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... and if yes, is a certain level of ability required, like being/having been a pro or semi-pro, or is it enough to be a recreational player?
And would your opinion on this differ when talking about other sports?

IMO experience in playing tennis is helpful, especially because the mental part in tennis is so important.
Even at quite a low level you can experience the up and downs in a match, nerves affecting you, mind-games etc., and it won't be much different from the things players on the tour are doing.
But you will also have better insight into technical aspects, at least when you have reached a certain level that enables you to play proper matches: which shots are hard to play, what would be the best choice to do in a certain situation, what is the reason that a player is struggling with a shot etc.

Of course there are many more aspects where playing tennis has no influence. But maybe it can also give you a 'healthier' approach to being a tennis fan, like being able to enjoy watching tennis played on a lower level (challenger, regional or club level - or women's tennis LOL ;)) because you can relate better to these.

Now I DO follow lots of other sports that I have never played or only tried a few times just out of fun. While I'm interested in them, understand the rules and appreaciate what those players/athletes are doing, I would never claim to be an 'expert' of that sport, because I will never understand all its aspects just by watching it.

:)
 

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In my experience you can be extremely knowledgeable about tennis without ever having played. Just looking here on the board, there are people who know tennis inside and out but have never played. thats just the way it is. I've achieved high-levels at tennis but have trouble remembering the rules, and other basic things that other people know/remember.
 

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without playing tennis u can know all the stats, but i think u have to play to actually know whats going on tactically, technically etc
 

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disagree entirely with you aussieboy88. There are tons and tons of people that dont play tennis well that know the game inside and out. Paradorn learned the game from watching videos.
 

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aussieboy88 said:
without playing tennis u can know all the stats, but i think u have to play to actually know whats going on tactically, technically etc
i agree aussieboy, I have never played tennis, and off cause I can read to learn, and know all the statistics, but never get to know the inner life of tennis takique and technic.
I have competed on a high level in other sports, and there I much easier can pick up what is happening in a competition. Listening to TV commentators in my sport is for me often :eek:

In tennis I need a cunny commentator who can read the play for me :eek:
 

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aussieboy88 said:
without playing tennis u can know all the stats, but i think u have to play to actually know whats going on tactically, technically etc
I agree. Sort of. Until you have faced a 130 mph serve and 90 mph groundies you have no idea what the pro's are going through out there. And then there are heavy balls, slices, reverse running forehands, topspin lobs, ect. You can see where a player might have problems with low balls because of a severe western grip, improper volley techniques (dropping racket head, for instance), or swatting at the ball during groundstrokes, as opposed to waiting to accelerate upon contact. By playing tennis, you can relate to the pros at a totally different level.

Is is neccessary to play? Hell no! In fact, I think there is something special about the non-playing fan, who simply appreciates the sport and has his or her favorite players to cheer on. Tennis NEEDS more fans, and just because they don't actually play the game doesn't mean they aren't knowledgeable or insightful.

Finally, for those who do get an opportunity to begin to play tennis, I would urge you to take it. It's a terrific sport: and one you can play for a lifetime.

:wavey:
 

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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
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...obviously you can gain valuable insight by playing, as long as you play to a fairly high standard - that's why they usually have ex-players alongside commentators - but you can still be very knowledgeable without it...tennis commentators and journalists probably aren't good examples because most of them are :eek: , but John Motson and Angus Loughran (Statto) are examples of commentators who probably don't play football much, but still know a lot about it... :)
 

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FrogBurger said:
disagree entirely with you aussieboy88. There are tons and tons of people that dont play tennis well that know the game inside and out. Paradorn learned the game from watching videos.
But he *played* six hours every day after watching the videos. I have some theoretical knowledge of carpentry, but couldn't build a bookshelf if my life depended on it. I haven't actually *done* a lot of carpentry.

:wavey:
 

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If you dont play, yeh, u can know what a double fault is, ecc...ecc... but nothing more.

I hate people who have never played tennis but watch it say to players "no you idiot, you weren't supposed to do that, couldn't you have hit it there instead?"

well if u ever played tennis, u know it would have been practically impossible to do that
 

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This thread begs the question "Is is possible to be a professional tennis teacher and not play all that well?"
 

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to answer the thread, it is not NECESSARY but it sure as hell is HELPFUL.

the best coaches may not be the best players, but they DO PLAY tennis.

i think a person can become VERY knowledgeable about tennis without playing, but that same knowledge coupled to someone who actually plays will make that person better.

that's just a fact, i'm sorry. once again, only a person who doesn't play tennis will think otherwise.
 

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It depends on what you call "knowledgeable".

A thing that is sure is that a good coach is not necessarily a former champion or professional player, though having the experience of professional play sure gives more pertinence on the tactical and mental sides.

I consider myself as a really poor player (I started 4 years ago and aged 33) but I happen to give tips to other players (especially young people) that are at such a higher level than me and the things I say do work when they apply it. I think it's because I watch with attention a lot of pro matches on TV and I read lots of documentation. The problem is that I don't have the talent to apply it to myself.
 

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It's said that Nick Bolletieri had his first racquet in hands when aged 26 or something like that, but he is acknowledged as the best tennis guru in the world.
 

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It certainly helps ;) - but it doesn't help me in serving 110 mph aces, I will never be able to do those. You know what they say about coaches: those that can't, teach :D

What is vital I think is to see how badly tennis can be played. Whether in your club, at some challenger event or watching mixed doubles ;). Some people in this board have only ever seen the top10 players play, and have a very distorted idea of what tennis is like.
 

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faste5683 said:
But he *played* six hours every day after watching the videos. I have some theoretical knowledge of carpentry, but couldn't build a bookshelf if my life depended on it. I haven't actually *done* a lot of carpentry.

:wavey:
true
 

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?DADYO? said:
I hate people who have never played tennis but watch it say to players "no you idiot, you weren't supposed to do that, couldn't you have hit it there instead?"

well if u ever played tennis, u know it would have been practically impossible to do that
...actually this happened during Wimbledon...my flatmate, who knows almost nothing about tennis, asked why Maria (I think it was) kept sending the ball back across court to where her opponent was...'why doesn't she put it down there?'...I don't play much tennis, because I'm crap, but I was perfectly able to explain that changing the direction of the ball is very difficult, and therefore a low percentage shot...a few points later, Maria did try to go down the line, and missed...which I used as an example to illustrate my point... :)
 

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alfajeffster said:
This thread begs the question "Is is possible to be a professional tennis teacher and not play all that well?"
Apparently so. My first tennis coach wasn't very good at all (we used to go to local tourneys to watch him crash out in the first round of DOUBLES...it was always his partner's fault of course). Still, he knew what 'should be done', it was the execution that he was shaky on. So he was a pretty good coach and taught good technique, just couldn't practice what he preached. :eek:
 

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I dont play tennis much, and not competitively, but I would say I know more about techincal and mental aspects of the game than most people i know who do play a lot. Thats because I've been watching pro tennis a lot for many years, and I can usually offer good tips for club players who dont really follow tennis as much as i do. But i dont have the time or motivation to go out and put these thigns into practice myself.

I would say you dont need to play tennis to even be a coach for a top player. Richard was a good coach for Venus/Serena but he was never a pro, same with Chanachai Srichaphan, and other tennis parents who are good coaches.
 

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I think it's helpful to have played to some sort of competitive standard but not essential. It's more helpful when you're watching a more subtle player like a Martinez or a moonballer who look like they are doing nothing yet if you have played against this type of player yourself you know how awkward and tricky they are to play against. I think a lot of people think you should just be able to hit a winner easily off a moonball. Also it helps to understand the tension in a match if you play, for example you have some idea of the pressures you feel at 5-5 in the third set and deuce on whether to hit your big backhand return or play it safer or not.


So helpful yes, necessary no.
 
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