Tennis | UBC Recreation

Welcome to UBC Recreation Tennis!

Our Mission: By offering comprehensive tennis programming from a professional staff we will strive to be leaders in the Lower Mainland public tennis community. We will provide the facility, instruction and service required for people of all ages and all levels of playing ability to improve their skills and enjoy their tennis experience.

We invite all Vancouver tennis players to come experience the UBC Tennis Centre – the only public indoor tennis facility in Vancouver

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Outdoor Tennis Season has Arrived! Here’s a Helpful Tip

Serving in to the Sun

Tennis Director, JJ Mahony, provides his tip to help players transition to outdoor tennis.

When players are transitioning from playing indoor tennis for 10 months of the year to playing outdoor tennis, the sudden change can causes emotional and technical issues with their game. One of the big adjustments is not only playing in the wind, which takes great footwork, but serving in to the sun!

When serving in to the sun, players should look to lower their ball toss and keeping the ball toss further out in front to prevent the strain of staring directly up in to the sun. At the start of the match, when spinning the racket to see who will serve or receive first, a lot of players do not know that if they win the toss they have the option to defer the choice to serve, return, or choose a side. Deferring the decision to your opponent when playing outdoor tennis is a very good move. If they choose to serve first, you can choose to take the side which forces them to serve in to the sun first. If they choose to receive first, you can look to serve on the side not looking in to the sun. Lastly, if your opponent elects the choice of side first, you can elect to receive first if you do not wish to start the match facing the task of serving first, as well as dealing with the sun.

All these little things can give you an edge and a helpful start to your match, providing that you do not fall behind early. Always remember, outdoor tennis is fun but because of the natural elements it can be more challenging. Do not forget you towels, water bottles, hat, sunscreen, and some healthy snacks to help you get through those long matches out in the sun!

Enjoy the outdoor tennis season!

– JJ Mahony

Josh’s Fresh Take: April 2018 Edition

Respect the Game

Coach and Communications Lead, Josh Martin, weighs in on topics in the world of tennis and shares his two cents.

Tennis can be one of the most frustrating sports to play. It is incredibly technical. We often do not see someone walk on to a tennis court without ever having played the sport, pick up a racket, and hit a 10-ball rally from the service line. It just does not happen. Even if you are one of the most talented athletes in the world, it is still incredibly difficult to get immediate success.

In other sports, if you are generally athletic you can get away with stepping on to the pitch and having a varying level of success pretty quickly. Soccer, football and softball, for example, all arguably fall in this category. I recently joined a soccer team with Urban Rec that is made up of generally-athletic individuals that have both played and never played before. Personally, I have not played a soccer game in over 12 years. As a team, we have a long way to go. Sure, we have lost all three of our matches and have only scored twice, but we don’t look completely hopeless out there. From my wealth of soccer knowledge, which is incredibly insignificant, the lack of success has more to do with our tactics rather than individual skill level. We have to learn not to scramble, to stick to our positions and to move up the field as a unit. My point is, in soccer if you are generally athletic, you should be a decent or semi-decent player relatively quickly. Some of you may disagree, but personally from my experiences in team sports this is how I feel.

Now back to tennis. Sure, having hand-eye coordination and being athletic is a BIG advantage, but that does not make the sport any easier to grasp. I have seen junior and adult beginner players come in and expect to start playing from the baseline, immediately thinking that they will be able to have cross-court, down-the-line, drop-shots and volley rallies, when in reality they can barely have a 5-ball rally from the service line. This is where the frustration begins.

To gain success at the fastest rate, it is often recommended for athletes to leave their rackets on the bench and to play “throw tennis”; using two hands to send the ball over the net, getting sideways before the ball bounces, following the toss through over the shoulder, and to be constantly moving by bouncing on the toes. These fundamentals that are instilled from “throw tennis” then carry over incredibly well to tennis. You give the athlete their racket back and all of a sudden they know they should be getting sideways, following through, getting set before the bounce, and so on.

Not many people realize how technical tennis is and within each fundamental there is a lot of work to be done, for example set-up, grip, impact point, recovery, and hitting-zone. Having realistic goals will get you where you want to be. If you are a beginner, start with a 5-ball rally from the service line, then advance to a 10-ball rally, and slowly progress to the baseline. Work on setting up from each shot before the ball bounces, recovering to your position, and making sure impact on your ground-strokes is at waist-level for every shot. By slowly working and practicing each fundamental, you will be at your goal in no time. And then you will want to improve something else by continuing to develop your skills and techniques to the best they can be.

But, by jumping these steps and not paying attention to close details within your game, you will further hinder your development. So my advice to you is to respect the game, focus on those fundamentals, and stick to realistic goals to avoid frustration.

Josh’s Fresh Take, signing off.

Josh’s Fresh Take: March 2018 Edition

The Art of Doubles

Coach and Communications Lead, Josh Martin, weighs in on topics in the world of tennis and shares his two cents.

Doubles is almost a completely different game – that is from singles tennis. There are so many complex layers that make it fun, intricate and did I mention fun? Often when I first introduce the format to beginner players, both adults and youth alike, they play in stationary positions; one up and one back for the entire point, game or set. Although this positioning might be effective in starting a point, to many people’s surprise, it is actually the weakest doubles position in the game. Do I have your attention yet? Yes, you read that right. All these years of playing one up and one back and you were doing it wrong. Well not wrong, but not exactly right. The main theme in doubles is to work as a team and move as a unit. You are a wall. Nothing can or will get past you, ideally. Whether you are serving or receiving, the number one thing that you want to do as a doubles unit is to approach the net. Obviously this has to be done at strategic times. Approaching the net is not always the answer, especially if you hit a weak shot to your opponents, the last thing you want to do would be to approach the net because they will pounce. If you are playing smart opponents, that is.

So now you are asking yourself, when do I approach the net? Well, it is simple. If you expect your opponents to make a weak shot or your opponents have already made a weak shot, this is the ideal time to approach and have two net players rather than one. This is where you can pounce on your opponents instead. So why is this the strongest position? As a net player you take away something from your opponents, and that is TIME. This may be one of the most important aspects in tennis as you need time to set up and prepare for each shot. By taking away time and volleying a shot rather than waiting for it to bounce and hitting it at the baseline, you put pressure on your opponents to quickly set up and prepare for the next shot. Even if you do not have the strongest volley, after a number of volleys your opponents are going to get tired as they do not have enough TIME to set up for the next shot. The next question that I get 99.99% of the time is “wouldn’t they just lob over us?” Yes, yes they will try. However, a perfect lob is one of the hardest shots to make in tennis. Most of the time they will try and lob and either hit it out of the court or not put enough power or height on to the it and that is exactly what you want while at the net as you can simply overhead smash it home. The perfect lob is a tough shot and if it does happen when you and your partner are at the net, make sure to give your opponents props as that probably will not happen again in your match. Do not let a lob deter you from staying at the net! Approach, approach, approach!

The second strongest position in doubles is the Spanish position, with both doubles players back at the baseline. This is where you would want to be if you are defending at any point or if you and your partner are particularly weak net players. At the baseline, you have the time and space to react to attacking balls and to defend more effectively than if you were both at the net. Remember when I mentioned you do not want to approach if you hit a weak short shot? This is exactly where you would want to go in that situation. Although this is the second strongest position, I still recommend coming to the net as you will have a higher chance of winning the point at the net rather than grinding it out at the baseline.

The weakest position, as mentioned earlier, is one up and one back. This formation, if you have not noticed, is not a wall. There are many pockets and gaps, particularly in the middle, that leave you and your partner vulnerable that are otherwise closed off if you are either both at the net or both at the baseline.

My final tip of the month is to not get stuck in your positions. Whether it is any of the formations that I have mentioned or different variations, for example Australian (look this one up), be mobile and communicate with your partner. If a ball goes over your partner’s head and you have to run to their side in order to retrieve it, be sure to yell “switch”. This way your net player, if they know what to do, will cut across to the other side to cover the side you left vacant. This is so simple yet rarely gets done with beginners. Use this tool to make life easier for you. And finally, to all the net players out there – poach! Cut across to intercept a cross-court ball, have your racket up and be ready to volley. I can’t stress enough that you can move out there. You are not stuck in mud. Jump around, run, side shuffle, cross-over, dive, battle! Leave it all out there. It is a great game and one that has many different layers. Get after it.

Josh’s Fresh Take, signing off.

Update – Online Registration System Restored

UPDATED 4:11PM: Our registration system is back online. Thank you for your patience and understanding.


We are experiencing some technical difficulties with our online registration system. We are currently working on a solution and will update when it has been resolved. While we are looking for a solution you can contact us to register over the phone or in-person for programs at any of our facilities.

Josh’s Fresh Take: February 2018 Edition

Sasha Boskovic, the Grizzly

Coach and Communications Lead, Josh Martin, weighs in on topics in the world of tennis and shares his two cents.

A few of the coaches and I often joke about how the inner spirit animal of our High Performance Director, Sasha Boskovic, is a grizzly bear; Intense, big, loud, and scary. Recently, I was given the opportunity to work alongside the grizzly bear himself. And let me tell you, he definitely is what is spirit animal suggests… and more. From day one of stepping on to Sasha’s court, I was immediately blown away by the sheer intensity of the class. There is absolutely no coasting or laziness as that would surely lead to push-ups, burpees, or suicides as a form of encouragement. No, these athletes are there to work hard from the get-go and right until the end. Every single class begins with a warm-up and stretching and then they get right in to their routine by finishing specific sets of high-intensity rallies, such as 100 on-the-rise shots from the baseline, 50 swinging volleys, or 50 slices with a partner. Every single set has a purpose. Once they finish their warm-up, they head right in to the next set of drills and they are usually more intense than the last.

After assisting Sasha in a few classes, I could see how effective his coaching style is with his students and how well they respond to the intensity. I became very curious of his coaching philosophy and decided to sit down with him and asked him a few questions. Below is our interview.

Q: What is the main message that you want to drive home to your athletes?

Sasha Boskovic: A lot of it is work hard and play smart. The wins come from your heart, your legs, and your mind, not from the actual technique you play with.

Q: Why is it so important for you to have a high-intensity program?

SB: Most of the time for kids playing in tournaments, there are different pressure environments. If they are not experiencing that pressure in practice, then it is hard to suddenly step up in a match and turn on your intensity when you have never been trained to do so beforehand.

Q: What is something that you’ve brought to the table here after your year at UBC?

SB: I think overall just the intensity from the kids and the different programs within the high performance levels. That and pushing different coaches, younger coaches in particular, to strive to better themselves on different levels than they were beforehand.

Q: What are your goals for this upcoming year?

SB: [To produce] as many national and international players as possible. Right now I believe we are at 5-8 national-level players. My goal by the summer is to have at least 10-15 and some of those starting to get ranked in the ITF’s (International Tennis Federation) and the Worlds, as well. I’m looking forward to this coming year.

 

And there it is! The grizzly bear himself. Be sure to take a peek at Sasha’s programs the next time you are at the Tennis Centre. His athletes are working extremely hard and the results are showing!

Josh’s Fresh Take, signing off.