I DID NOT expect to enjoy tennis lessons so much. It was a sport that had intrigued me in the last few years, and I wanted to try it, but I figured I'd take the lessons and that would be it. Another check off my list.
After this week's lesson, I actually lamented "Only two lessons to go." I like that the game challenges me and that I have to work at it. I like that it is also giving me an opportunity to practice being gentle with myself as I am exposed to new aspects of the mechanics of the game that aren't exactly coming naturally.
We did this fun drill running from one court to the next working on different skills. I couldn't believe how much I really enjoyed it. I could feel how all the things I am learning are starting to gel, and then...
We were introduced to The Serve. One of the teachers walked us through breaking down the move. I keep thinking of tennis as a new piece of choreography to learn, and the moves get easier.
He explained that we should think of the serve in terms of the face of a clock. The racquet starts in front of you at three o'clock position then moves down to the floor at six o'clock then back behind to nine o'clock. The racquet pauses at the back of the neck (creating a halo near the head) before moving up to twelve o'clock at which point the ball is tossed and the racquet (hopefully) hits the ball over the net.
(It's taken me a few days to write about this lesson because in the process of practicing The Serve, I tweaked my back. It was hard for me to move my neck side to side until Thursday. I didn't want my discomfort to unfairly color my recap.)
I felt the tweak occur as it happened and knew I was going to be in pain. I can only imagine the awkward moves my body made to put myself in prime “tweak one's back” mode. Gentle, Julie, Gentle. I commend my teachers for keeping a straight face through that. It must have been hilarious.
The Serve is such a new thing to me that I didn't have the muscle memory to recognize what I was doing quite right. I received some really helpful feedback. I also noticed that I my back leg kept lifting after I finished serving. I asked my teachers why I was doing it since I know it isn't part of The Serve. After one joked that I was adding style to the move, he helped me understand that I am likely counterbalancing the racquet's swing forward. I'm going to work on toning down my style and keeping my foot on the ground...at least for awhile.
I look forward to Monday's class and seeing how my serve improves. Two lessons left and then #15 gets crossed off the 4040 list. And my friends who play tennis (all out-of-towners) need to move here...or at least come for a visit!