How to Slide on Clay
This is the second installment of our three-video series on how to slide on clay. As the world’s leading supplier of clay court surfaces, the question we get asked more than any other, from teaching pros and players alike, is about how to slide on clay. Sliding not only makes you more efficient and more consistent on clay, it makes the game more fun, so we have put together a three-part video series on how to slide on clay. Check out part 2 on our website. We hope you like it and find it instructional. Give us your feedback. Play the Clay, Learn to Win and Play for Life!
"What's New" Product Video
- from Tennis Warehouse - Fila Men's Spring Apparel
The Role of the Coach
After many years of coaching I have narrowed my views to these key areas which help deliver good learning.
Knowledge is vital but it is when you say it and how you say it that is critical. What you say has to make sense to the player but the impact will come from the tone and the timing. Great knowledge delivered at the wrong time can be disastrous to the athlete. Tone imparts your belief and has many variations to encourage emotional responses such as calming the athlete, inspiring and focusing the player, stirring passion, rousing aggression and countless other reactions, so reading the athlete’s emotional state is important in selecting the tone and intensity of your words.
Agassi gave a lot of credit for his success to Coach Brad Gilbert. Before they hooked up, Andre was considered just a great ball striker.
Less is more. Creating paralysis from too much analysis is a common error, especially in young enthusiastic coaches who feel impelled to give the athlete every bit of help and knowledge as fast as possible. Some coaches wish to impress the athletes with their vast knowledge and fail to let the player process the first instruction before delivering the next five. Allowing the athlete to process and feel the difference of a lesson is the key to it sticking. Two messages at a time are maximum and often that is too much. Remaining silent after making a coaching point and letting the athlete work it out is the best methodology.
Make learning fun. Use analogies or stories the player can relate to in order to illustrate a point. Here are two simple examples: A player was very stiff in the wrist playing a tennis shot. I asked the player to stroke her arm like she was petting her dog. This was the level of tension needed in her hands and wrist to play the shot. Her favorite chocolates are Lindt balls, so once she was hitting a relaxed stroke I reinforced the message calling it her “Lindt shot.” In basketball a player was rushing his jump shot. I asked him to casually blow out like he had just had a drag on a cigarette (strange as that sounds for an athlete), making the shot with the same rhythm as a long satisfied exhale. Imagination is so important in getting the message to stick. A coach should try to use a strong visual image or word that makes an impact on the player's psyche. This makes it easier to remember the point in the heat of the battle.
The ego and ambitions of the coach must not interfere with the decision-making process. I believe intensely in the integrity of the coaching role. Doing things for effect, rather than for the good of the athlete, or making any decision for political motives rather than for the well-being of the athlete or the team, is an affront to the profession.
Like Agassi, Roddick seems to have revived his career under Coach Larry Stefanki. Other coaches have tried to get him to change his game, but, whatever the reason, Larry has succeeded.
Preparation is the key to sustained success, because preparation allows a coach to apply his/her knowledge in useful chunks. The desire to perform all the detailed preparation work is the difference between good and excellent.
Both player and coach must become comfortable with being "uncomfortable," because staying on the edge of performance means pushing constantly for improvement.
The most important person for development of the athlete is the coach, who must be an expert in the technical and tactical areas of coaching and also be very knowledgeable in all the other departments, so that he/she can help put the right team of people around the athlete. The coach also needs to be able to make decisions based on pooled knowledge and can only sift effectively if he/she has a vision of the end product. All goal setting must be tied to a clear idea of what is needed to achieve the goal , and only set two process goals towards this aim at any given time.
The modern-day professional coach is a manager of young people's professional lives and aspirations and therefore must keep abreast, or even pioneer, cutting-edge research.
There are times when it is important to have in-depth discussions with an athlete but if there was one thing I had to choose after 25 years of coaching it is this: knowledge is useless if not delivered and applied in the right way. The more you know, the less you say–and timing becomes everything.
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.
Orientation and Swing-Path
Once upon a time this game of ours was much simpler. Groundstrokes were long, linear, fluid, and picturesque, but that game was played at a much slower pace. The modern game is all about power and the angular, rotational, momentum that makes all that power possible. Doug King uses a ground clock device and three poles to illustrate this concept and provide a another way of looking at it that just might clear things up and make a real difference in the way you approach the ball.
Finding Another Gear
Whether in the professional matches or local USTA courts, there occurs close matches with big situations, where now and then one player shifts to another gear to capture the victory. This doesn’t happen all the time, nor truly can it. Jim McLennan explores situations where this might occur, the decisive points made by the player shifting to this next level, his/her mind set when the match is on the line, and perhaps the classic go to shot used to find that next level of play.
ProStrokes 2.0 – Nadia Petrova's Forehand
This 26 year turned pro in 1999, but it wasn't until 2005 that she had her break-out year, winning her first singles title at Linz, taking out Patty Schnyder in the final, and finishing the year in the top ten for the first time. Nadia Petrova is one of the biggest servers and heaviest hitters among the crop of Russian women. She prefers hard courts that suit her aggressive game. She looks to finish points early with her big forehand and serve, and is not afraid to come to the net.
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
- "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
- "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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