For four unlucky teams, a one game playoff will determine their fate: win or go home. I’m sure the Commissioner loves the ratings, but I’m on Chipper’s side–I think a one game playoff is stupid. Suffice it to say, I’m relieved my Yankees avoided that coronary waiting to happen this time around.
With the spotlight resting solely on baseball for a rare moment, it’s the perfect time for tennis coaches to dial-up their best baseball analogies. Here are four that I really love:
Rally Like You’re Playing Catch
As far as father-son activities go, playing catch in the backyard reached mythological status in America a long time ago. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure playing catch with Dad is where at least 86% of adolescent American boys received “the talk.” The point being, when you’re having a catch with dad, both parties are at their utmost relaxed. I find the analogy, “rally like you’re playing catch,” to be so helpful for all tennis players. From beginners to advanced players, the ability to rally is a fundamental that can’t be ignored.
Like playing catch, rallying is a sending-receiving skill. Also, when you’re rallying—whether cooperatively or in a match—staying relaxed should be your primary focus. Most tennis players are so uptight when they rally, they forget to even breathe! So next time you’re rallying, pretend like you’re playing catch with pops—this time hopefully there will be no mention of any birds and/or bees.
When Serving, Drive Through the Back Leg Like a Pitcher
When it comes to generating rotational force, your glutes are the body’s powerhouse. A pitcher’s back cleat is wedged against the mound before they push off and rotate the hips. It’s this initial firing of the posterior that begins the kinetic chain—a reaction that results in a 100mph fastball. Across all sports, glute strength/glute activation has become a hot topic—just ask Tiger Woods.
On the serve, many players are too focused on jumping up instead of rotating forward. The jumping action targets muscles used for hip extension, rather than hip rotation. To see a great demonstration of the pitching leg drive, take a look at the video below:
On your Backhand Slice, Separate your Arms Like an Umpire Saying, “Safe”
This next tip comes from the boys in blue. Saying, “safe,” will help you stay sideways longer on your slice. It’s important to stay sideways on the one-hander because the front shoulder houses the hit. Staying sideways will allow you to have a longer hitting zone. Also, the action of the left arm extending back will help produce more force, as it creates a counter balance to the forward swing. So, if you’re sick of your opponent calling your slice, “out,” then try saying “safe;” you’ll create a more consistent and penetrating slice!
Move Back for an Overhead Like an Outfielder
Having trouble moving back for the overhead? You might benefit from shagging fly balls at your daughter’s Little League practice. The Golden Rule for outfielders is, “the first step is always back.” When you’re at the net and your opponent elevates the ball, the same rule applies. Additionally, due to our innate desire to track the ball with both eyes, we use “binocular vision,” and naturally backpedal for our overheads.
As an outfielder, if your initial step is a backpedal, you’re toast. Outfielders are taught to pivot, drop step, then crossover. If you follow this same footwork pattern for your overhead, you will track down more lobs and hit better overheads when you get there. Embrace your inner Willie Mays next time you get lobbed, and you’ll be golden!
I hope you enjoy the MLB postseason and that you found these tips helpful. And go Yankees!