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spreed
02-18-2012, 01:38 PM
Hello out there ☺

Iím a Tennis Coach from Denmark. Besides beeing a coach I am studying Sports and health at the University of Southern Denmark.

Iíve been working with a small girl (born march 2002) for nearly one and a half years for a total amount of almost 150 private hours + quite a lot of hours on the regular team training at our local club.

The girls big sister is like 300 ITF (born 1996), so her parents know the big world of tennis and how much hard work and financial ressources thatís requried just to have a shot in this game.

Iím writing this post because me and the girl would like to get input to our training. Get new eyes on our work to make sure that we are heading in the right direction or prevent os from working out of a bad tangent.

Iím sure there is a lot of competent advisors at this forum, and I would be honored if you would share either some contacts of yours or even contribute with your own advices. Me and the girl are willing to travel to where ever we find attractive to improve her game and our training sessions.

I find it difficult to decide if itís the best solution for us to go to an experienced coach somewhere and get him to help us or it actually would be better if I participated at some of ITFs conferences or I for example went to some academy to get inspiration. Maybe we do not have to go anyware, but just keep working a year or to more before we collect inspiration from outside of little Denmark.

We have filmed the different strokes, so that you have a fair chance to response propper to this thread.
In the time Iíve worked with the girl we have worked on the following things:

Forehand: Changes the grip from extreme western, to semi western.
Back swing with racquet head pointing up.
Doing one complete sving.
Finishing with high elbow.
Trying to get the elbow in a straight line from the shoulder
Relaxing at the finish, racquet pointing towards the ground

Backhand: Swinging through after ball contact.
Elbow in straight line from shoulder.

Slice: Racquet head parallel with baseline at preparation.
Racquet across body parallel with baseline in the follow through.
Left hand backwards to create hold against the movement.

Volleys: Splitstep
Keeping racquet head high through out the motion.

Serve: Getting the feet and the knees in the correct position/angle
Kicking with the right leg
Straight left arm on ball toss, keeping it up

Smash: Looking at the ball
Keeps left arm up

Footwork: ĒThe bailey methodĒ, open stance in general

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw2cj7o4cWM

- Iím sorry that the quality is so poor. We are about to buy a new camera and all new video footage will be in better solution.

Technical thoughts for the future

Forehand: Getting left arm parallel to the baseline through preparation.

Volleys: Splitstep + one big step to create the power from the body

Smash: Having the body sideways at ball contact. Getting ĒunderĒ the ball

Serve: Getting the elbow high after ball contact.

As you may have observed I tend to give the technial training my main focus ;)
Besides the technical training we have been focusing more and more on the tactical part the last few month as the big technical changes for now is done.
The fysical training is both taken care of by the students mom whos a psyiotherapist and my self. I mostly take care of the hand eye coordination, and the basic motor skills and her mom takes care of the core training.
I think the mental part is a challenge and we tried last year with doctor Cohens mental kit for kids, but she didnít understand it. But this year Dr. Cohen has made a new one which is easier to understand and my student has matured a lot.

It became the longest but definitely also for me the most important thread Iíve ever written.

Iím now asking for your help and therefor Iím of course willing to provide my help if some of my experience working very close with a small girl and her parents is usefull to someone out there.

Follow my work with Agnes at twitter: @adamblicher
Feel free to join my network at linkedin: @ Adam Juel-Blicher
Skype: @ Juel-Blicher
Email: adamblicher@gmail.com

I hope to hear from you guys!
Thanks in advance
Adam Juel-Blicher

SStrikerR
02-18-2012, 02:32 PM
I'm only a player myself and wouldn't know a whole lot about coaching, but for a 9(?) year old she hits much better than I would expect. She hits pretty loopy shots, but for a young kid that's that short, I wouldn't expect anything different.

As of now, how are you trying to get her to play? Offensively, trying to take advantage of short balls and moving in? Or defensively, playing steady, moving people around, and trying to force errors?

tennis_balla
02-18-2012, 02:46 PM
spreed, are you using low compression balls with her? It might just be the low quality of the video but from the way the balls bounced it didn't seem like you were using regular tennis balls so just wondering. I'll have a look at your video tomorrow again and re-read your description more thoroughly and let you know.

Just a couple of questions:
Has she been playing competition already?
and what is the financial situation of her parents? You talked about seeking advice from others. The first thought that came to my mind would be to spend a week or two with her at a top tennis academy in Europe. Maybe Sanchez-Casal, Mouratoglou as an example. Get her exposed to kids her age and better, see how they train, get her exposed into that competitive environment and get further feedback and analysis from their coaches and so on. This would be much more beneficial for both of you then for you to attend a coaches conference. Of course this depends a lot on if her parents can afford it. Denmark is small and unless she gets out and sees whats out there, who she'll be competing against and give her motivation. Anyways, just a thought.

spreed
02-18-2012, 02:48 PM
I'm only a player myself and wouldn't know a whole lot about coaching, but for a 9(?) year old she hits much better than I would expect. She hits pretty loopy shots, but for a young kid that's that short, I wouldn't expect anything different.

As of now, how are you trying to get her to play? Offensively, trying to take advantage of short balls and moving in? Or defensively, playing steady, moving people around, and trying to force errors?

Agnes is crazy about Sharapova and Azarenka and she likes to play like them as well which means that's she's actually making quite a few mistakes at the moment. But my philosophy is that she has to learn "the winner" in an early age, and then it's easier to adjust the pace down later on.

I might follow you on the "loopy" shots on the video, but I think she hits with less margin to the net than most of the juniors in Denmark. So I'm trying to follow what Agnes want's and that's the starting point for our work together.

spreed
02-18-2012, 03:04 PM
spreed, are you using low compression balls with her? It might just be the low quality of the video but from the way the balls bounced it didn't seem like you were using regular tennis balls so just wondering. I'll have a look at your video tomorrow again and re-read your description more thoroughly and let you know.

Just a couple of questions:
Has she been playing competition already?
and what is the financial situation of her parents? You talked about seeking advice from others. The first thought that came to my mind would be to spend a week or two with her at a top tennis academy in Europe. Maybe Sanchez-Casal, Mouratoglou as an example. Get her exposed to kids her age and better, see how they train, get her exposed into that competitive environment and get further feedback and analysis from their coaches and so on. This would be much more beneficial for both of you then for you to attend a coaches conference. Of course this depends a lot on if her parents can afford it. Denmark is small and unless she gets out and sees whats out there, who she'll be competing against and give her motivation. Anyways, just a thought.

Nice that you're always getting back quick and with a constructive answer to my threads :)

Ehm, we are hitting with normal Head balls which is the same as the big sister trains with (same basket). The surface is quite fast and we are playing in a flower hall because we got no regular indoor facilities. - Sorry about the quality of the clip it's really pure, I know.


She played 12 tournaments U12 last year (31 matches). It's kind of a balance in case to the technical development, but the parents and I planned it so no big technical changes were made right before. She has a 1:1 ratio in wins and loses and has beaten top 10 players U12 in Denmark.

The financial situation is no problem. My first thought was as well that a stay at one of the famous academies like Sanchez-Casal, Mouratoglou, bollettieri would be the best solution, but then I wondered if it's overkill for a nine (soon 10 year old) tennis girl. But she's ambitious and I think it would be good for her to experience how tough the competition is, and it would be great for her and me as well to go to an academy and learn from the best.

Keep the good answers coming :)

forthegame
02-18-2012, 03:15 PM
No advice, just encouragement. Keep up the good work!

tennis_balla
02-18-2012, 03:17 PM
Nice that you're always getting back quick and with a constructive answer to my threads :)

Ehm, we are hitting with normal Head balls which is the same as the big sister trains with (same basket). The surface is quite fast and we are playing in a flower hall because we got no regular indoor facilities. - Sorry about the quality of the clip it's really pure, I know.


She played 12 tournaments U12 last year (31 matches). It's kind of a balance in case to the technical development, but the parents and I planned it so no big technical changes were made right before. She has a 1:1 ratio in wins and loses and has beaten top 10 players U12 in Denmark.

The financial situation is no problem. My first thought was as well that a stay at one of the famous academies like Sanchez-Casal, Mouratoglou, bollettieri would be the best solution, but then I wondered if it's overkill for a nine (soon 10 year old) tennis girl. But she's ambitious and I think it would be good for her to experience how tough the competition is, and it would be great for her and me as well to go to an academy and learn from the best.

Keep the good answers coming :)

I was just wondering about the balls, no problem.

She might 'only' be 9, but remember the top kids are already competing and by 12 are playing Les Petit As Tournament in France and are already highly developed with their tennis. She's almost 10, and 2 years goes by quickly. Girls also develop sooner physically then guys, so at 10 yr old she'll handle the tough training.

spreed
02-18-2012, 03:29 PM
No advice, just encouragement. Keep up the good work!

Thanks :) So far just by writing you guys give me a lot of will to keep working hard and dedicated with Agnes.

I was just wondering about the balls, no problem.

She might 'only' be 9, but remember the top kids are already competing and by 12 are playing Les Petit As Tournament in France and are already highly developed with their tennis. She's almost 10, and 2 years goes by quickly. Girls also develop sooner physically then guys, so at 10 yr old she'll handle the tough training.

So nice to hear that. That's exactly what I'm thinking, but when I'm talking to other danish coaches they have all kind of worries and tries to slow down the process, maybe that's why we haven't got any good players besides Caroline from Denmark ;)

tennis_balla
02-18-2012, 03:30 PM
I like the quick feet Agnes has got and and the bounce in her step and I think that is something you need to explore further. She definitely has strong legs but because of her age she's a bit weaker right now in the arms/upper body. Not weak, but weaker which is normal. Her technique will develop further and get better the stronger she gets.

A friend of mine is a former Top 30 WTA singles player and she has a small frame as well, strong legs but a small frame. I talked to her about this before and she mentioned that for her, balance and using her legs and core are important, even more so then for other players because of her body dimensions. She said she worked hours on court to make sure she's using her legs to get into the proper position and not waste any extra effort. Simple, direct footwork and movement. Keeping her legs under her and loading into the shot from her quads and core. Court positioning and recover is what she worked on a lot.

tennis_balla
02-18-2012, 03:36 PM
Just look at all the footwork drills, positioning, balance drills done here, it never stops
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjbXWfACf2M

Limpinhitter
02-18-2012, 04:02 PM
Thanks :) So far just by writing you guys give me a lot of will to keep working hard and dedicated with Agnes.



So nice to hear that. That's exactly what I'm thinking, but when I'm talking to other danish coaches they have all kind of worries and tries to slow down the process, maybe that's why we haven't got any good players besides Caroline from Denmark ;)

I have to ask, what does she want to do? I think she's got the ability. But, is she as ambitious - at this point - as you and/or her parents? If so, then, IMO, there's no reason to hold back.

forthegame
02-18-2012, 04:10 PM
Just look at all the footwork drills, positioning, balance drills done here, it never stops
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjbXWfACf2M

My legs are burning and eyes tearing just watching that.

You coaches do a marvellous job, not easy getting kids to do stuff like that.

Sorry, I have nothing constructive to add.

spreed
02-18-2012, 04:28 PM
I have to ask, what does she want to do? I think she's got the ability. But, is she as ambitious - at this point - as you and/or her parents? If so, then, IMO, there's no reason to hold back.

I think it's a tough balance. Of course I have to push her as well as her parents just so she has a chance to try living on the tour. So far she seems happy, dedicated and keeps asking me to play more at the end of the trainings. I think it helps a lot for her to have her big sister as a role model. She has no doubt that it takes a lot of hard and dedicated work to become a professional tennis player.

Of course we have bad training days were things don't work out the way we wanted them and she get's kind of frustrated, but I'm in a close dialog with the parents and we are aware of not killing her motivation and keep her desire for tennis as a first priority.

My legs are burning and eyes tearing just watching that.

You coaches do a marvellous job, not easy getting kids to do stuff like that.

Sorry, I have nothing constructive to add.

I'm happy that you invested some of your time in writing such fine words for me. Thank you!

Limpinhitter
02-18-2012, 04:55 PM
I think it's a tough balance. Of course I have to push her as well as her parents just so she has a chance to try living on the tour. So far she seems happy, dedicated and keeps asking me to play more at the end of the trainings. I think it helps a lot for her to have her big sister as a role model. She has no doubt that it takes a lot of hard and dedicated work to become a professional tennis player.

Of course we have bad training days were things don't work out the way we wanted them and she get's kind of frustrated, but I'm in a close dialog with the parents and we are aware of not killing her motivation and keep her desire for tennis as a first priority.

* * *

I'm not a coach, but, I am a father. I would suggest that (1) the desire has to come from within her, and (2) she will let you know when, or if, she is ready to be completely devoted to tennis. As I see it, your #1 job is to pursuade her to communicate openly and honestly with you. If she doesn't have the desire, you can't force it on her, not successfully in the long run. And, if she's not ready, you may squash her desire by pushing her too fast.

spreed
02-19-2012, 01:19 AM
I'm not a coach, but, I am a father. I would suggest that (1) the desire has to come from within her, and (2) she will let you know when, or if, she is ready to be completely devoted to tennis. As I see it, your #1 job is to pursuade her to communicate openly and honestly with you. If she doesn't have the desire, you can't force it on her, not successfully in the long run. And, if she's not ready, you may squash her desire by pushing her too fast.

I follow you. Of course Agnes as a person is the most important in the long run and so far I feel that Agnes and I are communicating honest with each other. It's easy for me to feel when my training gets to monotonous and she isn't enjoying her self and then we adjust.

spreed
02-21-2012, 11:47 AM
I am allowing my self to bump the thread just in case anyone want's add their opinion / share a contact or maybe just read the thread. Hope to hear from you :)

Ash_Smith
02-21-2012, 12:20 PM
Hi Adam

Firstly, i'd like to say well done for your work with Agnes so far - she is doing a lot of things very well and (based on that clip alone) is certainly on par with some of our top 10 year old girls.

I've added some thoughts of mine below...

Forehand: She has quite a big overswing on her forehand which results in her laying the racquet behind her body (parallel to the baseline). For me this is a big dislike (although many WTA tour players do the same!), for me the racquet has to stay inline with the ball (on the racquet side of the body).

Backhand: I really like her backhand, very neat and tidy, but anyone who has ever read any of my stuff before knows I like a lot of left arm extension in the two hander - and I'd like to see more of that for Agnes! On her slice, for me, she prep's too far away from her body and too high, so she cuts too steeply and finishes with the racquet head too far below her wrist, resulting in that slightly floaty slice that pops up.

Volleys: Like many girls, she seems to struggle with her balance and body control through the volley! Also, not shown in your video, but if she and you want to have success, please help her step inside the baseline and learn to hit a drive volley. For the women a Drive Volley is ESSENTIAL, especially as she moves through 12's/14's and 16's into seniors. The earlier you can help her be comfortable making the decision to step in and drive volley, the more success she will have going forward.

Serve: Forget elbow high after contact, if it were me i'd be working on keeping the elbow lower when she hits her 'trophy' position, at the moment it rises way above 90degrees from her shoulder which means she has to set it back down before she can start to drive the racquet up into the ball. If she can keep the elbow at around 90 or below, she won't have to reset before she fires.

These are my initial observations. But like I say, great job so far and I hope i'll be seeing Agnes at Les Petit AS in a couple of years playing one of our girls!

Regards

sunof tennis
02-21-2012, 02:28 PM
I'm not a coach, but, I am a father. I would suggest that (1) the desire has to come from within her, and (2) she will let you know when, or if, she is ready to be completely devoted to tennis. As I see it, your #1 job is to pursuade her to communicate openly and honestly with you. If she doesn't have the desire, you can't force it on her, not successfully in the long run. And, if she's not ready, you may squash her desire by pushing her too fast.


I nominate this as the post of the year (early I know). If every parent had this attitude, we would have a lot less horror stories.

5263
02-21-2012, 05:01 PM
Did you look at the thread, Practice for Smarter Targets?

kiennham
02-21-2012, 07:25 PM
I nominate this as the post of the year (early I know). If every parent had this attitude, we would have a lot less horror stories.

I second to this.
I'm not that good or experienced of a player, but as far as I can tell, she will beat me in a heart beat even though I'm older and stronger.

I have no contribute for this thread but to encourage and wish you both good luck. She will go far.

spreed
02-22-2012, 10:55 AM
Hi Adam

Firstly, i'd like to say well done for your work with Agnes so far - she is doing a lot of things very well and (based on that clip alone) is certainly on par with some of our top 10 year old girls.

I've added some thoughts of mine below...

Forehand: She has quite a big overswing on her forehand which results in her laying the racquet behind her body (parallel to the baseline). For me this is a big dislike (although many WTA tour players do the same!), for me the racquet has to stay inline with the ball (on the racquet side of the body).

Backhand: I really like her backhand, very neat and tidy, but anyone who has ever read any of my stuff before knows I like a lot of left arm extension in the two hander - and I'd like to see more of that for Agnes! On her slice, for me, she prep's too far away from her body and too high, so she cuts too steeply and finishes with the racquet head too far below her wrist, resulting in that slightly floaty slice that pops up.

Volleys: Like many girls, she seems to struggle with her balance and body control through the volley! Also, not shown in your video, but if she and you want to have success, please help her step inside the baseline and learn to hit a drive volley. For the women a Drive Volley is ESSENTIAL, especially as she moves through 12's/14's and 16's into seniors. The earlier you can help her be comfortable making the decision to step in and drive volley, the more success she will have going forward.

Serve: Forget elbow high after contact, if it were me i'd be working on keeping the elbow lower when she hits her 'trophy' position, at the moment it rises way above 90degrees from her shoulder which means she has to set it back down before she can start to drive the racquet up into the ball. If she can keep the elbow at around 90 or below, she won't have to reset before she fires.

These are my initial observations. But like I say, great job so far and I hope i'll be seeing Agnes at Les Petit AS in a couple of years playing one of our girls!

Regards

Forhand
I clearly see what you mean by looking at the video and have never thought of it. I'm curious to know why it's a dislike of yours. Is it biomechanically, in relation to missing time, when she gets older and the game gets faster or maybe some third possibility?

Backhand/slice
I might be wrong on this, but I think when her grip is cont 2-1 and she's most of the time hitting with semi-open or closed stance it's difficult to extend the top arm (left). Agnes and I saw a lot of films on Maria Sharapovas backhand when we worked on it, and she's not extending the arm, but maybe that's a leak?

Once again on the slice I see your point when looking at the clip. For sure a little adjustment that she's going to benefit from.

Volleys
It's written down, and maybe one of the things that lack in her game/confidence regarding to dare going forward.

Serve
That's probably the right order

Final comment
At last I just want to thank you for your input! I'm for sure going to use some of your suggestions and hopefully we are going to meet each other in reel life in a couple of years :)


I nominate this as the post of the year (early I know). If every parent had this attitude, we would have a lot less horror stories.

Big words I'm happy that I started the thread then. I think the parental attitude is underestimate and as you say if all parents had the same attitude as mentioned above we would have a lot less horror stories.

Did you look at the thread, Practice for Smarter Targets?

I haven't yet, but I'm for sure going to! Thanks for the recommendation :)

I second to this.
I'm not that good or experienced of a player, but as far as I can tell, she will beat me in a heart beat even though I'm older and stronger.

I have no contribute for this thread but to encourage and wish you both good luck. She will go far.

It means more than you can imagine that Agnes and I get encouraged to continue working, so thanks a lot for the support!

spreed
02-22-2012, 11:44 AM
I don't know how to edit posts so I'm writing another one.

@ Ash_smith

It took me some time but I'm now following you on the backhand in case to the extension of the left arm. Now she's mostly using it to twist/turn the racquet head around instead of using it to gain longer swing and ball contact.

Is it possible to get a reference to some of your writing on the subject? - I would be glad to read it :)

Ash_Smith
02-22-2012, 12:27 PM
^^^ Not many of the girls have great extension on the backhands, but nearly all the guys do! That's my simple reason - get a girl who can and she'll be firing the ball through the court and through the opposition!

As for the laying off of the racquet, again it's a guys vs girls thing, too many girls do and hardly any of the guys! It is detrimental to timing and makes it very hard for the girls to accelerate the racquet from under the ball to generate spin - that's why you see so many 'sloppy' forehands n women's tennis. Look at Henin's forehand, for me it is textbook and was one of the best shots in the women's game (despite everybody raving about her backhand!).

Cheers and keep up the good work!

Cheetah
02-22-2012, 02:55 PM
This is a great video of Henin doing a warmup drill. You can see her extension clearly and her form looks amazing here: http://tennisniche.wordpress.com/tag/justine-henin/

Ash_Smith
02-22-2012, 10:51 PM
^^^Exactly - Henin for me is almost the perfect technical model for girls to follow. Even though she was usually playing much more physically dominant girls. If you can get a real physical star, and combine that with Henin-esque technical quality, you'll be onto a winner!

Cheers

rufus_smith
02-23-2012, 07:35 AM
Seems like you could learn a lot from how her big sister progessed in the game. Do whatever she did to get good but do it sooner. I helped coach my daughter from ages 7-18 and watched the progress of many junior girls in that time. My daughter wasn't "in love" with tennis so we didn't push her. Agnes looks different to me. She likes tennis and with her big sister still playing well seems like she could put more time into it. The big change in her physique and mentality happens at ages 12-14. You really won't know much until then. I've seen top juniors suddenly decide to give up serious tennis at that age. Other make tremendous improvements at that age.

Her strokes look good enough to me. IMO Biggest obstacle for all girls that age is the serve. At age nine most of the matches are won/lost by long baseline exchanges ended by an unforced error. It gets kind of tiresome. My daughter would get bored and eventually learned by herself hit dropshots and lobs to end the points. I taught her to go to hit volleys from two feet inside the service line rather than right on top of the net so she wouldn't get lobbed too much :) Worked well.
good luck

5263
02-23-2012, 11:39 AM
At age nine most of the matches are won/lost by long baseline exchanges ended by an unforced error.

and currently this never seems to change in the ladies game.
They just hit harder.

tommyfr
02-25-2012, 05:52 PM
Hi Adam,

I am also a tennis coach (MTM).

I think you have doe a great job, the girl is hitting great and it is adorable to see.

Basically I agree with much of what Ash said. Especially the forehand, so long take back, racket moving so far behind and even out on the other side of the body. This swing is not efficient for example when learning to take the ball on the rise. In my experience it creates balance issues and timing issues when the player needs to move farther to the ball.

For the volley I think its better that she learns a more compact stroke, with help of faster incoming balls, than thoose looping ones from baseline, and train on shorter takebackand followthrough withclear backspin for control.

The serve: seems she holds a sligth eastern fh grip? I prefer continental or maybe sligtly bh eastern. And I miss the right shoulder down before going up...and thats one reason for the tiny kneebend and a bit rushed motion.

I am not familiar with the Bailey method and the mental ref you gave, will study that. But it seems you have a well rounded holistic approach.

In my mind the main importance is her motivation/drive and finding the right corresponding volume of practice, and the right amount of rest.

Did she ever she Sharapova or Wozniacki live?

I am Swedish and would like to see another scandinavian top player....Lycka till!

spreed
02-29-2012, 11:53 AM
Did you look at the thread, Practice for Smarter Targets?

I now have and I'm looking forward to use it with Agnes.

As i wrote at the thread on Practice for smarter targets I have done some experiences with the three different cones, but I would really like to hear how you make it work in practice and how you progress/regress in case to different drills towards aiming at the "Smarter targets"

The best
Adam

5263
02-29-2012, 08:32 PM
I now have and I'm looking forward to use it with Agnes.

As i wrote at the thread on Practice for smarter targets I have done some experiences with the three different cones, but I would really like to hear how you make it work in practice and how you progress/regress in case to different drills towards aiming at the "Smarter targets"

The best
Adam

I mainly look at the 3 cones as making a triangle target and work to different parts of the triangle for different things.

I will feed deep balls for rally shots, with the suggestion they should look to hit nearer to the deepest cone.

When I feed balls for the mid court attacks, they can choose to work deeper for more power or shorter for angles.
I feed low balls that pull them in where they should slice and the same applies-to work deeper for more power or shorter for angles.
Same thing when feeding for volleys and overheads too.

I have them do match play with one working the targets and the other working for lots of depth. They get to see first hand how the player working the smart targets has the advantage.

Really it's mostly the same drills, but just with more focus on locating your
shots.
Overall it simplifies and streamlines the practice drills when you have 2 main targets like this. When they do miss, there is usually a good answer related to their intent towards the target.

spreed
03-02-2012, 09:25 AM
Hi Adam,

I am also a tennis coach (MTM).

I think you have doe a great job, the girl is hitting great and it is adorable to see.

Basically I agree with much of what Ash said. Especially the forehand, so long take back, racket moving so far behind and even out on the other side of the body. This swing is not efficient for example when learning to take the ball on the rise. In my experience it creates balance issues and timing issues when the player needs to move farther to the ball.

For the volley I think its better that she learns a more compact stroke, with help of faster incoming balls, than thoose looping ones from baseline, and train on shorter takebackand followthrough withclear backspin for control.

The serve: seems she holds a sligth eastern fh grip? I prefer continental or maybe sligtly bh eastern. And I miss the right shoulder down before going up...and thats one reason for the tiny kneebend and a bit rushed motion.

I am not familiar with the Bailey method and the mental ref you gave, will study that. But it seems you have a well rounded holistic approach.

In my mind the main importance is her motivation/drive and finding the right corresponding volume of practice, and the right amount of rest.

Did she ever she Sharapova or Wozniacki live?

I am Swedish and would like to see another scandinavian top player....Lycka till!

I see what both you and Ash mentions about the forehand path behind the back, and that is fore sure a thing I'm going to pay attention to.

I'm having a hard time to understand what you mean by more compact stroke. Maybe you could try to explain it in swedish? :) - And could you explain me what the wanted effect of training the volleys with flatter and harder balls from the baseline is?

She's a part of the Wozniacki Academy in Copenhagen where former danish professionals Kenneth Carlsen and Eva Dyrberg coach and play. I'm actually not sure that she has seen a professional match, but that's for sure an experience that she would be thrilled about and learn a lot from.

Looking forward to hear back from you :)

I mainly look at the 3 cones as making a triangle target and work to different parts of the triangle for different things.

I will feed deep balls for rally shots, with the suggestion they should look to hit nearer to the deepest cone.

When I feed balls for the mid court attacks, they can choose to work deeper for more power or shorter for angles.
I feed low balls that pull them in where they should slice and the same applies-to work deeper for more power or shorter for angles.
Same thing when feeding for volleys and overheads too.

I have them do match play with one working the targets and the other working for lots of depth. They get to see first hand how the player working the smart targets has the advantage.

Really it's mostly the same drills, but just with more focus on locating your
shots.
Overall it simplifies and streamlines the practice drills when you have 2 main targets like this. When they do miss, there is usually a good answer related to their intent towards the target.

In the end of your post I think you answers one of the questions that came into my mind after trying to work with the "smart targets" in practice.

It was clear for me and my students to hit after the short cone and the depth cone (the two cones on a straight line, but different distance from the net). But the cone thats in line with the deep cone (far away from the net) when do you use that? - Is it a cross-court cone (I think it's kind of close to the middle) or is it just to frame the triangle and show where the balls most often lands when you keep in mind that "the misses" are inside the court.

I would really like to se the "avoid" zone. I think that would make the system a lot clearer to me.

5263
03-03-2012, 05:46 PM
In the end of your post I think you answers one of the questions that came into my mind after trying to work with the "smart targets" in practice.

It was clear for me and my students to hit after the short cone and the depth cone (the two cones on a straight line, but different distance from the net). But the cone thats in line with the deep cone (far away from the net) when do you use that? - Is it a cross-court cone (I think it's kind of close to the middle) or is it just to frame the triangle and show where the balls most often lands when you keep in mind that "the misses" are inside the court.

I would really like to se the "avoid" zone. I think that would make the system a lot clearer to me.

Yes, it is sort of a crosscourt cone AND
does serve to form the triangle for a target zone.

The 2 shorter cones could be seen as a gate, where almost all shots will enter
before bouncing on the target area. A down the line shot would go over the shortest cone
(or just inside of it) and a wider crosscourt shot would probably
go over the cone closest to the mid court. All the other shots would enter the target
zone thru the door or gate those 2 shortest cones form.
I would not get too caught up in any of this other than ways you may find it can
help you. Mainly it is simply to hit so that balls bounce on or near the Smart Target area.
OK to use cones for line ups, but they won't be there for matches, so just develop
the feel for them.

andry16
03-03-2012, 06:59 PM
a few suggestions for training would be to teach her to hit closer to the baseline, basically force her to hit on the rise, this will also teach her to hit with as little topspin as possible amd more flat.

a no brainer would be to begin every trining session with serve practice, spend at least 40% of training developing the serve, after all is the most important shot in the game.

also mobility, you should work on her mobility every training session and not practice hitting balls to the middle, always hitting the ball with a target, rallying balls to the middle is something most juniors today waste a lot of time with.

and remember, tennis training is not made to develop the muscles, its made to develop and strenghteng the nervous system

tennis_balla
03-03-2012, 10:05 PM
Why would you want her to hit as flat as possible and only on the rise?

Ash_Smith
03-04-2012, 06:29 AM
andry, I too am interested as to why you make the observations you do?

I don't disagree with spending a high percentage of time working on the serve - but you haven't stated what you would work on and you don't know that Adam isn't spending time on it!

Similarly, how do you know they aren't working on mobility?

And I'd love to know your reasoning behind your first sentence?

Cheers

tommyfr
03-06-2012, 03:20 AM
Hi Adam, with more compact stroke i was referring to a volley with minimal backswing, at contact hitting down and across, and then stop. No follow through. In this case the volley if just 6-8 inches long.

However, if the ball is lose, you might need a longer back take for the volley, and a longer follow through after contact, the volley might be a couple of feet long.

If the student mostly get looping feeds for the volley she doesnt get the feel for this short , compact volley.

So if you go closer to net, and feed her faster balls for volleys (from a hopper or basket) instead of this live volley drill in the video, where you pick up he varying volleys, she will learn this more advanced volley.
And i suggest she stands a bit farther from the net, not so close, for volley exercises in general.

As for the slice, she has a bit too open stance. The more effectice slice is with the rigth shoulder towards the net, then steps in to the ball, at contact and hit down and across, and bringsboth arms behind the back (in order not to open the body to the net and just get a floater/sitter kind of slice).

Hope this is more clear this time. If not i might find some clips from youtube to illustrate my message/advice.

NLBwell
03-06-2012, 06:03 AM
I like the quick feet Agnes has got and and the bounce in her step and I think that is something you need to explore further. She definitely has strong legs but because of her age she's a bit weaker right now in the arms/upper body. Not weak, but weaker which is normal. Her technique will develop further and get better the stronger she gets.

A friend of mine is a former Top 30 WTA singles player and she has a small frame as well, strong legs but a small frame. I talked to her about this before and she mentioned that for her, balance and using her legs and core are important, even more so then for other players because of her body dimensions. She said she worked hours on court to make sure she's using her legs to get into the proper position and not waste any extra effort. Simple, direct footwork and movement. Keeping her legs under her and loading into the shot from her quads and core. Court positioning and recover is what she worked on a lot.

Agreeing with t_b here. In fact, I believe it is an advantage that she is developing her strokes while she is not strong in the upper body. Legs, core, and balance are critical for her. Really work on keeping her head steady as she moves and hits, as a sign of balance and ability to track the ball accurately.

spreed
03-06-2012, 11:25 PM
Yes, it is sort of a crosscourt cone AND
does serve to form the triangle for a target zone.

The 2 shorter cones could be seen as a gate, where almost all shots will enter
before bouncing on the target area. A down the line shot would go over the shortest cone
(or just inside of it) and a wider crosscourt shot would probably
go over the cone closest to the mid court. All the other shots would enter the target
zone thru the door or gate those 2 shortest cones form.
I would not get too caught up in any of this other than ways you may find it can
help you. Mainly it is simply to hit so that balls bounce on or near the Smart Target area.
OK to use cones for line ups, but they won't be there for matches, so just develop
the feel for them.

Ahh okay, that's sort of how I thought of it. I'm going to continue to work with the system and write if I imagine something worth sharing :)

a few suggestions for training would be to teach her to hit closer to the baseline, basically force her to hit on the rise, this will also teach her to hit with as little topspin as possible amd more flat.

a no brainer would be to begin every trining session with serve practice, spend at least 40% of training developing the serve, after all is the most important shot in the game.

also mobility, you should work on her mobility every training session and not practice hitting balls to the middle, always hitting the ball with a target, rallying balls to the middle is something most juniors today waste a lot of time with.

and remember, tennis training is not made to develop the muscles, its made to develop and strenghteng the nervous system

Ehm. We haven't directly worked towards hitting as flat as possible, but after we changed the path of the hand to a more directly path towards the ball and through it, the ball has got a lot less spin. - We agree that she's going to hit as "high" and rather flat at the ball whenever it's possible but when the ball is deep I want her to hit the ball more on the back (lower)

I don't know if you assume that we are starting every session with service training? - Because of Agnes' young age and quite large amount of training I'm trying to do some different routines so the training becomes fun, exiting and a little unpredictable. - I think that service- and return training is so underestimated so thats also a part of the game that I'm using a lot of time on.

We are doing some mobility training, but we could for sure become better.

The last sentence is true :)

Hi Adam, with more compact stroke i was referring to a volley with minimal backswing, at contact hitting down and across, and then stop. No follow through. In this case the volley if just 6-8 inches long.

However, if the ball is lose, you might need a longer back take for the volley, and a longer follow through after contact, the volley might be a couple of feet long.

If the student mostly get looping feeds for the volley she doesnt get the feel for this short , compact volley.

So if you go closer to net, and feed her faster balls for volleys (from a hopper or basket) instead of this live volley drill in the video, where you pick up he varying volleys, she will learn this more advanced volley.
And i suggest she stands a bit farther from the net, not so close, for volley exercises in general.

As for the slice, she has a bit too open stance. The more effectice slice is with the rigth shoulder towards the net, then steps in to the ball, at contact and hit down and across, and bringsboth arms behind the back (in order not to open the body to the net and just get a floater/sitter kind of slice).

Hope this is more clear this time. If not i might find some clips from youtube to illustrate my message/advice.

I clearly see what you mean with the more compact stroke in the volleys. - We often talk about the fact that she's moving to close to the net, so thats for sure right as well. Going to try feeding flatter and harder to see if that could help with a more compact stroke.

For the slice I agree with you that she has to step into the ball more and she probably stands with a little to open stance.

Thanks a lot for the input. Hope to see you sometime at either ETA or ITF-events.


Agreeing with t_b here. In fact, I believe it is an advantage that she is developing her strokes while she is not strong in the upper body. Legs, core, and balance are critical for her. Really work on keeping her head steady as she moves and hits, as a sign of balance and ability to track the ball accurately.

I year ago we worked a lot on the hold of her head to create what directly in danish would be "against hold" (What Federer masters extremely well in both forehand and backhand). Hope you understand what I mean :)

I will take that in mind when I'm going to plan the next period op training.

@All

Thanks a lot for the input so far! It's been incredible for me that you have been willing to share your thoughts and advices.

I just mixed a video clip of Agnes to compare with the one in OP. The video is from late 2010 - early 2011.

The clip is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKPpFXkWp08&context=C3234c04ADOEgsToPDskKzCCjzNgl1Z-kR9mvUoCP9

Feel free to comment on any good or bad things we have worked on :)

tommyfr
03-07-2012, 04:32 AM
Footwork greatly improved
Backhand a bit similar but nice late racket preparation followed with rhytmic stroke and acceleration.
Volley before was just weak blocking, so it is improved. Some backspin now although her contact point is far too much in front in my view. (I think there might be different schools onthis?)

However, I like her previous forehand better! More compact, more closed racket face, more topspin. (At least as my impression of those clips with less than high definition quality)
Her take back now is longer maybe a bit too high also, loopy, and the open racket angle and more linear than angular move after contact givea a result with less topspin.

I know many WTA players generally have flatter strokes than the ATP players, still I prefer topspin for girls.

BlakeAF
03-07-2012, 06:45 AM
That is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

I have a 3 year old daughter that I am hitting with in the house. She has a little racquet and foam balls I just bounce to her and get her to hit a forehand and am now working on a 2hbh. I don't know where to go from there, but I am thinking at 4 I will try to get her in a group with other kids.

Great work!

spreed
03-07-2012, 12:04 PM
Footwork greatly improved
Backhand a bit similar but nice late racket preparation followed with rhytmic stroke and acceleration.
Volley before was just weak blocking, so it is improved. Some backspin now although her contact point is far too much in front in my view. (I think there might be different schools onthis?)

However, I like her previous forehand better! More compact, more closed racket face, more topspin. (At least as my impression of those clips with less than high definition quality)
Her take back now is longer maybe a bit too high also, loopy, and the open racket angle and more linear than angular move after contact givea a result with less topspin.

I know many WTA players generally have flatter strokes than the ATP players, still I prefer topspin for girls.

The backhand has always been kind of natural for her and there is only a small chance. I agree with you that the ball contact is a bit to long in front of her. I think she will get to feel that when we are going to work on how to use the movement of the body to generate power and control in the volleys.

She might be taking her racquet a bit to high back in the preparation. I would like her to pull the racket back with the fingers pointing more directly towards the net (the wrist almost in a normal relaxed position, just a little twisted towards the head).

As I wrote sometime earlier it wasn't a goal the she was going to hit more flat, but the change of hand path was a clear goal to make her have longer ball contact and produce as much power as possible forwards. - That just made her hit more flat, and as you say I also see that a lot on the ladies tour now a days.

That is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

I have a 3 year old daughter that I am hitting with in the house. She has a little racquet and foam balls I just bounce to her and get her to hit a forehand and am now working on a 2hbh. I don't know where to go from there, but I am thinking at 4 I will try to get her in a group with other kids.

Great work!

She is a cute little girl, and sometimes I also have to remember as a coach of this young student that she's just 9 (10 tomorrow)

Keep the playing-way of tennis learning with your little girl! - BtwI think it's awesome that you're already learning her how to hit a two handed backhand. Have fun, and remember the you don't get to old to play but get old when you stop playing ;)