Do you play “on instinct” on the court or think about what you should be doing? Newk Camp friend Joel Drucker wrote on FaceBook: Beguiling to me that so many people I play tennis with often use terms like “it’s best not to think” or “don’t over think it” or “let’s just play” or “just do it.” Why are people afraid to use their minds?
I am definitely in Joel’s camp (no pun intended) when it comes to thinking on the court. In fact the other day playing doubles, I realized that I was “hearing voices” …
• There was a short ball to my forehand, with the opponents both at the net, and I heard Roy Emerson whisper in my ear, “Blue (that’s what he calls everyone), just roll that ball cross court into the alley”
• I was at the net and a soft floater was coming over, and I heard my good New Hampshire buddy B. Manning shouting, “Get in! Get in!” … and I closed tightly to the net to put the ball away.
• There was a short lob over the middle, and Dick Stockton was in my head advising, “Let it bounce!” for an easy put-away.
• A mid-court volley came to me and former Dartmouth tennis coach Chuck Kinyon whispered, “Body weight foreword on the volley, like John McEnroe.”
• And after my opponents hit two similar winners off us, Hank Irvine asked, “And, what did you do about it?”
As i wrote on Joel’s FaceBook wall, “I think, therefore I am (a better tennis player).” Maybe some year I will be so good that I can play “instinctively,” but for now, I am still learning and need all the help I can get.
So thanks to all the coaches whose voices rattle around in my head on the court.