By Doug Wenger, USPTA
Are you wondering (a) what is a whetstone?…and (2) what does a whetstone have to do with building a winning tennis game? You are soon going to find out!
If you are like me, you have kitchen drawer or toolbox that contains some dull knives. In my case, I have a knife that won’t even cut a peeled banana! I either live with its limited function or I sharpen it! But how do I sharpen it you ask? That is where the whetstone comes in. A whetstone is used to sharpen knives and makes them perform better.
Just like a knife that can become dull, as tennis players we sometimes find our tennis skills becoming “dull” and losing their edge – and not as “sharp” as they need to be. One way to “sharpen” your game is to play some tournaments in addition to your league, PCT, lessons and other tennis activities.
Playing tournaments can help you build more confidence and consistency while taking your game to new levels. The WRRFC as well as the USTA offers tournament play throughout the year and across the region that will help you improve your results. Just recently, the WRRFC started a circuit of NTRP doubles tournaments for men, women, and mixed. These are excellent avenues to sharpen your skills and broaden your on-court experience. Check at the WRRFC desk for the next tournament circuit event at our club.
Tournament play will also help your game as it introduces new variables into match situations. These may include playing on unfamiliar courts and against new opponents – requiring you to make adjustments and develop new strategies “on the fly”. Off court, some tournaments offer food and hospitality, perhaps a player gift or other amenities. Tournaments are offered within the NEO District, across the Midwest Section and beyond – offering both NTRP and age-division play. These events may offer singles, doubles and mixed divisions. These events are typically held during weekends and some are even one-day events. Many tournament directors are receptive to working with you regarding the scheduling of your first match. Some locations are desirable family destinations so there is something for the whole family to enjoy beyond the tennis.
I have found tournament play to be energizing, social, a lot of fun, as well as serving as my “tennis whetstone” – helping me stay “sharp”. Tournament play will help you be ready when it comes time to play in the League playoffs, important League matches, or even when playing your friends for who buys lunch!
Most of these tournaments can be found on the TennisLink system. I am happy to help you find tournaments that work with your schedule and that will help you improve your game. There are some great events within a reasonable drive. Please feel free to reach out to me at WRRFC or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to start yourself on a path to even more improvement!