Directions to Berks County Tennis Club

Cambridge Ave & Lauers Lane,
P.O. Box 5981

Wyomissing PA 19610
 
(610) 775-1155

Open Seasonally: May - October

HOURS
8 am - 8 pm 
7 Days a Week
 


 


2017 Tennis Tips
Jen Aubin, USPTA

Email Jen

 


 

 


2017 Pro Tips from Jen Aubin, USPTA

Email Jen Aubin

Of course taking lessons with Jen is the fastest, most effective and fun means to improve your game, but use these tips as supplements to better your game…


OCTOBER
Order of Importance:
although it’s tempting and fun to hit big shots, first things first. Consistency then depth, then finally power. The sign of a very good player is one that combines all three consistently

SEPTEMBER
Consistency Wins:

Even the top pros are consistency machines, albeit on a very high level. A beginner’s best path for victory is to play “not to lose” and keep balls in play. An intermediate should work on consistency past the service line and an advanced player can add shot selection and power along with the staple of consistency.

AUGUST- Rally Threshold: How many can you keep in play consecutively and consistently? Play the “I dare you game” by increasing your threshold which will frustrate an opponent and force mistakes. Send a message to your opponent that you will not be making the mistake early in a point

JULY- Grit:
Angela Duckworth who has a doctorate from Penn developed this hypothesis. A key ingredient for achievement is the ability to demonstrate effort and passion over time, a quality she calls “grit.” Individuals high in grit deliberately set for themselves extremely long-term objectives and do not swerve from them even in the absence of positive feedback. Good tennis players always have high grit content.

JUNE- Stringing:
The racket is important but the string more so. Regardless of ability level, taking care of your racket strings can make the difference. Re string as many times a year as you play in one week (infrequent players should re string once per year). String tight tension for control and looser for more power. Also replace your old ratty grip. Over wraps are a cheap and easy fix.


MAY 2017: 
Benefits of Tennis
tennis truly is a lifetime sport. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or veteran player, tennis helps develop or maintain: focus, balance, coordination, self discipline and confidence. It also is great for motor skills, hand eye coordination and self advocating skills. Tennis is fantastic exercise and is a big part of a healthy lifestyle.
 

 
OCTOBER 2016:
LOBBING

Defensive and offensive lobbing can also be practiced solo with a variation on drop hitting. Defensive lobbing happens when you’re not in control of the point which makes it tough to control. Practice this by throwing a ball a distance away from you(or behind you for an added challenge) and learning to run and stretch for it, taking as much backswing as time allows and hitting the ball high into the air with an open racket face. This buys time to regroup and get back into the point.
Offensive lobbing is a planned strategy and is meant to be a winner or a difficult shot for your opponent to run down. Practice dropping the ball and rolling the follow through straight up on the same side as your ear on your racket hand side(a reverse follow through) with some force or racket head speed. The goal is not a very high lob but just high enough to get over the opponents head and with enough spin that it cannot be tracked down. Both types of lob practice teach great racket control.
 
SEPTEMBER 2016:
DROP HITTING

Drop hitting balls to specific targets is much more challenging than one would think! Unless you can drop the ball precisely in your strike zone time after time, this “out of strike zone” ball drop forces you to move quickly to get in the correct position(feet and racket) or the contact point will be off and you’ll miss the target. The variations for practice are numerous: cross court, down the lines, working on different depths both forehand and backhands. This control will then equal being able to implement different strategies. If you can’t hit to targets when you control the circumstance, it will be doubly difficult when your opponent is trying to make you miss!
 
AUGUST 2016:
BOUNCE OVERHEADS

This tip allows you to practice your overhead without a partner. Stand in a service position, ball in non dominant hand stretched out in front of you. Drop the ball in front of you and use the racket to bounce it up over your head. This does take some practice to control the bounce and height. However, this inconsistent bounce is extremely helpful in learning to space yourself properly with good racket preparation and footwork to aid with timing the ball coming down to result in a nice overhead smash.
 
JULY 2016:
SERVING

Work on keeping feet stationary, shoulder distance apart and learning to toss the ball in a consistent area or bubble, without moving your feet. Try 5 consecutive serves to both corners of each service box. Ignore all the shoulder turning, torquing and knee bending advice until this can be accomplished repeatedly.
Without this basic yet fundamental exercise all the more complicated stuff is worthless!
 

JUNE 2016:
THE BCTC “LIL COURT”

The lil court down below by the wall is not just for lil kids. Use this great club feature to work on topspin. Standing a foot away from the net, dropping the ball and trying to roll it up and over, with the racket face fairly closed. This isn’t easy when you’re standing so close to the net. Mini tennis in the service box area with a partner is also a fun and worthwhile practice tool for topspin. This tip works well on our beautiful “big” courts, as well.

MAY 2016:
THE BCTC WALL

Use our unique double sided wall; one of the best resources at our club. Yes, it is a low wall which makes keeping things under control important or you’ll be running to the other side to fetch frequently. Start out fairly close and hit very slowly, prepare very early with compact swings. As you gain control, begin to back up, lengthen your swing a bit and add pace. 


A variety of training can be done by isolating specific shots, serving and even volleying for a great practice in control. 
 

 
OCTOBER 2015:
(TRAFFIC LIGHT)

Not sure where to play a shot? A good rule of thumb: Red light is the baseline area-keeping the ball in play is smart. Yellow is mid court where caution should be used depending on your opponent’s shot, and come into the net. The green light is for GO at the net-put your volley away and end the point.
 
 
SEPTEMBER 2015: Singles Strategy (CONTROL)
Winning singles is made easier by controlling the point. Good serving is the best point control through power or placement. This can also be achieved by return of serve precision-making your opponent move to open up the court makes your next shot placement obvious.
 
 
AUGUST 2015:
Singles Strategy (CLEARANCE)

In singles, cross court with higher net clearance is best when lacking a player specific strategy. At a higher level, try changing the direction of the ball that came from your opponent (like a figure 8).Making them move will result in more opportunities to win the point.
 
 
JULY 2015: Doubles Strategy (ALLEY)
The net person should NOT be guarding the alley as a first priority. The alley is a lower percentage shot for an opponent. Positioning at the net to best intercept (see last month’s tip) and to gain the most opportunities to end points (not keep them going) is the net player’s responsibility.
 
 

JUNE 2015: Doubles Strategy (ERRORS)
When playing the net, remember that NOT making a mistake isn’t the goal. It’s important at the net to “play to win” not play defensively in an attempt not to lose.

 

MAY 2015
Doubles Strategy (OBLIGATION)

Your first priority/obligation as the net player in doubles : be aggressive and intercept as many balls as possible to end the points.
At the baseline, the priority is to “set up” your net player with returns, ground strokes or lobs.

 


October 2014
The weather is fluctuating between moderate temps, wind and cold snaps. Prepare for this change by having racquets strung at a lower tension(the balls feel deader in the cold), warming up muscles more so than usual and layering clothing. October tennis can be the best tennis of the season: a fabulous workout without sweat drenched clothes!Play on.

September 2014
The US Open is underway where split stepping and stroke organization can be observed.

Watch the players constant movements; taking many little steps then a quick hop to ready themselves to move one way or another. Focus on their racquet preparation on the way to the ball. They’re also organizing their thoughts on shot selection instantly so that when they get to the ball the racquet is ready.

August 2014
There are many varieties of serving stances, but here is one for a solid serve foundation. Feet begin together and parallel to the baseline. Then, space your feet comfortably apart. Point the foot closest to the baseline towards the net post: this aligns hips and shoulders in the same (slightly sideways) direction. Your tossing arm is now also aligned in that direction. For a basic flat serve, the toss height should be just above the highest point you can reach up with your racquet and directed at the 1:00 hour. Make solid contact and follow through on the opposite side of your body.

July 2014
Bet you didn’t know that a ready position can vary! A basic ground stroke ready position features the head of the racquet up or more parallel with arms relatively in close to the body in preparation for a shoulder turn and backswing. A Volley ready position should have the racquet head up and arms far more extended from the body. This is better for moving forward for a crisp volley but also being closer to the net means a lot less reaction time. Watch Wimbledon this month to see the ready positions of the pros.


June 2014
Drop shots are probably the least practiced shot amongst players. However, everyone loves that moment when the point is won from it! This shot falls under what is called “touch shots.” It requires a good amount of disguise, racquet skill, under spin and placement. Tune in to the second week of the French Open and see it happen frequently. Also,sign up for this months “stroke of the month” clinic featuring the drop shot.

 

MAY 2014
In many cases the shape of the letter “V” can really help in remembering to cut off angles. When you are facing the net to volley, draw a mental image of a “V” with the point being at your feet. Forward movement to the volley should be along one arm of the “V” or the other. This bisecting action cuts off the angle, allowing you to get to the ball more directly and shortens the reaction time of your opponent. This same “V” image can be used when moving to ground strokes, as well. Watch the professionals use these concepts at the French Open to be played at the end of this month.


OCTOBER 2013
Handling Match Pressure

Many players look great and move well on the tennis court. However, as soon as they get into a match, they tighten up. A friendly game of tennis can reinforce self confidence and self esteem. Fear, such as fear failure or embarrassment, etc can also serve a good purpose. These fears can motivate to practice harder, increase your concentration and focus. Try to turn your fear into motivation and the pressure you feel into an opportunity for success.


SEPTEMBER 2013
Shot selection
-keep it simple!

The principle of having only two choices is called binary focus. The advice for tennis players at any level: keep shot selection simple and be as consistent as possible. Narrow your choices to one or two options and be decisive with your intentions.


AUGUST 2013
Perception and Anticipation

Tennis is a sport that contains an infinite # of variables on every shot. The key lies in preparation, being in the right place at the right time. Getting in position requires footwork (last month’s tip) but also requires a head start which is anticipation. Lack of time is always an issue. Seeing the ball off your opponent’s racquet or atleast before it bounces on your side of the net will help you prepare early and be a better player.


JULY 2013
Footwork Skills

Racquet preparation is very important BUT if you are not in good position to hit the ball, early racquet prep will not matter. Footwork requires good physical conditioning, quick feet, strength and speed. Repetitively shadowing getting into the correct position, combining “happy feet” or “tire” drill types of footwork exercises will help in getting your feet in the proper position more often.


JUNE 2013
Stroke Mechanics

Whether practicing on your own or taking a lesson, stroke mechanics should be broken down into 3 steps. Blocked means repetition-one stroke over and over. Serial is repetitively practicing your shots in combination. Random means just that, no set pattern. This is most similar to a game environment. Master these steps in order as they are the building blocks of strong fundamentals.


MAY 2013
"PREPARING FOR THE OUTDOOR SEASON"

Having your equipment ready is half the battle. Get your racquet restrung just a bit tighter for more control outside in all the elements. Have a hat, sunglasses and a visor ready to help with sun and to tame hair. Sunscreen should be applied atleast one half hr prior to play. Hydrate before and definitely bring water for the match. When a match lasts longer than 1.5hrs an electrolite replacement drink like Gatorade is beneficial as well as a banana or perhaps some nuts for a healthy snack. Dress in loose, light weight and light colored garb to stay cool. Bring an extra outfit or shirt to change into after the match. Post match stretching aids in cool down and better prepares you for the next match.



OCTOBER 2012
”SLICE ”

Today’s game is dominated by power so finess shots become crucial to handle that pace. Slice shots may be used for several reasons: changing the pace of the rally, returning serve, approach and also defense. The slice should be executed with firmness, yet feel, and should not be used for power, but for control. A lesson with Jen will sharpen up your slice.

 


 

SEPTEMBER 2012
"THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIN”

Spin is a very important aspect of the game. Whether we talk about underspin or topspin it’s a factor that expands tactical options. Spin is used to change the pace and height of the ball during the point, which adds greater versatility to the shots. It’s also the main way to control powerful shots. Different shots require different amounts and types of spins, but it can be said that “spin” is the controller of the strokes. Set up your lesson with Jen to work on these spins



AUGUST 2012 “SPEED,AGILITY AND QUICKNESS”
Tennis is a game of movement that involves the interrelated components of speed,agility and quickness. Players need to master these skills to perform at a high level. Quickness is the first step that involves an explosive first step. Speed refers to how fast players can cover those first 4-7 meters to get to the ball after the first step. Agility implies the ability to change direction quickly while maintaining good balance and control .It’s about recovery and the ability to explode back into position for the next shot.


 

JULY 2012  ”FOOTWORK”
Tennis is a game of footwork and movement.You may have great racquet skills but if you’re unable to get to the ball in time you can’t hit it properly. A tennis player must be able to quickly move in various directions while maintaining good balance. Since the variety of in coming balls is typically very broad, it’s important to keep the feet constantly moving to be able to get a quick start and get behind the ball. Adjusting the feet before and after the shot is key to a good setup and recovery. The speed of today’s game makes the recovery as important as the setup. Set up a lesson with Jen to improve your footwork.


 

JUNE 2012  ”COMPETITION”
Competition is an unavoidable and everywhere; it’s a part of our lives on and off the court.The goal for developing a good competitive attitude is not simply to win but to improve skills,to become better than yesterday and to do our absolute best. A “winning at all costs” approach will tempt you to cheat and do thing you shouldn’t do. The healthy way of competing is to learn to savor the moment/stay in the zone and love the battle.

 


 

MAY 2012  ”CONCENTRATION”
Concentration plays a huge role in tennis. Lack of it leads to poor performance and bad losses.

Concentration does not only imply channeling one’s mental focus but also the ability to control one’s emotions such as nervousness, anger, fear, etc.

It’s an ability to control the direction and attention of thoughts and focus on the task at hand. Good concentration involves narrowing one’s focus to his shots and technical skills, tactical decision making and the ability to block out any surrounding distractions for an extended period of time, such as a long rally or match.

 


 

October 2011
Tennis is a game of quick movements and direction changes. The “split step” is essential to be successful. It is a quick hop, that upon landing enables the player to change direction and move to the next ball. Timing is crucial- the split step should happen right before the opponent makes contact with the ball. Remember, think: split and move on, not split and plant.

September 2011
Holding serve in doubles doesn’t just fall on the server’s shoulders. Here are a few things that the net partner can do to help win the game.

  • Position yourself in the middle of the box-not too close to the net
  • When poaching, lead w/the racquet and try to cut the angle by moving toward the net strap
  • Don’t stop poaching after a few missed balls-keep the pressure on the receiver
  • Always be “ready” and aggressive
  • Get into the “head” of the receiver, by moving a lot and poaching the first few games

August 2011
When selecting a shot, balance is key. When you are “off balance”-do not go for a big shot but hit a defensive shot to gain time and get back into position.
“In balance”, means the player has time to stop and hit the ball with more accuracy for a more aggressive/attacking shot.
An “ideal-balance” situation would be moving to a short ball under control, getting into position and hitting a winner or forcing a weak shot for an easy approach or volley put away.
Staying in control means good balance!

July 2011
Spin is your friend! When you are able to consistently produce spin you show good ball control. Topspin and slice or underspin are the two types generally used.
Topspin is generated with the racquet faced closed and a low to high swing(the more exaggerated the face close and swing determines the amount of spin). This causes the ball to to arc over the net and drop down into the court with a forward spin and higher bounce.
Slice is achieved with a more open racquet face and a high to low swing. This produces a spin that causes the ball to skid on the court, resulting in a lower bounce.
Try to incorporate both to keep your opponent off balance!

June 2011
Do you often find yourself losing the first few games because you’re slow to warm up?? Next time plan to arrive 15 min early for the match, using that time to loosen your muscles with a few jumping jacks or a slow jog around the facility and also a bit of stretching-this will get blood flowing and oxygen to the brain. Once on court, plan to use all your shots in the warm up period. Include first and second serves as well as other shots and strokes that you plan to use throughout the match. Now that you’re physically ready, don’t forget to focus and get your “head”in the game!

May 2011
Getting in shape for the outdoor season involves aerobic and anerobic conditioning. Aerobic activity includes longer duration and steady paced movements. Anerobic includes high-intensity, short duration events.
Tennis is an anerobic sport as it requires sprinting, stopping, changing directions and explosive movements. Aerobic conditioning,however is also very important to aid in recovery between points and to last through long matches.
Try to incorporate both types of training along with some strength conditioning, to be in the best tennis shape going forward…

 


 

October 2010
Communication is the key

Communication between partners is a critical part of doubles.By talking, players have a better sense of where their partner is moving, anticipate the next shot and how to best execute a winning strategy.Whether through signals or verbally, good communication is the key to a successful duo.

September 2010
Movement

A quick first step is essential to reaching an incoming ball. Getting there early ensures a good set up to properly hit the ball with direction. It’s important to work on footwork in practice to work on an explosive first step to move with speed and also a quick recovery for the next shot.

August 2010
Hydration

Thirst is not a good indicator of hydration levels.It’s important to drink before the match, during changeovers and also post match. Sports drinks contain carbs and can replace sodium lost through sweat during an especially long match.Otherwise good ol’ water is just fine.

July 2010
playing on clay

Tennis is one of the few sports where there are various surfaces. Clay takes patience and consistency. Hitting behind your opponent is smart as traction can be dicey. Learning to slide can increase court coverage. Shot variety:drop shots, slice and lobs are more effective.Yay-clay!!

June 2010
Good sportsmanship

We play tennis because it’s supposed to be fun-nobody likes a sore loser. On court behavior says a lot about character on and off the court. Congratulate good shots and no gloating or sulking.Oh yeah, and hopping over the net to shake hands is now considered out of vogue.

May 2010
The importance of flexibility

Flexibility is important for on court performance. A good range of motion can get you to the ball comfortably and also keeps injuries at bay. Proper stretching before , loosens muscles and warms up the body for the intensity of the match. Post match stretching keeps muscles from tightening up and peventing stiffness.
 


OCTOBER 2009
Give them a different look.

Opponent having a great serving day? Try moving up or back a bit or change your stance to make them hit their weaker serve. On the big points, shifting your position can add pressure and lead to their mistakes.

SEPTEMBER 2009
Be a better mover around the court.

Never be flat footed and try to anticipate your opponents shots. Get a jump on their next move by reading the angle of the racquet face and the height coming over the net.Try to compute this before the ball bounces on your side


AUGUST 2009:
Game plans are not etched in stone.

Lose the first set? Stay calm and evaluate whether your game plan is bad or your execution is poor. You may have to alter strategies or shot selection to reverse the outcome.


JULY 2009:
Disguise a weakness:

Nobody’s perfect. Poor second serve? Take pace off the 1st serve and strive for 8 out of 10 in play. Weak backhand? Don’t go for anything, but just get a few in play to build confidence-then try to run around it and hit forehands.


JUNE 2009

In doubles:
try poaching off your partners return of serve. Look for returns that land down the middle or directly at the server. Keep your racquet head up and in front of you.


MAY 2009
Transitioning to the outdoors.
The elements require better preparation, footwork and intently watching the ball,(especially when changing surfaces). The serving toss can be altered to help w/wind and sun.




2008 TIPS

DOUBLES Doubles is a challenging yet social game.  The team that plays the percentages will have the best chance to perform well consistently.  Understand the basics of doubles and apply them to your game.

OCTOBER - CHANGE A LOSING GAME, NEVER CHANGE A WINNING GAME
Learn to change your game to do what it takes to win the match

SEPTEMBER - THE TEAM COMMITTING THE FEWEST ERRORS WINS
It's not the winners that win matches, it's error free play.

AUGUST - IF IN DOUBT, LOB!
It can be your best defense against aggressive play.  It can also help to eliminate errors.

JULY - KEEP THE BALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COURT
The net is lower there and it takes away the angle of your opponents 

JUNE - STRIVE FOR CONSISTENT RETURNS
Get all returns back into play. Don't give points away with your return errors. Treat returns with the same care as you normally do with second serves. 

MAY - THE BETTER SERVER SERVES FIRST
Your team needs to get off to a good start and if the set is close, this allows the better server to help your team win in the end.

 


 


 


 

Court Status: CLOSED for the season. Thank you & please join us in 2018 for our 65th season

 

 Courts closed daily  1:30-2:30 for  grooming or  maintenance


 


EVENTS

Doubles Mixers
Every Sun. in Oct.
10/1, 10/8, 10/15, 10/22, 10/29

Kids Regular & Green Dot Ball Instructional Match Play
Sat 10/7

Adult Drill Session
Wed 10/11

Kids Regular & Green Dot Instructional Match Play
Sat 10/21

Annual Meeting
Tue 10/24

Kids Hit Around
& Games

Sat 10/28

 See Details


  ACTIVITIES

Morning Doubles Round Robins
Mon/Wed/Fri
8 am & 9:30 am

Evening Doubles Round Robin
Tuesday
6 pm

Junior Clinics
(click on See Details below)

 

 See Details...