Last time I posted it was the summer, now all of a sudden the nights have drawn in and it is dark already as I type this. Racketlon activity has been thin on the ground from a personal point of view since the English Open back in August. Despite being a summer sport, club tennis seems to have more fixtures in winter than in summer. That’s not to say nothing has been going on, the British Doubles Championships have taken place, as have the county champs and there is the forthcoming British Open.
It is around this time of year I start planning which events to attend next year so looking forward to seeing the 2012 calendar take shape over the coming weeks and months. Despite being able to play less events than 2010 it has been great, as always, to be involved in Racketlon – met and played some new faces and it is fantastic to see expanded entries at a lot of tournaments. From a ranking point of view sitting inside the top 50 in both the domestic and overall leaderboards is a nice statistic to take into the new season.
Good luck to all those playing at the British Open on 6 November.
I attended the Planacy English Open at the weekend, write up and podium places are available here .
As always the event was a great example of tournament organisation, everything ran to schedule and it was great to see such a high number of entries. From a personal point of view 21 out of 32 in the B class was disappointing on paper. Overall it was 2 wins and 2 defeats, the two defeats coming against regular A class competitors – but it did reinforce the need for my badminton in particular to be more consistent. My two wins both came down to tennis, and it was nice to have the opportunity to play my strongest sport!
A couple of events remain on the UK tour this year although it is likely to be 2012 before my next tournament, a case now of getting back into the routine of regular training and getting fitness levels back up.
[UPDATE]: Forgot to mention, and thanks to Keith for reminding me, video of the event is available on the homepage of English Racketlon
I wrote previously about “Winning Ugly” by Brad Gilbert which is an excellent read for any sportsperson, and in particular those who play tennis regularly. Recently I picked up a copy of “Bounce” by ex-England table tennis player Matthew Syed. Having read it through cover to cover I would recommend this to anyone who plays sport, watches sport or indeed has any sort of interest in psychology and inherited personality traits.
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Having not been in a tournament for a few months was more than happy to come back from the heart of the Black Country with a 3rd place in the mens B and thereby achieving my highest number of rankiing points in a single competition. A word first though on the venue and the organisation both of which were more than excellent. All the matches ran on time (if not early), very little queuing, superb facilities and very friendly David Lloyd staff. It also made a massive difference that all the courts were close by with no treks out to far flung sports halls, it all helped to create a good tournament atmosphere. All of the above contributed massively to a great British Championships……
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Lancashire Open takes place this weekend, unfortunately family reunion prevents me from going but it would be great to see the entries take off – still plenty of space at the event…. There have been lots of requests for more northern events (from me included) so it would be great to see numbers fill up.
The upcoming British Champs in May are being held in Dudley, West Midlands – fully intend to attend that event – and great to have another event in the Midlands. Hopefully with events taking place across a wider area then the sport can continue to attract new players and keep the numbers growing.
The number of members/participants is important in any sport, my local tennis club has seen a slight but consistent downturn in senior members over the last two to three years. To a degree the generally worsening economic climate has had an impact on this, but also I feel the sheer number of different sports people can partake in also has an impact. In Nottingham alone there are highly active clubs for amongst others; dragon boat racing, kick boxing, rowing, climbing – 5-10 years ago these would be have been far less accessible to a lot of people.
I really do foresee a lot of sports clubs closing or merging with others in the coming years, as public sector cuts kick in and membership falls in some places, that said numbers in Racketlon seem to be growing and the year has begun very well in terms of attendance at tournaments.
Here’s hoping the Lancashire event goes well and becomes a permanent fixture on the calendar.
Been a long time coming but finally got back into Racketlon action at the Cambridgeshire Open yesterday. Held at Huntingdon’s ‘One Leisure’ I have to say it was one of the best tournaments in terms of not having to queue for courts and matches running on time. Venue was great, all the courts were in good nick and a full entry in all the categories made for a fantastic event so a massive thank you for everyone involved in running and organising it.
I was satisfied with my personal form on return to action, my first round match ended in defeat to the eventual winner – but was pleased to note that at the end of competition I achieved the best score in defeat to him. The defeat was followed by two good wins, both of which involved tough squash and badminton rubbers and a satisfactory 5th place in B class. With results going the way they did I actually played very little tennis in the day – always a shame when it is your strongest sport, but that said I play enough of it the rest of the year so didn’t miss it too much.
The event did remind me just what I had been missing, despite knowing you will hurt the next day it was great to get back into competition and meet some new faces, I still haven’t played anyone more than once, and I think that was about my eight or ninth tournament. It was also great to see the ladies event near or at capacity, it can only help the sport develop and hopefully attract more new faces over the coming months and years.
The Cambridgeshire Open was a definite good event to break myself back in, albeit my body didn’t feel like it was a good idea when I woke up this morning. Hopefully the result I achieved should push me back up into the top 50, and am looking to more points at Hertfordshire Open and British Championships in April and May respectively. Until then it is back to training….
Full details of 2011 tour as it stands can be found here
UPDATE: Full list of Cambridgeshire Racketlon open results here
For any racket sport player and fan I would strongly recommend Brad Gilbert’s “Winning Ugly”. Brad Gilbert was a successful tennis player in his own right. Certainly never a classic or entertaining player to watch, but he made the most of his limited resources to win a lot of matches, and had a reputedly for taking down higher ranked players than himself. The book focuses on his tips and techniques for getting the most from yourself.
Whilst the book focuses on tennis, and indeed mostly singles, a vast majority of it can be applied to any of the four major racket sports. A lot of the advice seems simple and obvious but you would be surprised when you look at yourself honestly just how much of the obvious things you don’t do.
Where the book excels is in the mental approach to the game and there are excellent pieces on evaluating your weaknesses and strengths and applying them against your opponents. For people who play Racketlon I think it is a fantastic book to read, after all in your weaker sports it is all about making sure you grind out those vital points.
Gilbert applied his successes to career coaching, he achieved great success with Andre Agassi, and to a lesser degree with Andy Murray.
The book has been out a while, so no doubt you can pick it up quite cheaply. Stick it on that list for Santa – happy reading.