The morning started off cool; but the temperature warmed up to a perfect 80 degrees for our day of training, positioning, and drills. After breakfast, Emmo gave a short clinic on hitting the volley:
-bend your knees,
-rotate the shoulders immediately,
-without taking a big backswing,
-and do not lay back the wrist too far (but some),
-meet the ball out in front;
-so the head of the racquet meets up with the off hand,
-the harder the ball is hit at you, the easier it is to volley it – you just block it back,
-the slow and low balls are the more difficult ones,
-on the low volley, you must get very low,
-on the high volley, hit through the ball and not down into the net,
-on the backhand volley, take the head back with the off hand then just straighten back your arm (“like a karate chop”).
Then the Wanker team went off to our courts to play some doubles, with different pairings to see how we match up together. It looked like I will be playing #2 doubles and Emmo warned me that I would need to play “high in the singles.” All that was before our #1 player, Jimmy Miller went down (literally) with severe lower back spasms.
If he cannot play, we have absolutely no chance in the team competition and everyone would have to move up a slot.
So we had 2.5 hours of doubles play in the morning, with on-court coaching from Emmo and Marty Reissen. Emmo was trying to help me with one of the most difficult shots in tennis for me: returning the backhand serve in the deuce court. His pointers on this shot:
-It is OK to back up some to give yourself a little more time to get set,
-the key is turning the shoulders quickly,
-and not swinging across the ball, but through the ball,
-to go low and cross court, follow through with the racquet head in that direction (like a backhand volley).
Some other pointers from Emmo:
-if the server drags you very wide in the deuce court, put up a lob to give yourself time to get back into the point;
-during a doubles point and the opponents are both at the net and you have a good shot at a forehand groundstroke, first choice is hard down the middle and second is a soft roller crosscourt;
-if you are volleying at the net and have an offensive shot, go at the other net man; but if you do not have the offense, then always go back to the deep man.
After lunch, we had some individual pictures taken with all the Legends and then went out for more team practice. We played about an hour of doubles with our team and coaches and then went to another set of courts for another hour of drills with other coaches. So, two and half hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.
While some guys had more energy (or lack of control) and participated in another set of drills that Emmo gave right below my balcony, I chose to take a can of Bud and sit on my balcony and WATCH!
The drill they did (that we should try with the Pelican Bay team):
-three sets of doubles partners on the court and one feeder (Emmo).
-It is King of the Hill, in that one team is defending their position, while the other team is attacking.
-All four start on the baseline, with the other pair waiting behind the attackers.
-Emmo feeds the ball as an approach shot and the attackers come to the net behind their approach and play out the point.
-If they lose they go back and the next team attacks.
-If they win that point, they stay at the net and Emmo immediately gives them an overhead to start another point.
-If they lose, they go back and the next team attacks;
-but if they win that one, they become the Kings and come to the other side of the net;
-and the previous Kings go and become attackers.
Dinner was barbeque style food and after dinner, there were the usual funny announcements/speeches; followed by a panel discussion with several of the Legends discussing the favorite tennis matches they have watched, the state of the game, TV coverage, etc. Afterwards, while others went to the bar for more drink and talk, I went off to my room to try to get a decent night’s sleep before the team competition, with singles in the morning and dubs in the afternoon started on Tuesday (wondering if I actually worked too hard on Monday).