MARCH: Coach Burnham's Tip of the Month

Here comes the practical tip of the year. With the weather breaking (get outside..nets are up!) and tournament season well under way, it's time to be like a Boy Scout and be prepared!

Most players have a fairly big bag and despite it being an essential accessory item it becomes more useful on the court when you pack it well. Some items to include are:

  1. Extra racquet (this is obvious, but I still see plenty of players that don't have an extra racquet)
  2. An extra pair of shoes (you never know when you will have a blowout)
  3. Extra shoe laces (they do break)
  4. Water/water bottle (hydrate people!)
  5. Sunscreen (essential)
  6. Granola bar/power bar (no good bonking in the middle of a match)
  7. Extra grips (slippery, grimy grips..yuk)
  8. Set of strings that you use (especially if you are playing a tournament out of town)
  9. Your favorite tunes or a book that helps you chill out (something else? choose)
  10. Your tennis notebook (that one you should be using to write down tips on how to improve your strokes, shot-making, strategy, etc. after a great lesson)
  11. Your notes on what you should focus on (make it simple)
  12. A hat/visor/sunglasses (sun-serving can be brutal)

Some of the items will be very useful, with some of them being more like "comfort food" so that you can play your best "comfortable" tennis.  

Until next time, "Be Prepared" Cats!

JANUARY: Coach Burnham's Tip of the Month

The return of serve is the second most important shot in tennis. If you can't figure out the first, may I suggest Google...

There are some very important aspects to the return, but I am just going to focus on the first two parts of the return. The first is the split-step!!! Do it every time!!! Here is a good video about the split-step.

The second part is the split-step. Ok, that's a joke...but in any case that is all I want you to think about when you are returning. The reason I am so focused on the split-step is because I have watched too many of you just stand there and not split when the server is making contact! Here is another good video. 

Keep on splitting Cats!!!

NOVEMBER: Coach Burnham's Tip of the Month:

I recently came across an article polling head tennis coaches nationwide on what character traits they look for in a successful student-athlete. The following is a list of the Top 7 based on the responses:

1. Work Ethic
2. Competitive
3. Battle Adversity
4. Integrity/Honesty
5. Self-Motivated
6. Passion
7. Team Player

Mental toughness, confidence and positive attitude were also mentioned several times. 

These traits aren't exclusive to the student-athlete. I can tell you all day long how to improve technique, shot selection, court position, etc., however, to really bring your best to the court, focus how you can improve your work ethic, mental toughness, etc....(you choose)!

To read more:

Until next time, work hard on your complete game Cats!


OCTOBER: Coach Burnham's Tip of the Month

One of the sayings that you hear constantly in doubles is, “use the middle” or “hit down the middle”. Of course, there is a time for this and there is a time to not to “hit down the middle.”

When a team is one up, one back you really want to hit to one side or the other.  If you are not offensive on your shot (low volley, deep or low ground stroke) you should hit it to the deep opponent’s side.  If you are offensive (high volley or a short offensive groundstroke) you can and should hit at the net person’s side.  And by hit at their side, I mean HIT AT THEM!!!

There are obviously some different scenarios that change when to hit where, but these are some simple rules that should make your doubles game easier and better.

Until next month hit the middle Cats, when your supposed to!

SEPTEMBER: Coach Burnham's Tip of the Month

"I have always believed that when I am playing bad, when I am not winning, you don't have to find excuses outside or reasons outside.  You have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, That's my fault. (it) is not a question of coach... not a question of physiotherapist or physical trainer.  Is a question of myself"  Rafael Nadal.

When it comes to excuses, this says it all.  Tennis is a beautiful sport and one of the best parts is,  it's all on you.  If you win or lose, it's on you.  How you deal with the weather, noise, or opponent, that again would be up to YOU!  An easy way to sum this up is, be in control of you because that is all you can control!

Be tough Cats!