Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday Night Ladder - 11/26/07

I was playing in the upper tier of the bracket for the first time and fared pretty well against good competition although I did lose 3-4 to both guys directly ahead of me which won't get me anywhere in the standings. I barely had a winning record at 11-10 this night. Could have been better, could have been worse. I gave away about 5 points with poor drop shots that would have worked if they made it over the net. I used an adjustment on my serve where I forced my backswing to a "backscratch" position. This seemed to put more spin and control on the ball as the angle I made contact must have changed. I ended the night with a 5-2 win over a guy who has been playing well and moved to the top bracket recently. I also came back from 1-4 down to win a few tough games against Frank who just lives to put balls back in play. He gives you nothing, so you need to make your points. I moved him around a bit and powered balls to the corners which eventually he couldn't catch up with. By putting my racquet further back in my swing I picked up some speed. Just need to keep ball inside the baseline obviously. No problems this time with slices as I can react and put into play better.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holiday and Tennis practice at EHRC

My friend Satish and I hooked up for some tennis practice over the holiday. We decided to use the tennis ball machine and do some video taping to help improve our games. The machine was great for a work-out and to get a groove on shots. We later played a match where we both had our runs and ended up even. I made an adjustment on my backswing to move the racquet back further and it seemed to help give more velocity into the ball. I also need to hit with slight more forward motion as opposed to weight on back foot. So that means to get to the ball quicker and get set. Anyway, holiday week was great as I could spend quality time with family and friends. Good food and sport. Reminds you that there is a lot to be thankful for.

Mountain Biking - Case Mtn.

20 degrees this morning. Planned to mountain bike with my friend Dave from work at Case Mtn., Manchester, CT. Started at 8AM and was a bit apprehensive, not knowing the trail and lacking experience. Dave is an expert rider/triathlete and has a new frame he wanted to try, and I'm a rookie just looking for a workout and to not wipe out.....basically. Didn't take long to get the heart pounding and legs working. This trail is supposedly an easy one in comparison to other's in the area but it was enough for my skills. There were a couple of tough downhill, rocky slopes that got me nervous. One time when Dave was out of site, I yelled out to him to let him know I was turning back. I felt like quitting, but walked the bike a bit and got back on. It was a good experience all in all. You need to stay focussed ahead of your path and have confidence in how the bike handles the terrain. Stay back and loose on the downhills. Let the bike do its thing. At the end I felt relief, yet a sense of accomplishment. A great workout as I sweat through 3 layers and my wind breaker, even in that cold! Thanks to Dave for getting me out there and holding back so I can somewhat keep up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A safer "War" against Drugs

Drug dealers are a thing of the past. Violent crimes and theft are greatly reduced. Drug-related shoot-outs are unheard of. The streets of America begin to "clean up." Communities pull themselves together. Youths and adults once involved in crime rings are forced to seek legitimate work. Deaths due to infected intravenous needles and poisonous street drugs are eliminated. Taxpayers are no longer forced to pay $10,000,000,000 to fund drug-related law enforcement.

What if we handed out heroin, other hard drugs to those who don't want to or can't quit for free? Sort of legalize it, but control it at the same time. Use designated areas away from the others who don't want to live amongst them. These areas would be supplied with dumpsters of second hand clothes and blankets, etc...old unused warehouse's for shelter and rehab, and container's of basic food needs. This could be funded by less than half the money used to "fight" the war on drugs today. Yes, it would be its own community, just not as underground and dangerous. Take the economy out of it. I would doubt that those who normally wouldn't decide to shoot up heroin for ex. would start just because it was free. They could decide to overdose and die, and their problem and our problem goes away, or they can seek help to quit and try to live a productive life. I'd assume that the muggings, robberies and murders where money was sought for a habit would go away if they could just go to a center and get/do what they need to do ....harsh?...interesting....?!

Monday Night Ladder - 11/19/07

After a very good week last week with 15 points, I stay at the bottom tier and play the same guys. My friend Satish has not been playing recently due to family obligations and Ramon has gained some success and moved up. I'm 7-7 vs. Ramon.

2-5 Mike (volley/volley/slam and dinks kept me guessing and off-balance)
3-4 Bruce (he was steadier and more confident this night)
5-2 Warren (had longer rallies but still was able to win more points)

I have so much to learn and am afraid I have peaked…gets discouraging…I'm thinking for one thing, I'm not good enough for my racquet yet...
Actually I didn't realize it until later but I was mired in a slump it appeared…since 6-1, 6-1 last week was 2-5, 2-5 and down 1-4 until I struggled to go 8-2 over the next 2 matches to get to respectable….I felt good but still no power in my shots…others can pass shots by me that I can't get to…I don't do that... couldn't take any offensive stands it seemed…missed slams, missed drops…stuff like that….I tried to hit lower and with more velocity which worked until net ball = unforced errors

I moved to top 4 of our 8 member ladder as Ramon moved up and Satish hasn't been playing so not a great accomplishment. The quest moves on.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thoughts on Work in America

The effects of the global economy and the access to cheaper labor via technology and illegal immigration is of a deep concern. Jobs empower the people with a sense of worth and a purpose. Look at the cities with the boarded up factories. Where did all the hard working people go and who moved in to replace them? It is not an entitlement, yet it is/was the backbone of our country to have the ability to earn an honest wage. The working poor is an outrage. We tend not to make things anymore. It appears we rely more on lower paying service jobs. These jobs are vital and are needed but need not be the main option. We should be able to break down the economy to build it back up. How can we just grow and grow and grow without an end? "The haves" salaries and prices that go ..up and up... it eventually is going to break. The shrinking of the middle. Be more of a dynamic economy. Bring down wages and bring down the prices accordingly. A 4-day work week to allow for less stress and a better quality of living. Slow things down, Change the tax structure. I'm not against the hard working guy who has earned his million. He/She is going to be alright. It's just the honest working guy out there that gets lost in the shuffle.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Playing In The Zone

"There is always an inner game being played in your mind no matter what outer game you are playing. How aware you are of this game can make the difference between success and failure in the outer game." -Tim Gallwey

In every human endeavor there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner. The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles to reach an external goal. The inner game takes place within the mind of the player and is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus, and limiting concepts or assumptions. The inner game is played to overcome the self-imposed obstacles that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential.

In simple terms the game can be summarized in a formula: Performance = potential-interference, P=p-i. According to this formula, performance can be enhanced either by growing "p" potential or by decreasing "i," interference.

It is impossible to achieve mastery or satisfaction in any endeavor without first developing some degree of mastery of the relatively neglected skills of the inner game. Most of us have experienced days when our self-interference was at a minimum. Whether on a sports field, at work, or in some creative effort, we have all had moments in which our actions flowed from us with a kind of effortless excellence. Athletes have called this state, "playing in the zone." Generally at these times our mind is quiet and focused. But whatever it's called, when we're there, we excel, we learn, and we enjoy ourselves. Unfortunately most of us have also experienced times when everything we do seems difficult. With minds filled with self-criticism, hesitation, and over-analysis, our actions were awkward, mis-timed, and ineffective. Obviously we all would prefer to have more of the first and less of the second.

Into The Wild, Blood Diamond and Joe D.

Recently saw 'Into The Wild'. I read the book before I saw this movie. It was very introspective. I can understand the desire of a young kid to turn your back on corporate America and societies pressure. But he can't fool mother nature. Two stars.

Also saw 'Blood Diamond'. Very graphic and violent but well acted. Great story of determination against painful odds. Three stars.

Finished book 'Joe Dimaggio - A Heroes Life' and will start 'The Great Bridge - Making of the Brooklyn Bridge'

Monday Night Ladder - Outlasted the bunch 11/5/07

4-3, 5-2, 6-1

Played good defense and was able to "force" opponent to make the first mistake. Hit deep and was quick to balls, but on occasion gave up on some that I need to play out totally. This is in my head (just wishing it goes out....what kind of crap is that)! Many close balls near lines. Needed these points in the league as I was down in the bottom half. My goal is to beat Frank the slice meister. My racquet has helped me improve my touch game but lack of power hurts my offense. May need looser strings. I need to stand up closer against the slower serves. I need to be confident to keep ball in and put wide past opponent. Need a low backhand slice as change of pace. My overall record is 40-44. My record against subs is 7-21.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Tennis Development

Need to add a forehand topspin.

Add low slice/chip and charge.

Need more pop/kick on 2nd serve. Leave feet.

Combat the slice/spin meister with own return slices. Put more pressure on their slice/short return with deep balls. Add serve/volley and lobs to change pace.

If opponent can't rally long and makes unforced errors early, then play defense and wait him out to win points.

Continue to serve/volley when appropriate.

Be mentally tough and rely on Self 2. Self 1 should shut up during matches.


  • Serve with greater speed, scoring more points, and getting more aces.
  • Return balls harder – putting them out of reach of your opponent
  • Drive more balls to the far corner from anywhere on the court.
  • Return balls that, in the past, have been just outside your reach.
  • Deliver crushing backhand returns.
  • Make your opponent chase more balls, for a change.
  • Deliver strong returns, both forehand and backhand, even when playing deep.
  • Smash low drives just over the net.
  • Make strong cross-court returns, even if off balance.
  • Approach the net faster.
  • Have more confidence on the court.
  • Feel stronger and not tire as quickly.
  • Cover more of the court to get to more balls.
  • Get to more balls quicker and setup for the shot.

Monday Night Ladder - 10/29/07

2-5, 5-2, 1-6

Faced a lot of spins and low balls tonight; could not put away shots I should against slower guys; beat the guy I was supposed to by rallying and waiting for his eventual mistake