Thursday, April 12, 2012

Celebrate! (a little bit)

This fun activity is good for 5-10 minutes of distraction when you need it. Okay so I'm a little torn about this one. Tennis is supposed to be one of those sports where everyone shows restraint, practices good tennis etiquette, minds their manners. And I totally support that and like that aspect of it. But every now and then you have to cut loose. So every now and then, I have a mini-session on Personal Celebrations. I do this for a couple of reasons.
1) my students get a kick out of it
2) many tennis professionals do a little celebration from time to time, and I encourage my students to follow some of the pros to help keep their interest in tennis high. So if they see their favorite pro do a little celebration, and they want to emulate them, 's okay with me.You just have to handle this deftly so it doesn't veer into the Land of Poor Sportsmanship.

I usually have to give my students some choices on how to celebrate. That also is two-pronged:
1) how to celebrate
2) when to celebrate

How to Celebrate
These have gone over well:
The Happy Dance - this is just me doing a lame dance, mostly arms flapping or doing that circular motion that looks like one of Macbeth's witches stirring a cauldron. Usually this results in a few moments of stunned silence while my students try to figure out if they should call for help because I am having some kind of fit. Once I explain this is my Happy Dance and they should do one, too, because they just did something awesome, they seem a little mollified but still really embarrassed for me. Sometimes they try their own little Happy Dance which is always way cuter than mine.
The Fist Pump - a favorite in every sport. If you have not seen this article and comic drawn by Mickey Duzyj about the history of the fist pump in tennis, run don't walk and check it out.
Superheroes - Superman (pretend they are ripping off that confining button-down to reveal the big S on their t-shirt underneath) and Wonder Woman (crossing those magic bracelets!)
And thanks to Aaron Rodgers and the brilliant ad campaign designed for State Farm Insurance, I also offer the Discount Double Check move (the move formerly known as Putting on the Championship Belt) as an option.

When to Celebrate
Yes, many of my students have no clue when they should be doing one of these celebratory moves. They err on both sides - either celebrating any old shot, or not celebrating when they do something amazing. At this point we have a brief discussion on good sportsmanship (something you want) and taunting (something you don't).