Cork Tennis Blog

Welcome to the Cork Tennis Blog.

This blog will, hopefully, keep you up to date on the tennis scene in Cork, both socially and competitively. Whether you are new to the game or an experienced player I hope you find the information and posts here, useful and interesting.

You can contact me by email at rob@racketrestringing.ie

As well as local tennis news, there are also some very good articles written by local players and I am always looking for people to contribute to the blog, so don't be shy.

Please also feel free to comment on individual posts, or alternatively through the comment box on the right of the blog. I hope you enjoy reading through the blog and that it was of some use to you.

Enjoy your game, Rob

Rob's Racketrestringing

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Babolat Cork Tennis League 2011 Reminder



Coming soon, Babolat Cork Tennis League 2011.

Find out how you could win, 2 rackets, a racket bag, a set of clothes and a pair of shoes in 2011.

For more details click here.

Life on the Junior International Circuit - John Morrissey



John is a young man following his dream.

The Dream, A Professional Tennis Player, and so far so good.

In internatonal junior tennis your ranking is a combined one based on your doubles and singles results, John has a career high of 30, the highest ranked Irish junior player to date.

In this piece written by John he gives us an insight into life on the tour and what it takes to make it full time.

John is an inspiration to all players out there, but especially juniors.

Thanks to John for taking the time to write this piece, it's well worth a read.

"My name is John Morrissey, I am 18 years old and I have been competing on the ITF Junior tour for the last 3 years and recently the ITF Pro tour as well . I first moved away from home when I was 15 years old not knowing what I was getting into nor how long I would end up living away from home .



It has been amazing: I have been predominately living in Belgium and traveling from there to my tournaments . I have travelled to all 5 continents and played countless tournaments . There is certainly nothing better then when you are traveling seeing new places and meeting great new people and winning , though when you aren't getting great results it can also become very lonely .. and you end up wanting just to come home and see your family . It is also very hard for your family as they want to see you too but I have been lucky in that my parents and siblings have been so encouraging and supportive to me .


Traveling as much as I have you get to meet and the know many other junior players as you are competing at all the tournaments together , and I have been very lucky in that I have met some incredible personalities and some amazing friends ! You learn so much about different cultures and even pick up some bits of different languages!! So there is a lot of fun at these tournaments as well as a lot of HARD WORK!!!


I have had the opportunity to play all four grand slams twice and these tournaments will definitely be one of the major highlights of the last few years for me . As a junior player you get to see the Pro's and if your lucky - which I was - you get to hit with them too !! I practiced with Rafael Nadal twice in Roland Garros !! It was unbelievable and I certainly wont forget that : the speed of his ball, his intensity it is phenomenal !! An other cool thing about the Grand Slams is that you get to eat with the Pro's at some of them : for example I had dinner at the table beside Federer at the Us Open!!


Another huge highlight so far for me was the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, it was only a small draw of 32 elite players. I played amazing throughout the week -beating the world no 3 at that time (Berretta) and ended up making the quarter finals where I lost to Yuki Bhambri a former world No.1 junior. It was an incredible experience as apart from the amazing tennis side of it there were all kinds of athletes there and in the athletes village the mix was incredible- you could have a 4 foot tall gymnast walking on one side of you and a 7 foot tall basket ball player on the other side !!!


Just before the start of every season - from about october to december i take 3 months off tournaments and do pre-season training ; This is by far the hardest part of the year!! I Work on my speed/strength/endurance day after day and the only thing that gets me through it is that I know it is going to help me compete harder and better during the next season!! As I said earlier for the last few years I have been based in Belgium and the fitness trainer there was amazing. So along with his help and the comradery of all the other players doing it along side you it makes it easier and very beneficial!!


My coach Owen Casey has been a great help to me , it was so helpful for me to have someone who was always there for me to call whenever I had any questions about my game or needed any encouragement /advice


As I am 18 now I am starting to move onto the the futures tournaments . I got a wild card into the 15,000 futures in FLTC this summer where i got my first point , so I am hoping that when I get back out playing alot of tournaments I will be able to build on that!"

Irish National Vets Champions - Ann Naughton and Un Ryle

In an earlier post, following their success in the Irish Open Vets at Elm Park, I said Ann and Un were a pair to watch for the rest of the season.

Well I was right, following on from this success, the two were deservedly selected for the Vets Interpro team that travelleed to Belfast.

And with some excellent performances from both players, they helped Munster win the Interprovincial title for the first time in 10 years.

Their season didn't didn't end there, recently they travelled to Kilkenny, where they won the O-40 womens doubles, and now they're just getting greedy.

To put the icing on the cake of a fabulous season, they travelled to Lansdowne Tennis Club, where they took on the best the country had to offer and won the 26th National Vets O-40 Doubles Title.

Well done to both players on a tremendous season.

I asked Ann to put a piece together for the blog and the following is her very entertaining piece.

"26th VETERANS’ NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS 5-7 November, 2010. Landsdowne Tennis Club.

Many thanks and congratulations to Gerry Clarke and his committee, and to Landsdowne Tennis Club for all their hard work and for the warm welcome afforded the Munster players.

Report:


Several Munster players sharpened their weapons and ventured into Viking territory for the 26th Veterans’ National Championships. The terrain was a little alien: strange speech, tolls to be paid, canals to be crossed, and care to be taken not to disturb the Giant Avivabird’s nest. The scene before us was ‘all white’ and tournament-software-free, and the rules of engagement were enforced by the legendary Leinster warrior, Gerry Clarke and his household, whose mastery of the traditional ancient craft of Running a Tournament with Pens, Paper & No Fuss is certainly to be admired and cherished. The High Queen of Ireland was in attendance all weekend, dispensing graceful smiles and good humour, and her presence from Belfast was very much appreciated.


There were minor skirmishes on Friday night but most Cork players survived, supported by their Munster colleagues from Tipp and Waterford, the Earl of DESmond and Dick of the Decies. Major exchanges took place on Saturday morning, with the Earl of DESmond, Donovan Joe, Ron son of Ó Mahuna, Dave son of Carthaigh, accompanied by their personal Smyth (P), not to mention our Korean martial arts mercenary, Un Fu, all taking scalps in the early part of the day, and facing deadlier opponents in the afternoon session.


As the light faded, some were forced to retreat southwards, leaving the Earl of DESmond, Dick of the Deicies, Un Fu and Ann of the Littler People, all preparing for the final showdowns. Sunday dawned clear and bright and the Earl fought side by side with the best Korea can offer in single combat against Neilus Wilsonia and the Spanish siren, Mitti Cosmos. Our heroes tried valiantly, abused some rackets, but had to concede eventually to stronger players on the day, but not before 3 sets and inflicting some hurt. Mutterings from Mitti to the effect “I’m going mental” may, just may, have had something to do with the Korean Deadly Slice Dropshot!


Dick of the Deicies, naturally, and in his own nonchalant way, claimed another national title partnered by his affable ally from the North, George Lucas. Ann and Un finished the year with their second national title in the ladies doubles over 40, much to the pleasure and bemused smiles of their husbands and children, who hadn’t seen them since they left home for Causeway Vets in late August.


Normal services have now been resumed in all the homes of those who travelled!"


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Comments and Feedback Greatly Appreciated


Hi guys, as we come to the end of the first year of the blog, any comments or feedback, good or bad is greatly appreciated.  You can leave a comment as part of this post or email me at rob_leahy@yahoo.co.uk
Thanks


Saturday, November 13, 2010

What to know about Racket Restringing

Would you buy a car and never get it serviced?

That, in a sense, is what you're doing if you never get your racket restrung.

People pay good money for their racket and they like the way it plays when new but, over time, the performance of the racket will change and this is mainly due to strings losing tension and with that their ability to perform.

The strings are the engine of the racket and, if you play regularly, your strings should be changed AT LEAST every 6 months.

In most rackets there is only one string throughout the whole racket. Over time, this string can stretch, slip at the knots or, in our weather, absorb moisture and become lifeless.

In this piece, I will go through the various types of strings available, the type of player they suit, their benefits and downfalls and the tension range recommended for your frame.

Generally, unless you buy a frame-only racket and specify the string type and tension, most rackets will be strung with synthetic gut and midway in the recommended range.
The recommended range is the range at which the suppliers think the racket will perform at its best.
Each recommended range usually offers a 10lb margin eg. 50-60lb.

The higher the tension the greater the control, the lower the tension the greater the power.

Different string types offer different levels of power or control. Below are the different string materials available and also the types of player they suit.

String thickness has a strong bearing on how your racket will perform. String thickness or 'gauge' ranges from 15 (thickest) to 19 (thinnest).
Generally, thinner strings offer greater playability and the possibility of more spin as they embed into the ball more while thicker strings offer greater durability.

Material Types:

Synthetic Gut:
This covers both nylon and synthetic gut, since in reality they are the same thing. Synthetic gut is made up of high quality nylon. Most people still use this type of string as it offers a good level of durability, as well as playability, which is what most club players want.
Even in hybrids, which will be explained later, nylon is generally used as the cross strings.

Topspin:
This is still a synthetic gut but with a roughness to it. It offers everything normal synthetic gut offers but with the potential for more spin as the roughness grips the ball more.

Polyester:
This is the fashionable string of the moment and alot of people ask for this string without really knowing what it is supposed to do. It is a more durable string so for the person that is regularly breaking strings it is one worth considering but know what it does before changing over to it.
It doesn't move and deadens the string bed. This allows the hard hitters, fast swingers, to really go after the ball and still have good control.
Polyester strings offer little power or feel, so expect balls to land short of the baseline unless you increase your swing speed to compensate.
Polyester string is not recommended for beginners, or those suffering from tennis elbow.

Hybrids:
This is where players combine polyester mains with a softer cross string, either synthetic gut, or for the professional feel, natural gut.
This offers the durability benefits of polyester and reduces the stiff, dead feel from the string bed.
Again, not recommended for beginners or players with, or prone to tennis elbow.

How to choose your tension:

As I said earlier "the higher the tension the greater the control, the lower the tension the greater the power".

Control - tighter strings, means less deflection and because of this the ball deforms more, providing less return than looser strings.  This means the ball won't take off when you hit it.
Beginners who say they want control don't need tight strings, they need a soft, forgiving stringbed that lower tensions provide.

Power - When you lower the tension the stringbed will deflect more and therefore the ball less, returning greater energy to the ball thus giving more power.
One of the benefits of stringing the racket at lower tension is less chance of tennis elbow.  This is because lower tensions provide a softer feel and larger sweetspot, reducing the amount of shock and vibration to the arm.

I hope you find this a useful article and if you have any other questions you can email me at rob_leahy@yahoo.co.uk.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bishopstown Junior Tennis Academy

I have being involved in tennis a long time now and it is really only since I started this blog that I have really become aware of how many people play tennis, how important it is to these people and how much work people do to help promote and improve the game here.

One of these people is Conor Twomey, who 2 years ago was given the job as Head Coach for Bishopstown Tennis Club, and his good working relationship with other coaches in the club has produced a Tennis Academy of the highest level, which is now after a very successful year showing the benefit of all their hard work.

I asked Conor to put a piece together to let us know how the Academy started and how the hard work is paying off.

The following is Conors' account of things:

"Overall Bishopstown has had a very successful year, not only in Juniors but in Seniors and in Veterans. Recently, Cork Blog asked me would I be interested in mentioning a few words in relation to our coaching set up as we have had such a thriving year. To fully understand our coaching set up I have to take you back in time to thoroughly appreciate what we have achieved.

I'm in my car and i'm driving home. It's eight o'clock in the evening and i've just had my interview to become the head coach of Bishopstown Tennis Club. I'm feeling confident about how things went but not overly certain, but I believe i've laid out a good plan of where I would like the club to be in three to five years time. The following day, the call comes through, i've got the job as head coach of Bishopstown Tennis Club.
The first thing to do is to assess where we are at as a club, primarily the Junior side. Over the next few weeks I begin to realise that I am up the creek without a paddle, and a boat that's beginning to fall apart, and the crocodiles are baying for me. We have 1 mini tennis net, 3 soccer balls (punctured) and a couple of furry tennis balls that resemble candy floss from the circus. Numbers are just over a hundred, performance players are thin on the ground, if any. Three of our best Juniors have had to leave the club as there is not a high enough standard for them to play with.

There were plenty of negatives so I had to look for the positives and it was only when I started looking that I realised there were plenty of beneficial aspects to the club. We had a fantastic new chairman, Robert Murphy, and we had some brilliant people involved in the Junior side. Straight away I knew from my experience in sport at any level, you need to have a great team with you so I began assembling a team. The first priority was to increase the numbers attending coaching and the best way to do this was to start making it fun again, the best person I knew to do this was Conor Clarke. In my opinion he is the Rafael Nadal of fun and personifies and is the template of what everything a coach should aspire to be.
Fia O'Farrell also came on board as a Junior co-ordinator and tennis assistant and between the three of us with the support of our Junior committee and chairman, we spent a bit of money, bought some new equipment, pumped up the music, blew up the inflatable targets and started having fun with the kids. Within the year our numbers had increased by a third. Stage one complete.

We're in the car and we're driving home. It's 3 o'clock in the afternoon. We've just been hammered by Bandon in an U10 friendly. To say the atmosphere in the car is tense would be an understatement. Silence is deafening, followed by loud thumps on the dash board by both myself and Conor Clarke. We swear that day, that this will never, ever happen again.

Year 2 - due to the increasing numbers attending coaching, we are able to expand our coaching staff. The first quality I look for in a coach is passion, passion for the game, passion for coaching but most of all someone who truly cares. In steps Cian Blake. Here was a guy with very little experience at coaching and also very young, but has played and helped coach his brother Jamie to a high level and shown a hunger and a drive to succeed. They are exactly the qualities we are looking for to take us to the next level. It is at this point myself, Conor Clarke, Cian Blake reinvent Bishopstown Juniors to become Bishopstown Junior Tennis Academy.

Over the next two years we set up Academy coaching, where each of our coaches, coach the Academy on a voluntary basis throughout the year. It is in these extra sessions that we begin to develop and nurture the fine young tennis athlethes that we have now. Their results are a testament to the hard work that people have put in but most of all a reflection of what outstanding players they are. We are often congragulated and praised on what a great job we've done, but I don't think we've done a great job, we've just done our job. That's what we're paid to do. To me, the real hard work is the work put in by the players and the fantastic volunteers we have in our club. People like Denise McCarthy, Paula Milanne, Michelle Johnston, Caroline Moloney, Robert Murphy, Sandra Lane, Mary Foyle, Catherine Quinn, Mary Mountjoy, in fact the list is endless.

We're in the car and we're driving home. It's four o'clock in the afternoon and the last tournament of the year (Ballinlough) has just finished. We've just won the boys U9's, runner up in the girls U10's, winner of the boys U10's, winner and runner up of the girls U11's and winner of the girls U13's. There is a silence in the car, but not the silence that was experienced two years ago on the way home from Bandon. This silence reflects a feeling of those summer evenings where you're sitting down, relaxed, watching the sun set with not a care in the world. Absolute bliss.

Im in my car, just pulling in to work, and right now there is coaching six days a week with six coaches and a waiting list for coaching. A fully equipped shed that would be the match of any academy anywhere in the world, and each player has a strong identity with their club and I would hope proud members of Bishopstown Junior Tennis Academy. Where we go from here is down to the energy and drive of everyone pulling together to achieve one goal, which is to be recognised as one of the best clubs in Ireland. As I speak our coaches travel every weekend to different squads all over Munster to enhance their skills and become better coaches which in turn will produce better players, which is our only goal . This is a great sport with some great people. Ask not what your club can do for you but what you can do for your club, and anything can be achieved.

Conor Twomey
Head Coach Bishopstown Tennis Club

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cork players do well in Kilkenny.

Kilkenny Open Vets tournament took place last weekend and a large contingent travelled from Cork to challenge for the honours.

There was a strong field in all events with entrants from Tipperary and all over Leinster.

Cork players took part in no less than 7 finals and won 5 of those 7. That is a great achievement and confirms Munsters' recent success at the Vets Interpros.

Congratulations to all finalists especially to Ann Coveney on her great singles win.

Finalists and Winners:
MS 35+ Runner Up - Stan Dvorsky, Bandon
WD 35+ Runner Up - Ann Naughton, Sundays Well partnered by Csilla Varga
WD 40+ Winners - Ann Naughton, Sundays Well and Un Ryle, Bishopstown
MD 45+ Winners - Joe Donovan and Pat Smith, Bishoptown
MX 45\40 Winners - Ron O Mahony, Sundays Well partnered by Trudy Kennedy
WS 50+ Winner - Ann Coveney, Sundays Well
MX 65\60 Winners - Brendan Boylan, Mallow partnered by Breda McCarthy.