Thursday 23 August 2012

I'm a Winner

After (approximately) 365 days,
57 competitions,
3 finals,
4 semi finals,
240 matches,
6 rating changes,
and hundreds of hours on the tennis courts I have finally won a competition and it was a Grade 4.
I am so happy, today I played at Widnes Tennis Academy and had some difficult matches the most difficult being the final one, I made so many mistakes but managed to keep it together (just).

Wednesday 22 August 2012

I'm back

The title is a little misleading as I have not been away from tennis, just my blog, which as from today will be updated regularly again.
The past 4/5 months have been difficult, playing green tennis is a big step from orange and it has taken a while to adjust, but I have gradually got better. When I first started I was not winning matches, then I was winning one at each competition and then last week I got to the final at Lostock Tennis Club, I got another very nice medal, thanks Wayne!
I have got a few more competitions lined up before the end of the season and will be applying over the next day or two for competitions next season (starting in September).
I will be playing in a Grade 4 tomorrow at Widnes Tennis Academy and I am hoping to do well, especially now I am updating my blog again!
I am looking forward to getting my green rating in September and will be working hard to get it up to a Green 1.
My goals for next season are to get to a Green 1 and to win a competition.

Monday 2 April 2012

My first green competition at Holcombe Brook

I was looking forward to today as it was my first Green competition, it was a grade 4 at Holcombe brook. I had 2 matches one against a Green 2 and the other against a Green 1, I did lose both matches but had a good time. It is a lot different to playing Orange as the court is larger and the net is higher, but the biggest difference was the balls. They are faster and bounce higher, they also affected my serve quite a lot, my second serve today was rubbish and this led to me losing points. I also struggled with hitting the ball to the back of the court with pace, they were either short or out the back.
Today has given plenty of feedback on areas that I need to practice and this is good. I know once I've had some more training at Green I will do well.
I will be applying for more Green competitions this week as I doubt that I will play Orange again. Green is testing but very enjoyable, I had a great time and thank you to Holcombe Brook for making me feel welcome.

Friday 30 March 2012

Dunlop Biomimetic 300 Review

I have been using my new Dunlop Biomimetic 300 raquet for 10 days now and feel that its time for a review.
The racquet is red and black and looks fantastic, it also comes with its own bag which is equally attractive, and with a damper but I have not used this so far and don't think I will because I am not feeling any vibrations when I strike the ball. This could be down to the racquet being made from HM6 carbon. The HM6 carbon is supposed to reduce vibration and improve feel.
I have used the racquet a lot and do think it has helped my game, I have been working on ball placement and the racquet has not let me down. Although the racquet is not marketed as a powerful racquet, I can create more power with it than my previous 25' Dunlop but that could be down to the length of the racquet or the Aeroskin. Aeroskin is a technology which covers the racquet and apparently makes it more aerodynamic so will make your swing faster and create more power. I don't know if its the weight, lenth or aeroskin but I can definitely swing faster with this racquet especially when the face is closed (as it should be).
The last of the new technologys to go into the racquet is the Gecko-tac grip. This is inspired by a Gecko's foot and makes the grip very tacky. This was great when I first started using it, I had control, feel, and could really let rip on a serve but there was/is one problem, my hand has been ripped apart by it, its a small exaggeration but is has caused some very large blisters. Only now after doing research have I learned that this is a common problem for all tennis players with all makes of racquet.
Overall I am very happy with my Dunlop Biomimetic 300 and will continue to use a Dunlop raquet.

Saturday 24 March 2012

Bolton Arena 24/03/12 - Runner Up of Main Draw

This season I had 2 goals, one was to get my tennis rating to Orange 1 and the other was to get into the main draw at Bolton Arena and I have achieved them both, it was very close but I did it. This season so far before today I have played at Bolton Arena 6 times and every time I have ended up in the consolation draw. Today was the last competition of the season and all I wanted to do was get into the main draw and I did that and then went a couple of stages better and ended up in the final. I lost in the final but am so happy with my result - I was the runner up in a competition main draw final.
I am really looking forward to playing tomorrow but then I am going to have a day or possible 2 off because I fell today and hurt my elbow and I also have a large blister on my hand due to all the training I have been doing.
All is going great and I am so happy with my development, I am definitely improving.
I would like to thank Bolton Arena for letting me play in their competitions. Playing good tennis players has helped me to improve and I would not have achieved my result today without them. Thank you!

Sunday 18 March 2012

Dunlop Biomimetic 300 - Ordered

Shortly I will be starting to play in Green tennis which will be a big change, so I am going to get another change out of the way at the same time and that is I am going to go up a size in tennis racquet. I currently use a 25' and I have just ordered a 26' Dunlop Biomimetic 300.
The reason I have decided to go with a Dunlop raquet in purely because they are what I have always had. This will be my fourth racquet and the previous three have never let me down. In the past I have always gone for the budget racquet but this one is more of a premium racquet and it will be interesting to see if it makes a difference. I think it was more expensive than my previous 3 racquets put together.
I have read and watched a few reviews of the racquet and they are mostly positive but apparently its not the most powerful racquet but has lots of control. I think its better to start off light and add weight to the racquet with lead tape than it is to try and make a racquet lighter.
A lot of interesting technologies have gone into this tennis racquet, such as the graphite frame and something to make your stroke faster but I will go into these in more detail when I write my review of the Dunlop Biomimetic 300.
I am really looking forward to getting my new racquet and also competing next weekend. This week I will also be applying for more competitions and will update when I do.

Sunday 11 March 2012

Bolton Arena and Bramhall Queensgate Tennis Club - Results

What a weekend, I have had two Grade 5 competitions, one yesterday at Bolton Arena and one today at Bramhall Queensgate Tennis Club.
Yesterday was a disaster I ended up in a group of very good players and lost every match I had. I think one of the main reasons for this was because I lost control of my emotions and got upset.
Today I managed to keep control and ended up finishing in 4th position. There were a lot of good players but I managed to win matches and I feel extremely proud of my achievement. I really enjoyed myself today at Bramhall Queensgate TC and would love to play there again.
So this weekend I have had my worst and best results competing at Grade 5 and it has proven to me that part of the key to winning is emotions.
I am now looking forward to playing in Green tennis, I have only got 2 more Orange competitions left.

Friday 9 March 2012

Holcombe Brook Open Tennis Tournament 2012 - 31/03/12 - 05/04/12

I have just entered my first Green tennis competition and its at Holcombe Brook Sports Club on the 02/04/12 and if I make the final that will be held on the 05/04/12. I am jumping into Green tennis at the deep end because its a grade 4 competition. These can be difficult and thats putting it lightly, they attract very good players.
I have played at Holcombe Brook before but it was when I first started playing (I was a Red 4) and with it being winter it was indoors at a different location to the main club where this tennis competition is being held.
All I want to get out of the competition is the experience of playing Green tennis, at the moment I am still mainly training on an Orange court and finishing off with rallying on a Green court. Over the next few weeks I will be totally converting to Green even though I have still got a couple of Orange competitions lined up for this month.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Out with the Orange tennis competitions and in with the Green

I have made my mind up with a little help and have decided that from the start of next season (April) I am going to 'play up' in Green tennis competitions rather than try getting my rating to an Orange 1*. Some players (very few) can get a passport to a higher rating but I do not have one of these (I think you have to be an Orange 1* or be a 'special player' but I am not sure) so my rating will stay as an Orange 1 until I become a Green player in September. However I will become a Green 2 instead of Green 4 because I am an Orange 1. Hopefully I will get plenty of practice at Green over the next 5 months so when I do become a Green, I can move from 2 to 1 faster than I moved from Orange 2 to 1. If I get to Green 1 fast enough, I will then try for Green 1*.
So this is my last month of playing in Orange if all goes to plan, I may have to go back to playing Orange if my competitions entries for Green get declined but I will deal with that if it happens. I am looking forward to going back to playing on a full size court. Until 7/8 months ago I played on a full size court and then started to train on smaller courts because I wanted to do competitions, so I have been out of my comfort zone.
I cannot believe that I could possible only have 4 more Orange tennis competitions left and they are:-
Bolton Arena on the 10th and 24th, Bramhall Queensgate Tennis Club on the 11th and Prestbury Tennis Club on the 25th.
I am going to apply for a Green competition later on today or tomorrow and I will update when I do, fingers crossed I will have my application accepted.

Saturday 3 March 2012

Nike Air Courtballistec tennis shoes - Review

Here is my review of my new Nike Air Courtballistec tennis shoes.
Style - These tennis shoes really do look the part. They are the best looking trainers (tennis shoes) I have ever had. I choose the blue,green and white pair which have a mesh around a lot of the toe presumably to let them breath.
Comfort - From the minute I put them on they felt great and are very comfortable. I have played tennis in them for hours at a time and had no blisters or rubbing whatsoever. My feet are quite wide and I have quite a high arched foot therefore I have to pick footwear carefully.
Design - Only time will tell if the design will hold out under high performance tennis over time, but they seem to be great. In all the areas my previous trainers were wearing excessively there is extra protection which is great.
Quality - Absolutely spot on, not a stitch out of place. Sometimes when you buy new shoes/trainers if you inspect them closely there will be a bit of stray glue or something not quite right, not with these they are perfect.
Performance - Its very hard too tell if my tennis performance has improved due to wearing these shoes. I have been doing better in competitions lately but I think its down to me and not the shoes.
Cost - These are the most expensive tennis shoes/trainers I have ever owned but I think they are well worth the money because I'm sure they will last a lot longer than other trainers due to the design and quality.
Overall - I would give my Nike Air Courtballistec tennis shoes a 5/5, based on previous trainers I have owned. I'm not saying they are the best ever, just the best I have owned. I would definitely buy these tennis shoes again.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Goal Achieved - My tennis rating is now Orange 1

A couple of months ago becoming an Orange 1 seemed like an impossible task but with hard work and perseverance it led to an email I received earlier today that started with Congratulations - your mini tennis rating has just improved from Orange-2 to Orange-1. I am so happy. Six months ago to the date I was a Red 2, then due to my age moved to an Orange 4 and since then I have worked hard and gradually improved my rating working through Orange 3 and 2. I have had to work very hard and take losing quite a few matches but its all been worth it because I can now say my tennis rating is Orange 1.
Now, there are two pathways I can go down, well there is a third but its not going to happen - wait and do nothing for 6 months until I become a Green.
Option 1 - try and become an Orange 1*, this is extremely difficult and I don't know if I could do it and only having 6 months makes it even harder. I would have to win 20 matches against Orange 1 or 1* players in grade 1,2 or 3 competitions, I normally do grade 5 and 6 competitions with a couple of 4's thrown in.
Option 2 - 'Play up' in Green/10 and under competitions (Orange 1 and 1* can do this). My rating will stay the same but I will get experience of playing Green on a full size court against older players. I really do think this is the best option then hopefully when my rating changes to Green I will get some good results and not have to settle in like I did when I started playing Orange tennis.
Either of these options is going to involve quite a few changes and I will update again once I have made a decision.
However at the moment I am going to enjoy my success!

Sunday 26 February 2012

Widnes Tennis Academy - Consolation Draw Winner

Today I played at Widnes Tennis Academy and played some mixed tennis.
It started off with 4 round robin groups of 3, the winner and runner up of each group would go into the main draw and the person who finished in 3rd would go in to the consolation draw.
I lost both of my round robin matches, one over 2 sets (I nearly won the second set, the score finished 9-11), and the other over 3 sets. Today I really wanted to do well and the pressure I put myself under did not do me any favours, I was double faulting and just not playing my best tennis. I am going to try and adopt the attitude that is does not matter where, who or what grade of competition I am in, all players can be beaten and just turn up and play.
So, that was me out of the main draw and now feeling no pressure, I could play and I did. I managed to win the next two matches, both of them were Orange 2 (so no push over) and I won the consolation draw. Although I did not perform at my best I am getting better at regrouping if I lose and developing a fighting spirit.

Saturday 25 February 2012

Winstanley Tennis Club - Competition Results

Today I played at Winstanley Tennis Club where I have never played before, the club is undergoing some modernizations and was very nice and friendly. The event was well organized and I did not stop playing for an hour, so no hanging around in the cold, as it was outside.
Today was a real mixed bag of players so great experience. I did well today and won 4 of my 5 tennis matches, the matches were over 1 set (first to 10), my winning scores were 10-2, 10-4, 10-6 and 10-2. The match I lost, the score was 7-10 and although I was hoping to win, it did highlight a certain problem in my game which can easily be rectified. I am going to work this area this afternoon in preparation for tomorrow.
I am happy with my tennis, things are starting to get better, my overall win/loss ratio for the season is going up for the better, also today I beat at least one more Orange 2, and I also beat somebody who I lost to recently. I am really excited about getting nearer to my Orange 1 tennis rating target as I will have achieved so much in such a short period of time.
I also got a chance to wear my new Nike Air Courtballistec tennis shoes, which was fantastic as they looked great and I felt like a professional tennis player wearing them. I cannot wait to wear them again tomorrow when I compete. A full review of them will be added one night next week.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Nike Air Court Ballistec - New tennis shoes ordered

Well its time for a new pair of trainers and I have decided to get a pair of Nike Air Court Ballistec. This will be my first pair of proper tennis shoes, in the past I have always used 'normal' trainers/running shoes. The main reason for getting proper tennis shoes is that playing tennis wrecks trainers and its always in the same place.
My current trainers look for a distance brand new but with closer inspection there is massive wear (nearly gone through the leather) on the inside of my large toe on the side of the trainer and it travels round onto the sole which in slowly being ripped off. There is also excessive wear around the sole at the ball/toe area and also right at the very back edge of the sole. The wear is far greater on my right trainer than it is on the left and the damage is being done as I move and hit the ball.
The problem is not down to the make of trainer as I have owned several different brands of trainer and the same thing happens. It also happens to my Dads trainers but mainly on the left trainer (he is left handed).
So I knew it was time for a pair of tennis shoes and after looking around I have decided to get a pair of Nike Air Court Ballistec, if you look at them closely you can see that the sole comes up and around the toe area to protect the shoes, and they are also supposed to help improve performance and they probably will with them being specially designed for tennis players.
They will hopefully be delivered before next weekend and after I have used them for a couple of weeks, I will be writing a review. I know this post is a little different than normal but its tennis related and an important factor in the way I play.
I am really looking forward to playing next weekend because I have not competed this weekend but I have trained very hard, I wonder if my new Nike Air Court Ballistec tennis shoes will help!

Wednesday 15 February 2012

March tennis competitions and last Sunday!

I have already started applying for tennis competitions in March, so far I have applied to play at Bolton Arena on the 10th & 24th March. My finishing places have gradually been creeping up and I would love it if I could finish in the top 8 at one of these competitions at Bolton Arena.
The other tennis competition I have applied for is at Prestbury Tennis Club on the 25th March, I have never played at Prestbury before so I do not know what to expect but as always I will enjoy playing somewhere different.
The winter season finishes at the end of March (it has gone so quickly) so next month I will be doing as many competitions as possible because although I don't think it will happen, I would really like to get my rating to an Orange 1. If it was I would start 'playing up' in Green competitions (you can do this if you achieve an Orange 1 rating in your last or second last season) from the start of the season. When I start playing in Green I am also going to get a larger tennis racquet, I currently use a 25' and will go up to a 26'. This way I will get a couple of changes out of the way in one go.
To finish off last Sunday was a disaster, we never got there. This was due to an error in the directions we were given. So please take this advice if getting directions off the web, get them from 2 places and cross reference them to iron out any errors. John at Ribble Valley Tennis Centre was very understanding and said that we were still welcome to compete there, so thank you and sorry.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Bolton Arena - Consolation Draw Winner, LTA Leaderboard, Ribble Valley Tennis Club

Today's tennis competition at Bolton Arena was a compass draw, so all the players have a first match and the winners go into the top half/main draw and the losers go into the bottom half/consolation draw. I lost my first match over 3 sets, the score was 5-7, 7-4, 4-7, so I ended up in the bottom half.
After initially being upset at losing my first match, I composed myself and decided to play my best tennis and win. I won the next two matches in two sets and then it sank in that I was now in the final of the consolation draw, I kept my cool and won it 7-4, 7-2. I am so proud of myself !
As previously mentioned in an older post, one of my goals is to make it into the main draw, I did not achieve it today but I did the next best thing so I am very happy. There is always another day and I know it will happen soon.
The LTA leaderboards have also been updated and I have moved up one place on the boys 9 & under Lancashire County leaderboard, so I am now in 17th position. I think at the next update I will drop down a few places because over the next week there are quite a few tennis competitions that allocate points and I have not entered any of them due to transport limitations.
On a final note John at Ribble Valley Tennis Club has been in touch and he is letting me play in their competition tomorrow, so I am looking forward to it greatly. My aim is to play as well as I did at Bolton Arena today.

Monday 6 February 2012

South Ribble Tennis Centre 05/02/12

The competition at South Ribble Tennis Centre yesterday was a late one, I did not get home until gone 7.00pm so thats why I'm updating a day late.
My results yesterday were not great, this was down to a few reasons but the main one being I was ill. It started with stomach ache yesterday morning which I thought was a bit of nerves but it quickly developed into sickness (I was physically sick 3 time yesterday, once before, during and after the competition). Well, now I've made excuses the results were I won 1 match and lost 3, but on a positive note the one I did win was against an Orange 2 which is another 5% towards my Orange 1 rating which I am determined to get.
The competition got off to a slow start yesterday as more competitors than expected turned up. Initially there were only 3 available courts to play on but eventually another court was used in the other hall.
Although I did not get the results I expected (you have to be positive in tennis) I am pleased that I battled, despite feeling awful, because I did get a win.
I am looking forward to this weekend, I have 2 competitions lined up one at Bolton Arena and the other at Ribble Valley Tennis Club which is still to be confirmed as I have not heard back yet. I going to try and get my best ever results (being positive again) this weekend.

Friday 3 February 2012

February tennis competitions reschedule - Widnes Tennis Academy

This morning we received a phone call informing us that the tennis competition at Widnes Tennis Academy is on the 13th and not the 12th. I am grateful to them for letting us know but its very annoying because I applied for the competition weeks ago and was looking forward to it and now I will not be able to go due to transport limitations of living in a working household with one car. The good news is that they are also holding a tennis competition on the 26th February and I am hoping we will be able to reschedule my entry for this date.
I have also applied to play at Ribble Valley Tennis Club on the 12th February, hopefully my entry will be accepted. I have never played here before but have applied to once before and had to pull out (I gave them plenty of notice) due to a double booking. This has only happened once and will hopefully never happen again.
My final competition entry since my last update is to play at Winstanley Tennis Club on the 25th February. I have never played or heard anything about this club before, but would love to play here.
So, this months tennis competitions so far are, South Ribble Tennis Centre on Sunday (5th February), Bolton Arena on the 11th February, and hopefully, Ribble Valley Tennis Club on the 12th February, Winstanley Tennis Club on the 25th February and Widnes Tennis Centre on the 26th February. I have no competitions lined up for the 18th/19th so if anybody knows of one please let me know.

Sunday 29 January 2012

Manchester Tennis Centre - 29/01/12

Today I played at Manchester Tennis Centre and had a great day.
I had 4 matches and won 3 of them, the one I lost was a very close match, the score was 6-7, 7-6, 6-7, and I think that next time we play I will win.
I am very happy with the results of today because my win/loss ratio was very good (for me), I won 75% of my matches.
Another positive I have gained today is that I have beat at least 1 Orange 2 player who I have not played before, so this will count towards my rating. I am still a long way off becoming an Orange 1 but week by week I am slowly building up qualifying wins.
There is also another positive, one of the players I beat today, I have played before and lost to them. It was when I was a Red player which seems so long ago but its only been 6 months. This win has given me confidence because I can struggle when playing against players who have beaten me before.

Friday 27 January 2012

LTA Leaderboard, Ormskirk Tennis Competition, Evening Training & Thank You

My position on the LTA Lancashire County boys 9 & under leaderboard has dropped to 18th, I was 16th. The season has not finished so there is still time to try and get back to 16th which is the highest position I have ever been in.
The competition at Ormskirk Tennis Club has been cancelled due to them replacing the shale tennis courts with clay ones and also updating their perimeter fence. I will apply for their next mini tennis competition and hopefully it will go ahead.
For the first time in approximately 2 months I have managed to play tennis tonight after school. It rained and hailed but had a great time working on my game and made some improvements. My tennis is changing all the time, over the past 5 months I have gone from a player who hit every ball as hard as possible, which was good when I could keep it in the court. To a player who tried to return every ball in the court, which improved my rallying but I could not hit winners. I am now trying to combine the best of each strategy to try and improve my tennis and win/loss ratio.
On a final note, earlier today I received a email informing me of an future competition and would like to say 'thank you'. Sometimes it can be a nuisance being on a mailing list but I was very grateful. It can be difficult finding suitable competitions so to have one emailed to you makes a pleasant change.

Thursday 26 January 2012

A couple more tennis competitions for February

I have applied for 2 more tennis competitions in February, they are at:
South Ribble Tennis Centre on the 5th, I have played here before and had experiences at both ends of the spectrum, winning and losing, so I have no idea what to expect. I do know that I seem to play better when the competitions are played in the second hall opposed to the main hall, but it does not matter where I play, I will just try and play my best tennis.
The other tennis competition I have applied for is at;
Ormskirk Tennis Club on the 19th, last year I applied for a tennis competition here but unfortunately it got cancelled, so lets hope it goes ahead because I have never played there before and I really enjoy playing at 'new' clubs/centres even though may play suffers slightly, I am very slowly getting conditioned to it.
My training is going well and I am pleased the nights are starting to get lighter so I can play in the evening during the week.
I am looking forward to playing this weekend at Manchester Tennis Centre and at the other competitions I have lined up so far for February, which are Bolton Arena, Widnes Tennis Academy and the two I have just applied for. I only have to find a competition now for the last weekend in February.

Sunday 22 January 2012

Cheshire County Grade 4 - Birchwood Tennis Centre

This morning I took part in a grade 4 tennis competition at Birchwood Tennis Centre.
It started off with 4 round robin groups and the winner and runner up of each group qualifying for the main draw, and the other players going into the consolation draw.
I came second in my group so qualified for the top eight but did not manage to win any further matches.
Although I could have played better and finished in a higher position I am very happy because I have only played in one grade 4 competition before and ended up in the consolation event. Today, I have also managed to beat an orange 2 player which will count towards my rating, which is still a very long way off becoming an orange 1.

Sunday 15 January 2012

A new personal best

Today I played at South Ribble Tennis centre and had a great day. I managed a new personal best since becoming an orange player. I won 4 of my matches and previously my best was 3 which I managed on 3 occasions (I think).
My skills are improving and today has proved that. I still need to improve certain aspects of my game, but everything can not be done at once, its one step at a time.
I am looking forward to next weeks competition at Birchwood Tennis Centre and I have also been approved for the Widnes Tennis Academy competition next month.
On a final note, the LTA Leaderboards have been updated and my position has not changed from 16th which I was not expecting, I thought I may have dropped a few places due to the lack of competitions I had done/not done.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

A busy weekend in February, Bolton Arena and Widnes Tennis Academy

The second weekend in February could be a busy one as there are 2 competitions, one on the Saturday and one on the Sunday.
On the 11th its at Bolton Arena, I have applied and been accepted. I have played there several times before and know that you have to not just play well but exceptionally well. All the players who compete there are very good and I will have to play my best tennis to win any matches. This year, another goal I have set myself if to get into the top half / main draw at Bolton as I have never achieved this and I know I can do it.
On the 12th its Widnes Tennis Academy, this is a postal event and I have posted my application and payment and will hopefully be accepted. I have competed there before, so am feeling optimistic about playing there again.
I will be applying for more competitions shortly, but at the moment I am just looking forward to playing at weekend, its been 4 weeks since I last played in a competition.

Monday 9 January 2012

January Tennis Competitions

Well, its the new year and I am ready for it. Training has gone well over the holidays and I am feeling confident in my game and am hoping to improve my win/loss ratio this year, as well as get a tennis rating of Orange 1 before becoming a green player.
I have applied for 3 tennis competitions in January and they are:-
South Ribble Tennis Centre on the 15th, my application has been approved so I will be playing next weekend. I have been there a couple of times before, but the experiences have been totally different so I don't know what to expect. All I can do is turn up and try to play my best tennis.
The next is at Birchwood Tennis Centre on the 22nd, my entry has not been approved yet but I should find out on the 15th (I think). This is a Cheshire grade 4 competition so if I can compete I will have to play well.
And the last one for January is at Manchester Tennis Centre on the 29th, my entry has been approved so I will be playing. I have played at Manchester Tennis Centre before and last time the competitors were grouped with players of the same rating. If they do the same again this could be good because if I win any matches they will count towards my rating and it could do with a boost. I am still a long way off becoming an Orange 1.