Guest Contributor, D. E. from Princeton
Tennis Divorce Court
"If married, you will enhance your chances of remaining so by not playing as partners," so sayeth Confucius.
Bad thing about doubles is it requires a partner. Good thing about doubles, it provides someone to share the errors. Now that we are past the quotable, let's get down to the business. The prescriptions for "How to create a marriage made in heaven" include tennis skills, personality, and a list of don'ts.
When picking a partner, choose someone with whom you can talk, thus, neither a parent nor a child. These are personality traits that help in the sharing of responsibility for errors.
Considerate, Tactful, Understanding,
Willing and able to tell white lies
Calm, Courageous, Appreciative
High Morale, Sense of humor, Adaptable
Cooperative, Self-sacrificing, Intelligent,
A leader (when needed)
A follower (when needed)
Good news - many of our friends are compatible. The problem is, are you?
When a partner turns out to be just what you wanted, here are some "don'ts" to avoid divorce.
1. Don't say, "I'm sorry," each time you miss. No apology is owed unless you denied a partner the opportunity to miss the same shot. Spare the drudgery - it's bad enough you ruined the point.
2. Don't remind your partner of the important next point. Most players immediately follow an insult with hitting the ball into the net.
3. When you miss an easy shot, don't say "Good Shot", "Good Serve" to your surprised opponent. Who do you think you are kidding?
4. Never demand an explanation. "Why didn't you lob?" It's just plain silly, because you may be wrong. Your partner may have been right, since a miss does not make his or her choice wrong. If your partner is stupid, why ask?
5. Be selective with yelling, "Yours." Yell when the ball is unreachable, then you can both laugh.
6. Use directions sparingly ("run up", "out", "stay" ). If the direction is not clear and correct, it is simply a nuisance.
7. Don't comment on every play. If compelled to analyze each point - go home and write a term paper or a book.
The worst partnership comes from mismatching tennis strengths and weaknesses. The object of a partnership is 'synergism to enhance performance'. A poor combination only creates frustration.
Example One: A mediocre player with good net skills teamed with a good player with a mediocre serve.
Result: Receiver returns the ball away from the skilled net player. Eventually the good net player moves back to the base line where he is mediocre.
Example Two: Two players who do not like the net. Result, they both play back --- and get beat!
Example Three: A good add court player agrees to play deuce court.
Result: A good cross-court backhand return now goes out or to the net man.
Consider these areas of concern to avoid divorce - you may have many years of tennis bliss.
Tip of the month for pre-match warm-up
Following the mini tennis, move back to the service line and then to the base line. If you find that your opponent is erratic and you are chasing more balls than you are hitting, suggest starting the match now.
You want to warm up, not warm up your opponent.