One of the advantages of working at Bandung, instead of Jakarta, is that we can have more things to do with our spare times rather than stuck in traffic jams or spend hours just to go around places. In my case, i’m lucky to have more times to improve my tennis games with my buddies. It is a long-abandoned sport that i’m so enthusiast getting my hands on it again and be more serious playing it more than ever. So, let’s have a look what i’ve done to get there.
- Three millions rupiahs racket for a beginner won’t make him hit like Federer. There are basic strokes that a person need to learn before bringing a fancy and shiny racket to the game. There are various rackets in the market that was made by selected materials so that it combines strength and lightness. Depend on how much money you have, it is wise for beginner to buy low to mid price racket that already cover those two aspects. Let’s not taking too much consideration about how sophisticated the racket was made or whether its brand is widely used among professionals, because those things won’t do much good for basic players. I’ve seen coaches using old rackets, and yet, they had good strokes. On the other hand, i’ve seen players with fancy rackets that hit like they were playing baseball, trying to make home run. Hit the ball as high and as far as they can. In that case, it is clear that you can’t blame the racket :p
- Experts said that the perfect kind of rackets for beginners is the ones with large sweet spot. Sweet spot is hitting area in the racket in which most of the energy from the racket is converted optimally to the ball during the impact. Thus, the player will easily control the ball to produce the desired speed, spin and direction. Moreover, when you hit inside sweet spot area, you will not feel the shock in your racket during impact. Conversely, you will feel it when you hit outside the spot. And as you might’ve seen, most rackets was designed to reduce this kind of shock by what they called shock absorber. If you want more than what was built, you can buy a kind of rubber (Rp.30.000-Rp.50.000) that does even more to absorb the shock.
- About the grip size, weight, and tension range that you might choose, they depend on the strength of our hands. We might need grip 4 1/4, for example, to hit backhand with two hands. And the most important thing is that we must actually hold and feel the racket whether it fits in our hand. Don’t forget to swing it back and forth to every direction to know that we easily control it. Remember, not every ‘expensive’ racket is right for us. For instance, i used to play with one of my dad’s rackets before i got my own. They are light and easily produce a fast and deep forehand stroke. But unfortunately, i have difficulties to control it. I found it was hard for me to do other strokes, not to mention smash. Since racket is supposed to be our extended arms, then put it under control is very essential.
- I bought my own when i accidentally saw a discount at Sports Station. I got a racket for a fair price because it was cut to around 40-60 percents. A nice Wilson racket for less than Rp. 200.000 rupiahs. It was a good deal, wasn’t it?
- You just can’t play tennis without balls. As disposable items, we should regularly change the old balls with the new ones after playing for some period of times. Depend on how hard and often we play, ball looses their pressure and flexibility so that it won’t bounce as we want it to be. You might notice that old ball re-bounces only about a third of its height from the first bounce. Not to mention when you play in a windy day or frequently use spin on impact, you will found the ball moves and bounces in slightly unpredictable manner. In this case, it’s definitely a bad luck for you opponent.
- You can choose different kind of balls in the market depend on how much money you have, how frequent you play, or the style of your game. Their prices are spanning from around Rp.30.000 (Tens, ProKennex) until Rp.40.000 and above (Dunlop). They are sold in a package of 3 or 4 items. Some brands noted themselves as official balls for some international tournaments. But you know what, even a good quality ball might get broken by a fast and strong serve. I’ve seen a video when Andy Roddick, who famous for his serve, broke a ball while trying to make ace. That time he were playing on clay court. Well, perhaps that is something that we’ll never do to any single ball until the last day we play tennis. Hahaha.
- Another thing to consider about buying new balls is when we often loose our balls during games. Whether you or your friend hit it too hard and high so that it passes over the court fence and get lost somewhere. Or even some guys who play on the court next to you bring your balls with them just because they think they are their own.
- One last thing is the kind of court we’re playing on. If we’re one of the players somewhere in ATP or WTA rank, we eventually will play on various type of court such as grass or clay. Different kind of courts also determine the lifetime of our balls.
- Unlike running shoes that offer sole flexibility and streamline shape, tennis shoes is designed with stronger sole and less flexible form. This is because players need to slide, to pivot, and to brake their steps frequently on the rough court. So, wearing jogging shoes for playing tennis is not recommended because it’s hardly to slide and break using them. Moreover, we will shortened our jogging shoes’ lifetime. Bad idea.
- The kind of sock for tennis is that which have thicker layer of cloth under our toes. No wonder, because we put a lot of pressure on those areas during playing.
- We can wear any kind of outfits that we feel comfortable with. Some brands designed nice outfits for tennis players. Even there are awards for players with best apparels. Mostly this matter is noticed in women’s tennis. Those sportswomen can still look feminine and strong at the same time. Well, we can’t argue on the fact that for audiences, women’s tennis are more please to the eyes than men’s. Enough said.
- We can also use cap to protect our face from the sun, headband to protect our hair from falling covering our eyes, or wristband to strengthen our wrist. Of course, besides those functions, they also have complementary purpose to enhance our look. Yeah, you look pretty, boy!
A good coach will always help us to improve our games. He helps us to develop our tennis skill, such as forehand and backhand strokes, slice, volley, smash, service, footwork, and many more. He knows how to fix us, not just throwing balls toward us and let us hit as many as we can. And for that lesson, we should pay him according to his coaching experiences. Junior coach in Bandung cost us about Rp.30.000, and the senior Rp.60.000 for an hour. Since i am trained with 2 of my buddies, we should pay Rp.40.000 each for 2 hours practice with a senior coach. The coach used to train me when i was in junior high school, and he is good.
I was lucky to find several tennis courts next to my office. It only costs Rp.25.000 for 2 hours. Less cheaper than Sabuga’s Rp.40.000 and even more than Siliwangi’s Rp. 75.000 per hour. My court is inside a residential complex, so no wonder i can get that cheap.
I play 2-3 times a week in the morning. One day for practice, and the rests are for playing. At the first place, i only play twice, but my folk told me to play for free at Sabuga as a former student of STEI. Yes, there is facility from STEI for lecturers and students who are willing to play tennis on weekend from 6 a.m to 10 a.m. Great isn’t? obviously i don’t want to miss such an opportunity. I mean, such a free stuff. Hehehe.
Enough for now, have to back on court. By the way, maybe sometimes we can do it off court. In the middle of street, perhaps?
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