In a previous post, I explained how to keep a “Players Cheat Sheet” – basically just some notes on the playing style of opponents you come up against often. Please note that, when my husband read this particular post and questioned whether I REALLY kept a Players Cheat Sheet, I was forced to pull out my Blackberry, show it to him, and thus prove my seriousness about the game of tennis. I think in his opinion I was just proving my whackiness.
Anyway, in this post, I'm going to reveal one of my bigger, nerdier secrets – my “Personal Cheat Sheet.” Yes, I actually have a 3″ x 5″ card in my tennis bag that has all of the little tips I'm supposed to remember when I play a match.
One side has “Tips” on it. These are tips just for me. For example, Tip No. 1, in all caps, bold and with an exclamation mark, is “CALM DOWN!” That is something I have to keep telling myself over and over throughout every match I play so that is how my Cheat Sheet starts out. I then have a list of tips broken down by Serve (5 tips, like “Keep tossing arm extended up longer”), Return (3 tips, including “Draw them off court with wide return”), Forehand (2 tips), Backhand (4 tips, including “TOPSPIN!” in all caps), Volley (2 tips), Overhead (2 tips), One-handed Backhand Slice (2 tips), and When To Move In (4 tips, like “Lob over their heads”).
The other side of the card is titled “Doubles Cheat Sheet” and has important tips and strategies for doubles. The sections are Evaluate Opponents, reminding me what to look for during warm-up and throughout the match; Serve & Return, with some tips like “Serve up the middle, set partner up for poach”; and Strategies, with reminders like “Team that controls the net controls the match.”
None of these tips, strategies or reminders is a stunning insight. And sure, they're all written in 8 point font so they fit on a 3″ x 5″ card. But I can still read this card without reading glasses and doing so helps me calm down (see Tip No. 1 above) and focus on my match. I keep this on a card instead of on my Blackberry so I can pull it out at any time, anywhere, even during a match if I want.
While I'm happy to reveal everything that's on my cheat sheet (all of my most intimate tennis secrets!), you probably know what you need help with and what you need to be reminded of and your cheat sheet would be different from mine. So I highly recommend that you put together your own Personal Cheat Sheet. And if you can get it all on a small card in something larger than 8 point font, you're a better person than me!
© Kim Selzman 2010
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