The French Open is on the horizon for players & spectators. We at Newks would love to explore the clay court game and how it can be good for your personal game.
Game style: Aggressive tennis is generally not as effective on clay. Long points, angles and top spin have to become your weapons. Working on these skills will make you better on all surfaces. The epically long rallies at the French Open can inspire!
Footwork: Clay is the best training tool for your feet. You will always have to be ready for the ball to take a bad bounce. This helps form an instinct for continuous footwork. Just remember to adjust your feet, not your stroke, if possible.
Longevity: Your body will love you for playing more on clay. Remember, the Newcombe generation of tennis players mostly played on grass and clay. Your aches and pains won’t hurt as much and you’ll be able to play for many more years.
Mentally speaking: We learn to be more measured on clay. Statistically speaking, rallies are longer on clay. Therefore we must learn to develop points. This could be simulated with Green Dot tennis balls (75% of normal tennis ball compression). If you are thinking about developing a point, you are now inspired to be patient, and work on hitting a more difficult shot for your opponent, as opposed to attempting a winner too often. These decisions help mold and shape our tennis to make us tougher to beat.
We love our clay courts at Newks. They definitely help our guests get through the week. And they are very helpful when the students are training for tournaments.
If you have questions on this or anything else, please do not hesitate to email Chris@newktennis or call 8308327537.
– Chris Jacques
The definition of insanity is to do one thing over and over again to receive the same outcome each time. For some reason, I feel that my life has brought me a whole other way to define the word. My name is Christopher Bale, I am 18 years old and am from Burleson, Texas. I have three older sisters that I look up to and try to match their great achievements, but as I have found in my 18 years, everyone is different. At a young age, the youngest of my sisters decided to give tennis a try as we moved into a new town, and being the annoying younger brother I was (and still am), I followed her there – where I found the passion of my first sport. I fell in love on the court. I found my home when it was just me, a racquet, a ball, and a net – my own very perfect getaway.
As I reached middle school, I joined my first team where I had great wins and even greater losses. That’s where I learned composure and maturity in my actions and words said to others. It’s also where I have found friendship where I would had never thought to look. Some have stood by me since then, and some have faded away, but all have left amazing memories behind. As I reached high school, I decided to drop all other sports and stick to tennis. I was on my way to making all new memories when I was invited to join a group of kids that were going to a tennis camp in New Braunfels. I thought, “Why not take an adventure somewhere new?”
At that age, 14 or 15, I was a very confident young man, but very unsure of my abilities. This place absolutely brought a new light to my eyes, a new kind of positivity that I couldn’t get enough of. I soon began begging my parents to allow me to go back whenever possible and I then found myself there every break I got during the year and even a couple of weeks in the summer. A couple of years passed and I made the decision to advance into the Summer Academy league; it was a whole new world that helped me change into the person I am today. It showed me some of the hardest workouts EVER, but gave me a whole new appreciation for the game and all the aspects that fall into it. As the summer academy came to an end, I received a call from my high school coach during which he told me he would be leaving our team. So, I took a large step and asked my parents about the year-round academy at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch.
It felt like forever before I got the news that I would be starting school at New Braunfels High in August, and I was ecstatic in all ways. There, I was a new kid, but I felt I finally belonged somewhere that everyone shared the same compassion and drive that I had found many years before. There, I also found large challenges, how to keep things together in the hardest situations that have prepared me so much for life. One of the biggest challenges this year was finding a college at which to spend my future years. I sat and talked with the coaches for weeks over the options and what needed to be done in order to get this large goal accomplished. It feels so long ago, but I can remember spending the longest time talking with coaches over the phone and through email that led to longer hours online looking at rosters. I wouldn’t trade that research for anything. When I got a sudden text from a college in Minnesota late one night, I wondered “Why be interested but at such a late time and out of nowhere?” As it turned out, five months later I would be signing to play for them at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
I finally put together the pieces with my large support group of family and friends that stood by me the whole time. I was able to use my insanity for life to find joy, happiness, and the love of something greater than myself. I found a home away from home that I could put all into and receive all the greatest from. Tennis truly is my insanity, but my very own form of it.
– Chris Bale, NEWKIE4LIFE
Chris, Your Newks TEAM-FAMILY-TEAM could not be more proud of you and your accomplishments! We have all enjoyed working with you and watching you develop into the player and person that you are today. Go get ‘em tiger! We love ya, mate! – Newks