Amazingly pleasant weather here in Detroit: sunny days with just a slight nip in the mornings, cool nights. I've been hitting the nearby tennis court most mornings. Here's the issue though: I have nobody to play with. In fact in all these days I have not seen anyone on that court.
So I've been practicing my serve. I set myself a target of 100 serves over the net for each session. (Getting 100 serves into the box is the next target). Good thing: I've never been able to practice serving in such a sustained fashion. It's a good workout too: my shoulder aches and I feel pleasantly tired by the end. And I think my serve is improving. Flat goes reasonably well, and I suspect I'm getting something of the hang of imparting topspin too.
Big lesson: the toss is everything. This is the thing that's the slowest to improve. Getting the right direction, the right height, is hard work.
Another lesson: the more I think about aspects I need to work on, the more the serve as a whole breaks down. It works best when I don't think and just let knees and hips and shoulders and arm and racket do their work.
And this leaves me wondering how I will fix my tendency to footfault. Check this clip of the fag-end of one session, when I'm tired and achy as well. Suggestions on beating the footfault monster are welcome.
But here's the nicest part of these sessions. Next to the court is a pond surrounded by a large area of grass. At least these days, this area is home to a number of squawking Canada geese. Periodically one or two more will fly in, squawking all the time, to join their comrades; or a few will run a bit and take off, flapping slowly and heavily to gain height, then smoothly away over the trees, wheeling around and into the distance.
Every now and then I'll go into my service motion, looking up at the ball and the sky beyond, and I'll see a few of these long-necked birds flapping past seemingly just above my fingertips; once about a dozen of them, formed into a wiggly "V".
The serve goes to hell, but I don't mind.