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2003-01-22 - 3:28 p.m.

This is the Same Entry

I feel like I'm writing the same entry. Maybe that's because my days have had an eerie similarity this week.

  • It's still really, really cold. Both outdoors and in our apartment.
  • Our landlord scheduled two more apartment viewings for this afternoon. No one showed up for either of them.
  • The Scientist lobbied (again) for fast food last night. I vetoed (again). Instead we had steak (from the freezer), mashed potatoes, and salad. With warmed up chocolate doughnuts and the last of the homemade vanilla icecream (plus some hot fudge sauce on top to bring the two together) for dessert. We felt really guilty (and trashy) after that and decided to go back to our plan of eating dessert only once a week.
  • I watched more of the Australian Open last night. Serena Williams kicked ass. I didn't get to see the Andy Roddick match, but evidently it was an epic battle.

Speaking of tennis, I had an interesting conversation with one of the pros last night. We worked on "not being the last one to touch the ball" during drill. [Side note: This is because 80% of the time when you're the last person to touch the ball it's because you make an error and lose the point--the other 20% of the time it's because you hit a winner and, obviously, win the point. "Percentage tennis," playing the safer, higher percentage shots most of the time and only taking chances when you have a good set-up, wins matches much more often than going for winners every point. Andre Agassi proved this beautifully in his win against Sebastian Grosjean in the Australian Open this week. He had fewer winners, but also far fewer errors and took Grosjean down in straight sets.] I was not very successful at this in drill last night.

The pro had a little heart-to-heart with me (and by little I mean about 1 minute) after drill and said that while he thinks I'm a "solid player" I need to work on a couple of things if I want my game to go up to the next level--basically my topspin forehand (i.e., getting one) and my grips. After years of playing tennis (granted in northern states where it's not the most popular of sports), this is the first place where I've had pros who want to improve my game. Not just my shot selection, but my fundamentals. I had one coach back in MN who opened my eyes a little and got me to start following through on my swing (at least some of the time), but then we moved away. I was so impressed with him that I actually sent him a thank you for his coaching.

Since I've been here, it's been driven home to me that I have Bad Habits brought on by not learning things the proper way back in junior high/high school tennis. Those Bad Habits have become the way I play and while I do OK with them, I won't be able to become a 4.0 or better until I break them. That means retraining, which I can't do by myself because the major problem is that I just don't know how to do these things the right way. I mean, I know intellectually (topspin = low-to-high, brush over the ball, follow through all the way) but my body doesn't know how to actually do it.

While the critique was a little tough to take (the word "stubborn" was uttered, but in a nice way), it was good for me. I've decided to take a couple of private hour-long lessons (my Valentine's Day present from The Scientist) to work on my forehand. It would be fun to move up from the plateau, but I can't afford too many private lessons. They are expensive and I'm just a hobby player, not someone who devotes her life to the sport. Although I wouldn't mind...

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