Don’t get me started about the displeasures of Toronto. Don Valley Parkway and the Commute in General, High Prices for Housing, Food, Car Insurance, Maple Leaf Tickets etc, etc. No none of that negativity in this story. Rather here is praise for the network of Community Centres in Toronto. Specifically I would like to cite Don Montgomery Community Centre and the Fall to Spring Indoor Tennis scheduled there.
Tennis from Fall to Spring
Now Don Montgomery supports a host of activities enabled by a dozen meeting rooms, a large dance hall with mini-stage, an indoor ice rink plus a basketball and volleyball gym. It is the latter, the basketball courts with uplifted backboards converted to two tennis courts that is the subject of this story.
Of course there are Winter Tennis court scattered throughout Toronto. But their costs for one hour of tennis vary from $40 to $120/hour. And therein lies the bind. And given that Don Montgomery has two courts available for free on Tuesday and Thursday from 1:15 to 3:15PM is a definite source of attraction. But another compelling reason is the friendly and comfortable group of tennis buffs that come throughout the winter to trip the light tennis fantastic. And I have visual proofs.
Above are the Don Montgomery tennis courts. Note the basketball nets have been lifted up well out of way of all but the most errant of shots. The courts marking are clear but as it turns out the court direct ahead in the photo is wider tan the second court by about 3 feet. No matter – players adjust. Also the walls are about close to the courts- so the house rule is that shots too close to the wall have to be retaken
Also the lighting is such that we have to play with red or deep orange tennis balls or the balls can literally disappear into the background. Finally all the players agree the tile surface is some what like grass – it accelerates smash bounces and exaggerates shots with spin. So the courts reward good tennis skills.
Next comes the group of tennis players. The following line-up of professional mugshots shows 1)a number of senior players [one gal is 84 and an avid player]; and 2) an amiable group with a great sense of humor and fun to be had on the courts.
As in outdoor tennis , service is vital at Don Montgomery. Curoiusly the lighting and close walls can knock the players off their serve game I have seen not a few cases of the Sharapova Yips strike otherwise good tennis players. Here is a Service Sampler:
But the consensus among Done Montgomery tennis players is that a high toss makes all the difference in delivering good serves. Do we have proof here? There is power!
Now all I and Maria have to do is master a consistent high toss on serve.
Return of Serve
My next tennis nemesis is a consistent backhand.First lets look at how to do it. Good racket preparation, swift movement, and level approach with eyes on the ball.
Next, here are some of the backhand renditions to be seen at Don Montgomery:
Now perhaps you can see why Roger Federer, StanWawrinka and Richard Gasquet are the most admired tennis players among the Don Montgomery tennis crew.
Now repeat after me the following tennis wisdom – racket preparation; racket preparation and focus on the ball; racket preparation, focus on the ball and step into the shot to hit it early. Simple. Lets see how the Don Montgomery crew do on our forehand guidelines:
Looks darn good to me! Clearly there is good racket preparation, a distinct focus on the incoming tennis ball and a step forward to strike the forehand earlier and with body motion/momentum.
Now lets see how other Don Montgomery tennis players do on their forehands:
Not too bad. Some, if not all 3 forehand must-dos. But this kind of play produces some long rallies, with a lob shot or angled return required to win the point. Which brings me to the best part of The Don Montgomery tennis gang. The picture below says it all:
This is Kathy taking a bow after a fine cross court winner. And the watchers had cheered the shot. In fact, this is the fun of tennis at Don Montgomery – long rallies get ohhs and ahhs from the gallery. And great shots get cheers. You just have to love this kind of tennis.