Each NBA offseason, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reads the identical e book, “The Inside Sport of Tennis.” Written by Timothy Gallwey, the e book appears to be like on the psychological facet of the game and the connection between the thoughts and physique. Kerr’s mentor, Chip Engelland, gave it to him to learn again when Kerr was enjoying on the Bulls, and now, the five-time NBA champion (and four-time championship-winning head coach) brings about 10 copies with him every time he’s touring in order that he can provide them to his personal gamers.
“In tennis you may inform who has management of the purpose by the depth of the gamers,” Kerr informed the media again in 2022. “In case you’re pressuring (in basketball) and get them beginning their offense nicely above the three-point line you’re controlling the possession.”
As somebody who began enjoying tennis about 10 years in the past, and nonetheless continues to like the sport right now, I’m fairly aware of the ins and outs of it. However after I had the chance to intern for SLAM in New York Metropolis, that’s after I was totally launched to the world of basketball. After researching completely different gamers, watching highlights and serving to arrange older problems with SLAM, I began to suppose extra about what the 2 sports activities might presumably be taught from one another.
Let’s preserve it actual, skilled hoopers are simply as into different sports activities as they’re basketball, whether or not it’s golf and even tennis. Charlotte Hornets ahead Gordon Hayward used to play tennis as a child and as soon as mentioned that if basketball didn’t work out, he would’ve tried going professional in tennis. He nonetheless credit tennis for many of his psychological recreation and says he nonetheless enjoys enjoying at residence in his free time.
In the meantime, tennis gamers like Frances Tiafoe even have a love for the sport. Tiafoe even performed within the 2023 NBA All-Star Movie star recreation this yr.
There’s lots that each video games have in widespread—from reputation to the truth that each basketball and tennis are world sports activities. However there’s additionally lots they will be taught from one another.
SLAM let me have some enjoyable with it throughout my internship and suppose creatively about what they may appear like.
Give tennis followers extra freedom at matches to make the expertise extra pleasurable
Whenever you’re at a tennis recreation the principles are fairly strict. If a stadium employee sees you standing, they’ll instantly run over to inform you to take your seat. If the umpire hears an excessive amount of speaking earlier than some extent, they’ll make an announcement for it to be quieter. When these kinds of issues occur when you’re attempting to take pleasure in a match, it could actually make you’re feeling aggravated and never wish to be there as a substitute of enhancing the reside sports activities expertise. On this case, tennis can look to the NBA and see how gamers feed off the gang’s vitality. Why do you suppose groups have an at residence benefit? If the tennis world eases up a bit and lets the viewers go as loopy as they please, the expertise for the viewer can be on a distinct stage. It would even encourage extra folks to attend.
What if tennis had two-way contracts and a G League?
The 2-way contact has been monumental for the NBA and its gamers. By giving the athletes the chance to bounce between two golf equipment, it permits them the possibility to adapt to professional ball moderately than simply being dropped in and anticipating to provide from Day 1. Tennis ought to attempt an idea like this, particularly since it may be laborious for an up-and-coming participant to interrupt by means of whereas enjoying in opposition to the perfect. With out excessive rankings, they find yourself enjoying the highest seeds and shedding straight away.
If there have been some form of starter league the place they might play earlier than, or perhaps a two-way kind of contract, that could possibly be far more useful for a participant’s profession.
Tennis wants a set season and a championship
With out a set season just like the NBA, a tennis “season” begins to really feel countless. There’s a brand new match each two weeks or so, and on the finish of November, they get about 5 weeks off earlier than it simply restarts. Whereas the NBA has now turn into a year-round recreation when it comes to protection, there’s an ebb and circulation to the season with the playoffs being probably the most thrilling time to conclude the season.
Maybe tennis ought to look to the PGA when it comes to a playoff and championship mannequin exterior of the majors so as to add to the storytelling and drama of competing for a title annually.
The NBA may benefit from putting in the Hawk-Eye pc imaginative and prescient system to make calls
Prior to now few years tennis has put in a digicam system that makes all of the calls actual. It’s modified the sport. If basketball have been to put in this sort of know-how it might save not solely time, however any confusion/skepticism on sure calls. Whether or not it’s for fouls or who hit it out of bounds, this may be extremely useful for the refs.
Tennis ought to have an All-Star Weekend
NBA All-Star Weekend is when the League’s finest gamers come collectively and compete in video games and abilities competitions. Tennis desperately wants one thing like this, and it could actually draw some much-needed consideration for the game’s up-and-coming stars. From the abilities competitors to legends enjoying doubles (or pickleball as we simply noticed in Florida), having enjoyable with the sport and placing particular person rivalries apart for a weekend would assist propel the game ahead.
Basketball ought to have extra males’s and ladies’s overlap at occasions
In all tennis tournaments there’s a males’s and a ladies’s draw happening on the identical time. Which means the sport’s largest stars, no matter gender, are multi function place. Tennis is ready to incorporate males’s, ladies’s, doubles, juniors, and even wheelchairs all in the identical match. So why can’t we see that in basketball? May the NBA season overlap with the WNBA season and have extra crossover kind of occasions? We’ve seen it a little bit throughout NBA All-Star Weekend by means of the years, however in additional of an exhibition vs. aggressive format.
Tennis stars want to interact the gang extra
NBA gamers like Jayson Tatum will hit a loopy shot or make an amazing play after which interact with the gang. The viewers lives for that, and that feeling between gamers and followers makes the sport much more thrilling. Tennis doesn’t have that as a lot as a result of the gamers have a tendency to remain locked in (certain, they might yell for a second after profitable a giant level, nevertheless it’s simply not the identical). It’s no shock that tickets to Nick Kyrgios’ matches promote greater than any prime participant, and it’s time for the remainder of the tour to faucet into that very same vitality.
Enable tennis followers to cheer and yell throughout factors
Think about a silent NBA recreation. Not the identical, proper? In tennis, you may hear a pin drop all through the sector whereas some extent is being performed, and followers are instantly shushed in the event that they begin to yell throughout factors. Whereas the silence could generally make the purpose extra intense, it’s about time we begin letting the followers get extra into the sport.
Let tennis followers stroll to their seats at any second in the course of the match
Tennis solely permits folks to stroll to their seats on a change over, which is each odd-numbered recreation. In case you run to the lavatory or go to seize a drink and get again as they restart, you possibly can be ready to get in for over 10 minutes (and nobody desires to try this). Whereas you could have to attend a second in the event you’re sitting courtside at an NBA recreation, you may stroll to your seats at any given second, which inspires followers to really feel like each recreation is actually an expertise.
Discover methods to get the following era of followers extra into tennis
How can we make tennis extra thrilling and get the following era to like the game simply as a lot as the remainder of us do? Let’s look to the NBA. By advertising and marketing marquee matchups and following the sport’s largest stars from highschool to school to the League, gamers are constructing a fanbase earlier than they ever step on an NBA court docket. By unifying youth tennis and with extra constant storytelling, the hype will match the expertise by the point they take heart court docket at their first main.
Pictures by way of Getty Photographs.