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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Marco Bitran: Tennis Rules - A Scoring Overview For Beginners

While the average age of a professional tennis player is 27 years old, tennis is a great life-long sport and one that can be picked up at any age. There are many club players that play well into their 60's and even 70's.

While many club players will have played in high school and/or college, there are a large number of club players that don't take their first lesson until they reach their 30's or 40's.

The basics of tennis are pretty simple. One player serves the ball diagonally across the court to their opponent inside the service box. The goal of that player is to return the ball after only one bounce in his court back across the net and inbounds. Play continues until one player misses the ball or fails to hit it inbounds on his opponent's side of the court.

The server begins serving from the right side of the court behind the baseline. He then alternates to the left side of the center line for his second serve, and so on throughout the game.

Often the most confusing aspect for a tennis beginner is the scoring. There are three types of scoring: Game, Set, and Match. Points add up to a game, games add up to a set, and sets add up to a match.

Game Scoring

Tennis game scoring can sometimes confuse a beginner. Simply, the first person to win 4 points wins the game. If you tie at 4 you must win by 2, no matter how long it takes. However, tennis scoring is not tracked as 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, but rather has funny scoring names such as "Love" and "Deuce". To break it down, tennis game scoring is as follows:

Point 0 is called Love.
Point 1 is called 15.
Point 2 is called 30.
Point 3 is called 40.
Point 4 a game is over UNLESS it is tied,
Tied games are called Deuce.

Winning by one after a score has gone to Deuce is called Ad, short for Advantage.

When calling the score, the server's score is first. For example, if the server is winning the game 3-1, the score is called as 40-15. If the server is losing the game 1-2, the score is called as 15-30.

The scoring become a bit more complicated after a game is tied. So if the game is tied 40-40, (i.e. each player has won 3 points each) the score is called as "Deuce".

When the game has gone to deuce and the server wins the next point, the server has an advantage and the score is called as "Ad In". On the other hand, if the opponent wins the next point, he has the advantage and the next point is called as "Ad Out".

This play continues until one player wins by two points to win the game.

Set Scoring

Simply put, the first person to win 6 games wins the set. Of course tennis scoring is not that straight forward and you must win by 2 games. So if the set is 5 games each, play will continue for at least 2 more games. If the set is tied at 6 games each, then a tie-breaker will be played. For example, set scores can be:

6 to 0
6 to 1
6 to 2
6 to 3
6 to 4
7 to 5 (must win by 2 games at 5 games each)
7 to 6 (played a tiebreaker at 6 games each)

A set-tiebreaker is used when the players are tied at 6-6 in a set, to decide the winner of the set. Unlike the usual scoring of 15, 30, 40, the points in a tie-breaker as scored: zero, one, two, three, etc. The first player to win seven points, provided that there is a margin of two points over their opponent, wins the game and set.

For example, a 7-6 does not win the game, whereas an 8-6 does and this can continue until someone wins by two. The most famous tie-breaker occurred in Wimbledon in 2010 during the Isner-Mahut match lasting more than 11 hours. John Isner won with the final score of 70-68.

A match is normally the best of three sets, meaning that the player to win two sets wins the match.

This is a brief overview of tennis scoring and hope it will help the beginning learn to "Love" the game of tennis.

Jayne Drew is Managing Partner of Smashing Golf & Tennis. Smashing is an exclusive ladies golf and tennis brand that Slims and Shapes and is proudly manufactured in Chicago, USA. Smashing can be found online at and readers can take 25% off with EZINE25 coupon code.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Marco Bitran: The Fundamentals of the Doubles Tennis Matches

Expert Author Donald Finch 


There are a few techniques and rules that you need to follow to play doubles tennis matches. The tennis match is either held between two players or between the players in two pairs. If you wish to become an expert in a doubles tennis match, then you have to know the tactics to approach the match just like a professional. There is a huge difference in psychology when you play doubles tennis match because you need to deal with your opponent and your partner. This article will highlight on a few important aspects of doubles tennis that you need to adopt to secure good scores in a tennis match.

Choose the right tennis partner

When you wish to play this type of match, it is advisable that you should find out a suitable partner. It does not mean that you should pick up an expert player, but you should find a player who plays at your similar level and who compliments the match. For instance, if you serve well around the tennis net, but you do not return the serve in a perfect way, then you should find out a suitable partner who helps you in this matter.

It is vital that you should select a partner who is compatible with you and who also has a pleasant personality. If you are a person who wants to dominate the other player, then you should find out a partner who is open to your valuable suggestions and who will be happy to follow you in all possible ways. Similarly, two tennis players with timid personalities also are not desirable because there is no one who can play the role of the decision maker. Selection of a suitable partner for your personality as well as your match style seems to be quite crucial.

Play your first ball in the best possible way

One of the important aspects of doubles tennis match is the way you play your first ball. In this kind of match, the serving or returning techniques seem to be crucial for your first rate tennis performance. The way you play the first few balls will determine your fate.

The attitude of the player who returns the serve is equally important. While returning the first serve, the returner may not seem to be highly aggressive or even offensive. However, the thought procedure of the same returner will effectively change when the returner receives the second serve. The opponents seem to be quite dangerous when they return the ball and they seem to become offensive.

There is a pair of people on your opposite side and there is hardly any involvement of a single player. It makes the hitting procedure quite difficult and it often leads to multiple mistakes and difficulties. The best idea is neutralizing the opponent, thereby hitting the return when they are not serving the ball. In this way, you can reduce the chance of free points that you lose when you make careless mistakes and you can enhance your opportunity to secure the point.

Euro School of tennis is one of the popular training institutes that offer effective youth tennis lessons Los Altos for children and adults. If you wish to join youth tennis programs in Cupertino then also you must contact the institute. You can get quality training at affordable price rates.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Marco Bitran: Improve Your Playing Techniques for Excellent Performance During a Tennis Match


If you wish to improve your performance as a tennis player, it is vital that you should spend a lot of time to learn the important techniques and methodologies that are associated with this type of sport. Even if you think that you have learned all the techniques that are related to this type of sport, it is advisable that you should not miss any scope to improve those techniques time and again. This article will highlight on a few essential tips that you should follow to learn different techniques to improve your performance during a tennis match.

Change your current techniques

If you wish to show good performance as a tennis player, it is vital that you should try to bring about some sort of change in your playing techniques. Whether you wish to change your stroke or you wish to change your backhand technique, it is vital that you should be able to bring about change as quickly as possible.

Practice a lot

It is important to remember that you cannot change your playing techniques of this type of sport within two or three days. In fact, if you wish to change your technique, it is vital that you should practice them on a regular basis. In the beginning, you find it quite difficult to adopt the new technique but after a certain point of time you will realize that if you learn the new technique and if you practice it for at least two or three hours every day then there is every possibility that you will show excellent performance as a tennis player.

Repeat the techniques time and again

If you practice the correct technique of this kind of sport it is quite obvious that you should be able to improve your overall performance on the court. All you need to do is to repeat the technique that you have learned at least three or four times to score good points on tennis court. If you repeat the new techniques for fifteen or twenty days regularly, it is obvious that you will increase your expertise and you will get rid of your poor techniques within a short period of time.

Practice like a professional

If you wish to play like your favorite tennis player, it is advisable that you should get involved in long hours of practice session. For example, if you practice for two or three hours on the court, it is vital that you should practice this type of sport with full concentration and intensity. It is vital that you should watch the popular videos that highlight the performance of popular tennis players in the best possible way. Your objective is to follow the techniques they adopt to throw a challenge to their opponents, the way they serve the tennis balls, the way they make use of their backhands and so on. According to recent studies, many popular tennis players keep specific goals that they wish to achieve within specific time to show their excellent performance during important tennis matches.

Euro School of Tennis is a famous training institute that is dedicated in offering effective tennis lesson to children and adults at reasonable rates. If you want to join an excellent private tennis classes then you should immediately get in touch with this institute without any delay.
* * *
Marco Bitran enjoys playing, instructing and writing about tennis. He also writes and publishes a blog about tennis equipment

Friday, May 15, 2015

Marco Bitran: Winning The Set Against Tennis Elbow


One of the most common injuries among tennis players is tennis elbow. Usually this very painful condition has seen many people give up on the game. The problem affects players of all ages and the severity often differs from one person to the next. If you want to continue enjoying this great game, there are things that you can do to prevent or treat this condition.

1. Understanding the condition

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that affects the humerus bone. It occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed, irritated or damaged causing pain in the elbow. While the condition is common among tennis players, it also affects people who lift heavy weights using the elbow.
Some symptoms of the condition include elbow pain that extends to the forearm and tenderness on the outer elbow. Any movement of the elbow causes pain and while the pain might subside overnight, it usually comes back any time stress is applied to the elbow.

2. Preventing tennis elbow

One of the best ways to prevent the condition is by learning the best techniques. Having a good backhand and enhancing your strokes will help to prevent injuries. Having poor form during the game will cause you to go off balance or to hit the ball late, which causes more strain on the arm instead of on the torso.

By overworking the tendons near the elbow, you risk causing injury. Unfortunately, not everyone can be an overnight expert and it takes training and practice to play well. It also helps to strengthen the muscles, which will allow the tendon to withstand more strain.

3. Treating the condition

If you suffer from tennis elbow, there are some things that you can do to relieve the symptoms. Using the right equipment can go a long way in preventing tennis elbow. The racquet you use will have a huge effect on how you play. The idea is to reduce the vibrations that reach the elbow and for this, you need a racquet that has softer strings.

Large, lighter tennis racquets can also help to reduce this vibration. Modern technology is used in designing equipment that can prevent tennis elbow. If you begin to feel the effects of strain on your elbow, changing your racquet can help.

4. Medical attention

If the pain in your elbow persists, it is a good idea to get medical attention. Anti-inflammatory medication can help to reduce pain and the doctor can also recommend intra-articular steroids. Physiotherapy and splints can also help to deal with the condition and you should avoid straining the arm during the treatment process.

The condition is treatable and you can soon go back to enjoying the game you love.

Training with a good instructor is the best way to ensure that you enjoy the game and avoid injuries. The instructor will offer relevant advice about the best equipment and techniques, so that you can enhance your skills. The specially designed racquets might be more expensive than the regular equipment, but the investment is worth it if you want to avoid injury and become a better player.

To improve your tennis forehand and enjoy the game, visit

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Marco Bitran: Turf Toe and Tennis Toe


There are twenty-six bones in the foot, with fourteen of them, in the toes. The purpose, especially the "big" toe, is to help us move and to balance. When you play sports, a damage to the foot, affects the toes, causing injuries, such as "tennis toe" and "turf toe." The difference between these two very common injuries is defined as:

Tennis toe is medically known as "subungual hematomas." It occurs from the rapid changes of direction that takes place in tennis. The running causes your toe to push against the top of your shoes, which can injure the area underneath your toenail. With this type of constant pressure, it can cause your toe to become sore and painful. It is more commonly associated with tennis, but can also affect other types of athletes.

A "metatarsophalangeal" joint sprain is an injury to the joint and connective tissue between the foot and one of the toes, usually the big toe and is called "turf toe". This occurs when athletes of all levels or weekend warriors, consistently play on artificial turf, thus its name. This condition can occur if the toe is required to bend too far or too far down, as in starting and stopping quickly, jamming the big toe up against the top of a shoe. This type of motion will weaken the ligaments and joints that protects the toes.

Both of these injuries have a huge effect on tennis athletes and other sports, including:

• soccer, football and basketball
• squash and racquet ball
• gymnasts and dancers
• runners and skiers

The rapid paced, back and forth motions, that are typical in playing tennis, places a huge sprain on the toes, especially when the well-trained athletes are using their big toe to push off and change directions, leading to fractures or of course tennis toe and turf toe.


Tennis Toe: pain; its appearance is a blue/black discoloration of the nail; the toe nail may become thickened and brittle. Tennis toe affects mainly the big toe, but rarely, it can affect the other toes.

Turf Toe: pain at the base of the big toe and swelling. The symptoms are gradual, but the injury will rapidly become worse, to the point where people can feel a popping in their toe, leaving a loss of movement.

Tennis champions like Roger Federer and Rafeal Nadal, who are both Grand Slam winners, U.S. Open winners, and much more, have suffered tennis toe and/or turf toe, because they have played often on different surfaces, like a hard court or asphalt, grass, and clay. The United States Tennis Association offers the following helpful hints in preventing both conditions:

• wear properly fitted shoes with a one-inch clearance between the tip of the toes and the shoe;
• leave slack in your socks near the top, so that the sock does not place friction pressure on the top of the toes and toenails; and
• keep your toenails trimmed low.

Learn more about Tennis Elbow:

Friday, May 8, 2015

Marco Bitran: Improve Your Tennis Skills Quickly With This Unconventional Tip


Would you like to improve your tennis skills in the shortest time possible? Silly question I know. Most people go about this the wrong way though. They might go to more training sessions. In a match they might try to hit the ball harder or at a tighter angle. They'll go for riskier shots and attack at the net more. While these things are good and if done in the right way can yield some benefits, there is a better way to improve your tennis skills.

You ready? Read about tactics! Once you reach the intermediate level this is the fastest way to improve your game and start winning more matches. It is often said that knowledge is power and this is so true in tennis! if you know sneaky things to catch your opponent out (all completely legal of course) you will gain a massive edge

You could be at a tournament or playing a match against someone at your club, and there will be a high chance that they have a limited knowledge of tactics. This person may be much better than you technically.

Their forehand could be stronger than yours, their backhand more consistent and they may be unbeatable at the net. However, if you are strong tactically, you will know not only how to find their weakness, but how to exploit it over and over again.

It's not enough just to read. You could spend a month reading about every tip, tactic, technique and nuance of the game. Just because you know a lot doesn't mean you can do it. After all if you learned everything but had never picked up a racket before, you still wouldn't be a good player.

As you practice and play matches, start to implement what you learn. Don't change everything at once but one thing at a time. Play attention to the tactics you are using in these matches.

Perform drills that help you to learn them and perfect them so that when it comes to play a match, and you spot your opponent is weak at the net, you will know how to force him to the net as much as you like. A series of tactics you know how to execute over and over again is the best investment of time you could make to improve your tennis skills. Spend some time learning this and I promise you will win more matches.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Marco Bitran: The Best 5 Methods to Improve Motivation in Sports


Motivation is one of the words that we hear constantly while watching matches on TV, listening to the speakers during the conferences or while giving advices to our players' parents. Many times we can hear professional players like Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic who say "how motivated" they were for the past few weeks to properly prepare for the incoming tournament. Is the motivation the reason of success of top players? How can we maintain motivation? What the motivation is?

Motivation is something that causes a person to repeat a given action or behavior. If we are motivated we put more effort into current activities as also we are able to work for a longer time. Motivation can be divided into 2 categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes within us and it is the most desired form that coaches try to develop among the players. Intrinsic motivation causes that we feel responsible for our actions and we can't skip given training sessions because we understand the value of it. Intrinsic motivation doesn't need any external rewards because the only reward is our conscience and self-assessment. On the other side we have extrinsic motivation that relies on rewards and values like trophies, money or goods. This form is popular while working with kids because small rewards help to get kids into the sport. When we are getting older intrinsic motivation should prevail to maintain constant development and deal with many obstacles on the road to success.

To become a really good tennis player we need over 10 years of quality practice to see if our skills are on the level to compete with the best players. It simply means that you have to cope with many difficulties for over 10 years and you still can't be sure if this work is enough to achieve your dream. Despite of working hard on the tennis court you have to also pay attention to your nutrition, conditioning as also to your mental skills. All these examples show how difficult tennis development is but there is much more than we see it. We have to travel to the different cities/countries to play tournaments, sacrifice family and friends as also make decisions than can have a big negative/positive impact on our future life. Without a strong motivation it is impossible to fulfill your potential and get the results that you deserve. Below you can find specific ways that will help you to maintain or rediscover motivation and play tennis with a real purpose:

Focus on performance

The worst mistake that many players do is focusing simply on results. Winning is important and can give a great boost of motivation but it is not dependent on you so you should think about some changes. Focusing on performance will help you to stay on track and find extra power even everything is going against you. Tennis is a long-term process so look at your game in the same way.

Appreciate your wins

Each win can provide a big injection of energy but we have to be aware of it. Too many players take each good match for granted so they don't get additional mental benefits from these actions. Instead of just advancing to the next round players have to realize that they hard work and dedication pay off right now.

Knowing that our win is the result of previous training sessions and dedications it is quite obvious that we are going to be more motivated for the next days or even weeks. Appreciate your win because it has more to offer than you can see at the first glance.

Lost matches can give you a lot

Another situation where players can get a lot of motivation is a lost match. Do you think I am crazy? No, it is real. Players perceive lost matches as something negative and this one game can have a detrimental effect on the next sessions and tournaments. Players don't feel worthy because they have lost to the lower-ranked rivals or to the friends they have beaten before. Remember that tennis is a sport of a current day so your previous records don't count. Approach these situations with a positive approach and use it as a motivational factor. Tell yourself "I will train really hard from now on to beat this guy next time" or "I lost to the guy who won the tournament but he was in my range of skills. If he can win tournaments I am more than capable to do the same!". This kind of approach will change the perception of the lost matches and it will help you to get benefits even if you are not in the next round of the tournament.

Use your imagery

Visualization is a common method that athletes around the world use to get an advantage over the rivals. Imagining correct technical performance or winning against top 10 players are examples of actions that all players can do to improve their game without spending any money. It is important to perform visualization consistently because mental skills are developed in the same way as any other - by repetitions. Our brain doesn't recognize if our experiences come from the real world or from imagery so there is a lot to get from this simple activity. 10-20 minutes a day spent on visualization in a calm place can boost your motivation more than anything so it is a big waste of opportunity if players don't do that. Use your brain!

Surround yourself with motivation

To change our thinking we should surround ourselves with positive people. To start eating healthy we should buy and surround ourselves with healthy products. The same way we can easily improve motivation in every day process. Put motivational quotes or images in the places you will be able to see often times during the day. Put it on your phone and see it every time you use your Facebook or check your emails. Put it next to your bad so you will think about motivation before you go to sleep. Put it wherever you want but make sure that it is visible and your eyes will "meet" this quote/image many times. Having this great environment is a big step towards making bigger effort every day and bringing your focus back on the proper track.

Check Tennis Island website ( for more inspirational and instructional materials. Over 1500 tennis drills, articles and video lessons from coaches with ATP/WTA experience.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Marco Bitran: How to Develop Successful Athletes


Expert Author Marcin BieniekParents sign their kids for tennis lessons for many reasons. Mostly, the most important reason of a new activity for a kid is to make him/her interested in this sport and to help developing different physical abilities like coordination, speed and agility. As parents have different expectations according to the participation in tennis lessons, coaches also vary with their methodologies of what they should teach. Some coaches focus solely on tennis skills while others believe in a broad approach while trying to also improve life skills and develop good character traits. Which approach should we take? Can we say that one is better than the other? Do we have to make our job harder by focusing on more things? In my opinion, the hierarchy on the court looks like this: human being-athlete-tennis player.

I am a strong believer of developing character and life skills at first place. Why is that? To understand my point of view, let's face the real situation of most tennis coaches. We work with variety of kids, from highly motivated and dreaming about the professional tour to typical amateurs who are happy to be on the court and play tennis once a week. Focusing solely on developing tennis skills and making champions is a tough process and only small percentage of players will ever have a chance to come close to make their dreams.

What about the others? Are we going to teach them only tennis skills knowing that they will never achieve level of performance that guarantees big amount of money from winning tournaments? When career is done, skills acquired on the court can be used in a life to achieve successes in other fields of business. Making proper decisions or respecting others is a trait that can bring you more friends and benefits for your job. On the other hand, knowing perfectly how to play forehand will not give you an edge over your business' rivals e.g. while opening a restaurant. These examples simply show that coaches should focus not only on tennis-related skills but their approach to teaching should be much broader.

Many coaches deny teaching life-skills because "they are not parents, psychologists and they don't get additional pay for that". Unfortunately, it is quite hard to change the mentality of this kind of "coaches" but there is always a hope. We have to understand that we don't need to get a trophy for every small good thing we are doing for someone else. It should come from within us that we want to make our players improve as much as they can and our personal satisfaction for achieving these goals is the only reward that we should expect. Some players and parents are grateful for teaching their kids more than just to hit the ball and they buy gifts for the coach at special occasions e.g Christmas time. In my opinion, it should never be a priority for coaches while thinking about what pathway to go. During the tournaments, there are many examples of actions when we can observe if players spend more time on tennis-skills or maybe their priority is put on life skills and character development. Let's see these situations below:

Winning at all costs

It doesn't matter how but you have to win! To develop successful human beings, winning is important but not at all costs. There are rules that we can't break to get want we want. During the tournament, we can see some players who are able to cheat on crucial points to get the point and finally win the match. Is this behavior really the action that we want to teach? Are we (coaches) proud of our players if they win this way? Can we honestly tell parents that they kids are good at cheating and that is why they are so successful? Serious coaches know that players have to focus on giving 100% of their effort in order to achieve best results; if it is not enough to win - you have to deal with it and work even harder!

No respect from the star

This problem is visible when the first big achievements come. Players feel like stars and they don't respect other people. Players with low ranking positions? LOSERS! Referee who gives a call against this player? CHEATER! These actions are common for players who are not taught to respect other people and their practice time is solely direct towards improving tennis-specific skills. Coaches have to make sure that proper emphasis is put on teaching right behaviors to make better human beings and develop skills far more important than forehand or backhand.

Are you kidding me?

"I am not going to practice with this boy! He is too weak for me. I am not going to improve... " Another situation that shows lack of strong character and weak life-skills by the player. Coach has to prepare the player for the post-career life and make him/her understand the reality. If you don't work hard in each situation, you have a really small chance to achieve anything great on any field. You can't focus on external factors because there is always something to complain about. Narrow your concentration and get the most of each work and you will see astonishing results. This skill will help players not only improve tennis skills in a faster way but it will also pay off in the future.

These 3 examples are just few of many that coaches and parents can see on almost every tournament. If your coach is not focused on equipping your kid with life and tennis skills, probably he/she is not the right person to spend so much time with your youngster. Professional coaches understand their power to build and change kids' lives so character development and teaching life skills come in package with great forehands and winning serves. Next time you are on the court as a coach and see your player acting improperly, don't look for excuses. Intervene, teach right actions, be satisfied and observe the benefits!

Check Tennis Island website ( for more inspirational and instructional materials. Over 1500 tennis drills, articles and video lessons to improve your tennis and life skills.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Marco Bitran: Tennis Players And Injuries


Tennis is a complex sport that requires a lot of training and hard work. Most, if not every tennis player will develop some form of tennis injury during their careers.

Tennis related injuries could be put into two categories; over use injuries and trauma injuries.

1. Overuse injuries often develop slowly and can start out as mild discomfort that gradually increases and becomes painful. Some common overuse injuries are:

- Tennis Elbow - A very common cause of elbow pain due to the chronic irritation of the tendons on the outside of the elbow.

- Wrist Tendonitis - Caused by irritation and inflammation around the wrist joint.

- Shin Splints - Pain at the front of the tibia bone of the leg (shin bone). Could be strained tendons, but stress fracture is also common.

- Heel Strain - Caused by inflammation where the Achilles' tendon attaches to the heel bone.

- Knee tendonitis - Caused by inflammation of the knee tendons.

- Stress fractures - These generally occur in players lower backs and lower legs. Stress fractures are bad injuries and most of the time the best treatment is rest, for up to 6months.

Most over use injuries can be avoided; finding ways to prevent them is the key. Making sure players have the right equipment is important. For example, playing with properly sized and gripped rackets, and using correctly fitted tennis shoes, not running shoes, and shoes that give proper support, are critical factors.

Always warm up, cool down and stretch after tennis exercise. Having a good team will ensure players are getting the right technical advice, which will prevent injury. Getting the right amount of rest is the most important factor, doing too much with not enough down time will lead to injury. This is where having a training plan will help the longevity and success of a player.

Working with a structured on court and off court tennis training plan will minimize the risk of overuse injuries dramatically by; allowing the body to rest and recover, building strength and stability throughout the body, release muscle tension and increase flexibility.

2.Trauma injuries are injuries that occur in an instant. Some examples are; Sprained ankle (rolling the ankle joint) falling on court and getting an abrasion, straining the knee (sudden pain in and around the knee joint)

Trauma injuries can be scary for players as they happen suddenly and initially can feel a lot worse than they are, some players may go into shock, feel faint and get nausea.

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