Monday, February 8, 2010

Hitting with our old (as in past) coach Edy Kapur

My son and I went to Sports Club LA in NYC on the east side on Friday night to catch up with our old coach Edy (from 86th Street and Sports Club LA days)...It was really great to see him back on the court after a recent illness. I drilled with him for awhile, drilling him on a combination of on the ball and ghosting, gruelling drills, but I wanted to see what he thought of the drill sets. He worked up quite a sweat and was hitting the ball extremely well. It was great for me because, while these drills are good for all levels, the higher the level the more demanding on the feeder to hit good shots and not hit loose balls and certainly not tin the ball. I think he liked the drills and I didn't tin more than a couple in a 25 minute stint. Next he showed me a great drill of his own that I used on my students all weekend long where the feeder from either back on the forehand or backhand boasts the ball, the striker must boast the ball from the front of the court to the opposite side and strike a rail back to the feeder. This should be continuous and, according to Edy, it helps players build up strength in their quadreceps for lunging and getting lower to the ball. My students loved it and one of my more talented students, William Chu, immediately saw how he didn't have the proper distance to the ball to really strike a good rail. He started to get it and towards the end was hitting some nice rails.
My son then showed up and drilled a bit more with Edy before they played a match. My son hasn't beaten Edy and both players were a bit rusty from lack of match play. But it kicked into high gear midway through the first game when there were some really nice rallies. Edy has such a great back court game, especially on the forehand, where he takes the ball so early and puts a nice pace onto some very tight shots. I especially love his half vollies and sometimes vollies from near around his foot. I noticed that Edy has developed some front court game as well, hitting some backhand drops from the backcourt that hadd my son scurrying to cover them, which he didn't (need to fix that). In the third game as they were tied 1-1, my son went up 8-3 after a long rally. Edy seemed on the verge of just stepping over the edge into defeat, but man, this guy is ferocious, a perfect gentleman off the court, but a fierce competitor on the court. You could sense my son was about to pull away and then you could see my son let up and Edy caught his second wind and clawed back to even the score at 8-8. Just a gutsy game. Edy then went to the slower pace and started throwing in some reverses and volley drops and kept the ball coming from different angles on the court. Imagine your a hitter and you've been facing a fastball for 7 innings and then in the 8th inning you face a big curve or changeup, it throws you off. My son started tinning, his rhythm was now off. Edy came back and took the third game. The fourth game was almost a forgone conclusion, my son tinned about 9 of the points...good match for a bit, but my son just lost focus when he should have picked up the pace and gone in for the kill. This week will be better, I think, because both have something to prove, one that it wasn't a fluke he won the other player that it was a fluke. Some disagreement over some calls, particularly one where my son played a forehand drop from the service box, there was contact, and Edy called for a let. I was refereeing and said no let, the play was in front not to the side, so there was no block. Edy had played my son and not the ball -- interesting that some club members were watching and all agreed it was a let...but none of them could explain why it was a let, just simply the contact seemed to be enough for them.
It was great to hit on those courts, really nice floors, my knees and legs felt great. The LA Fitness courts have no padding under the floors so they are very hard floors where your knees and back take some punishment.
BTW my son's game, while riddled with tins, was really nice, he was cutting the ball off, moving it around and when he is sharp he will be tough to beat. He has worked hard on this complete game, front, mid and back court. His volleying off the backhand while a bit eradict during the match isn't in practice, he's added this to his game. Plus, a little head fake let Edy searching in the whitewall abyss for that ball.

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