Monday, March 05, 2007

Muscle Memory

My association with Tennis dates a long time back when I was about 8 years old, when I showed up at the tennis courts with a Badminton racket in my hand. I have since then switched to using a tennis racket and improved my game by watching a lot of tennis on the telly and taking tips from other players. I have also 'abstracted' many of my life's lessons from my experiments with tennis.

For example, when my game was stuck in a rut for a period of time, I decided to get expert help in the form of a tennis instructor who could take my game to the next level. Since then I have applied that in my professional life as well and have sought advice from a mentor to help navigate through the doldrums of work and life.

I later switched tennis instructors from a scheming Matt M, who also moonlighted as a Chiropractor, and was more interested in ensuring that I spend my hard-owned post-tax dollars on his multiple income sources. This time I chose an expert - Brian Garrow, an illustrious son of the city of Sunnyvale, who won laurels by beating legendary players such as Ramesh Krishnan. Brian's loyalties were not split and I could get his undivided attention in sprucing up my game and I developed a killer forehand. Lesson in life for me - always chose the best of breed else you will end up in the dispensary.

I also learned another important life's lesson from tennis - If you spend all your tennis time just learning from the instructors, you are gonna go broke. Its valuable to rally against other players, just for the fun of it, also its light on the wallet (unless the loser buys beer at the Dutch Goose in Menlo Park and you happen to be him).

This week, after many months of playing with my inconsistent single-handed backhand, I switched to a double-handed backhand with some spectacular results. My decision was partly swayed by watching Serena Williams destroy Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open with her killer, open-chested, two-handed backhand. I went back to the wall and practiced my shots for a few hours. Every shot I hit (remembering Ms Williams as I swung my racket) boosted my morale and increased by enthusiasm by leaps and bounds. I can't believe I made this switch after two decades of playing mediocre tennis. I enjoyed even my solitary trysts with the practice wall and after many hours I finally got the muscle memory to use it effectively in a game.


Hiren said...

The double handed backhand has served me well as well. Try You can rent some excellent Tennis lessons at only $10 a month.

Maneesh said...

Thanks for the tip...have you tried the tutorials on VideoJug ( ? They are $0 :)