Funny Business

When you watch a tennis match on TV, it’s obvious that the players take the sport very seriously. When I play, I show very little emotion. I don’t get overly upset about bad shots and I rarely ever smile when I win a point.

It’s all about getting into a rhythm and not allowing yourself to break the rhythm. BUT there are times that it does happen. Check out the clip below of some of the pros loosening up…


Buggy Whip, Mis-hit, Shank

You just received a shot that is in the perfect position to be put away. So what do you do? You wind up and are ready to kill it, but instead of taking advantage of the easy shot, you hit it wide or into the net. Sound familiar?

I have done it more times than I can count, and I am sure that if you have ever played tennis so have you. While they may not do it often, the pros also hit the ball badly from time to time.

So what do you call a ball that you meant to hit in but went three courts down instead? Here are a few terms used for balls that are hit badly:

  • Buggy whip – a forehand hit with a follow-through that does not go across the body and finish on the opposite side, but rather goes from low to high and finishes on the same side (similar to the driver of a horse drawn carriage whipping a horse).
  • Mis-hit – a stroke in which the racket fails to make contact with the ball in the “sweetspot” area of the strings.
  • Shank – a significantly misdirected shot, the result of hitting the ball in an unintentional manner, typically with the frame of the racket. Such shots typically go very high in the air, go into the stands or an adjacent court, and/or land far outside the lines. However, it is possible to hit a shank that lands validly in the court.

Like I said, the pros do it too so take a look at this video and you will feel much better about any buggy whip, mis-hit or shank you have ever hit.

The Tweener Shot

One shot that never ceases to amaze me is the between the legs shot aka “the tweener.” I have tried the shot before and failed miserably. To pull it off successfully takes some skill.

Here are some crucial steps in successfully completing the shot (sadly I do not know these from experience:

  • First you must run down a ball that has sailed over your head
  • Then you must catch at the right height before it has either bounced to high or dropped too low
  • Next you must get your feet wide enough apart to be able to hit the ball without hitting your legs while successfully sending it between them
  • And finally, you must do this all while looking cool

Easy enough right? Of course the pros make it look easy, but as for the average player like myself, an attempt at this shot would most likely lead to the ball flying nowhere in the court or entirely missing the ball.

Watch as the pros show how it is done.

Tennis Tirades

Have you ever had a ball called out that you thought was good during a match? Well if you haven’t, let me tell you that thinking you are being cheated out of a point can throw off your entire game and for some, it can lead to an outburst on the court.

Every player handles this differently. Some (like myself) don’t say anything at all and hope that the bad call was a mistake that will not happen again.

Others politely ask “are you sure?” hoping that the the call will be changed in their favor.

And then there are some who can’t contain their anger and take it out on whoever they believe to be at fault.

Take a look at theses terrible tirades over the years…

I understand that in any competitive sport, players are going to get upset over what they see as bad calls, but does that mean it’s acceptable to yell, use obscene language, scream, call others names, and throw things? Are kids playing youth sports allowed to do this? Absolutely not.

A bad call is extremely frustrating, but there is a classy way to handle it and that does not include yelling or screaming.

Ball Boys and Girls

I have always been a little bit envious of the pros in that you never see them chasing down a mis-hit ball. Instead, you see a ball boy or girl dart across the court and snatch up the ball at speeds faster than you expected.

While they are not a part of a pick-up game of tennis, they definitely play a silent but significant role in pro tennis. As a child, I always thought it would be “cool” to be the ball girl at Wimbledon. Little to my dismay that never happened, but I have always wondered what the kids have to do to become a ball boy or girl so I did a little research and found this…

I had no idea such rigorous training went in to becoming a ball boy and girl. Five months of training seems a little bit over the top, but the ball boys and girls that I have seen over the years have been quite impressive.

Even though the training looks intense, I think I would have had what it took to be a ball girl. Are you ball ball boy or girl material?