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Serve With A Purpose – Playing With Advanced Tennis Players

Serve With A Purpose – Playing With Advanced Tennis Players

Playing with my good friend Pierre! We recently posted a guide for selecting racquets for beginners. See the article here.


I’ll admit, most of the time when I play tennis, I try to blast my first serve in as hard as I can. After all, it’s fun to hit fast serves when everything is going well.  I usually get so wrapped up in trying to hit a hard serve that I don’t think about direction at all. My only goal is to hit it in the service box with a lot of pace.

Last week during a doubles match, I was playing with my very good friend Pierre, the owner of Sportystation, on the ad side of the court. One of our opponents served wide to my backhand each time during the first game. This was incredibly effective, as I was struggling to return the serve back crosscourt. Most of my returns were getting picked off by the net player. My opponent easily held serve.

The next time he was up to serve again, he went right back to the backhand side. This pattern continued throughout the night. As I grew frustrated with his partner picking off my returns, I tried hit the ball harder and at a sharper angle. This only led to errors. The most surprising part about this match was that this particular opponent has a monster serve.

Yet, he chose to reduce the pace and place it wide each time. My first thought was “why aren’t you crushing your serves at me?”. There’s nothing more satisfying than feeling a huge serve come off the racquet face just right!

But the effectiveness with which he was winning points by simply placing the ball in the right spot made me second guess my whole serve strategy. The thing my opponent realized was that I’m pretty good at returning fast serves that are hit at my body or to my forehand side, but I struggle with even moderate pace serves hit extremely wide to my backhand.

He also knew that it’s much more difficult to hit a huge serve with perfect placement. So rather than go for extreme pace, he turned it down a bit and went for accuracy. The lesson that I took from this match was that I need to think about more than just pace when I step up to the line to serve.

game plan

I need to have a gameplan each time! If my opponent struggles with any type of pace, then I don’t really need to worry about serve placement as much. I should try to get the ball in with a good amount of pace. However if my opponent is good at returning heavy serves, I need to have a different plan.

Does my opponent struggle with the backhand return? Then I need to place the ball to their backhand side consistently.

Does he stand flat-footed when I serve?  Perhaps I should try to serve into his body.

Is he cheating over to the left or right when he lines up for the return? Maybe I need to hit the ball to the other side.

Is my opponent shorter? If I have a strong kick serve than I might be able to kick the ball up out of his strike zone.

I’ve also played opponents who have no trouble returning a heavy serve to either side, as they simply block it back into play. But if I hit a soft second serve, the unforced errors start to pile up. These players have a tough time generating their own pace on the ball.

The more effective play just might be to hit slower serves during the entire match. The main point to remember is that there is more to a good service game than simply being able to hit the ball hard.

It’s much more important to figure out what my opponent struggles with and try to exploit it.  And this may mean turning down the serve a bit so that I can hit my spots consistently.

TI-82 Graphing Calculator – Old but Still A Reliable Calculator

ti83 review

The TI-82 graphing calculator from Texas Instruments contains tables, data modeling and many other great features. Its interface is simple to understand and easy to use. As such, it’s an excellent choice for new users who don’t have much experience with advanced calculators.

Useful features

The commands are all grouped in a way that makes sense and are very easy to access. The menus aren’t layered in a complex way as they are on many other graphic calculators. One problem that more experienced users may find is that the TI-82 graphic calculator doesn’t have string and conversion capabilities. This may not be a big issue for some users—that is, if they don’t need to convert from one unit to another.

It does, however, have plenty of advanced features that will come in handy for any type of user such as graphing abilities, advanced equation solving and statistical analysis capabilities. The TI-82 has all the features anybody could ask for when it comes to graphing and solving mathematical problems. If this old but gold calculator isn’t enough for your needs, try to read this top graphing calculator article.

great calculator for math

Here are some of the reasons why you should consider getting the TI-82 graphing calculator:

  • It contains an eight-line x 16 character display.
  • You will be able to store up to 10 functions.
  • Up to 10 functions can be graphed simultaneously.It has constant memory.
  • It’s programmable.
  • It can compute roots, integrals, derivatives and values of a function.
  • Graphical zoom features.
  • It has up to 14 digit accuracy.
  • The high screen is 94 pixels wide by 82 pixels high.
  • It can display tables of functions, showing both inputs and outputs.
  • It can handle matrix operations.
  • Its screen can be projected onto an overhead.It has the ability to work with histograms, regression equations and scatter diagrams.

One great thing about the TI-82 is that it only takes AA batteries. Users won’t have to worry about going through a lot of trouble getting the batteries replaced, as they can do it themselves. This calculator also has 28.2 K bytes of memory, giving students a lot of room in which to store formulas and equations. The memory maybe not enough for some users, if that is the case I suggest get the TI-84 Plus CE, read the review here.

ti82 back


It’s also one very amazing calculator in terms of input and output lists. Students who normally struggle in math and/or science classes will find that TI-82 calculators will make things a lot easier for them. This impressive device will allow for students to create 3D graphs and derive plot points all at the push of a couple of buttons.

Teachers will usually take the time to help students use advanced calculators to solve math problems.  There are also instruction guides available for download on the internet. TI-82 calculators are very affordable. New and used ones both can be ordered online or on amazon for less! They are ideal for inexperienced users, although advanced users will gain a lot from using them as well.

Rational Functions and Other Essential Functions

Part two of the Essential Functions series examines power, trigonometric and rational functions. Power functions have the form of x^a, where a can be any real number. This part of the video series examines cases 2 (a between 0 and 1) and case 3 (a less than 0). The first case is examined in part 1.

The power functions are graphed for each case to visualise the power relationship. Case 3 functions will create infinite discontinuities (asymptotes). Rational functions are formed by the division of two polynomial functions; P(x) and Q(x). Infinite discontinuities will occur wherever Q(x)=0.

This is because any number divided by 0 is essentially infinite. Vertical asymptotes will form wherever the bottom of the function is nothing. The number of discontinuities depends on the order of Q(x). Trigonometric functions have been studied in algebra but will be needed for future calculus studies.

Sine, cosine, and tangent functions are periodic. Sin(x) and Cos(x) have a period of 2*pi whereas tan(x) has a period of pi. Sin(x) looks like a shifted version of Cos(x), they are essentially the same but are 90 degrees out of phase. The range of sine and cosine is between -1 and 1. The range of the tangent function is the whole real number set. The trigonometric functions are graphed so that they can be visualized and memorized. Until next lessons guys!