Who Covers The Middle?

Who hasn't lost a point in which you and your partner just watch ball go by between the two of you?

Most of the action in doubles happens in the middle of the court, simply because it is easier to hit crosscourt than down the line. Points won by a shot hit in the alleys are far less more common that a point won by a ball hit down the middle, between the two players. Therefore both players should cover the middle and a clash of racquets is better than an awkward stare.

There is, however, a general rule. If you play on the deuce side, you are supposed to cover the middle when the ball is coming from the deuce side of your opponents' court. And if you play on the ad side, you are supposed to cover the middle when the ball comes from the ad side of your opponents' court. So if the ball is coming cross court toward you, the middle of the court is yours to cover. Your partner will protect his/her alley on both situations.

Nevertheless, more important than following the rule is always be ready, as a team, to protect the middle, rather than the alleys. At the end, percentage tennis wins.

Schedule Of Tournaments In May

May features a couple of high level, open tournaments in San Diego, including the USTA National Open Hard Court Championships, held at Balboa Tennis Club, and run by our Director Colleen Ferrell. Definitely worth being part of it, either as a player or as a spectator.

The Juniors have nothing less than 9 options of tournaments to play, from beginner to advanced levels. Welcome Tennis Season!

Please check the schedule below. Click on the tournament you wish to participate to access the page where you can sign up for it. You can also get directions to the facility hosting the events by clicking on their names.

Good luck and pay well!


29th Annual Peninsula Tennis Club Tournament: May 6th - 7th & 13th - 14th @ Peninsula Tennis Club.

USTA May Hard Courts (Men and Women): May 8th - 14th @ La Jolla Beach Tennis Club.

USTA National Women's 50,60,70,80,90 Hard Court Championships: May 8th - 14th @ La Jolla Beach Tennis Club.

41st Annual Arthur Ashe Memorial Tournament: May 20th - 21st & 27th - 29th @ Mountain View Sports & Racquet Association.

USTA National Open Hard Court Championships: May 29th - June 4th @ Balboa Tennis Club.



14th Annual Rancho Penasquitos Junior Satellite Tournament (Level 6): May 5th - 7th @ Rancho Penasquitos Tennis Center.

Ronnie Redondo Memorial Junior Satellite Tournament (Level 6): May 12th - 14th @ Helix High School.

Esme Pearson Memorial Junior Tournament (Level 3): May 13th - 14th & 20th 21st @ Barnes Tennis Center.

Madspin Mayfest Junior Satellite (Junior 6): May 19th - 21st @ Del Norte High School.

Love 15 Tennis Spring Novice Tournament (Level 7): May 21st @ Cathedral Catholic High School.

Coronado Junior Satellite Tournament (Level 6): May 26th - 29th @ City of Coronado Tennis Center.

30th Annual Powell Blankenship Memorial Pacific Beach Open Junior Tournament (Level 5): May 27th - 29th & June 3rd - 4th @ Pacific Beach Tennis Club.

2017 "Little Mo" Southern California Sectionals: May 27th - 28th @ La Jolla Beach Tennis Club.

Mira Mesa Novice (Level 7): May 27th - 28th @ Mira Mesa High School.

How To Beat The Dinker

The ultimate nightmare of tennis players at all levels seems to be playing against the so called "dinkers" or "pushers". 

As I walk around the grounds at Balboa Tennis Club, I am frequently asked by members and friends for tips on how they can improve their games. A sure winner among the most frequently asked questions is "how can I beat a "dinker""? They are retrievers who may not look fit nor fast, and yet they get to virtually every ball you hit. They prefer to "dink" balls over the net with incredible backspin and/or sidespin drawing you into the center of the court in "no man's land". They also like to hit short drop shots followed by incredibly high and deep lobs. "Dinkers" don't make many unforced errors and rarely go for big winners. Sounds familiar?

So let's go over a few tips on what you should do when facing such a player:

1) Respect the “dinker”. This is probably the most important tip. Without respecting this kind of opponent, no strategy will ever work! Recognize that this style of play, though not flashy, is a valid way to approach the game. As soon as you ridicule the "pusher" in your mind, she/he has won a major victory.

2) Give them deep, high bouncing balls to deal with from the baseline. "Pushers" generally do not like moonballs because hitting slice and sidespin off of high bouncing balls usually is difficult and forces them to experience a bit of frustration.

3) Come to the net. Net rushers are the "pusher's" Nemesis. They usually do not possess great passing shots and will frequently attempt to lob you, so keep an eye out for the lob. Serve and volley, if you can, and chip and charge on the return.

4) Mix up the placement of your serves. Hit flat, slice and kick serves to all parts of both service boxes. The key is not to be predictable on your serve. The "pusher" is very good at discerning any patterns.

5) Make them move diagonally. Pushers like to move side to side -- they are used to it. However, they hate to move on diagonals. If you hit a shot deep to the "pusher's" backhand and then follow it with a short shot to the forehand, he/she will have to run diagonally to get to the ball, and likely go for a shot he/she probably doesn't own -- the big winner.

Now let's cover a list of things you "should not" do:

1) Do not resort to playing the "pusher's" game. You can't beat a "pusher" by "pushing" yourself. She/he is probably much better at it than you. Once you begin to "push," she/ he will miraculously find a way to hit winners. This will invariably add to your frustration.

2) Don't rush. You need to be very patient when playing the "dinker," especially if you are not attempting to take the net. Big groundstrokers often self-destruct against "pushers" because they are impatient.  Be prepared to run. Don't be too eager to go for put aways. Wait until you have a clear opportunity to win the point before you go for the winner.

3) Don't try to outpower the "pusher." Try to hit your groundstrokes at 3/4 pace. Don't push the ball, just try to hit the ball at less than maximum pace.

4) Don't wait for the ball to come to you. Aggressively move to every ball. Adopt the "Andre Agassi" mindset. This action will minimize the effects of the "pusher's" spin.

5) Finally, don't ever let the "pusher" see you angry or frustrated. The "pusher's" game is based more on psychological warfare than upon tennis skills and strokes. He/she lives to see you snap psychologically. Truly, this is a major reason why they play the game! If you remain calm and seemingly confident regardless of the score, the "pusher" will frequently begin to lose confidence.

The "dinker" does not have to be your most feared opponent! If you are patient, use your net game, hit deep and high shots to the baseline, and move quickly to every ball, you will find that you will be able to turn the table, and instead of having nightmares, you will become one!

Source: http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/turbo_98...

The Beauty of Clay Court Tennis

The cay court season is here. Starting this week, professional tennis players will be touring in Europe, competing in a series of clay court tournaments leading up to the second major event of the year, the French Open, in Paris. The full calendar of ATP events can be found here, and the WTA events can be found here.

In times when powerful shots and great athleticism are the predominant skills on the courts, it still seems like some of the best tennis in the world is played on the slow clay.

Clay court tennis is more demanding on the players, and not only physically. To be a good clay court player, one needs to have a very solid ground stroke foundation, in order to be able to handle the long rallies and the strategic play execution that is needed to be successful. 

Winning a point on clay requires more than having a big serve or a big forehand. It requires understanding the game, the angles, and the importance of shot selection. A clay court match can be a brutal mental and physical experience.

Clay court tennis has been historically less forgiving to the less talented players. Few people will remember, for instance, that Chris Lewis, from New Zealand, was a professional tennis player, let alone the fact that he reached the Wimbledon final in 1983, falling to John McEnroe. These kind of surprising results are far less common on clay. One occasionaly can get away, on a fast surface, with having less solid fundamentals of the game, but it is necessary to be truly resourceful in order to do well on the dirt.  

The Importance Of The Net Game

Although hitting powerful groundstrokes from the baseline has become the pattern of modern tennis, the net game still has its importance in the game at every level.

I learned, from coach Jorge Capestany, an interesting statistical data from the 2015 US Open, which demonstrates how the net game is still alive and can be helpful in winning points. The stat says that, from the round of 16 on forward in that year, 56% of the time players came to the net, they didn't even had to touch the ball to win the point. Their opponents missed the passing shots or lob attempts, proving there is an intimidating factor  triggered from facing a net rusher.

Instead of being afraid of coming to the net and getting passed or lobed, transfer that concern to your opponents and make them beat you! 

Check out this nice video with 3 basic tips for executing a good volley. Good luck!

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_M1OS43O8...

Major Changes in Professional Tennis Announced

The ITF announced a drastic reduction in the number of professional players and the creation of what will be called a "Transition Tour".

Over 14,000 players competed as professionals last year, which is too many, considering that he vast majority of them don't break even and simply can't make a living. This number will be reduced to 750, and therefore, a larger share of the money invested on the tour will be available to each individual player. A statistical data from 2013 shows that 60% of the money was earned by only 1% of the professional players.

The Transition Tour will replace the lower tier of pro tournaments -- $15,000 prize money -- and will no longer pay prize money. It will distribute ITF Entry Points, instead of ATP and WTA points. These ITF Entry Points will then be the players' passport to the ITF Pro Circuit and to the ATPWTA tours. It will be in the form of local circuits, to reduce traveling costs for the young aspiring pros. This will provide more clarity for players and coaches as to who has a true shot at making it in the tour and who should look for other career paths, play college tennis, etc.

Another major issue related to this decision from the ITF has to do with protecting the integrity of the sport, amid the suspicion that a great number of players are getting paid by bookmakers to lose matches, in an unlawful and unethical attempt to make up for the money they can't make on the tour.

You can read the full article on the ITF website, clicking here.

Source: http://www.itftennis.com/news/256730.aspx

Schedule of Tournaments for April

April features the first tournament of the year at our club -- Balboa Spring Championships -- a non-sanctioned event run by Balboa Tennis Club Teaching Director Geoff Griffin. This is good opportunity to kick off the year without the pressure of playing for points in the rankings.

There is also plenty of options for juniors, from Novice to Level 4 tournaments.

Please check the schedule below. Click on the tournament you wish to participate to access the page where you can sign up for it. You can also get directions to the facility hosting the events by clicking on their names.

Good luck and pay well!



Balboa Spring Championships: April 7th - 9th @ Balboa Tennis Club.

2nd Annual Suja Tennis Classic $$$ *Memory of Taquio Redondo: April 7th - 9th @ Helix High School.

Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Tournament-Community Colleges: April 13th - 15th @ Southwest College, in Chula Vista.

Mountain View Doubles Tournament: April 29th @ Mountain View Sports & Racquet.



Mira Mesa Novice Tournament (Level 7): April 1st - 2nd @ Mira Mesa High School.

Love 15 Tennis April Fools Novice Tournament (Level 7): April 2nd @ Cathedral Catholic High School.

46th Annual Maureen Connolly Memorial Junior Open Tournament (Level 4): April 8th - 9th & 15th 16th @ Barnes Tennis Center.

Scripps Ranch Novice Tournament: April 8th - 9th @ Scripps Ranch High School.

9th Annual Surf & Turf Spring Junior Open (Level 5): April 22nd - 23rd & 29th - 30th @ Surf and Turf Tennis Club.

Mira Mesa Junior Satellite (Level 6): April 28th - 30th: @ Mira Mesa High School.

The Return Grip

A common question I get from students is "how should I hold my racquet while I am waiting to return serve"?

The answer can depend on how you like to return (blocking or swinging at the ball), and whether you have a one-handed or a two-handed backhand. Here we will focus on the two-handed backhand, which is how most players hit their backhand these days, and on a swinging return, which is a more modern approach to this important part of the game.

In this video, you will be able to see that players should have a forehand grip on their dominant hand (the bottom hand) and the backhand grip on the top hand. This way they are equally ready to return from both sides. See detailed instructions here.


Source: http://baseline.tennis.com/article/62789/b...

Schedule of Tournaments for March

March 20th is the first day of Spring and that means Tennis Season at its best. The beginning of the month features a high level doubles tournament at La Jolla Beach & T.C., the 128th Annual Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championship, which you should check out, in case you are not participating.

For the juniors, there are plenty of options at every level. Our club will host the 9th Annual K & W Spring Junior Satellite Tournament (Level 6)a Satellite level event that is a good opportunity for kids starting to compete.

Please check the schedule below. Click on the tournament you wish to participate to access the page where you can sign up for it.


128th Annual Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championship: March 2nd - 5th @ La Jolla Beach & T.C.

Elden B. Yeck 5th Annual Memorial Spring Swing: March 17th - 19th @ Grossmont Community College.

19th Annual Pacific Beach Adult Open: March 31st - April 2nd @ Pacific Beach Tennis Club.


ECCTA Spring Satellite Junior Tournament (Level 6): March 3rd - 55h @ Helix High School.

9th Annual K & W Spring Junior Satellite Tournament (Level 6): March 10th - 12th @ Balboa Tennis Club.

83rd Annual Harper Ink Junior Open Tournament (Level 3): March 17th - 19th & March 25th - 26th @ Barnes Tennis Center.

Love 15 Tennis St. Patrick's Day Novice Tournament (Level 7): March 19th @ Cathedral Catholic High School.

Madspin March Madness Tennis Junior Novice Tournament (Level 7): March 25th - 26th @ Rancho Bernardo High School.

Dr. John Sheposh Memorial Junior Satellite Tournament (Level 6): March 31st - April 2nd @ Barnes Tennis Center.