27 February

Technique, fitness and tactics: how to improve your game!

Barbara Pouw-van de Velde

If you are not playing in the league, you don't know what you are missing says Barbara. With great rivalries, civilised battles and the opportunity to make friends, tennis has it all!

I first played tennis age 11, but only played occasionally until my late twenties. I played at my local club for 3 years before moving from the Netherlands to central London. For 12 years I didn't play much, until we moved house again, to the outskirts of London. Suddenly surrounded by clubs and courts, I quickly looked for opportunities to play.

To play well, you need technique, fitness and tactics and I love playing matches. I love how mental the game can get, even though I am often my own worst enemy.

I also love how in tennis you fight a very civilised battle with a net in between. I tried martial arts but did not enjoy actually trying to hit another person! For me, tennis has it all.

The league is a great place to meet like-minded people, which is why I joined. It is great to play against so many different players and I love the re-matches. Some lovely rivalries exist and it is good fun to keep those going.

I am quite an attacking player. Patience is not my best quality. I love playing the lines, which leads to fabulous winners, but on a lesser day the lines will cost me a match.

Playing in the league has definitely improved my game and meeting new players all the time keeps me on my toes. I love the tactical side of tennis and you learn so much from playing against players with different styles.

There have been quite a few memorable matches now and I am still always looking to improve. My goal is to beat some of the players I have not beaten before and I will keep working on my consistency.

I would recommend the league to any player who wants to play matches, but I would mostly like to encourage beginners to join. I often invite people to join and most often they don't because of lack of confidence. They feel they are not good enough. I try telling them that the league is for players of all levels and that you just need to start somewhere.

I also know various players who don't want to play matches. To those players I can only say that they don't know what they are missing.

The next round of the Bromley Tennis for Free League begins on Thursday 5 March. Join here by Monday 2 March