Chess in the news
Written by Macklin Reid
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
There are chess pieces on the cover of Greg Moran’s new book Tennis Doubles Beyond Big Shots. What’s inside isn’t just instruction. It’s a philosophy, a way of seeing tennis as a game where strategy, angles, positioning, patience and discipline can overcome speed, strength, power — big shots.
“Contrary to popular belief, tennis is a game of errors,” Moran said. “Eighty-five percent of the time, a point ends with an error. What differentiates the level of play is the kinds of errors being made.
“There is no debate, tennis is a game of errors, yet what does everybody want to learn to do?” added Moran. “They want to learn to hit winners — something that happens less than 15% of the time.
“Most players can play at a level to two levels above where they are — with the shots they have now,” he said. “Certainly, you always want to work on your strokes. But I feel that players don’t spend enough time learning the strategies of the game: Where to hit the ball, where to position yourself based on where you hit the ball, how to combine shots to break the other team down.”
Moran is the director of tennis at Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, where he’s taught for 28 years. For 17 summers he was head tennis professional at Silver Spring Country Club in Ridgefield. He’s a 1977 Weston High School graduate.
Smarter tennis means quick improvement, Moran promises.
“The advice in this book will make people better tennis players the next time they step on the court,” he said.
The book is sometimes blunt. “…‘Hit big to win big’ more often than not translates into ‘hit big to lose quickly,’ ” he writes, “…players walk onto the court perpetually locked and loaded, and proceed to fire away at the first opportunity. Their points are short, boring and their matches frequently deteriorate into a race to see which team can commit enough errors to lose first … We’re going to teach you how to minimize your errors, construct points and lure your opponents into point ending mistakes.”
The book has diagrams of plays and drills, and “Words from the Wise” — brief boxed tips from a variety of pros: “Coaching legend Nick Bollettieri says ‘Never try for a winner on your first volley. Your objective should be accurate placement … The object of the first volley is to set up a second, easier volley.’ ”
Moran’s first book, Tennis Beyond Big Shots, focused on singles play. The doubles book is a collaboration with his wife, Kelley Moran, a college tennis Hall of Famer. The two played and met at Rollins College in Florida. Since 1981 they’ve been teaching at Four Seasons.
Working on the book together was easy, like playing mixed doubles, teaching, raising two kids together, she said: “We’re soul mates. We just complement each other.”
Their son, Michael Moran, works in the USTA’s film department and put together the book’s accompanying DVD. The book and DVD are available through Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com and may be ordered at local bookstores. It can also be purchased at Four Seasons Racquet Club on Route 7 in Wilton.