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tennus
05-12-2006, 11:37 PM
OK. I know we've had many threads of young juniors training(thanks Beach). But I'm quite interested in some tactical training suggestions. In particular, those using unusual or surprise methods. I really think most juniors train too regimentally these days, and I'd like to see a bit of spontinaity back in the game. Serve volley off second serve etc. IMO the element of surprise can play a huge part in winning against a higher class opponent, even at the Pro level. I remember watching Schiovone(spelling?) play Justine Henin at the Final of the Medibank Tournament in January. Schiovone shocked the hell out of Henin by changing the pace and/or shape,and/or direction of the ball, finishing the point at the net.
Honestly Henin was just plain at a loss in how to deal with her. Unfortunately Schiovone made far too many errors in the second and eventually lost in 3 sets. The crowd support appeared to be about 80/20 for Henin, but by the end of the 1st set was 60/40 for Schiovone !
Whilst I understand juniors should have consistent and reliable groundstrokes I think it's just as important they don't play like robots. Anyway, over to you guys ! :cool:

golden chicken
05-13-2006, 01:13 PM
do you mean variety like slice and dropshots and topspin lobs?

or do you mean like underhanded serves?

part of the reason few players use either tactic is because, as you alluded to in your post, consistancy is a major concern at all levels of tennis. while it may have SEEMED to be working, schiavone's flashy style of play eventually cost her the match. henin-hardenne's steady consistent groundstrokes won her the match. this is why people train "regimentally" in what seems to be a boring way.

people who try for variety must have excellent touch and feel for the ball and must be able to adjust according to every single ball they try to hit. each adjustment will be different from the last, and as we all know, muscle memory plays an important role in playing consistent tennis.

topspin allows for power and consistancy. it also allows for a certain room for error because a topspin shot hit with slightly too much topspin will just go a little short of the target and one with too little spin will just go a little long.

also, we start our tennis students with hitting groundstrokes, while the serve, the most complicated shot in tennis, comes in much later. topspin groundstrokes are the most comfortable, most familiar strokes to a tennis player. wouldn't it be easier and more fun to practice something you actually succeed at? granted, it's ultimately detrimental to your improvement as a player, but you can see why baseline bashing has its large following.

tennus
05-13-2006, 09:19 PM
do you mean variety like slice and dropshots and topspin lobs?

or do you mean like underhanded serves?

part of the reason few players use either tactic is because, as you alluded to in your post, consistancy is a major concern at all levels of tennis. while it may have SEEMED to be working, schiavone's flashy style of play eventually cost her the match. henin-hardenne's steady consistent groundstrokes won her the match. this is why people train "regimentally" in what seems to be a boring way.

people who try for variety must have excellent touch and feel for the ball and must be able to adjust according to every single ball they try to hit. each adjustment will be different from the last, and as we all know, muscle memory plays an important role in playing consistent tennis.

topspin allows for power and consistancy. it also allows for a certain room for error because a topspin shot hit with slightly too much topspin will just go a little short of the target and one with too little spin will just go a little long.

also, we start our tennis students with hitting groundstrokes, while the serve, the most complicated shot in tennis, comes in much later. topspin groundstrokes are the most comfortable, most familiar strokes to a tennis player. wouldn't it be easier and more fun to practice something you actually succeed at? granted, it's ultimately detrimental to your improvement as a player, but you can see why baseline bashing has its large following.

GC, you make some excellent points. I totally agree that juniors need a solid grounding in grips, groundstroke swing shape and positional play such as recovery, why to hit cross court/why to hit down the line etc.

What I am referring to is more in line with the training of advanced/elite juniors who already posess the basics of a sound tennis game. They understand the importance of percentage tennis and therefore train largely to percentages. I am not for one minute suggesting they should not partially train this way, however I do feel juniors in Australia, and perhaps in the USA(from what I've read on some previous posts) are a little too one dimensionable. In this I mean a little or sometimes a lot predictable. The positives in training this way are, as you alluded to, muscle memory and consistency. IMHO, from a player development point of view, there are some negatives such as; not practicing your weaknesses as well as your strengths, and falling into the trap of playing rythm tennis. I believe this is where the student, and coach or minder can play a huge part in developing a tennis player who is able to change their game from one opponent to another. Sure a game plan is an important thing but you still need the skills and confidence to execute. In this, the junior needs to learn about improvisation rather than just leaving it to instinctiveness.

I have an agenda in all this, that being a 13 yr old son who is small for age, 5ft 1"/100lb and as an all courter lacks the weapons to dictate at the highest junior level. His pluses are that, physically he should grow a great deal over the next 3 years given I'm 6ft and his brother is a 6ft 3" 16 yr old. With the imminant puberty onset, I have decided to back right off on his competitive phase with a view to allowing growth and strength changes to take place without an overloaded tournament schedule. As I see it, this time provides us with a good opportunity to maintain a sound technical base whilst experimenting as well. One thing he has already done is move to a slightly heavier 95sq" players racquet(previously 102" head same brand and length). I imagined this change would prove quite drastic, however have been pleasantly surprised by his adaption.

Anyway, thanks for your input GC. I'm interested in any training suggestions !:cool:

sandiegotennisboy
05-13-2006, 10:01 PM
have em watch old hingis tapes and federer classics. thats tactical tennis at its best in this modern power-tennis age.