10 years to become a really good player?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Dvine, May 10, 2007.

  1. Dvine

    Dvine New User

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    My coach made a comment to me yesterday that sort of made me thinking...

    She said: "it takes about 5 years to become a good player and about 10 years to become a REALLY good player"

    What do you guys think about this?

    Hmm...if it's true then it's bad news for me as I started playing tennis just a year ago, haha!

    Guess I'll never become a pro then! hehe...
    :lol:

    When is it too late to become a pro anyway?
     
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  2. Duzza

    Duzza Legend

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    Yep sounds about right. On average of course, some vary from others.
     
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  3. thu_huong

    thu_huong Rookie

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    Ha ha
    just try and maybe I'll be your fan:grin:
     
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  4. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    it depends on what you define good and really good to be.

    to me, good is 4.0 and really good is better than 4.0 :)
     
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  5. Solat

    Solat Professional

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    well look at it more like how many balls hit or hours on court rather then years played.

    eg. i have played guitar for 7 years, but at best you would describe my playing as infrequent. I know people who have played 1 year who are twice as good as me because they play every day.

    but also tutoring / coaching will dramatically effect progress.
     
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  6. SourmonkeyG

    SourmonkeyG New User

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    i agree, its actual time spent and not a generalization in terms of years.
     
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  7. oldhacker

    oldhacker Semi-Pro

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    Natural aptitude and talent play a huge part in all this and do not get mentioned enough on these boards. It is a fact that the vast majority of the population are not born with the natural attributes and abilities to get to 5.0 level or above (let alone pro level) however much they play. Also because tennis is a highly technical sport even those with the requisite natural ability still have to play a lot to become very good players. There are plenty of hugely talented guys out there (I know a few of them) who played and were coached intensively for 10 plus years with the goal of making it to pro level but could not make it. I am lucky enough to get to hit with one of these guys I know (probably about a 6.0 these days) from time to time and even though I am of above average natural sporting ability I realise from being on court with him that I could never reach anywhere near his level. It inspires me to try and be the best I can but realsitically unless you are lucky enough to be born with, say, top 1% natural ability no amount of hard work and teaching will compensate for it.
     
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  8. Dvine

    Dvine New User

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    But what is "natural ability" really? If you learn the technical aspects of the game REALLY well, does that not make you a "really good player"?

    ;)
     
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  9. Dvine

    Dvine New User

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    Did I just use the word "really" like a hundred times in my reply??

    That's really weird.

    Oops! 101 times now! :p
     
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  10. oldhacker

    oldhacker Semi-Pro

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    Dvine - hard to define but if you look at extreme examples and consider people walking or jogging you get some people who are naturally flat-footed, slow moving and unco-ordinated and others who seem to glide along. It is no coincidence that the best teenagers at my club also happen to be exceptional soccer players and runners. You can learn and practice all the technical theory to death but unless you are blessed with a body which can move to the correct position early and execute smoothly, co-ordinating all the body parts in the right sequence and timing and consistantly you will hit a wall somewhere along the line. To take another extreme example if natural ability did not come into it we would all have the potential to play like Roger Fedrerer if we put enough in but the fact of the matter is that it is way beyond what our bodies are capable of.

     
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  11. Dvine

    Dvine New User

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    That's true, some people have the stamina to run marathons and others don't (without coughing their lungs up!)

    To further complicate this thread, how about one's height? Is it better to be tall in tennis than short?
    Reason I'm asking is because I am quite short (5,2" or 158 cm) and I have gotten different reactions to this. Some say my lenght has nothing to do with how I play tennis and others say it does.
    Personally, I think my height does matter but I also find myself to work around it and compensate it in other ways.

    And no, I'm not talking about standing on a chair....
    (as one guy suggested once!)
    :confused:
     
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  12. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Depends. I have been playing for a little more than 13 years, and I still feel that I SUCK!!!

    The longest you play, the more certain you are about how sucky your tennis is :cry:
     
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  13. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    Ok Divine...I'll offer my take. In *general*, given that a person is not taking weekly lessons from a pro, it 'may' take ten years to become really good.

    I came to tennis late. I have been playing now 10 yrs myself. I was a school track athelete, and always had good coordination and quickness. So I had 'some' talent to work with. I was able without instruction, to get to 3.5 within one year, and beat 3.5 players. However...for five years, I had trouble improving a lot. Only in the past 5 years, have I had some real breakthroughs that have propelled my game, to me, dramatically.

    What changed? My understanding of what was going on. Balance, timing, energy transfer without muscle tension...things like this. And awareness of what was going on in a match (Thanks Brad Gilbert!). It just takes time sometimes, and I was a once a week player.

    Now...I have a base understanding, and improvements are coming much faster than before. I could have taken lessons, and likely cut off many years, but then now, at least I have internalized many things, instead of just trying to do what somebody told me to do.

    I think ten years is pretty accurate for a normal person, that plays once a week, and actually tries to improve thier game every week.

    You say that sounds daunting? Be realistic, it really isn't at all. You can develop enough of a game in a year or two, that you can go out and play good tennis with good players, and have a great time doing it. The lightbulb *breakthroughs* are usually minor things...that have great impact on your game and your opponent.
     
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  14. spadesss

    spadesss Semi-Pro

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    agreed with Mick.
    most people will probably never go higher than 4.0.
    its hard to find people to play with on a higher level than you are and i don't think most of us are paying $$$ to have professional instructors guide us to that next level up. i think for the social hackers like me are happy to get on the court, have fun, not get injure, not double faulting every other serve, and get a good workout.

    you can get up to 3.0 pretty quick. i seen a girl do it over the summer. i started to play with her and give her the basics for a month os so. and then not see her for maybe 4 months after that.
    the next time we played, she was hitting a few winners. she played everyday with someone better than her and her groundstokes developed. i think i was quite amazed how well i taugher her :p.
     
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  15. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I would agree with this. It took me about 5 years to get to 3.5 and then another 7 years to get to where I am now winning some 4.5 matches. As long as you let your game evolve you can continue to improve, but you have to throw out any bad habits.
     
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  16. oldhacker

    oldhacker Semi-Pro

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    Other relevant factors are what age you start and whether you take instruction from the beginning. It is much easier to learn technique when you are a kid and very difficult to unlearn bad technique and replace it with good technique whatever age you are. Also at some point the aging process (body slows down, takes longer to recover etc.) catches up with all of us and has a negative impact on our level of play whatever we do - especially at higher levels and singles.
     
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  17. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    From my experience, the 5 and 10 year estimates are about 2 and 5 years off. Obvioulsy, we must give a quanitative value to what we consider "good" and "really" good. Good in my book is a 4.0 player, one who usually uses reasonably skilled stroke patterns (but not necessarily in all shots), and one who has been competing at that level for at least a year. Really good would be about a 5.0 player. These players are in almost all cases technically sound, hit strokes that are on par with professional levels type strokes, (limited by experience, consistency within such stroke mechanics, and obviously a lack of winning at this level...other wise they would be at the 5.5 level!)

    In my 35 years of teaching tennis, of the 3000+ players I have taught, the vast majority of those who I took as beginners reached the "Good" level within three years of playing for me. A percentage of these players reached "really good" levels some within four years, others a little longer.

    I have a housewife who has been playing less than two years and she is a 4.0 level player, played in her first 4.0 tournament two weeks ago, losing in three sets in both her first rounds of main and back draw competition.

    The real defining concept is the way the individual was initially taught. If anyone was taught methods that are initially easier to assimilate and begin "playing" with, these players tend to stagnate at the 3.0 or 3.5 levels even as many of them take lessons, compete and seek higher levels. The point is these players will nearly always revert to their most comfortable strokes in competition. The toughest student to teach tennis to is the long-time 3.5 level player who resists any subtle to significant change in their grips, swing patterns and footwork patterns, (if these are areas that are preventing them from moving on to more competitive levels of play.)

    I have had many kids and adults who seemingly lacked natural or 'gifted' levels of athleticism who went on to become some of my most successful and ranked junior players.

    The other defining concept is DESIRE. With sincere desire, players will dedicate themselves to reaching the goal: if the goal is advanced tennis, they will usually seek out the means to play at such levels. However, the real problem is that even with great desire, if a player is given faulty information, all the effort in the world will not equate into reaching skilled play. A player who hits ten thousand balls with the wrong stroke will not 'spontaneously' start hitting great shots with the right stroke.

    Think about it. Because if you really want to become skilled, you must practice those methods that will not have to change, and you will need to become comfortable with such methods if they are initially uncomfortable.

    You will have to take the training wheels off at some point!
     
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  18. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

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    Exactly Tennismastery I was an ok Juniors Player, top 50 in florida..... well second year 16 and unders. Anyway, I started very "Late" I was in the 7th grade so probably about 12 when I started, but I had good coaching/hitting partners, and I loved tennis. Ate, drank, dreamed tennis. played almost 7 days a week and if I was on break I would play all morning eat lunch then hit til dark.

    That's just to say if you don't have to unlearn bad habits and work hard. (You can't teach or coach hard work) Some guys will try to run down that cross court winner even though they have "no chance" at it soem won't, Soem will practice with attention and intensity if it's 30 minutes into practice or 3 hours, it's personality it's hard wired and it makes a huge difference.

    From my experiences it seems that "natural ability" or lack of, is usually an excuss not to perform..... Until you get to a high level Say good colegiate tennis on up. Then you are talkign the top .0001% of the population and top .01% of people playing your sport you get people that no matter how hard they work they will never progress.

    Me I currently play 2-3 time a week, one with a coach, one or two doubles or singles play. If I play 4.0 guys I almost always win, 4.5 guys usually beat me and I've played off and on 18-20 years. It tookme about 4 years to compete at a relatively high Junior level.
     
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  19. mucat

    mucat Hall of Fame

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    In another word, it takes 5-10 years to find out you are really suck at tennis. ;)
     
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  20. i think that the estimate for 3 years to be 4.0 is fairly accurate, but it just depends on how much time and effort the player is willing to seriously commit to competing and getting better.
     
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  21. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

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    exactly!! :grin: I wasn't good enough to get a scholarship at a decent school, and at the time I thought I wanted to be a doctor so I went to the best school I could get into and didn't touch a racket for about 7 years. All of my friends that continued to college on scholarships basically coached at clubs during the summer for spending money for school. It's just like every other Pro sport much less than half of 1 percent of competitive participants will even make the "big time" let alone win. If you love it play, and if your gonna play you may as well win, since it's so much more fun than losing. But keep a little perspective since you will most likely never make a career of it.
     
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  22. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

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    Yes, that's what the consensus is. Even if you make it to the pros, it could take more than a few years to get out of the lower ranks of the tennis tournies like futures and challengers. Safin has the belief if you're not a top player (like 200 or something, I forgot), then you're just fooling around and not trying hard enough.
     
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  23. randomname

    randomname Professional

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    and how exactly do you know this? I think odds are you have no idea what your talking about
     
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  24. Taxvictim

    Taxvictim Semi-Pro

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    You talked about this in the other thread, also. I've ordered your book and will work hard to learn the correct form, then stick to it in play, but it sure is easy to revert back when the new form is failing you in a game.
     
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  25. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    You are so right! It is human nature to do exactly what you mentioned! (Which is why I am so adament on learning the game correctly for those starting out!)

    People don't realize that nearly everyone in any form of competition, even a recreational or social match, will try to win. And this results in players reverting to what is most comfortable...and hence, most confident, even if the player knows the form is limiting.

    The thing to do is to be very clear on what you are trying to achieve in the way of technique, create a plan to practice, employ it and stick with it, know what that technique will eventually allow you to do, and then give it time. In fact, you should just assume that that is your technique from this day forward and deal with any failure as an element of timing and/or aim...not a element of structual failure...since you KNOW that going back will only prevent you from achieving both the desired form as well as the progressive success you will gain from it over time.

    Good luck! Hope my book provides the 'blueprint' for your reaching your goals.
     
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  26. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    I am reading this thread intently, as I am somewhat stuck as to what it takes to get better... I am a 44 year old, in shape, only moderately athletic 'housewife' who plays 12 to 15 hours a week, womens's doubles...I guess I am 3.0 to 3.5 level. I know strategy, but think my game needs technical tweeking to really improve beyond that. I have ordered this 'tennis mastery' book, looked at the on-line videos and WANT, WANT, WANT to get better!!!! I figure it is time, technical lessons (of which I am looking for a new pro as in a previous post, my guy is wanting to change my eastern forehand/semi-western forehand grip toward the continental grip) and feel I am grabbing each nugget of information, desperately wanting to get better. So I read...TIME + CORRECT FORM = PROGRESS...good luck to you in this passionate pursuit!!
     
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  27. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    didn't mention, I am 3 to 4 years into this, so, 7 to 6 years til 4.0!!!
     
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  28. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have had several housewives become 4.0 players in less than 2 years. But, I will admit, those that did had no 'bad habits' as they were raw beginners (and a couple of them had children who were top-ranked players too before they decided to jump in!)...so they had both the best info, good role models, were good athletes, in good shape, (but this had only a marginal contribution to their skill attainment!), and each bought into the teaching patterns I insisted and each employed these patterns in competition from the get-go.

    In your case, your decision to learn the best techniques, employ them always, and set goals for yourself, will greatly reduce the time it will take to make some changes and then own them to the point of reaching the skilled levels you desire.

    Good luck!
     
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  29. jasoncho92

    jasoncho92 Professional

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    At 5' 2" its harder to become really good as you said and nearly impossible to go pro
     
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  30. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have had several housewives become 4.0 players in less than 2 years. But, I will admit, those that did had no 'bad habits' as they were raw beginners (and a couple of them had children who were top-ranked players too before they decided to jump in!)...so they had both the best info, good role models, were good athletes, in good shape, (but this had only a marginal contribution to their skill attainment!), and each bought into the teaching patterns I insisted and each employed these patterns in competition from the get-go.

    In your case, your decision to learn the best techniques, employ them always, and set goals for yourself, will greatly reduce the time it will take to make some changes and then own them to the point of reaching the skilled levels you desire.
    TENNISMASTERY>...ok, I got the housewife thing covered, I do have some bad habits I am trying to , a. uncover!, b. correct, I don't have the super athletic genes, but am not 'uncoordinated', ...my question, what ARE these teaching patterns you insist upon? Does this mean abandon the eastern grip on serve and use continental regardless of the outcome and until I get it right?? Or what DO you mean. I can, and have dropped my windshield wiper backhand on high balls, and can commit to the conti grip on all volleys, I am trying my hardest not to swing at volleys, and to get that correct form there, but have had a hard time committing to continental on serve as my serve with eastern is pretty darned ok, and I can place it well, which I find to be sometimes more key than power/spin...but is THIS the kind of thing/attitude that keeps me at 3.5?? If so, I can try, (again!) to change service grips to continental. Am I ok with eastern (slightly lower, on the bottom of that wide bevel nearing semi-western) for fh?? I don't mean to be impatient (but I am), but DARN, I want want WANT to improve my game this summer...

    Are the answers to these questions stated above covered in your book (I just ordered it today!) Many thanks, lovin'it:-o
     
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  31. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    if this helps, i am 5'10" (female), I think it does help, personally, lovin'it
     
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  32. drhopz

    drhopz Semi-Pro

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    I started year ago. I would rate myself at 3.0 at highest.
     
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  33. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

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    Hey Loven'it if you are "looking for a new coach" I'd say stop wasting your time/money on the current guy and start "shopping around". You don't trust him, and since you don't trust him you will always revert back to what is not working and you will never get better. Like every other relationship in life you either trust or not :) that said I'd say play some singles sometimes if you want to get better quicker. And again find a coach you trust and can work with. Good luck!
     
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  34. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    Lovin-it...let me put it this way, if more advanced play uses the continental grip on the serve and volley, (which for 98% of advanced players it does!), then yes, using your eastern grip on your serve and volley will never get you to more advanced levels of play. Yes, it is the sense of 'accomplishment' that the eastern grip creates and the perception of comfort that prohibit players from using--and gaining comfort and success with--the proper grip for the proper stroke. I don't doubt you have a sense of perceived success using the eastern grip on the serve...but what is this success compared to? You have to answer this as the desire to use the continental grip will be greatly influenced when you compare what you are doing to those who are more proficeint at serving than you are. (And those who are serving at levels you want to reach!)

    Remember, using inferior form will never result in prolific stroke patterns. So, it is time to imagine you are a complete beginner, and you are going to learn the best way to play and work on such patterns (probably NOT playing competitive points for at least a month!) and make sure you are using the right swing path and footwork for the right shot. Remember too, it is NOT just a grip change. On the serve, for example, the contact point, the body position, the swing path, and even the footwork is different between serves using the continental grip and those using the 'frying pan' eastern forehand grip.

    Finally, YES! All of this is covered in detail in my book! So, please read it thouroughly and please too, let me know if your understanding is more complete in what you will need to do and then, let us all know how you are doing as you go!

    As a parting bit of advice, imagine you are learning to play the piano: would you use two fingers only...since it is more comfortable and easier to 'play a song'...or would you take the time to learn to coordinate all your fingers and learn to play more prolific and enjoyable songs (both to play and to listen to!)? This is exactly the same mentality you will want to explore when learning to play tennis. If you only want to bunt and push and dink balls in play (relatively speaking, of course!), then using form that contributes to this style of play will ensure your stagnation at levels usually far below your potential.

    I love this saying: I don't know anyone who picks up a tennis racquet and says, "Gee, I would love to play tennis...but I really want to suck at it." Yet, there are many millions of players who never get much better than 'mediocre' levels...

    I want you to be one of those who does not get stuck!

    Good luck!
     
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  35. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    thanks, tennismastery, wish I could come to you for some intense therapy, but, I am looking forward to your book arriving soon!! ok, continental for serves, I know, I know...if you strive for mediocracy, that is what you will get...ok, let's practice this "ok, guys, I am working on a new service grip, so ... uh...DUCK!! " (not so hard!) thanks!! lovin'it
     
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  36. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I find it really hard to self-coach and get better.

    I see lots of reasons for this - namely..

    1) A bad mental image of what your supposed to be doing on the court as far stroke production goes.

    2) A lack of "body awareness" that your doing something wrong. So many people hit with obviously "ugly" strokes but I doubt they feel it.

    3) Lack of court time.

    I think maybe I should video myself play because I can't always feel what I am doing wrong. I been stuck at 3.0 or 3.5 for a while now. Actually I think I am not so strong 3.0 because I wasn't so great in my 3.0 leage. But I beat alot of people who claim to be 3.5. :p

    I am pretty tempted to get this tennis book but I have several tennis books and frankly they haven't helped a bit. I find that a good coach in the NYC area can cost like 100/hr which is pretty crazy, IMHO. So the book at 24 bucks is pretty tempting. I would love to be a 4.0 and beat up on all my 3.0 - 3.5 buddies. :p

    Pete
     
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  37. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    Good for you! Let me make a little suggestion too: check out my series on TennisOne.com "Training an 8-Year Old" as the teaching progression I use to train my 8 year old daughter is the same progression I use for any and all players seeking to reach advanced levels. She has been playing for 8 months and has a great slice and now a kick serve using the continental grip. I have many video clips showing the tools, the drills, and her progression which I think will really help you understand what you are truly capable of! (TennisOne offers a free trial month, so if you are not already a member, you can join with no obligation for that free month and check out the 5000 video clips, 800+ lessons and all the other features! I'm not trying to sell you anything but I really would like you to observe the series on every thing including how I approach the volley, ground game etc.)

    Let me know how you are doing!!!
     
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  38. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I tend to agree with the poster who said you need to have natural ability and be in the top whatever % of the population. It is politically correct to tell all kinds of students (in academia or sports) that they can achieve their dreams, but that is not true. I understand why this is so, because of historical reasons, when groups of people were told they were basically inferior for one concocted reason or another. But reality is a low IQ person cannot be a Professor of mathematics, a person with vision problems, specially astigmatism, cannot compete at the highest levels of tennis, a short person is exceedingly unlikely to succeed in tennis, etc. Before you say Henin or Rochus, let me say that when Rod Laver was asked a couple of months ago o TV (I watched it) how he woud have fared today, he said he would need to be a few inches taller to compete today.

    Having said that, exposure to sports at an early age greatly helps in developing coordination and lays the foundation for later success. But to get to high levels, innate ability seems to me to be crucial.
     
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  39. johnathan smith

    johnathan smith Rookie

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    It really just depends on the person (god given athletic ability) and how hard they are willing work.
    After blowing my arm out in my junior year of high school baseball I decided to take up tennis just for fun during my senior year. I figured I would never be able to serve because of the throwing like motion (but I have never had major arm trouble with tennis). I was fortunate enough that my mom's best friend's step son was a fomer college player that was working on one of his post college degrees and needed some extra cash to help out with expenses.

    I worked with him for about a year straight and ended up getting a scholarship to a decent JUCO in my area. After 1 year of play.
    I won a pretty big 3.5 tournament after playing for only 6 months and only lost 2 games in singles and also won the doubles with a guy I played against during my senior year (we struggled through that draw).
    I was a legit 3.5 at the start of the tournament.
    By the start of my freshman year of college I was beating some 4.5's/....
    7 years later I haven't really progressed a lot, but I am a "real" 5.0.
    I got a job teaching at a real fancy tennis club during college and still play as much as ever today.
    The guy that taught me the game remains a close friend and is even a long time member of these boards. He told me about Tennis Warehouse as well :)
    His name will remain anonymous, but I really appreciate the hard work that he put in with me.
     
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  40. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Depends on how you define "good" and "really good." If you're a kid, you can get good much faster since you'll have more time to play, and in the summers, you can play 5 hours a day if you want. But for an adult with responsibilities, who can play 3 or 4 times a week, that sounds possible.
     
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  41. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    While I have to agree with you on all points, I must say that the main reason that players don't reach their dreams is that:

    1. They get sidetracked
    2. They get impatient
    3. They did not have a good work-ethic
    4. They were given incorrect or inaccurate learning information

    The truth is, that those who made it to say the top 10 or 20 percent of tennis did not possess an inordinante amount of athleticism. (There are certainly exceptions: Safin, Nadal, Becker, Williams, Muresimo, and a few others.) Graff, Seles, Courier, Johnny Mac, Chang, Evert, Connors, etc., were never considered great athletes...but, each of them had incredible work ethics and discipline. Seles and Courier were known to be the first ones on the court and last ones off at Nick's. One look at McEnroe, Connors, and others without a shirt on and you would laugh at the notion that these guys were 'great athletes'...Of course, today, players are much more conditioned and, thankfully, are far better built due more to this work than to genetics.

    But, because of the fact that so few have this work ethic and other attributes that contribute to becoming world-class, that yes, only a tiny number of those who start out in tennis seriously, ever really do make it. But, from my experience, it is almost NEVER because of some superior genetic blueprint that dictates such success.
     
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  42. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

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    Years vs. Time vs. Number of Balls Hit

    Due to frequency variables, “years played” is obviously a vague concept, but I must also add that there’s a HUGE difference in actual playing time between straight hitting (or drilling) and playing sets, and it’s an even bigger difference if you’re playing doubles. In developing proper technique, the degree of improvement has to do with how many balls you hit, not how long you’re on the court. If you really want to improve, or make major changes to your technique, you can increase your effectiveness by focusing more on hitting (and drilling) than on playing sets . . . and as a technique builder, doubles doesn’t rate that much at all.

    Even when you’re done making major modifications to your strokes, on most days I’d still advise anyone serious about the game to stick with a 50/50 split between hitting and playing. If you go so far as to see yourself as a true “contender”, there should be at least three sessions of each tennis day: 1 hour of technique warm-up and hitting; 3 full sets (not just best of 3); and 1 hour of problem-correcting drills. On tournament days, there will be the match at hand and the pre and post hitting sessions can be shortened.

    MG
     
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  43. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    It took me about 15 years, from about 5 yrs old to about 20 years old. Probably would have taken a couple of years less, but I was still growing until I was 20. Also, I only played tennis for fun in the summers until I was 16.
     
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  44. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    FWIW -

    "It takes five years to make a player, and ten years to make a champion." Bill Tilden
     
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  45. Dvine

    Dvine New User

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    Hmm...I didn't say it's harder to become a really good player at 5,2" (ex Amanda Coetzer 5,2", Justine Henin 5,5" shows otherwise) All I'm saying is that we have to work harder on other things to make it work.
    It's all about finding a balance :D
     
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  46. Dvine

    Dvine New User

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    Tennismastery, how about you popping over to Scandinavia to coach my coach for a while?? hehe! Or maybe I should just sneak a copy of this thread in to her purse and act like a big question mark when she finds it...

    In all seriousness, I totally agree with you about having the desire. That is crucial!
     
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  47. Mark Vessels

    Mark Vessels Guest

    IMHO, It reqquires hard work, SMARTS System, good technical implications and a little bit of time. Persistancy!
     
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  48. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    what is SMARTS system?
     
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  49. BrianGordon

    BrianGordon New User

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    Interesting discussion - an argument we have often at my Biomechanics laboratory - but Dave, how much of your experience is due to the fact that those with a "superior genetic blueprint" don't enter the sport of Tennis in general, or your realm of influence specifically.

    In my experience with world class swimmers and track and field athletes, and high level junior Tennis players, genetics is the x-factor.

    Work ethic can be learned, and a few training programs (very few) can raise stroke mechanics to genetic potential - so given the myriad of player attributes, I'll take my chances on unalterable superior neuromuscular characteristics every time.
     
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  50. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    While genetics is always an x-factor that will provide potential from this aspect, I have found just the opposite of what you mentioned: I seldom see sincere 'work ethic' being learned. Yes, it can be encouraged, and in many, (where it is 'hidden') it can be drawn out. But, I have seen far more players who didn't have the 'genetic' advantage overcome this deficeincy by A) learning proper skills that lead to skilled play, and then, B) working to over come limitations through hard work, dedicated practices, and patience through time. That is not to say that of the 3500 players I have taught I didn't have a few (very few, actually) that simply did not have ample coordination and athleticism to ever employ these correct methods and be able to reach skilled levels. However, I have had an exponential number of players who were definately limited in the genetic department yet became highly ranked players. (I had players in Calif., Arizona and Utah who exhibited these limite genetic traits yet go on to be competitive in the state they played in and go on to play college tennis.

    I have had those with superior athletic genes come out for tennis. And, the big difference was the speed of acquisition of skilled play. I had the varsity quarterback/basketball starter play four years of tennis here in Utah. He was able to do so much of what we taught so much quicker than most all other kids. He was beating some top-ranked kids in less than two years of training. Yet, after four years, those who were slower in mastery of skilled stroke patterns, (more like the norm in terms of general populations), were just as competitive as he was and many were better by their senior years. Now, I agree that because he divided his time between three sports, he did not reach his true potential in tennis as he could have been probably much better if he had dedicated more year-round time to tennis.

    But, the bottom line is that nearly all my students became very skilled, 4.5 or above level players, in the four years I had them regardless of athletic abilities. Those who became 'champions' in addition to reaching said skilled levels were more due to the hard work factor than any genetic factor.

    And, I have written several articles dealing with the limited number of great genetic athletes tennis gets compared to mainstream sports such as football, basketball and baseball.

    I will heartily agree that if we got a much higher percentage of these players, we would also get more of these great athletes with the rare combination of true dedication and work ethic to go with the superior genes. These would be the players that would have the best chance to become world-class and be able to compete with anyone the world has to challenge them.

    My comments on this thread are more focused on letting people know that it does not take 5 or 10 years to reach good and really good levels of tennis. It has so much more to do with the way the student learns than any genetic factor...unless they are truly physically or mentally handicapped.

    The vast number of players found on public and club courts have more than enough potential...but, they were given the wrong information (or tried to teach themselves) and thus, set in motion the patterns that would insure limited progressions and limited skill acquisition.

    Hope this long post answers questions to my take on this matter!
     
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