For someone who has never played tennis, getting started was daunting. Thankfully, I was in the good hands of Mandarin Oriental KL, which now offers world-renowned Peter Burwash International (PBI) tennis classes – the first of its kind in Malaysia. These sessions are tailored to each individual’s abilities and desired goals, hence allowing them to develop their own unique styles of playing.
Angel Gyorgievski is PBI’s appointed coach here in the hotel, and easily made me fall in love with the sport with his positive energy and genuine interest in helping me reach my full potential — while having a little fun along the way.
Having only gone through a three-day crash course, it’s probably way too early to know if I’m going to be the next Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova. But I’m glad that I picked up some basic skills — such as doing a decent serve — and enjoyed myself in the process. If you’re planning to try your hand at the sport, here are 3 tips and tricks to get you started.
#1 Get a grip (of your racquet that is)
The first thing one will need to master is how to hold the racquet properly, which will help in achieving maximum control and power on the court. For beginners, I’d recommend holding the racquet at the top of the grip. Gyorgievski frequently reminded me to loosen my grip on the racquet, as there was no need to strain my muscles by holding on too tight. According to him, players’ muscles will wear out faster that way, and risk a higher chance of injury.
#2 Don’t whack the ball
As tempting as it is to smash a ball like they do in the US Open, it’s best to hit lightly when you’re first starting out, because it gives you more control of where you want your ball to go. During my classes, I often panicked and hit the ball too hard, sending it flying off the court or bouncing off umbrellas. Which meant I also had to run further to pick up the balls — oops!
#3 Train your stamina, balance and reflexes
Once I got my volleying techniques down pat, we moved onto the real challenge — drills to hone my reflexes, balance and stamina. What’s great about these tennis lessons is that they’re not just packed with boring repetitive exercises, but also train other aspects of one’s physical capabilities to enhance the overall sporting experience. Be prepared to sweat, though. You’ll be running from different ends of the court and dodging tennis balls from all directions.
Here are some last words of advice: Keep your knees bent, feet nimble and ready to pounce!
Reserve your spot at +60 (3) 2179 8733 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Private or group sessions are available for both adults and children.
Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur.