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

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, September 6, 2016

Signs of Overtraining by Helen Curtis

"Helen (Curtis) is a freelance writer specialising in healthcare, nutrition and fitness. After starting a family Helen decided to leave her job in the health sector and embark on a career in writing, something that she'd always been passionate about."

Signs Of Overtraining
Let’s be fair, now. The majority of us can’t really be accused of ‘overtraining’. We do our best, and we do very well, but often we’re forcing ourselves to exercise rather than forcing ourselves not to. The concept of ‘overtraining’, therefore, may seem like a strange one. Surely more is better? Well, not always. It all depends upon your attitude, and upon how much importance you afford the concept of resting in training. Overtraining can actually be very bad indeed for you. It can wear down your muscles, stress you out, make you obsessive, wreck your sporting form, and even make you fat. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? But it’s true. If you don’t give your body time to process and work through the exercise you’ve done, all that happens is that you stress your body out and wear it down without ever feeling the benefit. Overtraining is a bad thing. Many of us, however, don’t know we’re doing it. Here are some signs of overtraining to watch out for:
One of the strongest signs of overtraining is not physical, but psychological. Nobody is quite sure if obsession prefigures overtraining or vice versa. Over-exercising causes cortisol to be released, which makes us stressed, which could bring on exercise-related anxieties in a kind of vicious circle. On the other hand, those kinds of anxieties could have brought on the over-exercising in the first place. Whatever the cause, many people who over-exercise display obsessive behaviour around their training. They train compulsively, and get very anxious indeed when they find themselves unable to exercise. Some experts speak of ‘exercise addiction’. The validity of this term is debated, but it is notable that some overtrainers let exercise take over their lives to the extent that it’s damaging things like their relationships, their careers, and their mental health. If you find yourself worrying unduly when you can’t exercise, or notice that friends and family are commenting on the amount of time you spend training, it’s perhaps time to take stock of your attitude towards training and exercise.
Muscle Weakness
You’d think that working out would make you stronger, and improve your muscle tone. If you do too much of it, however, you can actually end up making your muscles weaker. When we exercise, we cause micro-tears in our muscles. These are later fixed by the body, which adds more muscle tissue on in order to prevent the same thing from happening again. This is how our muscles grow. However, this process generally occurs while we are asleep or resting. If you don’t give your body enough time to rest and repair the damage, all that happens is that you pile micro-tear on micro-tear, and ultimately degrade your muscles. It’s not ideal.
Fairly obviously, if you don’t allow yourself enough rest time, you’re going to be exhausted. Physical and mental fatigue are strong signs of overtraining. Often, we put this down to stress and time pressures elsewhere in our lives - but if you are finding yourself constantly tired, try taking a day off training and see how you feel afterwards.
Frequent Minor Illness
You’re supposedly making yourself stronger with frequent training sessions, yet you’re constantly coming down with colds and infections. What’s going on? Basically, you’re wearing your body out, leaving it less energy and resources to devote to your immune system. If you overtrain, your body has to work flat-out to try and keep your muscles going. Ultimately, it ends up diverting resources from your organs and your other systems into your muscles to try to fulfil the demands you’re putting on your body. If you prolong this over a long period of time, your immune system ends up getting depleted, which means that you end up getting sick more often.

The damage to your muscles and your general depleted state can manifest in tremors. We’ve all experienced minor tremors after a tough training session. If you find these persisting throughout your daily life, it’s probably time to start interspersing some rest with your training. Resting and recovering is just as important an aspect of your training regime as practising serves and strengthening your muscles. Without rest and recovery, all of your hard work might as well be for nothing!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Here's some advice for parents!

There seems to be a big focus on parents involvement in their childrens' sports lately, and unfortunately it's not all positive.

I came across this video recently, and while it is based on tennis the same principles can apply to any sport.

A note to sports parents!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New Racket Restringing blog

Racket restringing is probably the most overlooked part of anyone's equipment.  

Players spend a lot of time researching a new racket to find the ideal one, they change their grips often (sometimes forced to because of weather), buy the latest clothing, update their shoes when they find themselves slipping but a lot of the time overlook the importance of new strings.

When I started out playing the mentality was strings should last at the very least a year, but as times change and research improves we find that leaving your racket too long between stringing can really affect your performance level.

There are so many reasons to restring and so many things to know about restringing, such as:

  • Tension 
  • String construction
  • String thickness
  • Hybrid stringing
And much more.  Below is a link to a blog that covers all aspects of stringing, that will hopefully help you when choosing your next strings and convince the non-regular stringers that it will be worth their while to string more often.

Tennis Ireland Workshops

Invitation to Tennis Ireland Participation & Club Development Provincial Workshop at the Firgrove Hotel, Mitchelstown, Co.Cork April 28th @7.00pm
“More Players, more Income, More Fun”
Updated Leaflet Page 1

The Tennis Ireland Participation & Club Development Strategic Objective is to:-
Assist Clubs to increase membership by 20% by 2020, creating an extra €2.4m through additional subscriptions.
This includes;
  • Extra 12k players average sub €200 = €2.4m Clubs plus extra income for coaches-€600k
  • At the recent workshop at DCU in February 2016 60 delegates from across Ireland attended and this was a good start to the engagement process. 
  • All Branch, Club Committee, Coach, Development Officer, Tournament Officials and Parks Tennis Officials are now invited to come along to the Tennis Ireland Participation & Club Development Provincial workshops.
  • Everyone is welcome as we seek to engage, exchange information and gain ideas to help Clubs develop Tennis.

The Programme for Provincial Workshops is as follows;
    • Leinster- Thursday 21st April 2016 at DCU
    • Munster - Thursday 28th April 2016 at Mitchelstown
    • Connacht- Thursday 5th May 2016 at Castlebar
    • Ulster -Thursday 12th May 2016 at the House of Sport, Belfast

Registration is at 6.30pm and workshops starts at 7pm, continuing to 10pm

The Provincial Workshop Agenda is as follows;
  1. Introduction & draft Tennis Ireland Participation & Club Development Plan & case study and key enablers for implementation- 40 mins & EB’s Club Checklist + questions 20 mins- total 60 minutes- George Lucas – Targets and sample Club Development Plan in Province of meeting RDO’s.
  2. Secondary Schools Tennis Initiative- Olwyn O’Toole - 15 mins & questions 10 mins – total 25 mins
  3. Club Development a coaches’ perspective- Liam Cassidy - 30 mins + questions 10 mins- total 40 mins.
  4. Child Protection- Roger Geraghty - 10 mins + questions 5 mins- total- 15 mins.
  5. Tournaments/Competitions/TI PIN/ITN/Software- Maria Kilkelly– 15 mins + questions 5 mins- total 20 mins.
  6. Feedback and general discussion- 25 mins.

If you would like to attend please forward your name and email address to Lauren Smythe at by 4pm on the Monday before the relevant Provincial workshop. 
Many thanks.
Eugene Bergin/Robert Cummins/Billy O’Reilly/ /Roger Geraghty/Lauren Smythe/Garrett Barry/Conor O’Callaghan/Peter Farrell/Brendan Moran/George Lucas


New Appointments for Munster Tennis

Munster branch is delighted to announce the appointments of our new Munster junior performance Officers. 
Cian Blake, Conor Twomey and Sinead Dunne have been selected to the roles to take Munster junior tennis forward over the next number of years.  Munster will now have three junior performance officers bringing a wealth of experience working throughout the province. 

We felt given the geographical size of the province that this will be the correct move for the province.
We would like to extend our thanks to all the other applicants and hope that all clubs, coaches and parents will embrace and support our new team over the coming weeks and months.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Coaching Movement

Coaching Movement is a Cork based sports specialist company.  It was launched in August 2014 and specialises in Skill and Athletic Development.

Their motto is simple "MOVE BETTER PLAY BETTER".

Coaching movement is run by Conor Twomey and Kevin Murray.
Conor is a TICA Level 2 Performance Coach as well a SAQ qualified coach, while Kevin has a B.A. in Strength and Conditioning.

They are available to hold workshops nationwide and can be reached on 087-1238585 or at coaching

They have a very active and informative Facebook page ( where you will find hundreds of instructional videos for you to try.

Definitely a page to checkout and if you are serious about your sport you won't waste time.

Qatar Futures Series


The Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF) hosts 6 ITF Futures events every year and 2 junior ITF events.
The senior events are run over two, three week periods.  The first series is run early in the year, March/April time and the second series takes place in November/December.
This year I was one of the stringers at the second series, my first professional gig, and I learned a lot from it.
Here's a few interesting facts from the events:
  • Wilsons' Blade 98 range and Heads' Prestige range were the most used rackets.
  • Luxilon Alu Power 130/16 was the most used string
  • The most used string gauge was 130/16
  • Tensions used ranged from 18 kilos to 27 kilos.
This series of events attracted players from all over the world, which was enjoyable as it provided an insight into how other nationalities value stringing.
A lot of the players stayed for either two or three weeks.  This would help them out a lot financially as they would be able to eliminate travel costs for this couple of weeks, which no doubt builds up over the course of the year.
The good thing for us, the stringers, is that it lets you become familiar with each player and what their preferences and expectations are from you.
A player who is tuned into the importance of stringing will ask for/do the following:
  • Ask for the same machine for all his stringing jobs (consistency of tension)
  • Ask for the same stringer (consistency of work)
  • Look at changing tensions during the week (morning or night match, different temperatures)
  • Ask for the rackets strung the night before or the day of the match.
  • Have a racket or two strung at different tensions to give them various options during a match.
I have to admit it was surprising how few requests we received for any of the above.  It would make you wonder, even at professional level, do players pay enough attention to their strings.


Here's the interesting thing though, out of the 4 finalists (there was 6 finalists but seen as 2 players made the finals on 2 of the weeks, I say 4 finalists) 3 of them were the ones who paid most attention to their stringing.  They were the ones who made the various requests.
Is this a coincidence? I don't think so!
From a personal point of view I had some new experiences too.
One player wanted his knots to be done in the same holes all the time, probably a superstition.  That was no problem, just meant you had to watch where you started.
I also got to string with Natural Gut for the first time.  Not a big deal to a lot of stringers, but coming from Ireland where our weather isn't conducive to natural gut, it was an interesting experience.  I have read about stringing with gut a few times and that it requires extra attention in how it's handled and how it's fed through the stringbed.
More often than not it would be used as the crosses in a hybrid stringing pattern, this time however it was to be used as the mains.  This made the handling side of it easier but it did mean when weaving the cross strings you would have to be more careful so as to prevent notching the string.
Thankfully all went well and I ended up doing quite a few more over the course of the 3 weeks.
My most interesting job of the few weeks was very similar to the natural gut one above, ie. gut in the mains and polyester in the crosses.  The pattern was 16 x 19, here's where it got interesting though.  This player wanted 14 of the mains done using gut and the outer 2 mains done using polyester, all the polyester (crosses and mains) had to be part of the same string.
I'm not sure what was the reason for this, so I asked a stringers group that I am part of.  This group contains Grand Slam stringers, some of which are in Australia currently as part of the Australian Open Stringing Team.
No one could come up with a beneficial reason as to why you would string this way.  Some of the suggestions were, to save cost on stringing (you could get 3 sets of mains out of a 12m set instead of the normal 2), possibly stringbed stiffness (this would need to be checked), cosmetic was another suggestion and finally to make him feel important :).  Unless the stringbed stiffness turns out to be the case (which I will test and get back to you about) it does look as though it has no real benefit to his game.

So all in all I had a very enjoyable few weeks and look forward to my next tournament, wherever that might be!