Author Topic: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.  (Read 6471 times)

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Offline Shanytc

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Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« on: February 08, 2009, 04:36:43 PM »
Hey all, I've got a neat tip to start out a journal about my footprint in the tennis world, so here we go.

Prelude:
Tennis, something I loved for a long time, I never played it, not too much watched it, but always had the fondness to that game. But just like any other normal kid who never liked any kind of sport in his youth It was just there (Among other stuff), in a sleepy, gloomy corner in my mind. Just like a sleeping dragon who never uses his potential to rule the land around him, I too, never took any action about it.
Years went by, other stuff has started to awaken by our friend: Mr. Time, first one was the Artistic side of me that took over (Painting, Drawing - 1995, 'till present day), few years after, The technical side of me awaken (Programmer -2003, My job 'till present day), few more years went by, the Martial Art side of me awaken (Aikido - 2007, 'till present day), and these days, the Sporting side has awaken (Tennis, 2009), and now it seems I'm on a new path to try.

Chapter 1 - Newbie's first steps

It was about few weeks ago, after a tiring but enjoyable session of Aikido class that me and my friend found our selfs discussing things on the matter, when he than finally asked me if I'm free the day after, which I replied that I'm free at the time, He recommended to me to join him to a session of Tennis. I smiled on the spot!.

1 Day: Kinda fuzzy and mis-oriented, although I know the idea overall, the feeling and the actually doing of the game, is totally different, striking the ball and hitting hit was fairly easy, hitting it correctly however was something else, since the ball seemed to like to fly all over the place (Including out of bound fences!), slowly my friend explained how important is the foot-work, and how similarly lowering the body and turning it is resembling moves in Aikido, (Which did help in the beginning), later on he kept showing me and telling me about holding correctly the racquet and hitting the ball with the correct angle and position of the arm.
This went by 2+- hours where I was more running and puffing than enjoying the game.

2nd Day: Much better, seems like few stuff from last week have sunk to my brain and some new neurological connections have been formed! It was more smooth than last time, however still very very very rough game! Of course running and puffing! But, I seemed to be more focusing on my forehand this time. Hitting the ball still goes randomly, but no more out of bounds! My friend kept saying useful ideas and gave me suggestions and we worked a lot on face to face (close distance) ball tossing (To be in focus). This time, 2 other players (Who my friend knew) joined for a quick 2-2 session with us (Not caring about points..etc) and it seemed to be a really rewarding practice! Under pressure, you have little time to think, and therefor act, and few shots of mine were pretty OK and did made it to the correct spots/area. Day ended, and I was quite pleased!

3rd Day: Was much more enjoyable, as my forehand shorts were fun to do! Chasing, running and puffing reduced in about 5%-8%, I was more concentrating on hitting the shots with my forehand than thinking about "where will I'll hit or am I close/further, should I turn my body...etc", However! Disaster strike when I tried the dreaded Backhand strike, owww what an awful strikes I get from my backhand! Most of the shot are going way too high or way too offset to the position I want, its so irritating to say the least enjoyable! And my friend knew it, so he kept sending me the balls to a backhand shot to practice it. I can sum up that it was a successful practice! We both enjoyed a fair game (We don't play points game, as we like it argument free practice) and went home happy after a good 2+- hours of practice.

* During of the week *
I was more "thinking" tennis, and decided to look around the web for more help, This forum came about in search of some videos, since than, here I am, but mostly was focused on online tutorials, like the ones on youtube. I've looked and learned from the movies about a proper forehand, backhand, serving and some other tips and tricks.

4th Day: Way better! My forehand strike was more adjusted, I removed my two hands of the racquet and decided to use only 1, (I'm right handed), I seemed to make a worse shots with 1 hand on the racquet than two, since there is a power loose! But few shots did made it through. More notably I gotta say thanks to a near by (near court) teacher, who was teaching a youngster girl to play (she did well!! - those kids sure have fast learning capabilities) so I tried to mimic few of the basic moves with 1 hand and swinging technique. This did better, but still no power yet, 2 hands were much easier and smoother for me, but hey, 4th time I'm playing, it will get much better from here. What about backhand? still bad!! However, I did try to finally use my memory and dug out a video from the net about how to serve, so a quick visualization of how the players serve and its time to try for real! Few tried, baddd! more tries.. the ball is wayy in the wrong direction, few more tried, nice, nice its getting somewhere, and during the 2+ hour practice, I was getting the ball pretty much to the place I wanted but one thing was missing: Power and Precision, Which, with the correct stance and more practice will come fairly quick. Session ended very good as my friend started to like my game play more and more.

* Current Week *
I decided to get my self a brand new racquet, I went on a beginner/medium one, a Wilson nCode W2 line, which was fairly OK for price of 150$, I don't think I need anything now, it will be a good training tool!. (My friend's racquets are ok, but I guess too old. Having your own will make sure your well adjusted and connected to it than another person's).
Also I got to learn more from videos about proper stances and body rotation during forehand/backhand strikes, so I will apply them next time we play (Friday). And I was also looking for a school/teacher in Tennis around my area.. Boy! Private teaching is not cheap at all!! I tell you!!.

Well, than, all I gotta do is wait for practice 5, or get a teacher.. :)
Cya soon.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2009, 04:57:37 PM by Shanytc »
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Offline euroka1

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2009, 04:58:10 PM »
Welcome to the thread.
Keep having lots of fun!  :trampoline:

Offline Tennis4you

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2009, 06:49:29 PM »
Awesome, glad to see you started a journal, I look forward to reading your progress!!!  Great post to start it by the way!
Good Luck on the Court!!!
Scott Baker
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Offline dmastous

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2009, 07:11:07 PM »
About time you picked up a tennis racquet. Welcome to the tennis world!
Your Akido should be a real help to you as tennis is a sport where balance is of paramount importance.

Is a tree as a rocking horse
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And is the sawdust jealous?
I worry about these things .

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2009, 07:32:15 PM »
Nice 1st journal post there STC!  Welcome here!  If you have any questions please ask us.........there are quite a few knowledgable tennis players here!  We loves us some tennis! 

Offline Shanytc

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2009, 04:21:35 AM »
:thank-you: guys! I'm glad you liked my 1st entry! I Hope to write about more insights (:bright idea:) soon :)
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Offline Pacer

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2009, 11:27:19 AM »
I enjoyed reading it, it brought back memories from when I first started. :)
Tennis is so much fun!
If you can get a pro(teacher) I think it would do wonders for your game.
Ralphie: I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle! <br /><br />Mrs. Parker: No, you\'ll shoot your eye out.

Offline Shanytc

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2009, 11:47:09 AM »
5th Day: This time another friend of mine has tagged alone (total 3 players), so I hadn't had the chance to fully test out few things I wanted (Since we mainly switched players all the time). But here are my experiences after 3 hours of play:

I was using/playing with my new Wilson racquet which is very light compared to my friend's racquets, Getting used to it took some time, but it didn't wear out my shoulder. My forehand strike has been slightly changed because of the Wilson racquet, so I guess after a few more games I'll be hitting with it better and better. The big difference I've seen though is the backhand strike, it has increased a lot! and I mean, from ball flying to inside court "not wayyy above the net" balls. I really liked it, and it was all thanks to some videos from the net.
Proper stances is what made me do the strikes (backhand and even forehand) way better.

I also was trying to serve properly (as seen on video tutorials), and boy that ain't easy! Most of the balls were flying like crazy all over the place, most of them out of bounds or stopped at the net. Timing of both hands moving, bending the knees, jumping and striking all in the same time are now like baby steps for me... more more more practice!!

Also my friend (whom usually I practice) was giving me some power shots so I could return with another power shots (develop arm/shoulder strength), However, the more power you add to the racquet the more 'unbalanced' the shot becomes, even with proper stance the body turns more to the left (forehand strike) and the ball goes out of bounds more frequently. Should I turn my body the opposite direction just before I hit the ball to make sure it goes to the direction I want (and/or to the center of the court) ?

I will have to (no other choice) to start practicing alone my serves, forehands backhands against the wall. It's picking up the balls again after I finish with them that is mostly annoying  :)~ hehehe
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Offline dmastous

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2009, 11:58:37 AM »
The wall is a great partner for serve drills. Pick a spot or a square about net level and try to hit it with a natural serve stroke. Small adjustments can make for big changes. Like grip changes, and racquet path. Sometimes the only answer is repetition.
As for picking up balls, it's my contention that picking up balls is the main reason people don't stick with tennis. Well... not a contention but a comment. Just be assured that, as you get better, you will be picking up balls less and less.
On the serve, the best advice I can give, as you work out your motion, is keep it simple. You don't have to incorporate jumping. It will come as a result of the motion. That goes for any shot in tennis. Leaving the ground is not something you want to add to your stroke, it's something that comes as a result of something you add. In the case of the serve it's knee bend and explosion up to the ball that causes you to leave the ground. Focus on the knee bend and drive up, rather than jumping into the ball.

Is a tree as a rocking horse
An ambition fulfilled
And is the sawdust jealous?
I worry about these things .

Kevin Godley & Lol Crème (I Pity Inanimate Objects)

Offline Shanytc

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2009, 12:05:36 PM »
The wall is a great partner for serve drills. Pick a spot or a square about net level and try to hit it with a natural serve stroke. Small adjustments can make for big changes. Like grip changes, and racquet path. Sometimes the only answer is repetition.
As for picking up balls, it's my contention that picking up balls is the main reason people don't stick with tennis. Well... not a contention but a comment. Just be assured that, as you get better, you will be picking up balls less and less.
On the serve, the best advice I can give, as you work out your motion, is keep it simple. You don't have to incorporate jumping. It will come as a result of the motion. That goes for any shot in tennis. Leaving the ground is not something you want to add to your stroke, it's something that comes as a result of something you add. In the case of the serve it's knee bend and explosion up to the ball that causes you to leave the ground. Focus on the knee bend and drive up, rather than jumping into the ball.

Thanks dmastous,
I'll keep in mind what you said about the serve part and 'not jumping' advice, as for the wall, yeah it is a good partner! I'll try the "spot above net level" idea and add it to my drills techniques.  :thumbs-up:
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Offline Shanytc

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2009, 11:57:28 AM »
Practice Day: Wow wow wowww!!! What a great workout I had today!! Here are my thoughts and experiences after 3½ hours:

Today I went for the first time to train Tennis by my self (Since now that I have my own racquet), I unpacked the 12 balls, and put them (along with water) in the middle of the court. The Tennis area has only two courts with wall on one side and the rest are just high fences (Image below).



On the wall is outlined 4 big circles over a drawn Net. I started hitting the balls to the wall, but it was awful, even with 12 balls I found my self picking them up sooner than I though! Even so, hitting the balls at the correct area (inside the circles) was/is a though thing to do none the less. Time went by, I started to pick up the pace, balls were flying like crazy from the wall back to me, however my lack of technique failed me often, so often that you can see by your self in the picture below what happened :)





Hahaha amusing isn't it? Well, that went by a couple more times, which I had to run all the way out of the Tennis area just to get to the outer side of that court and push the balls back into the court.. someone said something about "picking up the balls is annoying" ?? :) :)

Sometime later on after more practice, I decided to go to the next door court, since it was not occupied anymore, and than the training become more serious! I notice that (After an hour and a half +-) that my shots were more accurate (so to speak -> no more ball flying like crazy) and that I was swinging better and better, even my backhand have improved so much that I actually continued swinging the ball against the wall for a while.

After some more time I decided to practice at serving. Boy! So much improvements have I made!! At the beginning it was not so successful, however 10-20 minutes after, my serving was good! (I mean, comparing to the beginning), I visualized it once again, and remembered the steps, but did not Jump appose to my last day I first tried it! Dmastous's advice was very helpful! And I than began to serve to the wall with greater ease! Some of the hits (as I sensed) were awesome! "Above the net, at circle height (As seen in the picture above). I was really happy! And trained more and more on serving.. I liked how my technique forms! (Sure some hits were bad as hell, buy hey.. the less bad % I get the better my serve will be).



Now, with sore feet (Chasing those balls around) and shoulder ache  (from the serves), all I can say is that I had an amazing 3½ hours against the wall :P

till next time...
« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 12:03:21 PM by Shanytc »
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Offline euroka1

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2009, 12:53:39 PM »
Great stuff  :)) . It is splendid to read about such rapid progress  :lmao: .  Must admit that my bones ache from just reading about all you are doing, though  :( .

Keep it up.

Offline dmastous

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2009, 03:34:39 PM »
Sounds like you're getting in the groove. Few more sessions like that an you can't help but get to be a player.
One small point. If you're serving against that wall, and aiming for the circles, you will be hitting your serves long unless you really put some heavy topspin on your serve. For flat serves you should be aiming much closer to the net, as opposed to in the circles. Depending on how tall you are, you only have about 6 inches over the net to get a flat serve in.
That being said, it is good to be able to pick a target and hit it. So even aiming for the circles, and hitting them, can be helpful.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 03:35:13 PM by dmastous »

Is a tree as a rocking horse
An ambition fulfilled
And is the sawdust jealous?
I worry about these things .

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Offline Shanytc

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2009, 04:43:52 PM »
Great stuff  :)) . It is splendid to read about such rapid progress  :lmao: .  Must admit that my bones ache from just reading about all you are doing, though  :( .

Keep it up.

Thanks euroka1, I am glad that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy doing it :thumbs-up:

Sounds like you're getting in the groove. Few more sessions like that an you can't help but get to be a player.
One small point. If you're serving against that wall, and aiming for the circles, you will be hitting your serves long unless you really put some heavy topspin on your serve. For flat serves you should be aiming much closer to the net, as opposed to in the circles. Depending on how tall you are, you only have about 6 inches over the net to get a flat serve in.
That being said, it is good to be able to pick a target and hit it. So even aiming for the circles, and hitting them, can be helpful.

Thanks! I'm 5"8 (173 cm) So I should be putting more effort to do flat serves I guess. TopSpin sounds like a great idea, I'll check some videos about it  ;-() But I guess for starters, hitting and aiming a target is important, so practicing on it (while trying to keep it flat as possible as you suggested) is well needed for me as a beginner.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 04:48:44 PM by Shanytc »
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Offline dmastous

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2009, 04:52:06 PM »
I don't specifically recommend a flat serve over topspin. I hit about 90% topspin myself. It's a safe serve. But a flat serve is a typical first serve.
I just said if you are going flat, you need to aim closer to the net than if you are hitting topspin.

Is a tree as a rocking horse
An ambition fulfilled
And is the sawdust jealous?
I worry about these things .

Kevin Godley & Lol Crème (I Pity Inanimate Objects)

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2009, 03:00:20 PM »
Nice update..........especially the pics!   :cool:

Offline Tennis4you

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2009, 06:42:24 PM »
Great posts! 

The wall is a sweet partner like Dmast said.  You can really hit a ton of balls in a short amount of time.  I also like the fact you have a target.  I always say to work on your placement first, power will naturally follow (unless your name is Jamesdster, he has no power). 

A local pro would also be good (notice how I just echo those posts above, I am just lazy I guess).  Do you have any clubs close?
Good Luck on the Court!!!
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Offline Shanytc

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2009, 03:46:36 AM »
Great posts! 

The wall is a sweet partner like Dmast said.  You can really hit a ton of balls in a short amount of time.  I also like the fact you have a target.  I always say to work on your placement first, power will naturally follow (unless your name is Jamesdster, he has no power). 

A local pro would also be good (notice how I just echo those posts above, I am just lazy I guess).  Do you have any clubs close?

Haha thank Tennis4you  :)
I love playing against the wall since it makes you concentrate strictly on your self and helps you develop the technique and speed. Though the wall is not smart enough to develop strategy against you :D So I guess finding a coach is the only way.

I have a club (Which is a part of a big sports center that i'm signed to) near by me (5 min driving) and another one which is 20mins away.
The one who is 20mins away is more known to be producing counry known players, So I guess its just a matter of confort to who shall I go to (and also depends on how much each coach from each club will take - either personally or in groups).
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Offline dmastous

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2009, 09:48:52 AM »
Great posts! 

The wall is a sweet partner like Dmast said.  You can really hit a ton of balls in a short amount of time.  I also like the fact you have a target.  I always say to work on your placement first, power will naturally follow (unless your name is Jamesdster, he has no power). 

A local pro would also be good (notice how I just echo those posts above, I am just lazy I guess).  Do you have any clubs close?

Haha thank Tennis4you  :)
I love playing against the wall since it makes you concentrate strictly on your self and helps you develop the technique and speed. Though the wall is not smart enough to develop strategy against you :D So I guess finding a coach is the only way.

I have a club (Which is a part of a big sports center that i'm signed to) near by me (5 min driving) and another one which is 20mins away.
The one who is 20mins away is more known to be producing counry known players, So I guess its just a matter of confort to who shall I go to (and also depends on how much each coach from each club will take - either personally or in groups).

The wall has only one, very effective, stratigy. It never misses, and never loses.  :cool:
« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 09:49:35 AM by dmastous »

Is a tree as a rocking horse
An ambition fulfilled
And is the sawdust jealous?
I worry about these things .

Kevin Godley & Lol Crème (I Pity Inanimate Objects)

Offline Shanytc

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Re: Shanytc's Tennis Journal - A diamond in the rough.
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2009, 03:10:31 PM »
6th Day + 7th Day + 8th Day + Practice

I haven't wrote for a long time now, mainly because I haven't played much, thanks to the weather (that was raining all week and the week after), so I'm back to write about my latest practice games.

6th day, all courts we occupied, now, this sucked! Just because you'll never know when people will finish playing ...
Anyhow we found our self (me and my regular team-player) playing with kids hehehe .. talk about up the game and now your "down your game", anyway we played doubles with the kids, which was quite.. hmm... OK I guess.. it is "pacing you self down" so there was nothing much we can do. Once the kids had enough, we played a little more, however my friend was sick.
I think (can't remember much now) that I gave more focus on the backend back than.

7th day, I can't remember much from that game or what I did back than, but what I do remember is that I tried to serve more (tried hehe) and it was quite nice game, nothing specific about that day, I didn't feel any change though, probably because the time gap I had since the last times me and my friend played.

8th day, which was yesterday, was very good game, it was the first time me and my friend had a consecutive period of time without loosing the ball and had sharp strikes across the court. My backend though remained still weak, every time I try to do a backend strike, the ball goes side ways, not straight as I wanted, but.. no problem.. time x practice == good backend.
Also, I started to practice as a Lefty (Using my unnatural hand : Left) as a secret weapon, I know it will take time, but I want to use my both arms when I play tennis, Nothing is impossible!  ://

Once I turn a good player, I'll be using both my arms to kick some butt!!  :gleam:
So, I must say that yesterday I had a really good game play (Note, that we are not playing with points since it makes us to play more at ease and learn better).

Practice Day:
spent 2+ hours against the wall, my forehand increased way more than I expected, as my strikes were much better aimed at the spots I aimed for (still the balls went flying around, but hey.. no one is perfect).
For some reason, I feel more natural to do backend against the wall than in usual game play, I guess its because of the speed/angle of the ball even though strikes are hard at the wall. I also trained as a Lefty, that felt out of my comfort zone each time I hit with the left hand, but that's OK.
As for the serve.... man!.. it looks easy, but damn! that's hard! The angle, the knee bending, power release all in the same time.. high coordination! No doubt I need a coach.

Q.
Does any one here uses both hands to play tennis? got some tips on how to feel more comfortable using the other hand?

Notes:
1. Before practice, I went to a different Tennis club 20 Min's from my city, asking about prices for a private coach (lesson), I've been told that it is around $25 per hour, you guys think its cheap? too much ?

2. From time to time, when me and my friend come to the tennis courts, there are groups of players/people who trains to be a coacher, now.. there are some fine girls in that group of students  :) how the hell I suppose to play Tennis when they near the court where I play  :)~ , I guess I'll have to to do some super Tennis technique to get their attention  ;-()

Relax time
Now I'm home, sore up to my bones, but had a great few weeks playing tennis and getting tune again. One thing is for sure, spring is here, no more rain.. it's Tennis time :) :)

Thanks for reading :)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2009, 03:17:29 PM by Shanytc »
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