The Two-handed Backhand in T1 Super Slow-Mo™
On April 15th, TennisOne, as a bonus to members, added five more T1 Super Slo-Mo videos to your My TennisOne account. (see green My TennisOne tab in upper left hand corner of the home page after logging in and select "My Bonus Videos" tab).
Visitors: Check out our T1 Super Slow-Mo video sample of James Blake's forehand.
Defining ‘Goals' in Tennis
David Smith, Senior Editor, TennisOne
In my last newsletter, I wrote about defining ‘fun' in tennis. That newsletter generated many responses and opportunities for dialogue. The main context of that newsletter was to look specifically at what ‘real' fun is in tennis. Most who wrote in to TennisOne composed passionate and thoughtful letters, all sharing personal experiences and interpretations drawn from that topic.
Click photo to hear Dave Smith ask a Junior player about what is really fun about tennis.
From my 30 years of teaching tennis, the kind of fun that lasts a lifetime and provides a real sense of self-worth and accomplishment, comes from learning proper but often times challenging techniques, those that will lead a player to reaching his or her potential as it applies to playing tennis.
The hard part for most players is that reaching one's potential seldom comes ‘overnight.' Because of this demand for patience, many players avoid difficult grips and swing patterns since they can reach some rudimentary level of ability using more comfortable and familiar techniques. It is too bad, since so many player ‘plateau' early in their playing years and fail to progress to their true tennis potential. Working within techniques that provide for more effective shots hit more consistently is the ideal players who want to reach their potential must address.
But, I must say that acquiring such superior techniques, and mastering them in competitive play, requires the understanding of another concept, one that many people fail to comprehend correctly. The concept is ‘Goal Setting'.
Goals and Dreams
To many people, goals and dreams are synonymous. That is, we often set goals that resemble our dreams. To tennis players, however, dreams and goals are very different.
Ask a junior player how good they want to be, many will respond with a “Number one in the world,” or “I want to play just like Roddick or Davenport ,” or "I want to play at the U.S. Open."
Are these dreams or goals?
Obviously, to those junior players who do go on to become top ranked, world-class players, these types of statements are truisms that certainly do ring true.
However, for the vast majority of junior players around the world, such statements could only be labeled ‘dreams.'
Click photo to hear Mike and Bob Bryon talk about what it takes to improve.
Dreams, while important to provide a sense of future worth, are usually fantasies for most players, young or old. How about the 58-year-old 3.0 player who, while having played for decades, decides he or she wants to reach the 4.5 level of competitive play? Dream or goal?
Defining the difference between dreams and goals is as important as learning a topspin backhand. I once had a talented 11-year old girl who said over and over, “I want to be #1 in the world.” I would ask her, “Have you read any books on tennis? Have you got a practice basket with balls, a tennis magazine subscription, a regular hitting partner?” And I would ask her something like, “How high is the center point of the net?” Her answers to these questions were “no” and she didn't know that the center point of the net is 36 inches.
While it isn't imperative to know how high the net is, or the like, a player who had aspirations of becoming #1 in the world should know that answer. Why? Because if a player were sincerely interested in becoming the world's top player, he or she would have looked up everything they could—to know everything they could—about the sport they want to be the best at! To this girl, becoming #1 in the world was a dream.
Dreams are sort of like winning the lottery. Hey, if I happen to miraculously become number one in the world, terrific! Dreams don't carry a sense of struggle or a preponderance of labor or dedication. Goals, on the other hand, carry a perception of prerequisites and requirements; “if I hope to be this good (goal), I need to do this, this, and this.”
Goals are only as sincere as the level of sacrifice the person is willing to make.
In reality, sincere goals carry a true sense of sacrifice. Tennis players who sincerely want to reach certain goals will not balk at making significant sacrifices to reach them. Whether those sacrifices include monetary investment, physical strain and toil, time away from more desirable activities, enduring periods of frustration, or simply surrounding yourself with elements of tennis on a daily basis, all goals will include plenty of sacrifice. It is a player's ability to manage these sacrifices that separate those who simply dream of greatness and those who actually set goals to attain it.
Whether you are a junior player wanting to reach a particular ranking or team position, or an adult player wanting to move to a higher NTRP level, setting such goals—then identifying the necessary procedures to reach such goals, is paramount. Adults who are stuck at low levels (below their potential) must make difficult and very challenging changes in their game. Nothing is more frustrating to me than watching adults go to clinics and keep working on the same flawed patterns that are preventing them from ever moving up! Juniors have many distractions and diversions; those who have a clear understanding of sacrifice and a willingness to carry out such sacrifices will be the few that become true champions.
In my opinion, those who have sincere goals will actually not look at sacrifices as such. They will look for opportunities to reach their goals not as sacrifices but as steps—steps bringing them closer to not just their goals, but to supreme personal satisfaction. I have seen many adults learn new techniques that helped them reach higher levels of skilled play. I have trained thousands of junior players, many who seemed to lack so-called athleticism, yet a great many of these players found themselves becoming champions.
I don't know too many people who pick up a tennis racquet and say, “Gee, I would love to play tennis but I really don't want to be very good.” There is an intrinsic human value to discovering or simply wanting to reach our best in everything we do. And those players who set sincere goals and are willing to make the necessary sacrifices, not only reach such goals, but they usually reach their dreams as well.
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.
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