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May 29, 2015

If you change your mind in the middle of a shot, you are guaranteed to lose the point.  Always go with your original intention.


April 16, 2015

A winner is never happy.  He plays harder after each point.  He never lets up.     

Have you ever won a great point & then lost the next one on a silly error right away.  Sometimes it can be that you were 'satisfied' with your previous point.  

A winner plays even harder on the next point.  Takes nothing for granted.  

Playing 'harder' on each ensuing point will guarantee that your concentration stays focused. 

A winner is never happy, always striving for something better.   


March 30, 2015

Go very slowly when trying a new exercise or stretch.  It takes several times before the muscles catch on.  Going too quickly can lead to needless injury.  Be careful!


March 12, 2015

Play tennis like a hockey player.  A hockey player goes for 90-120 seconds at a time at a frantic pace.  That's why he can only last 90 seconds or so.  Play every point just like that. Frantically.  Go for everything.  Put everything on the line on every ball.   Do everything a hockey player does, but no fighting!


February 26, 2015

Tennis is NOT a muscle game.  Trying to 'kill' the ball will almost always backfire.  Make sure to RELAX just before contact & let the body take over.


February 12, 2015

Handling drop shots effectively is two fold.  First you have to get there.  Second you have to have the feel to hit the ball back deep to set you up for the coming volley or overhead.  It is different from a normal groundstroke because you are so close to the net & the ball is below the net.  It is a skill shot as opposed to a power shot  Or drop shot it right back as the situation calls.  It is a shot worth practicing a lot.


February 10, 2015

Playing sets is the most important way to improve.  Just hitting or taking lessons will get you only so far.  Playing sets teaches you to compete in the real world of tennis.


January 22, 2015

Play a tournament.  It's exciting, fun & cost effective.  Win or lose it will give you a true perspective of where you are in tennis at this moment.


November 7, 2014

You play & win a point with a great shot.  Then you lose the next point on the first shot.  

It happens to me all the time.  

How to maintain your edge?  

Try to settle yourself down before the next point.  Get into the point before trying anything big.  If you are serving go 3/4 speed.  If you are receiving, put the ball down the middle.  

Just get into the next point, relax & play like the score is 0-0.  


November 3, 2014

Most important on an approach shot is that it stays low.  That way, the opponent has to hit up.  Slice is best way to keep the approach low.  


October 20, 2014

Play every point as if the score in games is 0-0 & the game score is love-love.


September 26, 2014

On the first serve, always return deep & down the middle.  Get the point started.  

A second serve return can go for more if you have the shot (& the guts).


September 23, 2014

Coming in behind the serve is much different than coming in behind an approach shot.  On the approach shot, the player is already moving forward.  Coming in behind the serve, the player is starting from nearly a standing position.  

The transition between serve & running (sprinting) in has to be smooth & seamless. It takes a lot of practice.    


May 27, 2014

Want to get stronger? 

Go live on a farm for a year.  When a calf is born, pick it up & hold it for a minute or so.  Pick it up every day for a year.  At the end of a year you will be quite strong!


March 26, 2014

Video: practicing half volleys on the wall


March 17, 2014

Practicing with one arm only will strengthen the arm: see video


March 5, 2014

45 second video of Joel practicing slice backhands on a racquetball court:

Great practice.  Be careful not to do too many at once.  Develop these muscles gradually. 


January 7, 2013

Yesterday I hit with Erik Scharf at Stadium Tennis in the Bronx.   It was a great hit, as usual.  However, Erik likes to go to my forehand about 85% of the time & I didn't get enough backhand practice.

I went over to the racquetball court at the jcc & hit for 15 minutes.  2/3 of the shots were backhands.  That's 350 backhands.  All kinds...topspin, slice & flat.  High, low.  Great practice.

December 20, 2013

Is hitting tennis balls on a racquetball court (or squash court) helpful to your tennis game?   The answer is unequivocally YES!

I am living proof.  63 years old & still improving.  It is amazing. 

For 100 days in a row (a little extreme) I have been hitting on the racquetball court at my local jcc for 1/2 hour per day.  That's a lot of hitting.  35 balls every minute.  Do the math. 

I work on my groundstrokes, volleys & serve. 

It is a very intense 1/2 hour. 

It has translated to tangible improvement on the court:  for the first time in my life I am actually hitting a topspin backhand.  My serve has improved as has my arm strength.  My volleys are much improved too.

Our campers will be using the 3 squash courts this summer under my tutelage.  We are expecting great results. 


November 7, 2013

When you have your opponent on the run, put him away like a general!

In 'Team of Rivals', which is about Abraham Lincoln's presidency during the Civil War, there were so many instances where Lincoln's generals failed to pursue the retreating enemy after a decisive victory.  History teaches us that the Civil War could have ended much sooner had some of these generals been more aggressive.

In tennis, it's much the same.  When you have an opponent on his heels, a big lead for instance, PUT HIM AWAY!  Relaxing at the point of a big lead can give your opponent time to regroup & come back to beat you.  Don't doubt that it can happen, it can!  

When you have the big lead, keep the pressure on.  PUT THE ENEMY AWAY like a general & get off the court!


November 1, 2013

First & foremost: keep the ball in play. 

As the point proceeds, you gain more feel for the ball. 

When the time comes to finish the point you will have the feel & the timing to do it!