I love books. All kinds of books. In fact, I just dressed up as Tiny Tim for my book club's reading of “A Christmas Carol.” That's how much I love books. And I especially love tennis books. I have lots and lots of them and there are a special few of them that I read again and again to help improve my game. In this episode, I'll tell you about one of my favorites – Arthur Ashe On Tennis. You can listen to this episode by clicking on the media player above or by listening in with your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe in iTunes by clicking on this link: tennisfixation.com/itunes.
If you become the least bit interested in tennis, you'll soon come across Arthur Ashe. If you watch any of the U.S. Open each year, you hear his name repeatedly since the main stadium for the U.S. Open is (you guessed it) Arthur Ashe Stadium. You may know that Arthur Ashe died in 1993 at the age of 49 from AIDS-related complications. He had an illustrious tennis career, winning 3 Grand Slam titles – the 1968 U.S. Open, the 1970 Australian Open, and Wimbledon in 1975. And he did more to break down the race barriers in professional tennis than any player of his time.
It wasn't too long after I took up tennis that I picked up Arthur Ashe's book, Arthur Ashe On Tennis: Strokes, Strategy, Traditions, Players, Psychology, and Wisdom. His book was published in 1995, after his death. So Ashe was not around to see all of the changes we see on the pro circuit today – powerful racquets, indestructible strings, open-stance strokes, exaggerated grips. But you and I aren't playing on the pro circuit (at least I don't think we are), so a lot of the points he makes in his book are still valid for recreational players like us, out to have fun and play some competitive tennis. His book is wonderful and so easy to read. In it, he gives lots and lots of bullet-point tips on strokes and strategy. Here's an example, a short but incredibly valuable and right-to-the-point list of tips that Ashe gives to immediately improve your game:
Keys to Better Play – Here are eight suggestions on how you can improve your game almost immediately:
- Play with a decisive attitude. Make up your mind where you want to hit the ball and hit it there, without worrying about your opponent. It is critical to do that on passing shots.
- Mix up your shots. Be unpredictable to keep your opponent off balance.
- Have a plan on break point. It can be as simple as trying to get the ball in play. Against a net-rusher, hit the ball cross-court over the lower part of the net, giving you a better angle for putting the ball at his feet. Against a baseliner, return deep, preferably to his weaker ground stroke so he cannot hurt you with his big shot. If you return short, he may hit a winner.
- Lob when you're in trouble. It is almost always a safer option that a passing shot when you are pulled out of court.
- Hit approach shots down the line. . . .
- Cover the open angles at the net. That means moving in the direction of your preceding shot. . . .
- Get moving after you hit the ball. You don't have time to stand there admiring your shot.
- Practice with a purpose. Use a lot of balls, divide your practice time into segments during which you practice only one things, and finish your session [by playing out points].
But more than these insights, what I really like about Ashe's book is the chapters on tennis traditions and wisdom. He spends a whole page talking about the wearing of tennis whites and the somewhat controversial move to colored apparel. He even points out that in 1969, he was among a group of players that broke the color-clothing barrier in the U.S. Open by wearing pastel-colored shirts. Gasp!
Ashe has several great recommendations for playing doubles, which I like as many books, magazine articles and websites fail to recognize that that's what a whole lot of us are playing.
This book is a quick and easy read and, because it's an older book, you can find it pretty cheaply on-line.
What are your favorite tennis books and why? I'd love to know. Just leave me a comment below.
RESOURCES AND LINKS FROM THIS EPISODE:
- You can click here to buy Arthur Ashe On Tennis on Amazon – Arthur Ashe On Tennis: Strokes, Strategy, Traditions, Players, Psychology, and Wisdom
- You can click here to buy Real Tennis Tips for Real Tennis Players on Amazon – Real Tennis Tips For Real Tennis Players: Simple Tips To Help You Play Better Tennis Fast
It's not too late to make your voice heard! Take the Tennis Fixation Year-End Survey and tell me how to make this site a better tennis resource for you in the new year. The survey has only 11 questions and should take just a few minutes to complete. You can find it at:
SHARE THIS EPISODE:
If you enjoyed this episode, or know someone who might, please feel free to share it with them. You can simply direct people to:
There are also sharing and email buttons at the bottom of this post.
PLEASE SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW:
Be sure and subscribe to Tennis Quick Tips so you never miss an episode:
- iTunes: Visit the Tennis Quick Tips iTunes page and subscribe (click on the “Subscribe” button or the blue “View in iTunes” button) or search for “Tennis Quick Tips” in the iPhone Podcast app.
- Stitcher: Visit the Tennis Quick Tips Stitcher page and subscribe.
- RSS Feed: Go to the Tennis Quick Tips Podcast RSS feed to listen in.
- Podcast Page: Find every episode of Tennis Quick Tips in one easy-to-navigate place by visiting the Tennis Quick Tips Podcast page.
I hope you'll consider leaving your review and rating on iTunes by clicking here. It will help the show become more easily discovered by like-minded, awesome people just like you. I really appreciate it!
Thanks so much for listening and, as always, Happy Tennis!
© Kim Selzman 2014 All Rights Reserved
Full disclosure – A few of the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. I make a very small commission if you purchase any item using my Amazon affiliate links. Your cost is the same for these items whether or not you use these links. This does not influence my opinion of these items and I always tell the absolute truth about every item that I review. I usually do not review items that I don’t like.
[ois skin=”End of Blog Post”]