Penultimate Post of 2018

The touring pros are on vacation, and my recreational leagues are on break. Seems like a good time for LittleYellowBall to put its feet up too. (Yes, my blog has feet.)

But before we go, here’s a mini-recap of what I’ve learned from doing this blog, as well as a sneak peek at what’s ahead.

My three favorite takeaways from the year:

  1. Play the score. Understanding the weight of different points, and how to play them, is key to winning more matches. Brad Gilbert’s explanation of the set-up point in tiebreaks has helped me start to recognize this and other hidden turning points.
  2. Hit like the pros. Crunching the stats for a set during a professional doubles match was eye-opening. I’m still not hitting to big targets myself, but I’m at least beginning to adjust my mindset. I no longer congratulate myself when I hit close to the lines.
  3. Change my overgrip. Choosing an overgrip that met my needs was straightforward. And now that I know how to change it myself, I’m having far fewer days when the racquet turns in my hand.

My recap of the six monthly challenges:

  1. Serving. I made this challenge too big, both in daily time commitment and the difficulty of what I was trying to achieve. I did stick to it, but when I work on my serve next time, I’ll narrow the scope considerably. I’ll work on making one change to my serve instead of revamping the whole thing.
  2. Hydration. I drank my water during this challenge, but I was never happy about it. I still have a sign in my kitchen reminding me to hydrate, but I ignore it. I hate water. I do at least try to finish the water I bring to the court. That’s a small improvement.
  3. Running. Although I didn’t hit my mileage target, I did run a couple of times a week. I slept better. I felt better. I’ll continue trying to squeeze in a run or two a week.
  4. Jumping rope. I had to abandon this challenge within days. I have a chronic Achilles’ tendon issue, which is most acute in the cold winter weather. Jumping up and down aggravated it. I’ll give it another go when the weather turns warm again.
  5. Shadow swinging. While I made the serving challenge too big, I made this challenge too small. I’d have to do a lot more shadow swings to develop new habits. I probably won’t try this one again. Instead, I’ll work on keeping my eye on the ball through…
  6. Hitting against the wall. This was by far the most successful of the monthly challenges. I noticed immediate improvement in my footwork and racquet preparation. And I loved doing it. This is one challenge I’ll be adopting into my regular warm-weather routine.


My upcoming final post of 2018. This time of year brings one of our most cherished holidays: Festivus. So dust off your aluminum poles and get ready to air your grievances! (Only tennis grievances, please–no kvetching about your neighbor who still hasn’t raked his leaves!) I’ll be posting my grievance on Sunday, so start thinking about yours. (If you’re not familiar with Festivus, or just want to revisit the classic Seinfeld bit, check out the clip on youtube.)

My upcoming “book group.” I’m going to be reading Andre Agassi’s memoir Open and writing about it in January. Anyone want to read it with me? We could get a good discussion going in the comments section.

Have a great holiday season, everyone! And BTW, if you like LittleYellowBall, share the link with your tennis-playing friends! The more, the merrier…

4 thoughts on “Penultimate Post of 2018

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  1. Deb, your blog this year has inspired me to pay attention!!! To things I was ignoring before. For that I am grateful and it has been fun.
    Your six personal challenges gave me some ideas, too. I adapted my own mini versions of your serving challenge and your jump roping challenge (minus the jump rope and executed only on forgiving surfaces.
    So, thanks for your thoughtful ideas and inspiration. I look forward to receiving your blogs and participating with my comments in 2019. Happy holidays, everyone!

  2. I love the recap. I’ll be curious to hear how the challenges proceed in the coming year.

    On hydration: what about other beverages? Flavored water (add lemon or mint or something)? Herbal tea?

    Are you still running? I’m finding it harder in the cold weather, for some reason. I used to enjoy cold-weather running and hate the heat. This year, I did a lot of jogging in July, which was brutally hot. I can’t seem to find time for any jogging lately, although a lot of that may be an actual time crunch. I’m looking forward to getting back to my runs. I might do some other cross-training, too.

    I’m also looking forward to your last post of 2018 and your posts next year. This is a fantastic blog! Thanks for taking the time to create it. I will keep sharing it.

  3. Great recap. If I was going to add one thing to your wisdom it would be feet-related: Don’t forget to split step, and in general to move my feet. Great job, lots of pearls in these posts.

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