Do Coaches tell the truth?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Shroud, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Recently I had my first lesson (ok I had one 20 years ago). Being entirely self taught, I was expecting some sort of "change this and change that" sort of experience. I thought it was high praise when he asked me where I took lessons before.

    In the past I have met players and one coach that always seem to want to tell me what to work on. Always its "great backhand, lets do that on the forehand" kind of stuff.

    This was interesting. We did some usta 6 ball deal where he fed 3 to the forehand and 3 to the backhand and with me on the baseline, he was a few feet away. This was the warm up. Said I had good ground strokes and a "great" backhand.

    Then we rallied. Then I served with him on the side watching. Then we played points with me serving, and then him serving and me returning.

    He said I had an "effective" serve and return and could play at the 4.0 level and 4.5 with some more consistency. This I buy if I was in any kind of shape. But not sure he was being honest about the good ground strokes. And he didnt say anything about me hitting slice approaches on the forehand when we did an approach/volley/ overhead drill.

    So do coaches give a rosier picture to keep a player coming back?

    Also after seeing my serve and me voicing my discomfort for baselining, he seemed to change his tune and wanted to have me work on my approach game. Would a coach tell me if it was better to baseline if I really didnt want too??

    And now I am a bit confused. I am not sure what my goal should be. Should I really work on the baseline game and get good with the decent groundies I have, or just focus on what I like to do and serve and volley?

    One thing I learned was that when he was serving he threw me off like crazy at first. Most servers mess around bouncing the ball, picking their butt and smelling it, etc. and then serve. This guy would bounce the ball put the ball to the racket turn a bit and then pause. THEN serve. The pause would vary a bit. Normally on the return I jump around and then move forward and split step. But against him I was jumping forward and he was still paused! I had to start moving a lot later than usual. So now when I serve, I will definitely throw in some pauses.
     
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  2. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Coaches will pump you up a bit - it depends on the coach though. Some coaches will get on you and tell you most of your game sucks. It's really what they think you need to hear.

    It's not always to sell you more lessons - its sometimes just what they think will be most motivational for you..
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Give him credit, he did a very good asimilation of your game.
    He forgot to look at your diet...:):)
    While I admire your all or nothing approach to hitting your shots, I myself play better, and win much more, by being more selective and a bit more conservative.
    Hope we get another chance to hit.
    Domond..
     
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  4. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Interesting. It makes sense. Though I think I would be better with a "no way you could ever be a 4.0 with those strokes" kind of speech!
     
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  5. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Yep, and he saw that all or nothing approach too. I was telling him about when I tried our for the team in college. There were 6-8 of us and we had to play the last guy on the team best of 3 games. I was 4th to go and everyone before me lost 3-0. I was up 40-0 and was so excited. I lost 3-0 like everyone else. He said how he could see me being streaky like that.

    No need to be diplomatic D. I know but can't seem to be more conservative. If I do up the consistency, well I lose points and play defense. Hate that. Maybe he will teach me how to do the conservative thing and still be in control. Its a mental thing I have to get over I guess. But I cant help watching Del Potro and thinking if he just hit out more he could win more :)

    I have a rare light week so if you want to do thursday morning I am up for some hitting even at 10am.
     
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  6. Mrnoital

    Mrnoital Banned

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    He might be telling the truth but he might be wrong. He might be truthful and correct. He might also be a really bad coach.
     
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  7. directionals

    directionals Rookie

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    Did he give you any instructions other than telling you to work on your approach?

    There are good coaches out there but they are hard to find. I find that some of them play well but can't teach. Some can teach stroke mechanics but not strategies and some coaches can talk strategies but can't teach stroke mechanics(at least not effectively).
     
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  8. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Do people tell the truth?

    Have I ever "lied" to a player - yes, in a competition, just after final practice before they went onto to play. They were nervous about how their serve was feeling and that something was off technically, so I took a decision to tell them it looked awesome and there was nothing to worry about technically. Whilst there was evidence that something was not quite right, it wasn't the time to bring it up, it wasn't a mission critical fail and building confidence and self-esteem before competition is a vital part of eliciting peak performance.

    There's an interesting story that Jess Ennis's coach Toni minichello told me about the Olympics with a similar theme, so yes coaches do lie, but usually only wih the athletes best interest at heart (at least I hope so!)
     
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  9. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Schroud, did you hit with the legend himself?:D
     
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  10. Well I am a coach and I always tell the truth if that helps!
     
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  11. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    Didn't you lie on here about where you taught?
     
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  12. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    hahaha post of the day!
     
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  13. RetroSpin

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    A coach walks a tightrope. These days everyone has been conditioned to be so sensitive that they risk losing clients if they are honest. A lot of people want to just feel good about themselves, regardless of the truth. So you get these coaches, often in high end clubs, continually offering praise, like they were dealing with a 4 year old.

    There's a real knack to offering constructive criticism without ******* off some client who is used to people kissing his *** all day. Lots of guys particularly have totally unrealistic views of how good they are, so any criticism strikes at the heart of their tennis ego.

    An added complication is that in tennis, everything is relative. What is a good stroke for a 3.5 sucks for a 5.0. A coach has to be able to evaluate the client's level and adjust his advice accordingly.

    I'm old school. If a coach is giving me nothing but praise, I'm wondering why I'm bothering with him. I can hire some kid for a hitting partner, maybe even a good looking college girl.
     
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  14. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Thats all I can remember, and to work on the overhead. (I messed that up in our drills....I do practice that but his were super super high straight up kind of overheads and I lost them in the sun half the time). I'd like to think the strokes are OK and that I just need some of that strategy stuff. I could definitely play more effective tennis. Serving makes sense and I can mix it up there, but strategically I am pretty clueless I think, at least from the baseline.
     
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  15. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Sure I hit with LeeD before!!
     
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  16. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    YES!! I am old school too! I am wondering why I am spending this dough in the firstplace, and well warm fuzzy nice nice is not the reason. I think I should tell him next time that I don't want some sugar coated coaching session.

    Yeah people are so sensitive these days.
     
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  17. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    +1! Definitely answered my question!!!
     
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  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Wish I could, but the beginning of our house's floor installation starts Thursday, and I'm the humper. Engineered flooring, over bare diagonal 1x6 subfloor, using glue and L nails every 6", thru the whole house.
    Today is the last day of tennis for me, so I'll show around 10.
    Hoping to avoid playing the girl's in singles, as I have to move 60 boxes of flooring around in the garage and move some to each room. Each box is 56 lbs.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is what you usually do, right?
     
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  20. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    If the coach told him he could return atp level bombs; kickers hitting 5'6" off backboard, would he be lying?
     
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  21. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Well, part of his job is to figure out where you are right now and it sounds like he did a good job of that. It is your job, though, to let him know what your goal is and what you are willing to do to get there. For example if a player has an unorthidox stroke it is clear that it should be changed. But while one player has the time/interest level to deconstruct the stroke and start over, another player just plays on weekends and doesn't have the time. For the second guy, starting over is the wrong solution, he should just optimize the imperfect stroke he already possesses.

    The ball is in your court.
     
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  22. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    If you are talking about Lee D, well I dont know about the ATP bombs because I don't hit them. Though we played a set of dubs today and he hit one kicker over my head to the backhand and I had to stretch high to get it back. I am certain that ball was around 8ft high give or take a bit based on my ceiling height.
    Great point Lucky. I should be more honest. But my goals are a bit crazy.

    I want to hit a 120mph serve and play at the 5.0 level. The first one is easiest I think but both will take a major effort on my part to improve and get match tough. I am open to changing strokes if needed though will probably kick and scream doing it :). And the guy I a bit old, so I dont want to give him a heart attack at my audacity!

    So maybe I should take a page from MMI and be boyscout honest :)
     
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Was cool to play some points with you today, Shroud. Your serve can be pretty intimidating once you flatten it out. Certainly your swingspeed is good enough for 110 + right now, but you hit with so much topspin the first serves curve more than mine and about 3' total from you to the reciever.
    After your very first serve to me, I told my partner to get ready for a really high bounce with a lot of spin. Notice we both missed our returns long.
    I was pleasantly surprised how consistent and strong your first volleys were....:):)
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    and C'mon guys....
    I serve at fast WTA levels, not including Serena. Seriously.
    Nobody ever said I can serve approaching ATP speeds, NOBODY.
    The reason in the old daze the Open level girl's wanted me to serve to them was I was serving very similarly to MartinaNavritilova.
    NOT like Dibley or Tanner.
     
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  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    LOL................
     
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  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think a serve over 100, but under 110, is considered "fast WTA levels" not including Serena.
    Say my serve as shown on vids actually IS 94 mph. That is close enough to qualify as WTA, wouldn't you say?
    I never ever claimed any of my serves actually goes ATP levels, as my fastest recorded was well under what Stockton, Rameriz, and Gottfried hit at the same venue.
    OK, I can serve faster than HaroldSolomon when he was serving with his chronically injured lower back.
     
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  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    No your video does not show that. WTA serves appear slow on TV in comparison to ATP serves, but there is plenty of action in those serves.

    There are middle school girls here who can serve faster than most of the 4.5 guys. The way the ball bounces and the impact on the racket is nothing like you see from adult club players. WTA players are way way better than that.
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Could it be possible you are seeing it from a side perspective, while I have seen it from the receiver's position?
    WTA players I have hit with, and all have returned my serves, so I have returned theirs..... MareenLouie, Marcie, DanaGilbert, SusanBrown, RosieCasals, IllanaKloss, CeciMartinez. There is a slightly longer list of A/Open non WTA women I have hit with.
    While my serve is not record breaking even in the WTA, it ranks solidly in the middle as to first serve speed, second serve speed, and especially second serve SPIN.
    Got to hit a bit with Shroud today. I"m most proud of an OUT serve I was serving to him...it was wide center, but well inside the service line. It bounced waist high on the backwall, dead flat, and caused Shroud's partner take 2 steps back into NML while I served to Shroud.
    As usual, me lefty, play was from 10:30 to noon, so sun was right in my toss zone.
    I seldom serve with the sun behind me, because it would not be fair to the receivers.
     
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  29. Who serves harder? This 17 year old or LeeD? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czIkHYV9C4U#t=315
     
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  30. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    That's kind of my approach...

    ...I coach a bunch of different players, in the 3.5 to 4.5 range. My star athlete is a 53 year old woman (I'm 65...) who was a 3.5/4.0 and is now a 4.5 heading for 5.0. She had a pretty clean game to start with, so what we worked on was moving her from an Eastern grip/forehand stroke to SW. We hit about 2 hours a day, and it took about a month for that to take hold, but she's got a heavy, dangerous forehand now. She has slight tennis elbow, so while her slice backhand was good, she needed to develop a two-handed topspin backhand...that happened toward summer's end. She was a little too swingy on her volleys, so we spent a bunch of time fixing that up. Finally, she had a good serve motion but needed more pace and spin...the work there was getting the torso loaded up and getting more leg drive...her serve is now a big weapon. She's a good athlete, a gym rat, loves tennis, and loves putting in the miles to make good things happen.

    Also coached another woman who is a 3.5...and will probably stay there for a while. She had a push/slice forehand, which works some of the time, but we worked on developing a SW topspin shot. Also too swingy on the volley, so we did some drills to fix that up. Also needed to refine her service motion and get more pace/spin. She's got a busy life, career woman, mother, all that good stuff. She loves playing NTRP leagues and tourneys. I told her honestly if she wanted to get better sooner than later, she ought to stop playing matches for a year or two and just work on fundamentals. She doesn't want to do that, tennis competition is her big outlet. I saw her play a ladder match last weekend, and what we've been working on is coming along, but slowly. So there it is...I can provide the tools, the athlete has to pick up the tools and go to work...
     
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  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    #31
  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Maybe read my previous post?
    Almost NO ATP player can hit first serves IN that bounce 7' high.
    That girl has a nice serve, probably 90+.
    Serena's possibly go 30 mph faster.
    Indoor courts usually have well maintained surfaces, so more abrasive than outdoor painted cement. I remember, when I hadn't played consistent tennis in over 5 years, like in the mid '90's, I went to play the No.1 5.0 at MtTam Racket Club in Corte Madera, and while I lost 4-2, he got the 6's, my first serves were bouncing well up around mid chest high on the backwall. Oh, he's 6'2" tall.
    Shroud never faced any of my twist serves, because he has a great highball forehand slice, he was playing Ad court, and my best twists go to Duece court.
    Shroud, sorry to handicap you with that old man. He was taking some of my second serves just over his head, and he's 6'1" tall.
     
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  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How come every thread turns into a serve speed claim by LeeD?
     
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  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Because YOU started asking and talking about service speeds.
     
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  35. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Yeah I enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me play with you guys and thanks for the kind feedback.

    To even get my fat sas to the net I HAVE to hit high loopers :).

    The problem is that I can't really flatten out the serve. When I do it hurts. I am used to that and have always had golfer's elbow pain when serving flat. I just figured it was par for the course when using a profile 2.7 with kevlar :) But it never was debilitating, just sore and that was it, a bit of rest cutting back on the 1st serve bombs. But now it seems to be more of an issue. It doesn't bother me outside of flattening out the ball, which I dont really do that often, maybe twice today. I think it is just a muscle thing though I should ask the coach. Maybe it is a technique thing though I cant see what it would be. Anyhow I have another gear I can use when it comes to serving...

    Also on some volleys and half volleys I am a bit tentative because of the elbow. yeah I can volley pretty well, though I rarely practice it. Its just a natural shot. I really liked our exchanges today. You hit some tough shots.

    See doubles makes sense to me. Bang a serve and move in. Singles not so much.

    Lots of work ahead of me!
     
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  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think one of your first flats to Nisso went long, the other hit the net.
    None to me.
    Both were very fast.
    But the ACTION on your spin serves are superb. Huge hook, late drop, and big high bounce up to eye heights to me.
     
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  37. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    No you were talking about it before that. You just seem to find a way of weaving your wild claims into every thread.
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    ..and you feed more fuel to the fire.
    We see EVERYTHING in life from OUR perspective.
    Just saying it doesn't make it any different than implying it.
    I can't go on commenting about JonnyS/V's serve, because I, me me me, have never faced it.
     
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  39. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Thanks dude. good to know.

    Though none were as high as some of yours. I would love to hit kickers that high. What is your secret?
     
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  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    You add more spin than I can.
    My depth control is much better.
    Lots of your serves are into the middle of the service box.
    Lots of my serves go barely 4" long, and you guys called it correctly every time.
     
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  41. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I was trying to "get it in". Its been for ever but when I was last serving at my potential I would get plenty of double faults and aces on my 2nd serve. Its that all or nothing thing again. I was just trying to get them in and really wasnt focused on depth. Thanks for the tip. I will try to pay more attention. And if I get this right, if it is at eye level now it when landing in the middle of the service box, it can be higher if it is on the line.

    Anyhow get some rest, you will need it for those boxes tomorrow.

    Oh, and Helen's lob game was very hard to counter. I am just too slow right now to back up and make the play. Did I mention lots of work ahead?
     
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  42. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Very few 4.0's would care to concentrate to hit 5 high lobs that land in deep NML in a row. She knows it works, but most of us there know her game, and take a step back in anticipation of her well placed lobs.
    Yeah, your potential is there, both a 115 first serve and the higher than head high bouncing second serve.
    Now if you can show up consistently, we can all have better tennis every day.
    Your game is a mirror of the stringer/owner of PlazaTennis, John. He even returns my serves exactly the same, short low angles.
     
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  43. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    I think that is a common expectation, and often a misconception, a lot of people have. They feel the lesson might be a negative experience with the pro criticizing the way they play. When I've asked players why they don't take lessons that is usually the reason I hear. I think most good coaches try to make the lesson a positive experience even when changes need to be made. And sometimes to achieve that they may throw in a little white lie now and then. But I don't think many would lie to the extent that they would say 'you have a great backhand' when you really don't.
     
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  44. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    For Shroud, his strokes are plenty good enough.
    His fitness might need work, but he's fine for doubles.
    Coach's won't make comment's on mental attitude, and "go for it" is a mental attitude, not a deficient stroke.
     
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  45. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    This is helpful I feel bad for the guy because I dont really know why i am taking the lessons. I just wanted to try it. Nothing wrong with positivity. I think the first lesson was just to take stock of what I have and hopefully we will get to some kind of direction next time.

    Thanks man. I have so much to work on and the biggest is fitness. Ugh I am so out of shape and slow. And stiff after 3 sets of DOUBLES. Lame but true. Nisso and Robert are probably faster at this point. I am guessing I can force him to coach my mental attitude right?? I get too aggressive too and I am not sure I can just turn that off.
     
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  46. Shroud did you say you want to be 5.0? Lol you are a worse than LeeDelusional!
     
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  47. PhrygianDominant

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    HAHAHAHHA......that was amazing

    It's a logical paradox. Everything he says is a lie.....like on Star Trek
     
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  48. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Regarding the OP: A good pro will recognize a stroke as being closer to the type of swing the player is capable of, regardless of the outcome of any particular swing. You might hit the ball out or in the net but used the stroke that will equate to more effective play and improvement. A good pro will seldom complement a shot that was hit poorly but for whatever reason landed in or near an intended target, instead address the stroke issue in an objective and logical way.

    Sure, pros don't want to make a student feel bad in any way, (hence I often complement a well hit ball even if the ball didn't land near the target.)

    Students have to come into the lesson ready to hear what ever advice is offered.

    I'd be suspect of any pro who is full of complements on all shots. They either don't see what you need to be doing or they don't know how to correct the stroke itself. So, the only way they can feel "successful" is to complement the outcome of shots.
     
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  49. Algo

    Algo Professional

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    Mine does, he steadily says I suck and "how come you can keep the ball in yet"

    He also says "that's the one, I need that again" when I do hit it well, but I then **** things up...
     
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  50. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    MMI can rate a player without seeing him.
    AND, he can rate the top potential of the player.
    We don't need to play tennis, we just need MMI's opinion.
     
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