Introducing TossAssist - "No one ever had a great serve without a great toss!" - SquareHit Tennis
The SquareHit Tennis TossAssist™ sets the players wrist into the correct angle to create a quiet, stable wrist and hand platform so as to accurately and repeatedly lift your ball toss up to the same spot. The TossAssist is an anatomically designed tennis trainer that comfortably fits all players and ensures accurate ball tosses so you can fully develop a powerful and reliable serve.
If I Knew Then What I Know Now
Dave Smith, Senior Editor TennisOne
A few days ago, I received an interesting e-mail, one that included this question:
“If somehow you could step into an 18 year-old body with your current knowledge of the game, would you easily be a top world-class player?”
On the surface, this question would assume that the depth of knowledge acquired through 30-plus years of playing and teaching tennis would provide something like an “insiders guide” to playing and training well enough to become one of the best.
This is exactly what good teaching pros provide their young students: an insider’s presentation of things which the student of the game needs to master in order to get to what I call the player’s “Personal Potential.” If the player were to take their tennis to the professional ranks, there are a number of things they must understand - elements of the game that are much more obvious to me now than they were when I was eighteen!
Jim Courier was known to be the first one on the practice courts and the last ones off at Bollettiere’s famed tennis factory, putting in far more hours of intensive training than fellow top-ranked players!
The information within this newsletter describes how I would train myself if I were again, 18 years old (or younger). Actually, I include this information when I train all my students, including my 8-year old daughter, Kyla.
The problem with the belief that I could take what I know now and mold it into myself 30-plus years in the past, is that even if I personally knew then what I know now, there is an element of “Motivation” which is an internalized factor that can only be driven by the individual. That is, if I use every known motivational tool on any particular student or player, (or myself), that individual must allow himself to be motivated; otherwise, those tools I provide will be completely lost. The player would have to be open to my knowledge of not just the game, (in terms of strokes and strategies), but also the elements that allow me to train both my body as they relate to the challenges of intense training and my mind as it pertains to the psychological aspects of reaching such levels.
I mention motivation because, beyond tennis stroke understanding and execution, the real dividing line between reaching world-class levels—or even highly skilled level—and not reaching such aspirations is, indeed, the player’s dedication to aspiration!
Motivation must be initiated and sustained by the individual; it can’t be forced upon him. There have been countless stories of famous athletes, tennis players included, who overcame adversity. Players who were told they “couldn’t do it” or were faced with financial hurdles, or were handicapped in some way. Examples of these situations include Stan Smith (who was told at one time he was “too tall”), the William Sisters who grew up and learned tennis in a lower to middle class community. James Blake broke his back, had shingles and lost his dad to cancer, yet managed to reach a top-10 world-ranking. And, we all know how Andre Agassi was all but counted out, sinking to a world-ranking of 141 before roaring back to compete among the world’s best players once again.
Never one of the great movers on the court, nevertheless, through hard work, Monica Seles became the number one player in the world.
These players and many hundreds, if not thousands more, in each and every sport, drew upon an internal motivation that pushed them harder than the multitude of athletes around them.
Examples of self-motivation can be summarized in Monica Seles and Jim Courier: Both were known to be the first ones on the practice courts and the last ones off at Bollettiere’s famed tennis factory, putting in far more hours of intensive training than fellow top-ranked players! While neither player possessed what I would call "excessive natural talent" they both put forth an effort that propelled them to reach number one world status; an effort that is accessible to almost all, yet dodged by most.
The Five “D’s” and one “S”
I emphasize upon my students the concept of motivation and what I call the “Five D’s and one “S”. These are:
- The one “S” is: Sacrifice.
Desire: A successful person in any field must have the sincere desire to set and reach personal goals. If the desire is not sincere, the goals will be not only be unreasonable, but they will be unreachable as well.
Dedication: Set aside ample time based on the player’s needs and requirements as determined by those desired goals.
Drive and Determination: Without drive and determination, a player who faces obstacles, set-backs, failures and disappointments will lose the desire to keep going.
Discipline: The ability to overcome the natural human condition to quit when the going gets tough, but also, to stay focused on those methods that may not come naturally as fast or as easy for them as they do for other players.
Andre Agassi fell to 141 in the world before clawing his way back to the very top of the game.
Sacrifice: The final piece of the puzzle. Players will be subjected to competing interests that can pose distractions, taking them away from the purpose and direction they had originally set forth for themselves. Players will be pulled by friends to spend more time with them doing things that might not only take them away from tennis, but also create negative influences in the process. Sincere players with sincere goals need to understand this element of sacrifice. To help themselves, players should surround themselves with like-mined friends as best they can. They must avoid the common pitfalls of procrastination and diversion. While there are times a player will need to take time away from tennis, all players need to recognize when they simply are avoiding the sacrifice for whatever reason.
Remember, if the goals are sincere, and the desire is sincere, then in reality, there are no sacrifices; everything done to reach those goals will be looked at as an opportunity. When the player loses sight of such “opportunities” and sees them as sacrifices, then the player may never reach those goals.
Obviously, there are a great number of variables which contribute to a player’s overall success. Character and personality are probably the two most ingrained and genetically-determined traits that can contribute or detract from a player’s road to success. However, of the 3500 players I have trained, only had a handful—perhaps less than five players—didn’t possess the athleticism, or have the character, to become extremely successful.
While almost all of my students have mastered the structure of the game, only a few have managed to put all the “D’s” and the “S” into their tennis. And, this also explains why so few players manage to get to the pinnacle of the game. As experienced instructors, we can only give players “what we know,” they must make the connections and self-motivate themselves to follow-through on that advice.
This is what makes a champion so very, very special.
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.
Relax the Arm and Use the Wrist for Proper Acceleration
Getting the body and the racquet to swing in proper coordination can be tricky business. The technique and timing of this system varies from shot to shot to produce variations of power, spin, and trajectory. The coordination of this motion is difficult enough on shots that require little or no generation of power, such as a volley or blocked return of serve. However, for a stroke that requires the generation of additional power, the undertaking can be quite challenging. Doug King
Grass Court Tactics For All-Court Players
For many years, players have been requesting a longer gap between the end of Roland Garros and the start of Wimbledon to allow more time to adapt their games. However, given the results from the last couple of years, it seems that they are managing this transition very well: Three of this years Wimbledon’s semi-finalists were also semi-finalists at Roland Garros. This grasscourt season showed how the top players are willing to adapt their styles to suit the surface. Philippe Azar suggest that the single most important alteration made during the grass court season was the increased use of backspin.
Crosscourt with Sania Mirza
TennisOne analyst Matt Cronin talks with rising star Sania Mira. Mirza became the first Indian woman to reach the third round of a Grand Slam tournament (the 2005 Australian Open) and the first Indian woman to win a WTA title, the Hyderabad Open. After a brief run at the top thirty Sania faded a bit but now, injury free, she is back with a vengeance and one of the most devastating forehands on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Hear what she has to say about her career and her one in a billion status in India.
ProStrokes Gallery - Ivan Ljubicic's Returns and Net Game
Ivan Ljubicic turned pro in 1998, and has firmly established himself within the men’s top ten. He has been ranked as high as number three, and is currently ranked number twelve. He holds wins over every other player in the top ten including Roger Federer (though this was in 2003 before Roger really hit his stride), Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Gonzalez, Tommy Robredo, Novak Djokovic, James Blake, and Tommy Haas. Check out Ljubicic's strokes in the TennisOne Prostrokes Gallery. New this issue, Ljubicic's returns and net game.
The Etcheberry Experience DVD
For more than twenty years Pat Etcheberry has been providing athletes from around the world with the winning edge. We call this the Etcheberry Experience, and players with an Etcheberry experience have hoisted Championship Trophies at over one hundred major championships, including 28 Australian Opens, 18 Wimbledons, 22 UP Opens, 22 French Opens and 15 Olympic medals.
And now it's your turn! This is your chance to experience the same drills, exercises and words of tennis wisdom that Pat gave to Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and others, that helped launch them on their incredible careers. For the first time, Pat Etcheberry shares his training secrets in a series of DVDs for players of all ages, their coaches, and trainers.
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