Bob Sneller: Tips on senior tennis

Bob Sneller

Ever since I was a little boy just barely able to peer over the net, I have enjoyed a deep and abiding love for the great game of tennis.

Today, as I close in on age 80, it is a joy to watch on television as the tremendous French Open competition unfolds on the tricky red clay courts in Paris.

The powerful racquets of today are not made out of wood. The tennis balls are yellow instead of white. The men no longer play in long white trousers.

But the game still comes down to a gigantic chess match to see who can hit the ball in court one more time than his opponent to win a point, a set, and ultimately the three sets needed to win the match and advance to the next round.

It is a grueling test of physical and mental skill, endurance, strategy, discipline, shot selection, concentration, and strategy on both offense and defense.

There is only you and the opponent across the net.

It’s not only HOW you hit the ball or how hard, but more importantly, WHERE you hit the ball.

Did you know that the term “love” in tennis comes from the French word “l’oeuf” (pronounced “luff”) that means egg, the universal symbol for “nothing?"

In tennis, “love” is the score for zero, as in three-love or 30-love. Picture a string of zeroes, or “goose eggs” on a scoreboard and you’ve got it.

Tennis played by seniors is considerably slower-paced, but it is still a contest to see who can most consistently hit the ball between the lines or ON the lines, which means the shot is good, just as the line is fair in baseball although it’s called the “foul” line.

In senior tennis, at the average recreational-only level, more points are LOST by errors than are WON by hitting winners. Again, it’s not how hard you hit it, but where and how often in court.

Seniors only go to the net anymore to shake hands. Seniors often feel too tired to play by the time they feel “warmed up.”

It is important for seniors to stretch more things than their stories of the past when they go out to play tennis.

Here are some tips from some professionals for any tennis player to consider. Some of them can also apply to many endeavors and to life itself.

l. Bobby Riggs: It’s important for a tennis player to notice what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly.

2. Riggs: Players who compete the hardest are the ones who enjoy the game the most.

A close match is always more fun than a lopsided one.

3. Jim Courier: I play much better tennis when I’m happy and having fun. That’s just common sense.

4. Arthur Ashe: You’ve got to get to that stage in life where going for it is more important than winning or losing.

5. W. Timothy Gallwey: The greatest lapses in concentration come when we allow our minds to project what is about to happen or dwell on what has just happened.

6. Chris Evert: Working hard and trying to be your best: That’s what tennis and life have in common.

Neosho Daily News