to break this to you, but, it looks like you've been watching the wrong sport for the last 10 years. Before you read further, may I suggest YouTubing Roger Federer for a while?

For the rest of you, Federer no doubt embodies all that is perfect about tennis (at least for now; you never know what kind of ball-hitting machine the future throws up). His game is complete: a powerful, precise serve; a fluid backhand; and -here it comes - an atomic bomb of a forehand.

A beautiful atomic bomb, too. Simple, clean, exquisite, and most importantly, effective. So, the question is can you develop your own version of the Roger Federer forehand?

Since Fed is more of an advanced player (advanced as in "Second to God"), his forehand may not suit novice players. But the basics of his forehand are strong, and it will do no harm for us to explore it in detail here. You might just pick up a few tricks.

So let's get studying!

1. The grip

The grip is the most important, yet underrated part of your game. We're not talking about what the racquet handle is made of, but the way you hold the racquet. There are 4 types of grips: Continental, Eastern, Semi-western and Western. Today, we'll look into the Eastern Forehand Grip because that's the one Roger generally uses.

Wait, Roger who?

Roger Fed... hey, aren't you the guy who's supposed to be YouTubing right now?

Sorry about that. Back to the Eastern Grip. Hold the racquet handle in such a way that the base knuckle of your index finger is on bevel 3 of your racquet. Identifying the bevels is very simple: Hold your racquet in such a way so that the face is pointing sideways. Now the bevel that is pointing up is bevel 1. You move the racquet in an anti-clockwise direction, and the next bevel in line is bevel 2. The next one is bevel 3. Got it?

This illustration will help you understand the 8 bevels of a racquet better.

This is generally considered the easiest grip for learning the forehand. It's also very easy to switch quickly to other grips from the Eastern grip, so it's a good choice for players who like to serve and volley. You can also create shots with top spin and also play flatter, penetrating strokes.

2. The Backswing

For players who are just starting out, coaches usually drop the ball from a static height. This enables the player to develop his/her forehand (or backhand) and also, sub-consciously, solidify his/her elbow and wrist angular positions on impact. What you need to know is that during a shot, your wrist and elbow positions are going to be relatively stable; what's going to vary is your elbow and wrist angular velocity. This is influenced by a number of factors: ball speed, bounce, top spin, difference in frictional characteristics of the surface etc.

So what does Federer do?

When he sees the ball coming, he rotates his full upper body along with his racquet to his forehand side (till the racquet reaches his takeback height). Notice that he never takes his racquet behind his body. It's precisely because he gets his body into the swing. Once his upper body is fully turned, he can then unleash tremendous amounts of energy into his shot. Think of it as a rubber band in a stretched position. It's got a lot of energy waiting to be released. This is known as the Stretch Shortening Cycle.

3. The release

By now the ball has bounced on the ground. People watching have their hearts in their mouth. The Swiss is cool: he lets the racquet down from the takeback height. Now, he's got his whole body into the motion, so there's more power involved than just his arm. Just relax and let all that built up potential energy go to war.

4. Ka-boom!

Next up, contact. Federer's contact point is not that different from the contact points of most other players. What's important is the backswing.

5. The follow through

Federer usually ends his forehand across his shoulder, just like most of the pros out there. This is known as the Windshield Wiper finish and is different from the traditional follow through which ends over the shoulder of the player.

With that we've come to end of the Federer forehand. Remember, the most important part of his shot is the core rotation i.e the upper body turn which goes into the backswing.

Federer's basics are solid, so you focus on strengthening yours. Also, concentrate on maintaining a strong, balanced posture throughout your shots. You'll be fine.

And ah! Here comes Mr. Roger Who, back from his YouTube exploits. Sorry, dude, school's out, but feel free to go right back up and read this article.

I'll see you soon!

The author works for Live Your Sport, an online sports and fitness equipment store, and is a contributor to their sports and fitness blog, 'The Source'

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Marco Bitran - Fix My Serve: Three Places You Can Aim Your Serve


There are three places that you can send a ball into by the service box, if you are looking to fix your serve by improving it then by knowing which 3 areas that you can help you attack at your opponents weaker sides.

However, even if you do find out the weaker side then don't continuously hit to this side, you want to mix it up so that you don't allow them to build a rhythm - so that you can keep them on their toes and ready to make mistakes which therefore can keep you in control of the game.

Each of the 3 areas that you go onto hitting the ball to have their advantages and as mentioned there will be one which creates a weakness for your opponent so make sure that you keep it varied from out wide, down the middle and straight at your opponent.


If you realize that your opponent isn't too fast on their feet then placing your shot out wide is highly effective, this will lead to them having to try and reach the ball in time and even if they do they may provide a weak return which you will be able to hit back to the other side as a winning stroke.

However there is a downside to this shot which is that you are making yourself open to a return, if your opponent manages to get to the ball they can in fact return it across court as well. This return might be easier as well due to the fact that the ball will slow down since it has further to travel so beware of this.

Going down the middle

If you choose to go down the middle then you won't encounter the problem of losing speed as the court is shorter across the middle than traveling all the way across making this a great shot for powerfully placed shots with some spin as well.

This reduces the chances of returning due to the angle but you can expect more of your opponents to return the ball back down the middle. If they manage to return this can put you in the position to place a controlled volley onto their weaker side which can help to win the point.

Serving at the body of your opponent

This is a great shot that you can do which can cause your opponent to make plenty of mistakes. If you serve it fast they will have to back away or get themselves into an angle however a position like this can be uncomfortable for them and can cause them to create a weak return if they are even able to get it past the net giving you the upper hand if done correctly.

Whatever you do however don't hit the ball toward their back or forehand as this is an area where it is simple for them to get into a position to return the ball, you will want to aim straight for the body so that they will have trouble placing themselves in a decent position for a return to take place.

These are 3 different types that you should mix up and learn to use to fix your serve as they can create a lot of trouble for your opponent if they are done correctly.

It's simple to fix your serve by improving plenty aspects of it so you want to make sure that you know as much as you can see as knowledge is power. If you want to make your serve more deadly then something you can do is check out this blog where you can find more information on the serve and how you can improve it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Marco Bitran - How To Serve In Tennis Properly: The Power of The First Serve


When it comes down to how to serve in tennis properly you are going to want to focus on the first serve, by being able to create a strong foundation on this you won't have to put pressure on yourself for the second and increase the chance of double faulting. This doesn't mean to smash a serve in as hard as possible, there are different ways that you can create a good first serve.

Firstly, many people need to understand is that you don't exercise a lot to create something powerful and tricky for your opponent, strength is generated from all over the body not just from the arms so make sure that if you are exercising you go for the full body as this will help you generate the power and the speed that you are going to need.

Mix up the serves

One thing that will hinder your chances are throwing the same stroke over and over again and it may not lead to a double fault but it can lead to making the return for your opponent a lot easier putting you off in a worst off position.

As you may already know you have the option of 4 different types of shots that you can make; the kick, topspin, flat and then the slice.

Instead of just hitting the same one over again you need to mix it up as this can throw your opponent off if they have it in their mind that you're hitting the same one over and over again.

Adding some power into it

Don't blindly just hit a powerful serve, you want to add placement with it. Placement is highly important when it comes down to power, if you can add power and placement you will be able to find that it is harder for your opponents to be able to hit.

As mentioned don't just blindly hit it, if you can't control it then you want to slow it down slightly and build up control and only after this you can speed up and add power. The main thing you want to focus on is control and placement before you focus on putting more power into your shot than you can handle.

Keeping your opponent from attacking

Smaller players who can't generate much power might don't rely too much on their power but instead they have options such as spin and placement to make sure that they aren't able to return and put you into a defensive position.

You will want to focus on deeper shots if you aren't using as much power due to the fact that less power whilst hitting it shallow can lead to your opponent being able to return back more powerful returns which isn't something that you will want to go through.

Switch up between powerfully controlled shots and then slower ones as well but make sure that they are controlled and also that you think of the placement. If you want to know how to serve in tennis properly then this is something that you are going to have to keep in mind to keep your opponent on their toes.

If you want to serve in tennis properly there are a variety of things that you can do and a variety of things that you can improve on, all you need to be able to do is learn more about the serve. If you want to make your serve more deadly then something you can do is check out this blog where you can find more information on the serve and how you can improve it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Marco Bitran - Fitness Training: The Secret of Success in Tennis

Expert Author Giselle Martin 

Tennis has changed as compared to a few years ago. To excel in this sport, a tennis player needs to undergo extensive fitness training to improve footwork, speed, strength and performance. In order to out-stand the cut-throat competition, tennis players need to follow a tennis specific fitness training program that will help give them that slight edge on court.

Let us have a look at how tennis fitness training assists a tennis player in climbing the success ladder:

Types of Fitness Components

Tennis is a very diverse and complex sport. If you are serious about being successful, training for tennis should address all fitness components, rather than just focusing on court drills, or running fast. Depending on the time of the year, (pre-competition etc.) on an average a professional tennis player should dedicate, 30% of the total work time, to an effective tennis training program. A good fitness program will include strength training, agility training, power training, speed training, aerobic / anaerobic training, core training, balance training, coordination training and flexibility training. For a tennis player to make and see an overall improvement in their game, the key is to address all these individualized fitness components with correct intensity and load.

Develop Overall Strength

Up and coming young tennis players need to work more on developing strength, core, and balance. They need to focus on some basic full-body strength exercises, which will help them gain speed and flexibility.

Players who feel weak, and slow around the court, should dedicate more time on agility, and reaction drills and overall strength. This can help you feel lighter and quicker around the court, placing minimal stress and load on the body, thus reducing injuries.

Tennis is a sport that can last for hours, so tennis players need to have a high energy level as well as persistence. Many players will notice the benefits and a marked improvement in their level of strength and power endurance, deep into the last set, after following a specific tennis fitness training program.

Prevent Injuries

Range of movement exercise's and keeping the body supple should be one of the main focuses with all tennis players. They should incorporate stretching as an important part of their tennis fitness program. Self- myofascial release exercises are also very important, as this will help maintain a healthy muscle. Performing tennis exercises regularly, not only helps in overall performance, but also helps, prevent and reduce injuries within tennis players. Doing some stretching exercises everyday after practice will boost muscle flexibility, this would further decrease the risk of injuries in the future.

The Perfect Solution

Often players can be seen giving excuses that they can not give time to training due to their tight schedules and continuous tournaments. A perfect solution to this is to perform a 20-30 min (Starter) tennis fitness workout prior to your regular tennis practice. Over time this will not only help improve your level of tennis fitness, but these starter workouts will have you warm, get your feet moving, and have you ready to go for the start of each practice. (no more wasting 10mins of your court time). If you can do these starter workouts 3-4 times a week, prior to each practice, you and your coach will be surprised how much more effective your time on court will be.

At Tennis Fitness, we provide training for tennis and tennis programs for players of all levels. We offer specific exercises for tennis fitness and online tennis programs that are proven to work. We help improve tennis footwork, speed, agility, core, power and strength.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Marco Bitran: Tennis Serve Exercises - Improving Your Speed Without Exercising


Tennis serve exercises can help you become a stronger player all around, making it harder for your opponent to attack back. There are plenty of exercises that you can do however regardless of what you do you won't be able to add any speed to your serve unless you have the correct form and know what you are doing.

Firstly you will want to make sure that you are in control of your shot. You don't want to add speed to a shot that you can't even keep in, you will want to make sure that you can easily control it and place it in various corners of the court to be a trouble to your opponent otherwise it is going to be worthless which is not what you want.

Once you have got the control under control the next thing you can do is learn how to add more speed into it.

Put the ball further in front

You will want to toss the ball slightly further in front so that you are moving your body more into the shot, with your body weight behind this you increase the power and the speed of your shot but you will want to make sure that you follow through as this can add more power and it also gets you into a position where you are ready for the return that may come back.

Don't spin the ball

Many people add spin to put off their opponents but by doing this you are slowing the ball down. If you are finding the spin to be ineffective then don't use the spin and instead replace it with speed that you can place in the main 3 areas of the court (down the middle, wide and at the body of your opponent).

Rotate yourself

Most power will come from the coil and the rotation of your shoulders and your waist. The serve is a full body process and you will want to make sure that you use your while body for this as it can help contribute to the speed and power of the shot.

A heavier racquet

You can purchase a heavier racquet which can add more power to your shot however you need to realize that a heavier racquet is going to put your arm under a lot of pressure as you aren't going to be used to the weight of it. You can also buy lead strips that you can add to your racquet making it heavier to a weight that you can actually keep controlled (make sure that you evenly distribute the weight).

Hitting down the middle

If you hit the ball down the middle, the ball essentially doesn't have to travel a huge distance meaning that you will have a faster and more powerful serve than trying to aim the ball over at the wide areas of the court.

You don't need tennis serve exercises to increase the speed of your serve, all you need to do is know what things you can do to increase the speed such as the ones that are shown above but there are many various things that you can as well.

Tennis serve exercises are important however to keep you healthy and also to keep your strength up in the game but there are alternatives you can go through if you know how (such as shown above). If you want to make your serve more deadly then something you can do is check out this blog where you can find more information on the serve and how you can improve it.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Marco Bitran: Improve Tennis Serve - The Advantages and Disadvantages of Your 4 Serves


If you want to improve your tennis serve then you are going to have to be able to hit the 4 different types of serves, each one with its advantages and each one which can cause your opponents problems if you are able to use them properly, keeping you in control of the game and your opponent off rhythm and always on the defense.

You need to learn how to effectively hit these strokes so that when the time is right you can pull a different one out of the bag keeping your opponent on their toes.

The 4 main shots you can use are the kick, top spin, flat and the slice. There is no better one out of them as they have their advantages and they also have their disadvantages but knowing when to use them can make you very troublesome for your opponent. By knowing this you will know when to mix them up in the game.

Flat Service

Advantages - The flat serve is a fast and powerful shot that you can do which if placed correctly can win you points. This is the main one that many beginners use as they can't add spin on the ball yet but it is very effective is you know where to place it.

Disadvantages - This is a very easy one for your opponent to hit back as it is just straight forward so you will need to make sure that you can control it and place it in paces that are hard for them to adjust to and return.


By hitting the ball from the bottom to the top on the service you can create a load of spin on the ball which can be very tricky for your opponent to return.

Advantages - when performed correctly your opponent will find it hard to return and with the spin added it can make their return poor. It also gives you enough time to make it over to the net if they do end up returning allowing you to create a strong volley.

Disadvantages - It is easy to tell when spin is coming and the effectiveness will be lost if the opponent attacks the ball off the rise.


Brushing the ball from the right can create the slice which can be hard for an opponent to get to and return.

Advantages - Depending on which way you slice you can either make the ball move away or towards the opponents body which can put them in an awkward position where they have to readjust or go off court to reach it allow you and open court to smash a volley in.

Disadvantages - many people use this shot now and it is becoming one that people are used to returning now so not one to use frequently on the court.

The Kick

Just like a topspin you want to hit this from the bottom to the top (at an angle) and if done correctly can be trouble.

Advantage - When the ball hits the ground it travels in the opposite direction when it bounces off the ground confusing the opponent as the ball travels away or towards them in an instant and putting them into uncomfortable positions.

Disadvantages - It's hard to learn and perform and without enough experience performing this can put your opponent in a good position to make a return.

If you want to improve your tennis serve then understanding these 4 serves will be beneficial for you as you will know their advantages so you will know which one to play to mix up the game and throw your opponent off.

There are plenty of ways to improve tennis serve, exercises, drills, and things such as learning more about the serve can make you a deadly opponent from the service line. If you want to make your serve more deadly then something you can do is check out this blog where you can find more information on the serve and how you can improve it.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Marco Bitran: Perfect Tennis Serve - Tactics For Beginners


When it comes down to creating the perfect tennis serve beginners will find this to be very frustrating. There are many things to get right such as the form and then the power and then you have to think about the spin, placement etc. Things like this can be very confusing and if they aren't done properly can make a weak serve, however for a beginner the main thing you will want to think about would be to get a high ratio of serves in (preferably first ones) instead of out.

The reason why you want to try and make sure that you get the first one in is that that is what your opponent is expecting. Have you noticed how in some games at the first try the opponent might stand behind the baseline? They are preparing for that first shot to cause them trouble, they are giving themselves enough space. However if you ruin the first one then they are going to expect you to do it again and they will move closer so that they can prepare play on the aggressive which is something that you're going to want to avoid from happening as a beginner to the game.

Some things to keep in mind as a beginner would be the placement that you are going with. Placement is vital, with the correct placement you can cause trouble for your opponent, after a few strokes you will be able to understand which side is their weaker side and which is their stronger and this already will start to give you the advantage.

However, don't always aim at the weak side of your opponent, if you are consistently going for their weaker side then they will adapt to this and end up putting you on the defensive, you will want to keep it mixed up and mysterious so you keep them from getting used to one area of the court.

Another thing to consider with placement is how deep you are going to put it. The deeper that you go the harder it is going to be for your opponent to attack the ball and it also gives you enough time to get into a good position that will therefore allow you to go and volley the ball and get the point.

Many beginners like to think about just creating a powerful shot which can be deadly for an opponent but chances are as a beginner you won't be able to control a powerful shot and you may find that you are instead creating more trouble for yourself without any control. The first thing that you want to learn is control and placement and then over time you will want to start learning how to add more power and then move adding more strokes such as the slice and the kick which are going to be great to add to your arsenal of serves.

In conclusion, as a beginner to create the perfect tennis serve you just really want to be able to place it into the opponents weak side and their stronger side occasionally too to keep them guessing and the deeper you can get it the more time you can get into position to attack the ball.

There are many other things to consider with a perfect tennis serve; power, different types of serves, the placement of the ball and these can all be done with the right information as well. If you want to make your serve more deadly then something you can do is check out this blog where you can find more information on the serve and how you can improve it.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Marco Bitran: Improve Tennis Serve - How To Serve When You're Playing Doubles


One of the times when you are going to need to improve your tennis serve is when you are playing doubles.

There are many things you can do that can put your opponents off rhythm but there also things that you can do that can end up putting yourself and your partner in trouble during the game so you need to make sure that your serves are smart.

What you need to do is watch your opponent firstly and see how they react to different placements of the ball, you will notice that there will be a weaker side that they face and some areas you will need to avoid as it will be their stronger side that they can simply just smash back at you and your partner which is the last thing that you'll want to happen as this could put the both of you on the defensive.

Sending a ball out wide is normally every opponent's weakest point as it means they have to stretch and reach out into a position that could be uncomfortable for them causing a sloppy return that can easily be volleyed back at them for the point. However, the disadvantage of this during double is that the ball can easily be stolen by the net man and hit at an angle that could be a problem for you and your partner. This is a risky shot but could end out being advantageous if you can manage to get it past the net man and make their partner stretch into an uncomfortable position for it.

Another option is to try and aim the ball at your opponents body as this will make them have to move their body out of the way and into a position that allows them to return and in the time it takes them to do this your partner has the time to get into a position for an easy volley. Make sure you have control over the ball when you launch it as you don't want it moving around uncontrollably but this is a very effective place to position the ball even if it isn't as fancy as the aces it still will cause your opponents trouble and could cause them to become off rhythm.

There are plenty of other serves you can do you just have to keep in mind how your opponent will react for example if they are tall then maybe they will be able to return the wide ball with ease or maybe they would find it harder due to the fact that they are going to have to move quickly to get to that area. However maybe tall players will find it harder when you aim at the body because they have more to move out of the way than shorter players will.

Things like this have to be kept in mind so you know how to mix it all up and keep your opponents on their toes, remember that you can slow down your usual rocket stroke and add a load of spin to confuse them.

To sum it up, if you want to improve your tennis serve when playing double then you're going to wake to learn how your opponents react to different serves and use that against them and not only that but you will also want to communicate with your partner so they know where they should be and where the ball will be.

Knowing things like this can be very effective is you want to improve tennis serve, you just need to know more about the serve. If you want to make your serve more deadly then something you can do is check out this blog where you can find more information on the serve and how you can improve it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Marco Bitran: Off Court Tennis Training For Young Players


It is always recommended for young players from the age of 8 years and up, to do a thorough fitness assessment and postural analysis to determine their height, weight, flexibility, physical strengths and weaknesses. It also gives them the ability to look back in subsequent years and see areas they have improved on, track their growth and development etc. After the assessments a tennis program should be designed to target certain areas such as strength, speed, cardio vascular endurance, flexibility etc.

If tennis is the main sport of a young player, then training away from tennis should be structured to help gain benefits for tennis, this is what we call specific tennis training.

Tennis Training programs should take into account the movement dynamics e.g. high speed, agility and power endurance and dimensions of tennis e.g. lateral, forward, backward, up and down, rotational etc.

Strength is the foundation for development in all-young players. Increases in muscle strength will help to improve movement, power, endurance, injury prevention, co ordination and confidence. There have been 100s of times I have had a coach or parent tell me their young player needs to move quicker or have more power. Doing power and agility exercises will help to a degree, but without a solid strength base benefits will be minimal.

Examples of strength exercises for tennis are;

1. Body weight: (push ups, squats, planks, lunges etc.)

2. Suspension training: It is highly recommend for young players and has many benefits and very low risk for injuries. We use suspension training with the majority of our young players and get great results in strength, balance and co ordination.

3. Resistance band training: Resistance bands have been around for decades and are a great way to work certain muscle groups in the body. They are commonly used for rehabilitation from injuries, injury prevention and to challenge the musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments) to promote muscle strength. Resistance bands are low cost and are good to travel with.

4. Muscle loading: It is using weight (dumbbells, weight plates, barbells, machines etc.) to challenge the musculoskeletal system. This form of training has huge benefits for athletes, but for younger athletes it can be very dangerous, particularly on the joints of the body. It is hard for a coach or parent to know when a child should start lifting weights. Research tells us, this form of training should be avoided until the age of 16. In most cases it would be accurate, however we need to take into account the body type, physical maturity and natural strength of young athletes before determining when to start their strength program. Obviously working with a specific tennis conditioning trainer will help make that decision. A tennis conditioning trainer should start all players off by lifting no more than 5% of their body weight for upper body exercises and 5%-10% for lower body exercises. Until you have seen a trained professional avoid using weight training for players under the age of 16 years.

As important as strength is, it is also necessary to look at other areas of training for tennis to help boost a young players development. Cardio vascular endurance (running, swimming etc. ) Anaerobic cardio vascular training (agility) flexibility (stretching), co ordination and core stability should also be targeted and structured into the off court tennis training plan.

Young players should be encouraged to participate in a range of structured sports (soccer, basketball, netball, gymnastics, swimming etc.) and also fun unstructured exercise/play. Participating in other sports (e.g. Basketball, soccer) away from tennis will often give young players an increase in cardio vascular endurance, co ordination and strength.

It is best to consult a qualified tennis conditioning trainer to help structure a plan for off court tennis training. Getting them to work in with the coach is highly recommended, as the coach will have some knowledge on areas of strength and weakness.

We provide fitness training for tennis players of all levels. We offer tennis specific exercises and online tennis programs that are proven to improve footwork, speed, agility, core, power and strength.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Marco Bitran: Tennis For Fitness


The flab around your waistline makes you so much conscious about your looks while dressing for a party.

You feel out of breath when you go for the stairs instead of the elevator. It's difficult for you to keep pace with your young toddler while taking him to his school; you soon start panting. You don't feel motivated running on a treadmill in the comfort of your home. Binging is your hobby and something you can never forgo. And you envy your neighbor's chiseled athletic body. You have tried everything; you feel enthusiastic at the beginning but all your gusto and motivation turn bland with time. You might be feeling a sense of ennui in doing something with a vague purpose of being fit and that too you're not sure if that would work. The end product is despair.

For all those fitness admirers who are victims of lack of motivation, 'cardio tennis' is a new hope. A one of its kind regime, it offers all the goodies of fitness in the way haute cuisine offers exquisite delicacies to a gourmet. A sport with a fun value as much high as its value in fitness, it serves as a complete package for aspiring fitness freaks. It comprises of a variety of engaging activities which are all devised for one purpose-keeping you fit and agile.

Color Blind

This is a warm up activity which urges your nervous system to respond quickly. Two color balls are thrown towards you and the deliverer says aloud a color he wants you to pick first without a bounce and then the other after it bounces once.


This utterly enjoyable activity which is done without the help of racquets or balls gets you warmed up before you know. Invading the other team's service box, trying to tag one of them without being tagged yourself, you have to escape. It is fun and you use wit too at the same time while escaping.

Spanish Drill

This calorie burning drill will have you sprinting in a figure eight formation. Fast-paced and challenging, this drill is sure to take a toll on the pouches of fat.

Red Rover

A high-energy tennis-based cardio, it puts your forehand and net skills to test. Sprinting across the baseline to retrieve a running forehand, you have to try passing a shot or a lob to win a point for your team.


Competitive spirit at its peak can be experienced with three versus three all court play-based activity. Both the teams face each other on opposite ends in a triangular formation, rotating positions after each point ends.

This is really engaging and gets you hooked.

Noodle Whacking

A warm up activity where you tap others with a soft foam pool noodles below their knees. It calls you out for being a sport and sets your heart pumping as well

The focus is on burning more calories than you consume in a fun and engaging way. It employs innovative ways to make you lose flab and keep fit. Like the heart rate monitor being used for tracking the progress of a player and this simultaneously enables the coaches to manage the group according to different fitness level.

For the purpose of making workout more effective music tracks have been made an essential part of the game as it's been proven that people work 33 percent harder with a 15 percent increase in their endurance if they train with music.

Taking out best fun parts from the game and integrating them with cardio practices is what cardio tennis is all about. Those under-motivated fitness lovers can cling to it if they wish to sport that sexy look oozing with confidence not to forget the new socializing platform you'll be getting when playing with others.

Learn to play like a pro with tennis coaching classes. To have more information on the same, click here.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Marco Bitran: Athletes And Anxiety - The Life Of A Low Level Tennis Professional Final Chapter

We met a few college seniors and they were headed to a house party nearby and we decided to tag along.

We met many drunk party animals that night, and although we were all having a good time mingling with each other, in the back of my mind I was trying to answer a few very important questions: How would we be able to finish our trip with the amount of money we had? Where would I find a second or third tennis racquet in case I broke a tennis string in a match? Also, where the hell are we going to stay?

One of the questions were answered quickly because apparently it was common for other drunken university students to pass out at the house they were partying at, so we took the opportunity and found some space and went to sleep. Now if this was later on in my life when I struggled with panic and anxiety disorders, my body would quickly let me know that I was in trouble. If you think that the next day after drinking alcohol was bad think again, the fear of recurring physical sensations of anxiety and the experiences of the morning of your hangover can greatly add to the possibility of having multiple hangovers and panic attacks in the coming days, and they are not fun I can tell you from experience. But back when I didn't have the fear of physical sensations of anxiety that led to my diagnosis of having health anxiety I was OK, I just had a massive headache, I was a little dehydrated, but I was OK.

After sharing stories about how great each of our nights were and how crappy we were feeling we needed to come up with a plan, my two buddies were quickly becoming home sick and lost the motivation to continue playing tennis tournaments and roughing it out the way we were doing. I couldn't blame them, it takes true tennis warriors mentally to consistently do what we were doing for a long period, and many low level professional tennis players do just that in the hopes of one day breaking through. My friends had enough money to catch a bus back to Canada and later on that day they decided to end their journey.

Now I was on my own and confused. If I went back now I would have felt like this whole journey was a failure, and I reminded myself that one day I would have a family, a steady job etc., and I would be looking back at these experiences and great memories no matter how difficult things were at the moment. So I continued on in my tennis journey alone. I asked each tournament director in each tournament if it was OK to sleep in my van in the parking lot during tennis tournaments and was allowed each time. I eventually was able to bring in some money through stringing other players' tennis racquets and it got me through all the way to the end of my six-week tennis journey in California.

It wasn't the most successful trip result wise and there were no big victories or ATP points earned, but it was a great success to me because when things got tough I could have easily gave up and went back home, but I kept at it. The lessons that these experiences have taught me are priceless and can't be taught by anyone, only experienced and understood. I returned home a winner in my books and looked forward to the next tennis adventure. But little did I know 6 years of debilitating panic and anxiety would ruin my life soon...

Dennis Simsek (also known as the anxious athlete) is the founder of the popular end the anxiety audio program that has helped many overcome their anxiety disorder related issues naturally. Visit and follow the anxious athlete blog for your daily dose of inspirational, as well as the best anxiety support online.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Marco Bitran: Athletes And Anxiety - The Life Of A Low Level Tennis Professional Living The Dream Part 3

I had to have another practice session that day to get over what had happened so I worked my tail off and practiced for a good two hours, but no prize money in this event meant I needed to be even more stingy with my money. My other two friends also lost in the first round, so all in all it wasn't the best day of tennis for us.

As it got closer to the evening we needed to make a decision about a place to stay. We had a few friends who lived in Southern California but they didn't have enough room to help out all three of us, so that wasn't an option anymore. We couldn't come up with any ideas on trying to get free accommodation at that time so we did the next best thing we could think of a hostel. We searched the internet and ran into a hostel in Santa

Barbara not too far from the beach or our public tennis courts we were practicing on. What a catch, we thought! A private room for the three of us cost about $70 per night that we all shared, and one of us had to sleep on the floor, which wasn't too uncomfortable actually. We calculated how much money we would spend in the next week if we stayed at the hostel and we came to the conclusion that we had to make some extra money, or else our tennis trip would be cut short. We felt like kings in our new private dorm room: we had fresh towels, a kitchen nearby, pool tables and all in a prime location, we loved it!

Another week of tennis training went by at Santa Barbara, and the next tennis tournament was approaching quickly. It was in a city named Chico and up in the Northern part of California. So we moved out of our luxurious hostel and continued to do our best to find free accommodation somehow, because with our food almost completely running out, the price of gas and oil changes for the van, tournament entry fees, and any necessary tennis gear that we needed such as new tennis balls to practice with we knew we had to cut some expenses.

The worst part about it was that both of my shoes had huge holes on the bottoms, which were wearing out my socks every time I was training on a tennis court. I did my best to cover up the holes with what's called "shoe goo" which forms a protective outer layer over the hole, but even that was no match for the constant pounding on the hard courts.

I was put in the qualifying round in the tournament in Chico because if you don't have a high enough ATP tennis ranking, you have to work through at least three gruelling rounds in the United States just to get into the main event. My first two rounds were a breeze; I was playing well and my body was feeling great. My third round opponent was another collegiate player. I got off to a flying start and took the first set in 40 minutes. A tendency I had was to relax too much when a match was going in my favour too easily, so of course I let my foot off the pedal and my eyes started to wander around the facility. Bad move. My American opponent came back and won the second set by 7 games to 5. At this point I became very tight, because when you are so in control of a match and loosen up too much, your opponent can easily build up lots of momentum, which he did. He started to grow in confidence and had an answer to every shot I threw at him and I eventually lost the match 6 to 4 in the third set.

I proceeded to find a sturdy tree after the match and break two out of my three racquets out of frustration, to the enjoyment of everyone watching. I was so angry with myself for letting my opponent back in the match and an opportunity to get into the main event of the tournament passed me by. In the past if an opponent was too good and blew me off the tennis court completely convincingly I was OK with it, but when a professional tennis match was decided by just a few important points and my mental toughness was the result of the loss, I was really hard on myself.

That night after we all were out of the tournament earlier than expected again and our moral down, we decided to have a night out. We bought a large case of the cheapest beer we could find, found a parking lot near the tennis facility and drank until we were numb. At that point I had one racquet left in my bag for the rest of the trip, $150 in my pocket and one small case of shoe goo left for my beat up tennis shoes. We got out of the van and started walking towards the nearby university campus hoping that there was a party somewhere that was free and we could get in. We were in luck...

Dennis Simsek (also known as the anxious athlete) is the founder of the popular end the anxiety audio program that has helped many overcome their anxiety disorder related issues naturally. This is not a 'quick fix' solution but a proven strategy that in time will guarantee your natural recovery from anxiety related issues.

Visit now to listen to a sample.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Marco Bitran: Athletes And Anxiety - The Life Of A Low Level Tennis Professional Living The Dream Part 2

The dangers of negative and stressful imagery can leave you feeling awful. There is the opposite to that which comes in the form of positive imagery. As I've learned, visualization powers your ability to rediscover your inner resources and refuel your outer expressions when stress is on the rise. The most powerful way I found to do my visualization sessions was through help from others as guided visualization, just like the process I was about to do on the beach through my headphones. This way you are directed by an experienced professional on what images to bring to mind and how your breathing should be in order to bring about perfect balance in mind and body.

Anxiety sufferers have a difficult time doing any kind of meditation, and visualization sessions strictly on their own because the sensitized nerves that we have are always on high alert, so it's important at least in the first month to use GUIDED visualization. The idea here is to take full control over your mind rather than let it control you, and in my past experiences with visualization I've learned that the effects it had the next day on how I played my tennis match was incredible. During my pre anxiety disorder days, I had used mental imagery but completely gave up the habit during the six years of anxiety struggles I had. It stopped the negative voices in my head for just a few minutes each night so I could find space to direct my mind wherever I wanted to go and to concentrate on specific thoughts and images such as in my case hitting perfect forehands, backhands, and coming out as a winner after my match the following day.

With consistent visualization you learn to be gentle with yourself and compassionate, to understand and accept the uniqueness of you in this world and to recognize that the only pressure you feel is the pressure you put on yourself. When that pressure is gone, your true nature will reveal itself in time. After a great visualization session, I was able to get the rest I needed in order to play my match.

"Wake up," someone said. "WAKE UP!" We were woken up by beach patrol and they weren't too happy with us, I tried to explain our situation but they didn't want to hear any of it; in fact, they told us that if they found us sleeping on the beach again that we would be in big trouble. I didn't want to find out what kind of trouble so we gathered up our stuff, threw everything in the van and decided to handle the sleeping situation later on.

We decided that the food we packed wouldn't give us the fuel we needed to carry us through our matches and the rest of the day, so as we were driving down the street we ran into a beautiful sight, a couple of golden arches staring right at us. Nothing beats a McDonald's breakfast, right? It's amazing how grateful a person can be when you are on such a limited budget as we were. My $4 pancake and sausage breakfast was a well-deserved feast it seemed.

We finished up our breakfast and headed over to the site to check in our names before our matches. I was drawn up against a big hitting collegiate player. When you run into a division 1 tennis player that plays university tennis you better be ready for a battle, through the extremely competitive schedule that these guys are put through they come out with the most determined mindsets and will compete until the last point. But I didn't mind, at this level there are no easy matches and you have to earn each victory no matter who you play.

I felt well prepared before the match, and couldn't tell if I should be worried that this guy was a well-oiled athletic machine or happy cause he was going to tire himself out from doing more than 20 sprints before starting the match, with his eyes firmly glued on me in between every sprint.

The match got underway. We split the first two sets and were headed into the third set. Because of many line call disputes, we got a referee to sit and watch our final set so there wouldn't be any bad line calls on crucial points. I was extremely frustrated at the way I was serving throughout the match, and I knew that if I had just served a little better this match would have been over and in my favour an hour ago. As the score reached 3 games to 1 for him, I reached my boiling point. After a missed serve by me and a return by my opponent,I swung at the incoming ball with what felt like was one of my hardest forehands I've ever hit. It was cleanly struck and it was headed straight to where the chair umpire was sitting. To this day I still remember how that ball whizzed two inches away from the face of the referee, and if it had hit him I knew I might have been in deep deep trouble. The following words came out of the referee's mouth: "Disqualification Mr Simsek for ball abuse." I was kicked out of the match. I didn't really know what to say. I knew I had a moment of weakness and my anger got the best of me for the first time in a long time.

As I walked off the court shaking from what I had just done, I made myself a promise to never let my anger take over my reactions to something. What if that poor guy got hit? That would have haunted me forever. You live you learn... on to the next battle.

Dennis Simsek (also known as the anxious athlete) is the founder of the popular end the anxiety audio program that has helped many overcome their anxiety disorder related issues naturally. This is not a 'quick fix' solution but a proven strategy that in time will guarantee your natural recovery from anxiety related issues.

Visit now to listen to a sample.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Marco Bitran: Athletes And Anxiety - The Life Of A Low Level Tennis Professional Living The Dream Part 1

In the world of professional tennis, everyone sees the glamorous lives of the top 50 players in the world on TV and live during tournaments. But they usually never get to see the thousands of other professional level players struggling at the bottom of the table like myself fighting for each and every ATP tennis point they can get, just so they can continue living the dream and maybe one day play on the ATP circuit.

The futures tour mainly consists of players ranked between 500 and somewhere around 2000 on the ATP tour, then comes the challenger level players who are in the range of 150 to 500 roughly. Then if you can bare the years of struggle and grind and are successful at the lower levels then comes the ATP level.

My whole tennis career has mainly been in the futures level of tennis with the very occasional "wild card" (a free pass for lower level players to compete in higher level tournaments) into a challenger event. I was able to play these pro events because I was successful in other prize money events that anyone could enter, which made me enough money to get from one tournament to the next... barely! Mix playing with a little coaching and stringing other players' tennis racquets and I was doing OK-financially anyway.

But playing high level tennis week after week left me emotionally fatigued, spiritually fatigued, mentally fatigued and caused great muscular fatigue. So after some time I knew I had to start taking care of the different kinds of fatigue I was feeling in the form of implementing tension eliminators, or else I would have a very short playing career, and absolutely no coaching career afterwards.

At the age of 25 (just a year before my 6 year battle with an anxiety disorder), I got a few friends together to hit the road in my rickety van to play as many tennis tournaments we could afford to, and to see if I could hang with other pro tennis players. As we all made the drive from Vancouver, British Columbia, to California we decided to "wing it" and didn't book any housing during these tournaments. The three of us had around $600 for a month and a half and that had to cover everything from our entry fees into tournaments, to gas money, to food and accommodation. Well we quickly realized, something... we didn't bring enough money.

We had a racquet stringer in case the other players needed their racquets strung up but other than that we had no other way of bringing in any cash flow.

Our faith was left in the two "money" tournaments that we all entered to get us through this trip to play the four futures tennis tournaments. Many of the futures players don't really stick around past their mid-20s in the futures circuit and quickly find jobs instead of continuing the constant grind of the low level tours but we were different, we were determined! We had incredible work ethic!

If there was one thing that the three of us agreed on it was that we had to have free accommodation or we weren't going to have a chance to play these tournaments. We slept on the beach, yep we all decided that the only way we would be able to afford this trip was to sleep on the beach because it was free, it was cozy, and it was somewhere warm and private. All the things a tennis player needs to bring out the best in him during practice and competition.

The morning after we arrived in California we quickly rubbed the sand off of us, took a shower next to the beach, and rushed off to find some public tennis courts so we could get a practice in. The van was running well and we had packed some 30 cent noodles (that we ate raw) to get us by for about a week. We found some courts in southern California in a place called Ventura and lucky for us there was a hill right next to the courts so we could get some hard-core fitness in as well (hills are a tennis players best friend). The practice went great and the sprints up the hill were just what we needed to stay physically and mentally sharp. Things were going great and we were all in good spirits. We found a beautiful park nearby and got the racquet stringer out to string a few of the broken strings on our tennis racquets.

As we were finishing up we saw a sign on the side of the road that said "29 cent tacos." Perfect timing! We were all getting a little sick of eating the crap we packed so we all decided we needed some real food (if you could call it that) and at 29 cents we couldn't pass it up. We parked the van and all got out and ordered four tacos each. After we were done eating we were still hungry and decided to have a few more so we ordered six more each. We were stuffed and even though it was only noon we decided we wouldn't spend any more money on food until the next day because we needed every penny on this trip.

As we were resting back home (or a different part of the beach) on the Santa Barbara beach, I felt like I was getting sick. I blamed my nausea and vomiting on the tacos and asked the other guys how they were feeling; surprisingly they were fine. I skipped the afternoon practice session that we had planned and took it easy instead, trying to recover for the next day because our first tournament was coming up. I started feeling better towards the night, and as I laid my head down to sleep with my buddies nearby, I started my nightly ritual anytime I had a match the next day: mental imagery...

Dennis Simsek (also known as the anxious athlete) is the founder of the popular end the anxiety audio program that has helped many overcome their anxiety disorder related issues naturally. This is not a 'quick fix' solution but a proven strategy that in time will guarantee your natural recovery from anxiety related issues.

Visit now to listen to a sample.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Marco Bitran: The Key Mental Training, Mindset or Toughness Technique for Tennis - Acceptance

Acceptance. What is its significance for tennis? What has it meant for me in the context of playing my game?

Ten years ago I took a class that changed my life in many ways, not the least of which was the application of one of its lessons into my tennis game. I often think of tennis as a microcosm of life; one reason why I'm as addicted as to the sport as I am. The lesson I learned was that acceptance is the key to having a successful and often winning experience with my tennis game.

In the class I worked through a process in which I created a possibility for the way I live my life. I created the possibility of being accepting-- a way of being in which I accepted the opinions and beliefs of others and their lifestyles, and most importantly, I accepted myself and who I am. Being accepting is a way I continue to live my life every day that I can. It's a way of presenting myself, of talking to others, of relating to them with no judgment.

I apply this mentality to the tennis court every time I get out there to play, whether I'm hitting for fun with a friend or competing in a match against an opponent. I face each match up with an open mind to accept whatever state of mind either myself or my opponent comes to the match with that night. I do not resist anything the moment I step onto the court to warm up with the first friendly balls back and forth over the net.

I think to myself-- I'm going to have a fun time with my opponent and my match tonight.

Now, you may be thinking, "Oh, come on. You may be able to control yourself and your thoughts, but you can't control your opponent's. Sure, you can have fun if your opponent is having fun, but if he or she isn't, well then I'm not sure how much fun you'll have either". I disagree with this thought and this is why. If I go out onto the court from the get-go with an attitude of acceptance, that attitude can't help but rub off on and turn into fun for my opponent. Okay, it's possible, but rarely, in all the competitive matches I've played, have I walked off the court at the end of a match with an opponent who had no fun.

So, how does fun come from acceptance? If I approach my opponent with no judgment in my own mind of who or what she is or is not, then it becomes unlikely that she will judge me. Of course, people judge each other all the time, so I guess it's possible that she could think, "I don't like what you're wearing" or "I don't like the way you hit the ball" or "I don't like you shout the score" or some other similar judgment. However, if I think of my opponent simply as the person she is that day-angry, happy, excited, anxious, critical, serious, competitive, I do not let it affect me. Who she is that day is who she is that day (which may be what she's like everyday, for all I know), but what's important to me in that moment is to realize that I am fine with however she is. If I am out there having fun because I'm playing a game I absolutely love, then her own reasons for being out there that night do not matter to me. And, believe it or not, more often than not, if I approach my match and my opponent with an accepting attitude, my opponent starts to have fun with me, whether or not she started out angry, anxious or serious at the beginning of the match.

I can't say that every match I've played over the years has been fun or has resulted in a win, but I believe wholeheartedly in the positive power of acceptance. I will never forget a comment one opponent made to me a few years back the minute we shook hands after a match. She said, even as the one in defeat that night, "I haven't had that much fun playing a tennis match in a long time. Thank you."

Her comment of appreciation that night touched me more than any other comment I've ever received from an opponent. I truly do love this game and there is nothing that has made it more enjoyable for me than playing with others who are enjoying it too. The power of acceptance is great. My class of ten years ago gave me a gift I will carry to my dying day.

My recommendation to anyone who is as avid a player as I am is to bring acceptance with you each and every time you get out on the court before a match. It will keep the spark and fun alive for you for years to come. And, it just may surprise you with a new winning streak. Enjoy!

* * *

Kim Riley- Tennis Blogger.

Hi everyone! I'm just starting up a new blog about tennis mental strategies- one that asks for your input. As an evaluator by training, I've decided to start a conversation and have a few questions for those of you avid players out there who are always interested in gaining more insight about handling the mental challenges of the game we love. Click on my blog and come join the conversation.


Meet me in person and let's discuss together!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Marco Bitran: Poetry In Motion: Flow On And Off The Tennis Court


After recently rewatching Roger Federer's win at Wimbledon, I was inspired to ponder the commonalities between the champion's elegant performance and that of great design. With some replay observation, I came to the conclusion that the confluence of genius tennis and superior architecture is best expressed by one word: FLOW.

Federer's glistening movements - serves, forehands, backhands, volleys, drop shots - have as their basis a well-thought out strategy. In design, we call these excellent tactics - a master plan. His movements are strategically well conceived, and though they are executed at lighting speed, there is a method to their sublime madness. As one room flows with form and function upon the heels of the next, Federer's movements appear as imaginatively daring and clever as a beautifully sculpted space. Both the champion's execution and that of a fluidly designed home exhibit FLOW, an apparently elegant, effortless grace and movement in a style that appears to have always been.

If comparisons be made, they need to start with the Master Plan. With each set, each game, each shot, Federer's inner game is drawn with intelligence and confidence. Like so with a fluid architectural conception.

That is, a good architect / designer knows how to carve and manipulate square footage so that the plan flows with balance, order and harmony, producing good energies - a win. In essence, the keystone of all great design is the floor plan. How a space flows from area to area dictates a design's overall success. And, creating "flow" is an art. When Federer poises a shot, it is apparent he has the following next several in mind.

A great forehand serve to one corner at a 45 degree angle will often precipitate a magnificent cross-court shot on the opposite side. If one were to plot plan his movements, one would see interesting intersections of angled corners, with almost precision like octagonal movements. When Federer aims down the line, the walls are aplomb, creating perfect balance order and symmetry of form.

Well designed spaces are transformative. Like a great serve, the visual aspect is merely the first point of impact or contact. Spaces that exhibit well-composed plans achieve the same effect: they feel natural, as though they have always been. So, too, with Mr. Federer's movements which seem most times effortless. These spaces move in ingenious ways, providing a flow that is both welcoming and rational. It is an elegant, magisterial feel, both on and off the court!

I suspect that of any area, the entry foyer is the "serve" of the home. It sets the tone and feeling of the entire space. It is both the first and last impression the homeowner receives of his habitation. And, it is here where one is made to feel either welcomed or disoriented, depending on the overall success and feeling which the foyer evokes. It is, in essence, the prelude for what is to come. So, too, with Federer's serve, which is, for all intents and purposes, the one shot over which he has complete control and, thus, the one that sets the pace of his game. Should it be an Ace, it is a winner! Should the foyer create the right effect, it, too, is the architect's most powerful weapon. Entries express a largesse of space; they are the starting point from which all the other rooms circulate and radiate. The toss, creating a perfectly timed serve, is the artistic hand with which the foyer is sculpted. With a twist of the wrist or hand, a stroke is made that wins or misses. It is completely within Federer's hand (and genius) as to whether his ball makes a perfect landing or strikes out into the net or beyond. Like the serve, the entry Foyer orchestrates the tone and feeling of the home / game;

It is the creator's and tennis player's most potent shot.

In terms of proper flow, on and off the court, both Federer and architect are aware of where they are positioned. There is an intuitive awareness as to how far back behind the base line or up at the net, he needs to be. Like so, with the well intentioned home. In proceeding from room to room, it feels just so, as though you know where you should be at any given moment. Fed's gliding movements on court much resemble this fluid interaction between spaces. Should he find himself in "no-man's land," Federer will be disoriented, as he has been pushed into a precipitous area of the court from which a loss will likely occur. And, if the homeowner finds himself confronted with a series of boxes and doors that are illogically placed and off-balance, this awkward arrangement of rooms will create a similar disharmony.

For general flow of space a comparison can be made with the cross-court shot. It expresses the general flow of a space in that it is the most natural shot to made on court. As the safest shot, with the net at its lowest point, it is the easiest one to make. Like walking down a hallway with rooms following rooms enfillade, it expresses a natural progression of movement. Federer's agile and graceful cross-court backhands and forehands seem to glide past his opponents. His motion is so agile that, with the flick of his wrist, his uncanny intuitiveness for placement lands him a winner. Ingenious, yes, brilliant forethought, for sure.

The down the line show is a different matter. Here, one encounters the unexpected. Federer's opponents are oftentimes daunted by his unexpected perfectly positioned down the line shotmaking. It is a riskier more difficult, precision shot, catching the opponent by surprise. Using this lower percentage shot, Fed is able to pull his adversary off course, enacting an effective change of direction, and thus executing a winning point.

For the architect who creates spaces that angle, twist, and turn, he is taking his homeowner on a magical visual journey around arcs and rotundas. And, then, suddenly out of the rabbit hole, appears the delightful surprise - a sublime visual of either landscape or crafty architectural detail (like a niche).

Federer's dominant style and quiet confidence is matched by the creative master architect who whips up with elegant grace his visual sculptures. With a sense of composure and assurance, the tennis champion plots and plans his moves as though in a consummate chess game. The dignity and class that both Federer and the master architect bring to their game is exemplary. Never doubting their abilities, both forge on creating their own masterpieces as though locked into combat with themselves rather than with opponents. Problem solvers par excellente, they are able to analyze the situation in a widened perspective, executing one shot / stroke at a time.

Agile at both base line and net play, Federer exhibits exceptional versatility of play. With the designer, the ability to both see the whole picture while zoning in on the details, illustrates a mobility of movement, as well.

In addition, that attention to detail, creating twists and turns of visual delight and surprise, is equally masterful in the tennis champ's inside-out shots, where the unexpected creates the perfect finale.

Attention to detail in design is the finishing flourish to a beautiful space. It illustrates an intelligence of thought and respect for the wit and genius of architecture. Choice of finishes and materials, down to the smallest details, like the niche or reveal, show the true artistry of the master builder. For Federer, this attention to detail comes in the form of backhand drop shot volleys that are electrically charged, landing in perfectly poised places. His backhand smash, half-volley, are twists of the wrist that seem to be magnetically charged, attracting the right spot. Curves, bows, bays, ovoids are shapes that play with circulatory patterns, easing the homeowner's fluid path throughout the home. Similarly, Federer's gliding footwork illuminates his agility in traversing the court. Ballet like steps transport him easily from net to baseline.

The endgame is a composition of manicured movements. For Federer, the match is a series of excellent shotmaking, carefully thought out and executed. For the designer, the space is the result of artistic creativity brought from thought to realization in a series of visionary schemes. The alignment of Federer's fluidity on court with that of the architect who humanistically understand's and executes great design is culminated, for both, through flow.

For Federer, the match is a series of excellent shotmaking, carefully thought out and executed. For the designer, the space is the result of artistic creativity brought from thought to realization in a series of visionary schemes. The alignment of Federer's fluidity on court with that of the architect who humanistically understands and executes great design is culminated, for both, through flow. If you would like your home to exhibit wonderful flow and circulation, please look at our work at

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Marco Bitran: Placement and Positioning


When you hit a ball, your whole body is positioned to accomplish your shorts. The more efficiently that your feet are positioned for a return, the better you perform to effectuate the right shots. I find that playing sports like soccer helps to increase footwork skills. Another idea which might seem to "girly" for boys would be ballet. Roger Federer did not take ballet but people tend to think he is dancing on the court.

Like Roger Federer who is the world's dominant player, who started by hitting forehands that looked different than any of the other players and for top flexibility and variety in his forehand, all you have to do is look Pete Sampras. The proper footwork stance can help you cover more of the court, to recover quicker after shots, and to help you quickly get ready for the next short.

The best foot stance for each shot will be different, because different factors are involved, such as the grip, angle and pace of the ball, and each player's court position. There are several feet positions that all players use today: open, semi-open, neutral, closed, and open backhand stance.

1. Open Stance:

For right handed players, you start with a back swing, where you are rotating your shoulders and hips, about 90 degrees. Your weight must be shifted to the outside foot and remain balanced for the follow through and recovery. In other words, the open stance allows players to load up on the hip and explode into the shot, producing forehand and backhand winners.

2. Semi-Open Stance:

For right handed, forehand players, you must start your back swing by rotating your upper body at the same time. Next, you must step to the right with the right foot and also shift your weight to the right foot also. This stance differs from the open stance because as a player, you must step into the court with your left foot because it helps you keep a firm foundation after you hit the ball. Your weight must stay on the outside foot until your have completed your stroke. For left-handed players, use your opposite feet.

3. Neutral Stance:

This stance, everyone knows and likes, because you can use it for both a forehand and a backhand shot. Plus, this is your staring point for all foot positions. This stance is the one you see, nearly all players using when they are pivoting side by side on the court. With the neutral stance, you are preparing for the back swing by rotating your hips, trunk, and shoulders. You also must step out with your right foot and begin to shift your weight. After your right foot step out, you then step forward with your left foot, toward the net to begin executing a forward approach of your swing. Your weight must be kept on your front foot until your stroke is complete through to the recovery. To finish your execution, your right back foot will be brought forward and around to maintain your strength and balance. For left handed players, do the opposite.

4. Closed Stance:

This stance can be used for both backhand shots and the forehand, but it is best used when you are running down a ball or if you are forced wide. Where are your feet - your left foot is your balanced, outside foot taking on all your weight, because you have been caught off balance.

5. Open Backhand Stance:

When you need a smooth swing, use this stance. Your weight should be placed firmly on the left foot, with your shoulders turned before the ball crosses the net. Remember to keep your eye on the ball until your stroke is executed or else, you will lose power causing a miss hit.

Learn more about Tennis Elbow:

Friday, May 29, 2015

Marco Bitran: Tennis Stretching


Q: Why is tennis such a noisy game?
A: Because each player raises a racket

I enjoy playing tennis, but it is a sport, which is very demanding and that requires flexibility, strength, endurance, and agility. In order to play well at any level, exercise and stretching should be a part of your routine. Tennis stretching exercises maximizes performance, while also reducing your risk of injuries.

The main muscle groups that are used consistently when we are playing, includes:
• calf muscles
• hips
• quadriceps
• upper arm and forearm
• pectorals
• rotator shoulder cuff muscles
• trapezius

Even though Roger Federer is considered a natural tennis player, his #2 World Championship wins are not without an intense work out. Stretching and workout exercises for tennis player are different for a 19 year old, then a 30+ year old player. When you are younger, you are building a strong body foundation, with exercises that include dynamic and static stretching, cardio, weightlifting, and for power, plyometrics. When you become an older tennis player, you are concentrating more on a full body workout with specific attention to the muscles and joints that are under constant stress.

I find that not stretching before playing not only gives me more pain afterwords but I find that I'm very stiff and don't hit through the ball as well. Also, I have noticed that even the simple tennis stretching routine has improved my coordination, it will improve your blood circulation, and it will give you better mental alertness.

Do you have enough mental alertness to get this joke?

Q: What is a tennis players favorite city?
A: Volley wood!

When you finish laughing, let's start your stretching routine by stretching those wrists with rotation, stretch the chest with the reverse chest stretch, then stretch your Achilles heels. To further prevent any injuries, include lateral lunges, the cross shoulder stretch, and the tennis elbow stretch. Remember, to stretch before and after every practice and game. I want you to remain healthy when playing the "sport of Kings." A regular stretching exercise gives you good posture, lowers back pain, increases your muscle balance, that can lead to pulled muscles.

If you are like me and you play a lot of tennis, don't forget to use ice as a part of your muscle and joint recovery treatment. For 20 minutes, apply ice for about 20 minutes to reduce the inflammation in your body that may be giving you trouble. Occasionally, do the same to your wrist, shoulder and elbow - even if you don't feel any pain. Doctors and trainers state that pain is a sign that the inflammation has reached a high level, so use ice to bring it down again, to keep us ready to play again.

Learn more about Tennis Elbow:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Marco Bitran: Tennis Lateral Epicondylitis


Introduction: Background

Tennis elbow is a form of tendinosis, which means that there is swelling and tenderness around the small bony part of your elbow, which is known as the "lateral epicondyle." The tendons around the elbow are designed to give the human body an extension reach of the wrist and fingers. Tendon damage or tendinosis is common in the elbow joint area and causes an internal fluid to leak out. If not properly cared for, this condition can form scar tissues, cause severe pain, and limits the movement of the joints.


It develops when the muscles and tendons of the forearm and the elbow joint is strenuously overused. This condition occurs more prevalently in men and women, between the ages of 30 to 60. Tennis players of all levels, like top champions - Roger Federer and Rafeal Nadal have experienced this condition, as has tennis players for years, which is the origin of the name. It is believed to be caused by the continued hitting of tennis balls, back and forth, up and down, causing tiny tears in the forearm tendon that is attached at the elbow.

However, anyone can develop tennis elbow, especially if you are involved in other sports that involves throwing and moving constantly, like golf and swimming. Everyday activities can also cause tennis elbow, like typing, gardening, plumbing, constructions, etc.


The first symptom of tennis elbow, naturally, is pain, which can last up to 12 weeks. This pain is felt on the outside of your upper forearm and down your arm towards the wrist. Tennis elbow pain can be felt when you bend, lift, or turn your forearm and elbow, especially in simple activated like writing, knitting or turning a door handle.


Tennis elbow is treatable and will heal naturally if you give it a helping hand, such as icing the elbow every couple of hours for several days, until the pain is gone. Additional treatment aids, include:
• physical therapy.
• motion exercises to keep the muscles and tendons flexible and strengthened.
• anti-inflammatory tablets like ibuprofen or aspirin.
• medical help with painkillers or steroids to help ease swelling and pain.
• elbow strap to protect the damaged tenons.

Overall, 90% to 95% of people with tennis elbow will improve and recover. However, if these techniques do not work, and your doctor detects a more serious case of tennis elbow, then they will probably suggest surgery, which requires the removal or repairing of damaged tendons.

Learn more about Tennis Turf Toe and Tennis Toe:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Marco Bitran: Backhand Slice


Quiet please...

The players are about to begin grunting.

Professional tennis players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, as well as recreational players like you and I, we enjoy using the slice backhand to set up an approach shot, to slow down the ball while recovering from a defensive position, or to handle a low bounce.

The tennis backhand slice technique, has been used for many years, going back to when there were wooden racquets. Today, this stroke remains an effective technique, IF, it is executed perfectly and if it is hit away from the opponent's comfortable hitting area.

In the past years of playing the sport I find this shot ending up as a defensive shot most of the time because of the short preparation and accuracy. As I have mentioned, Federer does a perfect example of this shot and there are some pros that use a slice for their backhand.

Federer is very effective at this technique, because his opponents soon learn that they can't just push the ball back in the court off the slice, or he will rebound on the next ball and nail the forehand.

On the professional circuit, it is already known that Djokovic has one of the best backhand slices on the court. Djokovic has a solid slice backhand, where the ball comes off his racquet clean and extremely well executed.

Let's take a look at its application - most players use the backhand slice in a baseline rally when they want to distract their opponent's rhythm. A well placed backhand slice, can force your opponent to return a short ball, to counteract low balls, to return the ball in a baseline rally or if you are in a defensive zone.

A slice backhand in tennis, is guaranteed to slow the ball down and allow each player to get back in the recovery position or as I say, "in the point." When we hit a rally ball, its backspin slows the pace of the shot and keeps the ball low and out of your opponent's strike zone.

Also, when you're inside the court, you can be more aggressive with the slice by driving a deep, low, skidding shot, which you can take to net. It's also the spin that you need to be successful with volleys and drop shots.

See you on the court... !

"I am not afraid of anyone but sometimes I'm afraid of myself. The mental part is very important." Justin Henin

Learn more about Tennis Forehand Techniques:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Marco Bitran: Forehand Techniques


Let's talk about tennis forehand techniques. I like to snap my wrist a little more than usual on the swing in order to use less energy thus giving me more for the rest of the match. I always make the mistake of not pushing forward enough on the ball and apply too much top spin (hitting the ball from under up). Your forehand should be a weapon and not a weak spot.

Take a look at the forehand techniques of the two top world champions and a young tennis player who may fall in the same tennis playing category as you and I - which means upcoming! Roger Federer's has a wicked forehand, which is highlighted by his grip and his impeccable playing technique. Novak Djokovic's forehand is definitely a conversation among tennis fans and coaches. His forehand style has similar styles like that of

Federer, but his execution is by far unique.

Now, let's talk about Stanislas ("Stan") Wawrinka, whose name may sound familiar because he was one of the 2008 top 10 Olympic players and he played doubles with Federer. Stan's present day forehand is his weaker side. He hits with a semi-western grip and he hits a pretty big ball off the side. He doesn't lack spin or velocity in his forehand, his problem centers more in his consistency.

We could talk all day about top tennis player forehand techniques, so instead, let's look at basic fundamentals:

1. Shoulder and Pivot: What is the first thing that professional tennis players do when they hit a forehand? Yes, they pivot their outside foot, then turn their shoulders sideways. This begins their racquet take-back, while both hands remains and grips the racquet.

2. Racquet It Back Totally: Okay, when you have pivoted and turned your shoulder, next you take your racquet back completely, using both shoulders and your arms.

3. Contact Swing: the third movement in hitting a forehand is swing to contact, which means to push off on your outside leg; rotate your body back toward the net; then drop your racquet down slightly and quickly swing forward.

4. Follow Through: When you contact the ball, follow through to complete your forehand. How? Simply extend out in the direction that you are hitting, then bring your racquet across your body, but in a smooth, relaxed motion - done!

5. Swing: The last basic fundamental forehand technique is the directional or path swing. The swing path involves how a racquet travels, from the start of the motion to the end of the following through. When you release the racquet with your other hand, it should not stop moving, until we have completed our follow through technique.

Yes, there are different forehand grips that players of all playing levels are familiar with. Do you know what they are? Okay, I won't let you suffer - they include the "continental," the "Eastern," the "semi-Western," and the "Western." Let's keep practicing our forehand techniques because it influences our top-spin and body rotation, which can only improve our game. See you on the court!

Learn more about Tennis Strings:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Marco Bitran: Private Tennis Lessons Versus Classes


When someone thinks about playing tennis, the first thing that comes to mind is tennis lessons or classes. The student is thinking instruction and usually in the cheapest means possible. There are two options for every new tennis student: take a beginner private tennis lesson or join a tennis class for newbies.

In a tennis class, the student will travel to the club at the pre-set times and follow the pre-set syllabus for the class. The pace of the class will be dictated by the average progress in the class, and 70% of the time the student will be sitting in line waiting to hit the ball. The amount of time spent watching other students play will generally exceed the total amount of personal playing time.

In a private lesson, the student is able to progress on their own time. The amount of hitting time is maxed out, because the student doesn't have to wait for others to hit the ball before they can be first in line. Additionally, other students who may not be "getting it" will not be slowing down the learning progress of the student.

Tennis requires a lot of patience and practice. It is vital that every student get as many hits on the ball as possible. The more hits each student get, the better the student will become. Unfortunately, the class setting does not provide the dial amount of practice for a newbie without several sessions.

Private lessons typically cost more than classes. They can cost anywhere from $30 per hour to $100 per hour. On the other hand, classes can cost anywhere from $15-60 per hour.

When looking at lessons, you also want to make sure that the instructor not only has tennis playing experience but also has tennis teaching experience. There are several certification agencies such as: PTR and USPTA and USPA. Ask your instructor if they have any of those certifications. Instructors typically pay a fee, take a test, and then instruct in front of an association professional to ensure their skills, effectiveness, and professionalism.

If you do the math, in order to get the same cost per time hitting the ball, the class would have to ensure that at least 50% of the time, the student would be hitting the ball and have individual attention. While the classes may be cheaper, the private lessons are far more effective in getting beginners to master the basics in a timely manner.

The owner is an instructor for