beginner question

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by stapletonj, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    I realize this may a be a bit off topic, but not so if you are playing in an an adult league with Michael Chang.

    I have some absolute beginners (think no sport experience AT ALL) who will have to play some matches SOON. There are about 5 out of the 7 who cannot throw the ball up in the air and patty cake it over the net into the correct service box 3 out of 7 times. I am working desperately with them on that, but I am also helping teach basic forehand and backhand as well.

    In a desperation move, I'm thinking of having them serve underhand their first few matches. Almost all of them can bounce hit a forehand into the right service box more than 50% of the time.

    My Question - is it legal for them to "bounce hit"? Or must they release the ball into the air from their hand and hit it before it bounces?
     
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  2. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    Bounce hit is not allowed.
     
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  3. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    They have to learn sometime. Have them hit their overhand serve. If they make it, great. If not, try again.

    How else will they learn what needs work?

    Cindy -- a former 2.5 who couldn't pattycake a serve into the box 3 out of 7 times
     
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  4. goober

    goober Legend

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    I have to qustion the wisdom of putting players who are absolute beginners into competitive league situations. It is not really fair to them or their opponents IMO.

    But given your situation you should have them practice patty cake serves as much as possible before the match. Most people can get these to land into the service box so they can least start points. The only thing is long term if they have success with these types of serves they may have a hard time switching to regular serving techiques which will take them a lot farther. There are many career 3.0-3.5 players that are stuck with their frying pan serves and are not willing to change.
     
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  5. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    ^Hey, that is what 2.5 level is for.
     
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  6. goober

    goober Legend

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    Well he said they are playing in an adult league with Michael Chang - which I will take to mean high level players.
     
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  7. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, is that what he meant? These players are going to taken on French Open Champ Michael Chang? Huh?
     
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  8. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Agree, you have to start somewhere. Though, maybe they should hold off entering a league if they can't get a serve in?
     
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  9. goober

    goober Legend

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    Hah?
    My point was the he is not in a 2.5 league. Should you be in any type of competitive team league especially with perceived high level players if you don't even know how to serve? You should at least learn the basics of a game before you try a competitive match. Throwing beginners into a match with players much better than them is going to cause a lot of frustration and will often lead people to lose interest and quit. Some of them will redouble their efforts to get better but others will decide tennis is not for them.
     
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  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    As I said, I started as a 2.5. I had never played a competitive tennis match. I had taken clinics, and not very good ones. I could bump my serve in, except when I couldn't.

    I agree that if these players are going to attempt anything more than 2.5/beginner league, then it is a poor idea for the reasons you state. Other than that, I think people should jump right in the 2.5 tennis pool, do their best and have fun.

    Personally, I mourn the death of 2.5 tennis. When I started (and captained!) 2.5 tennis in spring adult 2005 season, there were nine 2.5 teams in our flight. In spring 2012 adult season, there were two 2.5 teams.

    I think OP's players should get on out there provided they can do so at an appropriate level. If they get started now, maybe they can dominate 2.5 nationals in 2013.
     
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  11. Setmatch45

    Setmatch45 Rookie

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    I would think that 2.5 is meant for that and most of the players will be in the same position. Just make sure they are having fun and don't get stressed out over it. Also if they go to district or sectional playoffs and have to play 3.5 players just keep having fun. Or maybe the sandbag thing does not go down to the 2.5 level?
     
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  12. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    there was a 2.5 on my tennis team when i was in jr college. he tried to do all these spin serves and he was unsuccessful (he was not an athlete at all). any way i taught him to serve straight up in down with a short toss and short wind up and he was able to make that quite consistently. in fact me an him beat 2 3.5 on the team.
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Soft pancake serves, BENT elbow, forehand grip, low toss out to the right.
     
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  14. TENNIS4FUN2

    TENNIS4FUN2 New User

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    I agree with Cindy, you have to start somewhere. I also could not hit a serve when I started playing league but watching other people serve helped me tremendously. A lot of these other people would also offer me tips which usually helped improve my serve and/or game in general. Just let them play. Obviously they know they are that good and are willing to lose. Just keep it fun and don't put too much pressure on them or they may quit before they even learn the game good.
     
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  15. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    guys, the Michael Chang reference was meant to be a joke, you know, the FO final and all?

    sheesh

    anyway, bounce serves are NOT legal, and I agree with Cindy, get them started on a proper serve, no point otherwise.

    (why do they have to play matches soon, exactly?)
     
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  16. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    I was watching a girls HS tennis team practice today as I was waiting for them to finish and open up the courts. I was amazed/shocked how most of the girls patty-caked serves.

    I mean, even in practice the "coach" wasn't working with the girls on their serves. The girls were directly facing the service box, easy toss up, then with no torso turn, racquet take back only to head level, then a straight racquet punch of the ball in a high arc into the box... mostly.

    It was just a city HS team not a noted tennis program... but I was just "wow"... they are still 16-18 year old girls, not 8 year olds. Why the coach wouldn't work on developing some advanced beginner techniques is beyond me.
     
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  17. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Concentrate your teaching efforts into the serve. It's the most important shot in tennis. If you can get your serve in, they have to play you. Have them start hitting the serve with the racket in the "back-scratch" position. Have 'em watch videos of Roscoe Tanner's serve, he had a great serve, no hitches, perfect ball toss.

    G'luck
     
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  18. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    As a girls high school tennis coach, I will tell you that it is real hard to "teach" tennis during the season. You have 12-14 teenage girls, usually on 3 courts (because you are sharing w/ the boys team), and there is usually a big dip in talent from your 1 & 2 seeds, to your 3-5 seeds, to your 6-8, etc., so you can't teach at the same level across the board.

    What I've told the girls is that I'm not here to teach them the mechanics of tennis. That is for the local club/pros, who do it for a living. I'm here to work on strategy, tweak a shot here & there, and pretty much keep them organized.

    Having said that, I will work with them in groups, usually having 2 courts playing doubles w/ a 3rd working on a certain stroke. But again, I have maybe 20 minutes to work w/ 4 girls, then rotate them out. Not a lot of time to really drill something home.

    And as far as teaching the mechanics of a serve...try serving left handed the next time you go out on the court (or right handed if you are a natural lefty). For those of us who have been doing it for 30+ years, it is a natural movement/rhythm, but to a beginner, it is possibly the hardest stroke out there.
     
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  19. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    I hear you and appreciate the time constraints and level differences. And you are obviously not the coach of the team I watched, and I am not a coach at all.

    To me tho, I would think more time spent during practices actually working on a skill (serves, volleys, FHs, BHs) would be more valuable than just pairing up the girls to play matches against each other. And yes, some lessons with a local pro would be helpful, but this was a city HS team... maybe many of the girls can't afford regular lessons. I'm just going from my past HS sport experience (which did not include tennis) and most of the time was spent working on skills/drills - football, baseball, wrestling. It would seem to be the same thing to do with tennis.

    I don't go out of my way to watch HS tennis (boys or girls) so I do not know if what I saw was "the norm". It just seemed like a missed opportunity to work on obvious weak points... unless the coach herself doesn't have the knowledge or the game to effectively pass on. I dunno.
     
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  20. goober

    goober Legend

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    I would think it would depend on the level of your players. With 3.5 and above what you do would be fine. Complete beginners it seems like you would get way more out of just going over the basics of each stroke. Can't really go over strategy if you don't even know how to serve. You can't tweaks shots here and there if they can't even contact the ball. I guess you could always hold tryouts and cut everybody who is a beginner or low level player.
     
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  21. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    actually, its middle school girls and
    I'm not the coach, just a Dad trying to help a little.
    (yes the Michael Chang ref was a joke)
    They stopped practicing for a week and their first match is today. It's gonna be ugly unless the other team is equally bad. Oh, well.

    BTW, thanks for the tips......
     
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  22. goober

    goober Legend

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    Well this is the adult section. There is a seperate junior section probably where this should have been posted. If it is a middle school girls team, geez I wouldn't even stress out about it at all. Just make sure they have fun win or lose. If you are a dad, you can't really help that much other than help your own daughter.
     
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  23. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    Yeah, I know.
    But this section has about double the posts and
    the junior section is all filled up
    with "My kid is being ripped off out of his
    chance at Nationals and a Div. I scholarship
    by these new rules changes" types of threads.
    (No b*tch*ng intended, just an observation)

    BTW -thanks for the input and they started off pretty poorly b/c
    they had to play the best team in the county first match, but
    they did better in the second match, hoping for an even better
    result third time, I trying to work with them as much as I can.

    Wish us luck, they are a great bunch of kids!
     
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  24. tenniscasey

    tenniscasey Semi-Pro

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    Good luck!

    I suspect you'll have one or two kids abandon the team because they get tired of losing, but for those who stick with it, I'm sure you'll find their progress throughout the season very rewarding... and so will they. Tennis is a great lifetime sport, and those kids will be better off forever because of your efforts.
     
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  25. NineMileSkid

    NineMileSkid Rookie

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    Oh, you meant THAT Michael Chang?
     
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  26. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    Well, your predictions were true.
    My dau.'s doubs partner was gonna quit, but the coach
    talked her out of it.
    (She has never played or had lessons before at all)
    We worked on how to hit a lob one evening with her mom and dad there. She got a little confidence adn the girls won their very first match 8-3 (after getting creamed pretty bad the first two times) She hit about 6 lobs and 4 of them dropped in for winners. You'd have thought she won the lottery.

    It is a real joy to watch the girls progress, literally during the course of a match.

    Now I understand why coaches love coaching kids at this level.....
     
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  27. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Oh yea, teaching kids from age 8-13 is pretty fun. They have the ability and willingness to make changes and improve rapidly out of beginner stage. After 14 it is somewhat tougher to mold a player from scratch. A) they think they know everything, and b) they don't know squat.
     
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  28. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    fla10sdude- you are pretty right. but in a way it's even worse, my dau. is 12 and will listen a little bit on the tennis court but not much. Anything else, I'm already an idiot dinosaur.

    Funny thing is, 48 hours later, the $60.00 per hour pro will tell her the EXACT SAME THING USING THE EXACT SAME WORDS, and she hangs on to it like it is gospel. I mention it to her later, and she has no recollection whatsoever that I said the same thing to her literally the day before. IT's OK, though, she's my sweetie and is really starting to love the game, so I'm doign my best not to mess that up.
     
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