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View Full Version : John Thomas, How do they train kids Aussie style?


Eric Matuszewski
08-22-2004, 04:41 PM
With such a history for being good at the net that doesn't seem to be changing I want to know what do they do differently in programs there?

It seems that as the rest of the juniors of the world can't help but to retreat to the baseline when things get tight, the Aussies love to be there.

Kids coached by Aussies seem to like the net more as well. I'm thinking of Federer who spent impressionable years with one.

So what is net training like in Australia, I'd love to hear some specific examples of games that are common there that encourage net play.

JohnThomas1
08-22-2004, 05:04 PM
Ah ok. To be honest i really don't think it is anything much in our training, it is in the fact that doubles is SEVERELY ENCOURAGED out here. Even the kids are steered toward playing a decent amount of doubles. If you wanna learn to play the net, PLAY DOUBLES! To play good doubles you have to learn to volley. Doubles is a big thing over here. At present in our fixtures we have 3 players. Players A and B play two singles and two doubles while player C plays four doubles. These are all single set formats. Many adults don't want to play singles and this caters perfect. The other half of the season has four man teams, two play one singles and three doubles and two play four doubles.

If you still want me to dwell into how the juniors are trained i can tell you what i know and have been involved in. No doubles magic in it tho.

Eric Matuszewski
08-22-2004, 05:08 PM
Thanks John,

How do they "severely encourage" doubles? Is doubles performance more of a factor in junior ranking or something?

I really would like to know any training games that are popular that seem to encourage net play.

JohnThomas1
08-22-2004, 05:22 PM
I'm not sure how ranking points are used but there is doubles at all the junior tournies i know of. The coaches i know push their kids toward playing it, both in tournaments and fixtures etc. Australia has a strong doubles heritage. We play the top juniors in my city all the time in doubles fixtures, they are raw but you can see them improve over time.

One common drill here is for the coach to feed a short ball, you hit an approach to a deep down the line target and roll in. He then feeds a low pass which you hit deep to the opposite corner target then he feeds another pass down your line which you angle of for a winning volley after closing. We are encouraged to place and not go ballistic on this last volley. He can feed as hard as he likes according to your talent. There are also two sides to it, forehand approach DTL, CC forehand volley deep the BH volley short. Then the mirror, backhand approach, backhand volley then forehand volley. Of course you can mix and match this drill to cover different scenario's too.

Bungalo Bill
08-22-2004, 06:23 PM
You might want to get an international tennis directory and call one of them.

Eric Matuszewski
08-22-2004, 06:48 PM
John,

Thank you for the feedback.

One question...

does the third feed go down the opposite line as the first one.

He would have to move in between feeds to do this, which would be a new idea to alot of coaches in the USA.

Best Wishes.

Bungalo Bill
08-22-2004, 09:12 PM
John,

Thank you for the feedback.

One question...

does the third feed go down the opposite line as the first one.

He would have to move in between feeds to do this, which would be a new idea to alot of coaches in the USA.

Best Wishes.

If you really want to know what the pros are doing why dont you call one of them? LOL

Mahboob Khan
08-22-2004, 09:53 PM
Well, to encourage going to the net you can follow many approaches:

1. Ask your players to play doubles but the rules are modified:

-- If you hit an ace, you win the GAME;

-- If you commit double fault, you lose the game;

-- If you commit return of serve error, you lose the game;

-- If you win the point with a volley, you win the game;

-- If you win the point with a smash, you win the game.

Obviously, with this modified format a set will go by fast. You can play another one, then another one ....

2. There are drills involving serve which also encourage going to the net:

Drill 1: Players in line. The coach is positioned on the other baseline with a basket of balls:

-- First player in line serves and moves forward; the coach 3 balls: FH volley, BH volley, and a lob, and the player rotates .. and the drill continues. This is to get the feel and get the feet moving. Basically it is a dead ball drill because the coach is feeding off a basket.

Drill 2 (liveball):

-- The server serves out wide to the forehand; the returner returns cross court, the server volleys down the line, and the point is then played out (from cooperation to competition).

-- The server serves out wide to the forehand, the returner returns down the line, the serving team player volleys BH volley cross-court, and the point is then played out.

Drill 3 (liveball):

The above can also be mirrored to the backhand side:

-- The server serves out wide to the BH; the returner returns cross-court, the serving team volleys down the line, and the point is then played out.

-- The server serves out wide to the BH; the returner returns down the line, the serving team volleys cross court, and the point is then played out.

Reverse roles after 21 points.

As part of your developmental program, play league matches whereby players are mandated to play two singles and one doubles match.

There are many drills and games through which netplay is encouraged.

In a match, players may not quite often use the net tactic, but just doing these drills will make the players go forward and backward, and side to side, which will make them better athlete!

Let's make no mistake, you cannot turn a baseliner (Lendl) into a serve and volleyer, and a serve and volleyer (McEnroe) into a baseliner!

Lleyton Hewitt is an Aussie, but he is a baseliner although he is a good volleyer too but seldom goes to the net. I guess it is about the game type with which you are born. The coaches will just put you in a situation to explore that innate attribute!

A player should be put in situations in which he must practice the 5-game situations daily:

-- The serve situations

-- The return of serve situations

-- The baseline rally situations

-- The attack situations

-- The defense situations.

There is hard work; there are no magics.

JohnThomas1
08-22-2004, 10:40 PM
From memory he was simply hustling across the court Eric.

Bungalo Bill
08-22-2004, 10:48 PM
Well, to encourage going to the net you can follow many approaches:

1. Ask your players to play doubles but the rules are modified:

-- If you hit an ace, you win the GAME;

-- If you commit double fault, you lose the game;

-- If you commit return of serve error, you lose the game;

-- If you win the point with a volley, you win the game;

-- If you win the point with a smash, you win the game.

Obviously, with this modified format a set will go by fast. You can play another one, then another one ....

2. There are drills involving serve which also encourage going to the net:

Drill 1: Players in line. The coach is positioned on the other baseline with a basket of balls:

-- First player in line serves and moves forward; the coach 3 balls: FH volley, BH volley, and a lob, and the player rotates .. and the drill continues. This is to get the feel and get the feet moving. Basically it is a dead ball drill because the coach is feeding off a basket.

Drill 2 (liveball):

-- The server serves out wide to the forehand; the returner returns cross court, the server volleys down the line, and the point is then played out (from cooperation to competition).

-- The server serves out wide to the forehand, the returner returns down the line, the serving team player volleys BH volley cross-court, and the point is then played out.

Drill 3 (liveball):

The above can also be mirrored to the backhand side:

-- The server serves out wide to the BH; the returner returns cross-court, the serving team volleys down the line, and the point is then played out.

-- The server serves out wide to the BH; the returner returns down the line, the serving team volleys cross court, and the point is then played out.

Reverse roles after 21 points.

As part of your developmental program, play league matches whereby players are mandated to play two singles and one doubles match.

There are many drills and games through which netplay is encouraged.

In a match, players may not quite often use the net tactic, but just doing these drills will make the players go forward and backward, and side to side, which will make them better athlete!

Let's make no mistake, you cannot turn a baseliner (Lendl) into a serve and volleyer, and a serve and volleyer (McEnroe) into a baseliner!

Lleyton Hewitt is an Aussie, but he is a baseliner although he is a good volleyer too but seldom goes to the net. I guess it is about the game type with which you are born. The coaches will just put you in a situation to explore that innate attribute!

A player should be put in situations in which he must practice the 5-game situations daily:

-- The serve situations

-- The return of serve situations

-- The baseline rally situations

-- The attack situations

-- The defense situations.

There is hard work; there are no magics.

Folks, this is a good coach. He lays it out clearly and precisely tells you what you need to do. He keeps things simple and sees the game for what it is and doesn't makeup or conjure things that aren't there or are very difficult to see.

I have learned an awful lot from Mahboob. In fact, some people say they print and read my stuff? Well I print and read this man's stuff.

JohnThomas1
08-22-2004, 10:59 PM
I print and read BOTH your stuff depending on my needs :)

Eric Matuszewski
08-23-2004, 03:18 AM
Thanks guys, I appreciated your advice.

You've helped me get some new ideas on this topic.

Best Wishes

Mahboob Khan
08-23-2004, 09:09 AM
Thank you Bungalow Bill and friends for your good words. Yes, we all have learned from each other and I dubb this message board the best. In fact, a best question takes best out of us and this question from Eric was one of the best. A person who has knowledge always respects other person's knowledge and, yes, Bungalow Bill is a knowledgeable person, no doubt about that.