THE SILENT CODE (47)

Jack Kramer once said, “the fundamental strategy of singles is to find
out what your opponent can’t do, or doesn’t like to do, and make them do
that.” That’s a violation of the number one rule of the women’s secret code.
Number two is never asking why they can’t wear shorts (balls in the
pockets make them look wider—a no no). Number three is never saying
“waddle” in reference to women’s tennis.
But the number one rule (I suspect for many women) is, ”I won’t make
you hit awkward balls (up and back movement) if you won’t make me.
Deal, left and right only. This one puzzled me. And I tried to develop Plan
B. Simply stated, Plan A, or rallying corner to corner, is okay as long as you
can win this way. Once you realize she’s better at this than you, then we’d
better modify.
A southern veteran, Bob Cage, showed me his favorite “play.” Bob’s theory
was most people don’t have a good backhand approach shot (true of a lot
of college men). This is true mainly because it is different and not practiced
much at lower levels. Bob’s trick was to float up a semi-disguised weak
shot on his opponent’s backhand, which “sucked him up to the net” on a
weak shot. Then the “killer lob,” or passing shot. This play, a violation of the
“silent code,” was the first I attempted. Moderate success. Women are loyal.
The more you can make your opponent move up and back the more you’ll
have a Plan B escape.
Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciapara had twin girls. Bet someone’s already
recruiting them. They’ll be able to run. If I were a women’s basketball
coach, I’d recruit a skinny little girl with three older brothers. That girl can
run and is tough. I’ve noticed more and more point guards who can run in
women’s basketball. Once again, if American junior tennis is to succeed we
have to develop women who can move well and that includes movement
up and back. Many already can. Just as a junior girl has to learn to cope
with the infamous “moon ball” to her backhand, she needs to confront up
and back. No ducking; do the work.

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