| By Steven Kaplan

In the first half of this recent Super Bowl, San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick was shut down by the Baltimore defense. His "play action" fake handoffs to his running backs were just awful and fooled absolutely no one. As an analogy to tennis, disguise in shot-making can be an effective method to take away time from your opponent's ability to defend if you execute well. If not, it is an exercise in futility.

Kaepernick seemed to change his plan after the lights came back on. He used his speed and mobility to run for a few strong gains. This drew the linebackers in and opened the field for successful moderate range passes. In tennis, you can set up a combination within a point, such as a drop shot, followed by a lob. You can also create combinations that can be developed over a series of points, like serving down the middle to set up the opportunity for a wide serve on a big point.

Kaepernick fell short of course, but you have to admire the perseverance of him and his coaches in attempting to solve problems.

Steven Kaplan

Steven Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation and executive director and founder of Serve & Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally-ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.