Welcome to another installment of Matt’s Point. It’s been a great start to 2018, with our players having great successes both on and off the court, from winning tournaments to the USTA's Early Development Camps to awards and accolades in the classroom. Plus, our Arizona winter has been spectacular, as expected.
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend the ProAm event at the Phoenix Open. This event creates such a buzz around the town, bringing in so many people from other states and countries. There are certainly worse places to be in February! As I watched the players tee off, I couldn’t help but notice how effortlessly they swing the clubs, and how they hit such long distances from their easy-looking strokes. The pro golfers were truly impressive. NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers was playing in one of the final groups of the day. After he hit his tee shot, someone pulled out a football and the group started throwing it around (Jordan Spieth has pretty good hands, by the way). Before they approached the green, Rodgers threw the football into the stands. Again, I was amazed at his ability to throw a football from the middle of the fairway to the upper level with what looked like a simple flick of the wrist. The golfers and Rodgers made it look so easy.
On the way out of the course, we passed the driving range, which was filled with professional golfers practicing for the following day. This was an awesome reminder that those refined mechanics, that enviable technique, and the ease at which they produce their swings (or throws) are anything but effortless. It takes years (or decades) to achieve the appearance of effortlessness. It is the countless hours of practice and hard work that creates this aura of ease to the spectator.
Days before this, I had seen Roger Federer win his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. He has, without a doubt, the most effortless-looking strokes in tennis. He is so smooth, and he glides across the court. What we don’t see is his dedication to being the GOAT: the countless hours of footwork exercises, the strength and conditioning training, the continuous refinements to his technique so he can play this sport for years to come. This is the reason why most players his age are on the seniors tour, while he is still mixing it up with (and beating) the young guns.
At IJP Tennis, we ultimately want all of our players to have the same effortless swings and footwork that we see with the professional players. It’s our job to guide the hard work that is required to get there.
Matt's Point (get it? Match Point!) is Matt's blog covering all the goings-on at IJP Tennis.