High School Tennis Coach Survey
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The Four C's — A Winning Combination
Athletes across all sports have long understood the power of confidence. Take two athletes with the same physical capabilities, weapons, and experience and the athlete who is more confident in those things at the right time will likely come out the victor. So
how does a tennis player develop confidence? Here's a quick story:
A few weeks ago, I was giving a lesson to a young lady who is a terrific athlete. Her physical capabilities, weapons (she's also a lefty), and all-court game make anyone who watches her play pause and say “wow, that girl is really good!” However, she has a terrible lack of confidence, especially in tough matches. So my mind wandered… how can I help instill confidence in her? I came up with the four C's.
A coach once told me, “the definition of confidence in tennis is getting the ball in the court.” Simple, but true. We've all played the player who just “gets everything back” and they always seem to be supremely confident. Why? Because they are consistent. In other words, they rarely give up an unforced error or a free point and they've won so many matches on this consistent game they believe in their capabilities. In short, their consistency has led them to confidence.
Click photo: Rallying with a foam ball on a smaller court is a great way to build consistency and confidence in children.
Once i put the first two c's together, my mind started to wander to how this manifests in matches. The next two c's popped into my head — courage in competition.
I immediately formed a lesson plan for the remainder of the hour. It went something like
First, we immediately ceased hitting full court with the yellow ball. This gal is a tournament player and accustomed, of course, to practicing on a full court with a yellow ball but I needed to get her as many touches on the ball in the next 15 minutes as possible. Why? To develop confidence in her ability to “get the ball back in the court.” Enter the red foam ball. This 90mm dream of a teaching aide has helped me develop more strokes in the past five years than any other single teaching tool. We headed up to the service line and started rallying the red ball on the diagonal, service line to service line.
Because she's a lefty, we went on the ad side and allowed her to hit her forehand the majority of the time. Since this is her favorite shot, it also began the process of building her confidence. Her western grip made it easier to get topspin on the red ball so our rallies quickly entered the 30 strokes range. I could see something starting to build. Her footwork quickened, her eyes focused, her finishes got more aggressive and most of all, her attitude changed from negative to positive. In short, her confidence was beginning to grow.
Next, without explanation or instruction, she began to take any weak ball that I hit and rip it down the line for a winner. Courage was beginning to grow. Whereas before, on the 78' court with the yellow ball, she was struggling to stay positive because of a lack of consistency, now she was ripping winners, moving her feet, smiling, hustling, and the mood of the lesson had changed completely.
Click photo: Foam balls are not just for kids. Rallying with a foam ball on the diagonal, service line to service line is a great way to build consistency and confidence in adults also.
Enter competition. Still on the red ball, we began playing games up to 10. Because she
was so consistent in this format, her strokes were really starting to smooth out and her
footwork was adjusting nicely to each of my shots, she welcomed the challenge. Remember, 15 minutes ago she was ready to throw in the towel as she struggled to keep six balls in play on the full court.
For the next 15 minutes we battled foam ball points until both of us agreed that it was time to head back on the full court. The difference in her confidence was tangible for the last part of the lesson. We had built her consistency, which had led to her confidence, given her courage to try things and take risks, and all this while not fearing competition.
On that night, my student helped me learn a lot about coaching. Again, with all the
physical skills of a great athlete, without the four c's this young gal was struggling to
enjoy her tennis game. With the four c's I was dealing with a new player.
I encourage all coaches to utilize the red, orange, and green balls to develop consistency, confidence, and courage in players of all ages and levels. That way, when your student does compete, they may very well welcome the challenge.
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
Common Threads of the Drop Shot
We have seen Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic become extremely successful in recent times by breaking up the rhythm of the point and utilizing a drop shot when their opponent least expects them to. In this new installment of the Common Threads of the Game Video Series, Christophe Delavaut breaks down the Drop Shot. We take a look at the Where, Why, When, and Strategy of how professionals hit the drop shot, and how you too can learn to take advantage of this silent killer.
First Strike Capability — The Transition Game
If your game has progressed to the point where you don't want to just hit the ball, but instead play matches, or, if you have reached the stage in your match play where you want to win more by holding serve more often, then you are ready to improve your Serve-To-First-Groundstroke Transition game. Switching from one type of stroke to another is one of the things that make match tennis more difficult than rally tennis and of the various possible transitions, Serve-To-First-Groundstroke is the most difficult. Marcus Paul Cootsona
ProStrokes 2.0 — Petra Kvitova, Backhand
2011 was a breakout year for Petra Kvitova, she reached a career high of #2 in the world, chalking up wins at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships as well as the 2011 WTA Tour Championships and was named player of the year on the WTA tour. Kvitova is best known for her powerful left-handed serve. While not considered one of the quickest players, Kvitova crowds the baseline, ala Monica Seles, and hits with considerable pace and spin with her big forehand and two-handed backhand. Barring injuries, she should remain a force on the women's tour and she has enough game to challenge for the number one spot in 2012. New this issue, Petra Kvitova's backhand.
TennisOne Writers Store
One of your many new benefits as a TennisOne membership is your ability to purchase selected instructional DVDs at 20% off ($7.50 off each) in our new TennisOne Writers Store (login in first to access members links):
- "Building Your Serve from the Ground Up," Jim McLennan Members Public
- "Building Your Ground Game," Jim McLennan Members – Public
- "Building a Kick Serve," Jim McLennan Members – Public
- "Underspin Backhand - Weapon," Jim McLennan Members Public
- "Achieving Peak Performance the Wholistic Way: The Mental Game," Happy Bhalla Members – Public
- "Building a World Class Serve," Phil Dent Members – Public
- "Building a World-class Volley," Dave Smith Members – Public
- "Keys to Modern Tennis Technique: One-Handed Topspin," Doug King Members Public
- "Best of Ken DeHart," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Corrective Techniques & Myths," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Defeating the Monsters in Your Mind," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Skills, Drills, and Games for Beginning Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public.
- "Drills for Intermediate Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public
- "Drills for Advanced Players," Ken DeHart Members – Public.
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