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luvforty
01-06-2013, 01:20 PM
since there is so much wisdom here.....

I have an 8yo boy beginner... long term goal is to give him the gift of tennis, a game of a life time, a character builder, and a chick magnet... varsity tennis.... maybe college scholarship.

he also plays soccer in the spring/fall, swim in the summer/winter.

right now it's winter, so I have him doing ball bounce drills and hit against the living room wall for 15min/day...

plan is to hit the court more when spring comes along.

I have read Dave Smith's book, and I like the way of starting with the conti grip.

any suggestions are welcome.

10s talk
01-06-2013, 02:22 PM
find a better place than the living room to practice....


use low compression balls so he can rally sooner than using regular balls

JohnYandell
01-06-2013, 02:28 PM
Get him involved in the group and team dimension--the reduced court, ball, racket thing at the club. Inter club matches, challenge ladders. Recruit his friends. Hopefully junior high tennis if it exists and eventually high school tennis.

Don't push him into tournaments unless that seems a natural evolution and watch out for the toxicity that can permeate that environment.

Ash_Smith
01-06-2013, 11:44 PM
I have read Dave Smith's book, and I like the way of starting with the conti grip.

any suggestions are welcome.

Sorry, maybe I am misunderstanding (i've not read Dave's book), but do you mean start everything with a conti grip?

cheers

treblings
01-07-2013, 12:10 AM
most kids who stay with tennis through puberty and beyond in my experience either get friends to play with them or make friends within the club/facility they are playing.
fun is very important,
developing a positive self-image as a tennis player
give them a good technical foundation to build on.
to make them good competitors and enjoy the pressure of matches, praise them on their ability to work and train hard and improve.
donīt necessarily praise talent or results.
if you praise them on their work ethic they will train harder.
if you praise them on talent and results, the danger is that they will find it difficult to play against better players for fear of losing and therefore losing their self-image as talented.

luvforty
01-07-2013, 03:41 AM
Sorry, maybe I am misunderstanding (i've not read Dave's book), but do you mean start everything with a conti grip?

cheers

no, the conti strokes first - serve, volleys, 2hbh..... fh is the last.

luvforty
01-07-2013, 03:42 AM
most kids who stay with tennis through puberty and beyond in my experience either get friends to play with them or make friends within the club/facility they are playing.
fun is very important,
developing a positive self-image as a tennis player
give them a good technical foundation to build on.
to make them good competitors and enjoy the pressure of matches, praise them on their ability to work and train hard and improve.
donīt necessarily praise talent or results.
if you praise them on their work ethic they will train harder.
if you praise them on talent and results, the danger is that they will find it difficult to play against better players for fear of losing and therefore losing their self-image as talented.

thanks for this one.

sureshs
01-07-2013, 01:50 PM
no, the conti strokes first - serve, volleys, 2hbh..... fh is the last.

Teaching the 2 handed BH before the forehand? Seems weird.

luvforty
01-07-2013, 01:59 PM
update - signing him up for a winter program at local club... 1 hour/wk.

a question -

I didn't pay much attention in the beginning so he started hitting 2 handed from the right side (like a 2hbh for a leftie)... but he is right handed.

what do I do?

sureshs
01-07-2013, 02:03 PM
update - signing him up for a winter program at local club... 1 hour/wk.

a question -

I didn't pay much attention in the beginning so he started hitting 2 handed from the right side (like a 2hbh for a leftie)... but he is right handed.

what do I do?

Difficult question. Some players like Monica Seles were like that.

jakeytennis
01-07-2013, 02:36 PM
the best way to teach tennis young players is to focus on tracking the ball, hand eye coordination, watching the ball spin, making sure you run to the ball naturally and make clean contact every hit. Once your son perfects these skills, he can focus on more technique to advance his game. focusing too much on technique first will hurt his tracking skills.

for more info, try youtubing the the youtube channel PlayModernTennis. or youtube Oscar wegner.

i know he's only 8 years old, but when he's older, have him read the book The Inner Game of Tennis. it's amazing

I won many high school #1 singles tournaments using this info.
also, i still hit against my basement wall lol

jakeytennis
01-07-2013, 02:38 PM
most importantly, make sure he has fun!

5263
01-07-2013, 03:50 PM
That was a Good Idea starting with with Dave's book.

Side note, been here?
http://thinkbynumbers.org/empiricist-movement/

luvforty
01-07-2013, 04:06 PM
That was a Good Idea starting with with Dave's book.

Side note, been here?
http://thinkbynumbers.org/empiricist-movement/

just checked out... always fascinating to see new trends developing because of the internet..

some muni/state governments already allocating a portion of the budget for the citizen to decide where to spend.

CoachingMastery
01-07-2013, 04:59 PM
update - signing him up for a winter program at local club... 1 hour/wk.

a question -

I didn't pay much attention in the beginning so he started hitting 2 handed from the right side (like a 2hbh for a leftie)... but he is right handed.

what do I do?

Hi luvforty...Glad my book, Tennis Mastery, has been helpful. Yes, getting kids comfortable with the continental grip for all the stroke associated with that grip (high level strokes), the serve, the volley, the two-handed backhand, and overhead, will save a great deal of time and frustration for your son as he progresses...and will help him reach his potential.

Regarding the two-handed backhand on the forehand side, try teaching him the conventional two-handed forehand as described in my book...(Bartoli, Seles, Peng etc pros using it), Since he is comfortable using two hands on this side, just move his dominant hand down to the conventional forhand position and move his left hand up to the upper position. (Be wary of my recommendations of what to avoid and look for when using the two handed stroke with the cross-handed grip. Make sure they wrists don't cross over on the backswing. keep the elbows wide apart.)

Also, if you haven't already, try looking at my 8 part article on TennisOne.com called, "Training an 8-year old" where I document the actual training of my daughter using all the methods, drills and progressions of her becoming a high level player within a year. These are the same progressions that I've used to train hundreds of ranked and highly skilled junior players over the years. Since your son is 8, you might enjoy actually seeing how an 8-year old GIRL masters the volley, slice and hybrid serves, and groundstrokes and overhead in a very short period of time.

Best of luck to your son! And, others have offeres some helpful information here too!

CoachingMastery
01-07-2013, 05:06 PM
Teaching the 2 handed BH before the forehand? Seems weird.

Sureshs, I focus beginners on the volley and serve first, as these are typically the weakest part of players who are trying to develop their game because they never master the feel and comfort of the continental grip. The two-handed backhand is the natural progression moving to ground strokes since the conventional two-handed backhand uses a continental grip on the dominant hand's position, (in most cases), and then the forehand relatively quickly there after.

The problem with teaching the forehand first, (from my experience), is that it emphasizes the eastern forehand/semi-western grip which is typically the only stroke that uses this grip. (Among skilled players!) Thus, I make sure the kids (and adults) have gained comfort and familiarity with the continental grip before moving on to the grip change and the forehand stroke.

However, this is all very relative to various variables...namely, how quick can a player make the differenciation between the grips, how fast they have created a commanding, 'repeatable, reliable' swing path, etc. We are talking only a few weeks at best before we move players to the forehand. This is because of the drills and exercises that we employ to help speed up this development. (See my drills on TennisOne if you haven't seen the various "rounding out drills" and progressions drills we teach.)

Hope that makes sense! Of course, pros and coaches don't have to follow my recommendations...it is just that I've seen how hard it is for many players (juniors and adults) once they have become comfortable with the eastern forehand grip first.

I try to be as effecient and save as much time and frustration for my students as possible.

10ismom
01-07-2013, 07:28 PM
About two-handed forehand, I feel that kids need to have very good footwork in order to be successful. They will have to deal with balls that come back a lot faster as they get older. They might be able to hit harder with two-handed now but wouldn't you think single-hand, forehand open stance suit today's game better?

CoachingMastery and OP, how do you feel about that?

luvforty
01-07-2013, 07:34 PM
I actually tried what Mr. Smith suggested - switching the 2 hands around.... he didn't wonna do it lol... it's ok, there is time :)

you know what, I am gonna show him Dave's post, telling him that a famous coach (instead of dad) is asking him to do so lol.

I think the idea is that when kid grows older, can always take left hand off and transition to 1hfh.

5263
01-07-2013, 07:45 PM
I actually tried what Mr. Smith suggested - switching the 2 hands around.... he didn't wonna do it lol... it's ok, there is time :)

you know what, I am gonna show him Dave's post, telling him that a famous coach (instead of dad) is asking him to do so lol.

I think the idea is that when kid grows older, can always take left hand off and transition to 1hfh.

which hand is on top with the 2 hander Fh you are using?
thanks

luvforty
01-07-2013, 07:57 PM
which hand is on top with the 2 hander Fh you are using?
thanks

the boy... right now his left hand is closer to the butt end.

5263
01-07-2013, 08:00 PM
the boy... right now his left hand is closer to the butt end.

Is that how Dave has it in the book? with the hands switching what is on top?
Or does he have crosshanded for the Fh side?

luvforty
01-07-2013, 08:01 PM
Dave's is crossed for the fh side.

Ash_Smith
01-07-2013, 11:20 PM
^^^ I would actually keep him like that for now but ensure he is using his right hand as the the driver for the stroke and that his low left hand is just along for the ride - you never want to have the arms crossed! Then in a few months or whatever he can remove the left and just slide down the grip.

CoachingMastery
01-08-2013, 06:31 AM
About two-handed forehand, I feel that kids need to have very good footwork in order to be successful. They will have to deal with balls that come back a lot faster as they get older. They might be able to hit harder with two-handed now but wouldn't you think single-hand, forehand open stance suit today's game better?

CoachingMastery and OP, how do you feel about that?

Hi 10ismom,

Actually, the two-handed forehand stroke for kids has little to do with the intent of hitting harder at all. In my 20+ years teaching the two-handed forehand to all ages, kids and adults, I've found several things that speeded up learning to hit the forehand within the context of a "skilled" stroke that occurs faster than teaching a conventional one-handed forehand. (And, yes, I taught my first 15 years teaching the conventional one-handed forehand, so I have a pretty objective review of the differences when both are taught correctly.)

1. The 2-handed forehand improves footwork drastically. Kids and adults both can simply reach out with the one-hander for balls that they otherwise should move their feet to. With the 2-hfh, the player is forced to move better. No different than what the two-handed backhand has done for the game, in terms of footwork.

2. The 2 hfh can be hit with an open stance. I taught my 8-year old daughter all footwork patterns and as with all my other top-level players, she was able to create all the torque and "load-and-explode" aspects even better than those with one-handed forehands were able to do.

3. The biggest advantage in my opinion of the 2hfh is that it creates a "repeatable, reliable swingpath" from the get go. The biggest problem I have seen among beginners is the inability to do this...with one hand. The wrist, the swing path in general, the balance of the player, the ability to "hit and hold" all tend to be more 'wild' with a one-handed forehand.

4. The two-hander limits the backswing, another common problem with one-handed forehands.

5. The ability to hit a natural topspin forehand with two hands is generally much easier and more natural than one-handers.

All of these are generalities and there are plenty of great one-handers and many beginners who do just fine with a one-hander from the start. However, for the masses, without any predefined knowledge of this, it is much more advantageous to teach two-handed forehands which leads me to mention this final advantage:

5. The conventional two-handed forehand, (as taught in my book, Tennis Mastery), mimics virtually all the 'skilled' aspects of a conventional one-handed forehand. So, it is a very simple change if the player wants to go to the one-hander, to simply take their non-dominant hand off and swing the same way they were doing with their 2-hander.

Hope that helps!

CoachingMastery
01-08-2013, 06:40 AM
I actually tried what Mr. Smith suggested - switching the 2 hands around.... he didn't wonna do it lol... it's ok, there is time :)

you know what, I am gonna show him Dave's post, telling him that a famous coach (instead of dad) is asking him to do so lol.

I think the idea is that when kid grows older, can always take left hand off and transition to 1hfh.

In speaking to various USPTA conventions and tennis clubs, I've come across a number of two-handed forehand players who do it the way your son is doing it. (One was a top singles player at Pepperdine College.)

I actually like having two backhands, (a la Jan Michael Gambill, and I believe Akiko Nakamura does it that way too, on the WTA tour), in terms of the reach and overall stroke aspect. However, the need to switch hands positions does pose a problem under various circumstances, something that Bartoli, Seles, Peng, Santoro, et al, don't--or didn't--have to deal with.

So, I tend to recommend beginners to do the more conventional 2hfh for this reason. It isn't that the other way can't be done, (even Gene Mayer did it this way back in the 70's!), but overall, I prefer to see players keep their dominant hand on the bottom. It also helps them transition, if they find they want to, to the one-handed forehand much more seamless.

I hope your son will keep an open mind and give the conventional grip pattern a decent shot...He won't regret it. Have him work the grip solid for a week or two. It will, of course, feel different to him. But, over time, the unfamiliar with not only become familiar, but it will probably help him over time.

One drill you might do to emphasize this is to feed quick balls to his forehand and backhand, letting him see how it can become a burden and difficult to make the hand switch under this situation. Explain that when he starts playing better and better, he will be playing kids who hit harder and faster shots...so, this burden can become more difficult as he plays more competitive players.

Good luck!!(Tell him that I want to see him become GREAT!)

TCF
01-08-2013, 06:46 AM
=============================================

Chas Tennis
01-09-2013, 07:35 AM
This book is excellent for describing the strokes and the biomechanical reasons that these stroke techniques work. Logical and clear. There is also a lot of developmental information for young players.

Technique Development in Tennis Stroke Production (2009)
Bruce Elliott, Marchar Reid and Miguel Crespo

I have only found this book offered by the ITF site. Unfortunate, as this book should see more exposure.
https://store.itftennis.com/product.asp?pid=86&previousscript=/product.asp

I would introduce your son to the simpler concepts that are currently used to generate pace such as the use of the stretch-shortening cycle. Concepts of this type are essential, very simple and can be understood and used to some degree by developing young players. These concepts are well described in the book along with some discussion of developmental age related milestones.

On the less fun side to think about - develop your response beforehand as to how you will deal with discomfort, pain or injury when it occurs. This is probably the most important issue especially if your son should become serious in tennis. Don't let this issue surprise and pressure you in the last minute before some important team commitment, tennis tournament, etc. Research your Dr before you need a Dr.

LuckyR
01-09-2013, 04:14 PM
since there is so much wisdom here.....

I have an 8yo boy beginner... long term goal is to give him the gift of tennis, a game of a life time, a character builder, and a chick magnet... varsity tennis.... maybe college scholarship.

he also plays soccer in the spring/fall, swim in the summer/winter.

right now it's winter, so I have him doing ball bounce drills and hit against the living room wall for 15min/day...

plan is to hit the court more when spring comes along.

I have read Dave Smith's book, and I like the way of starting with the conti grip.

any suggestions are welcome.

The biggest risk to your goal is not improper teaching/advice, rather it is losing the love of the game from "having" to practice.

Take a long range view. Less is more.

luvforty
01-15-2013, 04:52 PM
thanks to everybody for the feedback.. i can see the boy grow up to be a product of 1000 coaches lol.

took him to the junior clinic for the first time, well, it's really glorified baby sitting.... but it's winter... and he had a great time, (he actually won the 'safe' game lol)... i can see his interest level is up.

Avles
01-15-2013, 05:10 PM
I suggest telling him to "swing the human racquet."

...but perhaps he's heard that already.:wink:

luvforty
02-25-2013, 05:30 AM
the junior clinic is coming to end this week... but it's gonna be warm enough outside from now on.

he's getting more interested... he has been practicing the up/down bounces on his own at home, and we play mini tennis in the house.

yesterday he learned top spin - i had him roll a ball up and over a surface (my racket), and he had fun seeing the ball dive.

issue - he is late on groundie... i asked him to take the racket back when the ball passes the net, and start forward swing when the ball bounces... have to work a bit more on this.