MIAMI OPEN PLAYERS PARTY INVITE

Wanna find out what Rafa, David, Angelique, Agna and Stan’s favorite musical choices are?

Join me as I emcee the Miami Open Players Party in downtown Miami on Tuesday, March 21st. The festivities will start at 6pm with live entertainment, open bar and light bites. Mingle with ATP and WTA tennis players as I introduce the players who will be doing some live DJ work in the booth to keep the party hopping.

HOW TO ATTEND?

Join on of my classes to automatically get on the guest list. (Deadline to sign up is THIS Tuesday, March 14th). Here are your class options below to get the process started.

NOVICE

INTERMEDIATE

Maybe I will see you at the party.

Brian Lutz
Backhand City
Find Your A-Ha Moment

Ps. Note there are no refunds for the party or tennis classes. Be ready to commit.

GETTING WHERE YOU WANT TO GO ISN’T ALWAYS EASY

Delray Beach, FL
Brian Lutz / Backhand City

I haven’t played a tennis tournament in about a year.

These events take planning, effort, training and patience. It’s 60 minutes exactly from my apartment in Coral Gables to the Atlantic Avenue exit of Interstate 95. On this trip I decided to bring a friend along who is an former ATP Player. It was his day off from work and wanted to pal along. I could use the company and decided some encouragement would not hurt.

When it rains in Florida traffic slows down a lot. But since I left and ample 3 hours in advance we still made it to the venue in plenty of time. But there was still lots to do. Pick up credentials, tickets and parking pass. Park the car in the RED lot about a 10 min walk from the facility. It was a busy day. We parked on the top floor. Negotiated which bags we thought security would let us bring in and negotiated a pre match meal or snack.

As I’m pulling into our spot the rain clouds gather. In the Wintertime in South Florida it’s typically very dry. But these rain clouds pulled in the from West Coast and were bring some Summertime intensity. It would be a close call or would it?

My phone is going off with multiple pings. I noticed several texts and call from a strange 561 (Palm Beach number I didn’t recognize). I was soon notified my 1st round opponent bailed on the match and I was granted a default. My friend started his high five dance. But I was conflicted. Yeah I’m in the money round now but really? High five dance? He said to keep it positive so I obliged with a fist bump as a compromise.

We proceed onward. I’m thinking I can get in a practice session at he very least. We rubbed elbows with some tour players. My fanatical friend got his picture with Juan Martin del Potro on his flip phone. I said to him “you can’t have a flip phone unless you are over 65.” I took the picture of him an the Argentine tennis hero and everyone was happy even DP was amused. I even got in the photo as my pinky took up the bottom of the image. He was like “Dude? What is that at the bottom of the photo? I said I wanted in the picture too.

We laughed that off and he went inside to the players lounge to get some autographs. Now if you have ever been in the players lounge it would be the modern version of a safe place on campus. There are no autograph seeking fans in there except for my friend. With Tennis Posters in hand he’s canvassing the room. He see’s everyone he wants and starts closing in. I suggested some small talk before the pitch. He’s said: “yeah, yeah good idea”.

Everything is going smoothly, he sees a few guys he played with in past, until the Tournament Director gets wind of him and undressed him verbally right in the middle of the players lounge. It’s crickets baby and my friend runs for shelter. He’s a bit shell shocked as the little kid in him just had his balloons float away at the Carnival.

I tried to rationalize. You probably caught him at a bad time. It’s monsoon like rain outside now and the skies are in full rage. I said this tournament owner has a 7 day window to make some money and this day is officially a wash out. I think you caught his ire at the wrong time I think you might want to apologize.

Moments later he and the director made up. He said you can get all the autographs you want just do it outside. Seemed fair enough. I told him to get back in their an enjoy the free buffet and catch up with some old friends Leander Paes wants to catch up. I’ll be back soon. I needed to check the schedule for tomorrows matches.

As I’m gone he and Del Potro run into each other again. And my fanatical friend is going back for more. He wants an autograph for his sister on the tournament poster now and just grabs a nearby pen. Now if you are familiar with the memorabilia business a blue pen is not the instrument of choice for autographs. One must have a Sharpie Autograph Pen. Accept no substitute. They are most importantly permanent, fast drying and legible with thick line and easy to utilize on posters, hats, clothing or tennis balls and non toxic so you don’t feel like a skunk as your wait for your celebrity prey.

As Del Potro heads to his waiting car service my fanatical friend notices how lame the blue pen looks on the poster and decides he needs a Sharpie and fast because he’s about to pull away. Miraculously he finds one and sprints to the waiting Porsche with Del Potro in the front passenger seat. Remember it’s pouring so he is worried the poster will get wet so rather than a polite knock on the German engineered window like a true fanatic he just opens up the passenger side door to the alarm of the Argentina’s living legend. He wasn’t too pleased after all he was getting wet.

Fortunately, all he was armed with was the best autograph pen money can buy or in this case borrow. He signed it texted me and said: “I think we better get out of here.” : )

I’m back the next day some 26 hours later. I came back for my match in the Finals as I waited for my opponent this is the picture I took. Sometimes getting where you want isn’t always easy but it sure is fun.

TAKE OUR QUICK FIX TENNIS QUIZ

South Florida- Take our Quick Fix Tennis Quiz for a custom solution for your individual tennis game. Based on your answers you will be able to view a sample of our online teaching program. Fill out the Quick Fix Quiz Here.

Questions about our Realife Tennis online school simply email: Ask@Backhand-City

Brian Lutz / Backhand City

MANNEQUIN LIVES MATTER

New York, NY- Activists are drawing attention to the misuse and lack of respect for store window mannequins with the social media craze know as The Mannequin Challenge.

“Many of these mannequins are treated quite differently than humans and our quest is to make sure their dignity is preserved,” proclaimed spokesperson Molly Sitter. Drawing comparisons to Chinese sweat shops activists are citing long hours standing without a proper break. Not surprisingly, many of these mannequins do not have union representation nor a trade association.

This unregulated industry has also raised the eyebrow of the Department of Labor as they are unsure how to classify these ubiquitous and essential retail assets that help clothing stores present their products. How does one pay for overtime over a 24 hour 7 days a week shift?

Representatives from the Banana of Republic claim their mannequins are not subject to US labor laws. “Consumers need to understand when we turn out the lights at our store our mannequins are getting ample rest and do not need the recuperating time that a live model would need to get proper nutrition and rest,” explained Chief Operating Officer Fred Still.

NADAL EFFECT

Tennis has also been thrown into the mix with Tommy Hilfiger’s new Flex Micro fabric embraced by company ambassador Rafael Nadal. “Having a shirtless tennis star represent a clothing company is a slap in the face of the Midnight to Midnight hard working mannequins everywhere,” according to the Mannequin Lives Matter Facebook page. The famously obsessive compulsive tennis star known for tugging his shorts tirelessly is quite the contrast to the stone faced and frozen posed store window mannequin.

“These mannequins are exploited in so many ways and tear at our social fabric as store designers prick and prod them to get the perfect fit.” Many times their torso’s are stored separately from their arms and legs in different boxes and customized as the retailer sees fit. Apparently, there is no discrimination in their treatment as uptown, downtown and midtown manhattan mannequins are all treated with the same ruthless manipulation.

“These mannequins wear wool overcoats under the hot bright white incandescent bulbs used in many windows in the Winter and gawked at during the Summer months in their micro fiber bikinis and shorts,” noticed Julia Hush who walks past Madison Avenue stores every day on her walk home to the Upper East Side.

Nadal’s tour brethren also got in the act as well with this 55 second promotional video as a tribute to Mannequins everywhere. Apparently, not all see it as harmless fun. “Mannequin lives matter” proclaimed a local passerby outfitted in a classic double breasted suit coat and pants with Oxford shoes. “I don’t like to try on clothing. Without these mannequins I’d probably be wearing only foldable attire”.

Brian Lutz

The Lemon: Imagination Six. Tolerance Love.

TWICE AS REWARDING. DOUBLE THE FUN

Miami, FL- We have a lot of fun in our Backhand City tennis classes but its much more than simply recreation to me.

WATCH TWO BALLS IN PLAY 

My mission is simple. I want to transfer my joy, knowledge and experiences to my students to help them improve and grow as people and tennis players.  I want players to learn to trust themselves while enjoying the process of developing mastery.

Tennis is a game of technique and timing that has essential principals that are rewarding and transferable to other aspects of your life.  My teaching raises awareness of physical, mental and emotional health while accepting that you only control your side of the court and the rest of the uncertainty is what makes it fun.

My wish is that players sign up for my class to connect with like minded and diverse individuals in our great city. Players are encouraged to bring a spirit that is open minded and ready to be taught the game in way you might not have ever experienced before.

Brian Lutz 

Join Backhand City Today!

Find Your A-Ha Moment

FINDING COMPETITIVE HARMONY ON THE TENNIS COURT

Miami, FL- Welcome to the human race.  We all get anxious and we all crave control.  Just try driving in Miami on US 1 during rush hour and you will understand my point.  Our quest for efficiency seems to be insatiable in our culture. Perhaps we are victims of our over achieving national pride or our own insatiable quest for perfection.  Maybe you are a philosophical type who enjoy the journey? Can there be a nice balance?  Can I be Zen while carrying and edge?  Can I find joy in the journey without fear of failure and the looming results?

What was first thought to be Yoga Tennis in the 70s.  Author Timothy Gallwey learned that having joy during competition didn’t need to be so elusive if you had the right frame of mind.  Check out the excerpt from the legendary book: Inner Game of Tennis and see if you can find your own a-ha moment and how he found it after a canceled date.  : )

Brian Lutz 

Timothy Galleway / The Inner Game of Tennis

In contemporary Western culture there is a great deal of controversy about competition. One segment values it highly, believing that it is responsible for Western progress and prosperity. Another segment says that competition is bad; that it pits one person against another and is therefore divisive; that it leads to enmity between people and therefore to a lack of cooperation and eventual ineffectualness. Those who value competition believe in sports such as football, baseball, tennis and golf. Those who see competition as a form of legalized hostility tend to favor such noncompetitive forms of recreation as surfing, frisbee or jogging. If they do play tennis or golf, they insist on doing it “non-competitively.” Their maxim is that co-operation is better than competition. Those who argue against the value of competition have plenty of ammunition. As pointed out in the last chapter, there is a wealth of evidence showing how frenzied people tend to become in competitive situations.

My own attitude toward competition went through quite an evolution before I arrived at my present point of view. As described in the last chapter I was raised to believe in competition, and both playing well and winning meant a great deal to me. But as I began applying the principles of yoga to the teaching and playing of tennis, I became noncompetitive. Instead of trying to win, I decided to attempt only to play beautifully and excellently; in other words, I began to play a rather pure form of Perfect-o. My theory was that I would be like a yogi, unconcerned with how well I was doing in relation to my opponent and absorbed solely in achieving excellence for its own sake. Very beautiful; I would waltz around the court being very fluid, accurate, and “wise.”

But something was missing. I didn’t experience a desire to win, and as a result I often lacked the necessary determination. I had thought that it was in the desire to win that one’s ego entered the picture, but at one point I began to ask myself if there wasn’t such a motivation as an ego-less desire to win. Was there a determination to win that wasn’t an ego-trip and didn’t involve ail the fears and frustrations that accompany ego-trips? Does the will to win always have to mean “See I’m better than you”?

One day I had an interesting experience which convinced me in an unexpected way that playing for the sake of beauty and excellence was not all there was to tennis. For several weeks I had been trying to get a date with a particular girl. She had turned me down twice, but each time with what appeared to be a good reason. Finally a dinner date was set, and on that day as I finished my last lesson one of the other pros asked me to play a couple of sets. “I’d really like to, Fred,” I replied, “but I can’t make it this evening.” At that moment I was informed there was a telephone call for me. “Hold on, Fred,” I said. “If that call is what I’m afraid it is, you may have yourself a match. If so, watch out!” The call was what I’d feared. The excuse was a valid one, and the girl was so nice about it that I couldn’t get angry at her, but as I hung up I realized I was furious. I grabbed my racket, ran down to the court and began hitting balls harder than 1 ever had before. Amazingly, most of them went in. I didn’t let up when the match began, nor did I relent my all-out attack until it was over. Even on crucial points I would go for winners and make them. I was playing with an un- characteristic determination even when ahead; in fact I was playing out of my mind. Somehow the anger had taken me beyond my own preconceived limitations; it took me beyond caution.

After the match Fred shook my hand without looking in the least dejected. He’d run into a hurricane on that day which he couldn’t handle, but he’d had fun trying. In fact, I’d played so well that he seemed glad to have been there to witness it, or as if he deserved some credit for my reaching that level-which of course he did. But anger couldn’t be the secret to ego-less tennis, or could it?

I hadn’t been angry at my opponent or at myself. I was simply furious in such a way that it took me out of my mind. It enabled me to play with abandon, unconcerned about winning or playing well. I just hit the damn ball, and I enjoyed the hell out of it! It was one of the most fulfilling times I’d ever had on the court. The key seemed to be that something took me beyond myself, beyond the sense of ego-trying. The kind of trying that Self 1 does to feed its self-image was gone, but in its place was a strong, unwavering determination to win. Paradoxically, winning at that point mattered less to me but I found myself making my greatest effort.

The Inner Game of Tennis