Food for thought: More Practice matches.

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by tennis5, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. hhollines

    hhollines New User

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    I believe we are way off base in the U.S. at least with how we train junior tennis players. The basketball model that someone mentioned is on cue. I played Div. I basketball (and started tennis when I was 5 yrs. old; dad played in the NBA) and if you look junior basketball development, we play a lot of pickup basketball and that's why so many kids come from the inner city. These are essentially simulated games.

    The point Coach Nott is making is there's no substitution for actual points and sets. You can toss balls all you want and drill all you want but nothing mimics actual tournament play, like a practice match. Additionally, if you are a competitor, even in a practice match, you'll deal with some pressure (not the same level as a real tournament) but nevertheless it's good to deal with.

    The real issue is parents and coach who won't let their kids play practice matches, and furthermore, if they do, they sit against the fence and watch their every movement. This is so damaging b/c it teaches the kid to rely on the parent who, by the way, can't help them on the court, but importantly, it doesn't provide an environment where the kid feels comfortable enough to try new stuff and add to their games.

    During pickup basketball, that's when we expanded our game and added new dimensions, moves and shots.

    With that said, a great coach is a necessity as tennis is about fundamentals and technique. You can go quite far with just a great coach, practice matches and tournament play but, of course, that approach is damaging financially to the private clubs and academies. The only caveat is if you are in a poor section, it may be difficult to find adequate practice matches as you can only go so far playing the same 5-10 folks over and over . . . you need variety of type styles to play.

    Coach Nott was referring to practice matches (not 500 sets of tournament play for a junior but a combination of both).
     
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  3. floridatennisdude

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    Shawn Marion has the worst jumper to ever make it to the NBA, but he can ball.

    I think you proved Coach Notts point.... practice like crazy, compete like crazy. I think that's the whole gist. Too many pretty strokes with no game behind them.
     
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  4. TCF

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  5. floridatennisdude

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    Yea, we agreed on the age thing before. In the 13-18 bracket I like more competition than ball feeding. And those are the parents Nott is likely talking to.
     
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  6. TCF

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  7. Number1Coach

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    "Ajax puts young players into a competitive caldron, a culture of constant improvement in which they either survive and advance or are discarded. It is not what most would regard as a child-friendly environment, but it is one that sorts out the real prodigies — those capable of playing at an elite international level — from the merely gifted."

    "He was particularly useful in translating a culture that was nothing like I had ever seen in many years of reporting on American sports. When I observed that for all the seriousness of purpose at De Toekomst, I was surprised that the players did not practice more hours or play more games, Rooi said: “Of course, because they do not want to do anything to injure them or wear them out. They’re capital. And what is the first thing a businessman does? He protects his capital.”

    Wow they are basicly teaching these kids in the 1st quote that they are not their to have fun "not a child friendly environment"

    And in the 2nd quote they dont have nothing to prove early on but to protect the investment ,,,NOW i ask where have we heard that from for the last 4 or 5 years ???

    Great article on how to build a tennis player OOPS I meant soccer player !!

    Man I should have went to college to learn what those soccer guys are doing ,I could have done that with DB wait I have been !
     
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  8. TCF

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  9. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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    My point was the same as theirs, your in the sport "not" for fun but business, my belief is the same as theirs ,dont play all the tourney like you say and wait till the player is older and you have protected the investment from burn out and injurys from overuse.

    So your telling me had a player gone from well over 400 nationally to no.7 in the nation in less then a year they would get rid of him? What are you
    smoking ? This is the kinda player they are looking for , Now I have to see a video of your daughter got to see what your bosting of , this will be interesting HAHA PLEASE PUT THE VIDEO UP FOR US ALL ,QUIT BLOWING ALL THAT HOT AIR.,,,,LETS SEE THE PROOF.
     
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  10. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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    BTW the article says they "do not" look for the kids with "results or the fastest" ect. comrehension is trouble for some .
     
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  12. TCF

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  13. Number1Coach

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    So after the US Open Rubin , Schnieder, Hitzik would have been gone ? WOW that's incredible but I think the soccer guys would see the consitency of all these players and kept them ..

    Still would like to see that video of your girl if she looks anything close to DB or Db's sister I may consider what you say but something tells me DB's sister at 7 yrs would have rolled right through her but a video could convince me that she may have held up against and elite athlete 7 yr old like DB's sister ..

    Video please ?
     
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  15. Number1Coach

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    I get how they work their system , that was not my point in the beginning , what I was pointing out as I have for years on here is that to build players for a higher level you need to start them off with the right mindset in the beginning ,,It not a child friendly there its all business , like I have said you take them to Disneyland for fun and bring them to the tennis court for them to be business-like about competition .
     
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  16. Number1Coach

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    I get how they work their system , that was not my point in the beginning , what I was pointing out as I have for years on here is that to build players for a higher level you need to start them off with the right mindset in the beginning ,,It not a child friendly there its all business , like I have said you take them to Disneyland for fun and bring them to the tennis court for them to be business-like about competition .

    Aside from that would like to see a video .
     
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  18. valsmokes

    valsmokes Banned

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    That is absolutely correct. You need a coach on court with you during practice matches. That is the best way to correct your mistakes and bad strokes. That way you can really keep track if you are fixing the erroneous movements or not. If it is pointed out to the player after each shot he will make the change and get on to the next issue quickly. This is the way all the advanced players/juniors train right now. Always a coach on the court with both opponents working on the strategy/strokes etc...during the practice match.
     
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  20. tennisconsultcom

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    They are not "top juniors" in reality. You need compare them with world's best players. You'll find that most American "top junior players" are just average players. Why? Because many parents follow this advice from that article ("one lesson per week or per two weeks").
     
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  21. hound 109

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    Comments below:

    No wonder we're seeing a bunch of clones. FWIW, i know of many "advanced/players/juniors" who play lots of practice matches nowhere near a coach (& often not in front of a parent). I personally think that is what the USC coach is saying.

    - Play lots of tournaments.
    - Play adults. (in a tournament or just for fun)
    - Play the guy down the street in front of parents. (or not)
    - Play the girl two years older than you in front of a coach. (or not)

    Yes get lessons, yes do drills, yes do some match play in front of a coach, but supplement it with more match play (anywhere.... against anyone...NOT in front of a coach).
     
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  22. valsmokes

    valsmokes Banned

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    I am sorry to tell you but that is how Sloane, Coco, Gabby, Kudla, Laure Davis and a few others train. Same way Chrissy Evert trained. There are other ways, but this is the most effective. 2-3 hours of Private instruction working on your shots and a good practice match with the coach on court. It seems to be working why don't you try it.
     
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  24. hhollines

    hhollines New User

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    Food for thought: More practice matches

    "A few posters have cited basketball. The dynamics are different, many, many more kids play so the pool of from which the cream rises is much deeper."

    I disagree having played both tennis and basketball since the age of 5 and ultimately picking basketball. The dynamics are not that different, we just think they are. Yes, there are more kids playing basketball than football but that's not the point (that's a social environment issue) and not my point. Yes, you need a great coach as I initially posted, however, after that, you can drill all day long but you need practice and tournament matches b/c nothing is the same. And, yes, having a coach watch a practice match is extremely valuable but it's still a practice match/practice sets . . .

    We do way too much group drilling, hitting and ball tossing, and parents way too involved. If you let the kid take what they learned from the coach and apply and play with it in a practice match without parent supervision, that starts to look a lot like how we development basketball players, which by the way, the U.S. remains dominant.

    The way you develop a player is at odds with the money making machine of tennis and that's the real issue. In fact, give me the player that may lack some fundamentals but has played a ton of practice and tournament matches against juniors, adults, and whomever . . . there are many tennis and basketball players that lack fundamentals but are still top flight players b/c they are so strong mentally and you don't get that drilling all day long . . . you need to play and problem solve in real time, in a real match.

    Now, if you can get that and have a great coach, then that's the best of both worlds . . . but if I had to choose, give me the junior that goes out and plays anyone at anytime . . . kid, junior or adult . . .
     
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  25. hhollines

    hhollines New User

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    Food for thought: More practice matches

    "Yes get lessons, yes do drills, yes do some match play in front of a coach, but supplement it with more match play (anywhere.... against anyone...NOT in front of a coach)."

    I couldn't agree more, and especially NOT in front of a coach or parent. Kids need room for trial and error but the conditions need to be match-like hence why practice matches/sets are very important. This is really critical for kids in cold weather states and in those states other than CA, FL, TX, etc. where the pool of players is small and competition overall lacks and so leveraging the adults for practice matches is key (i.e., it takes tremendous footwork to play against a good adult hacker . . . it's quite valuable).

    Harry
     
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  26. ga tennis

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    I know i need to let my daughter play matches with me not there sometimes. I just know how my daughter is she would wanna have fun and talk the whole time. She would just goof off and play around the whole time.
     
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  27. TCF

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  28. floridatennisdude

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    Heaven forbid she have fun and enjoy meeting people. Jeez.
     
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  29. jigglypuff

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    Wrong place, wrong time, and definitely not on her dad's dime.
     
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  30. ga tennis

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  31. Mitch Bridge

    Mitch Bridge Rookie

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    The US' top juniors are still among the best in the world. The only area we are struggling in is elite men. We had 7 of the top 50 ITF boys at one time last year. Let's not act like we can't produce players. Taylor Townsend seems to be doing quite well. We have the third most top 300 ATP players. Still a big time tennis country! Spanish men are doing terrific, but where are the women? Is the Spanish training method just for men. French women aren't overly strong either.
     
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  32. Tennishacker

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    Agree, American juniors get some of the best training money can buy.

    Problem is once they decide to turn pro.
     
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  33. Ash_Smith

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    Yep, you had all four of the boys semi-finalists and one of the girls singles finalists at Les Petit AS this year.
     
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  34. rgwarren

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    Both finalists girls were USA
     
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  35. Ash_Smith

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    ^^^Nope, the winner was a girl from Romania, Jaqueline Cristian.
     
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  36. Mitch Bridge

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    The US has 26 pros in the ATP top 300. Only one country has more. The struggle is only at the top of the men's rankings, and this seems to be an athletic problem. The top guys are amazing athletes.
     
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  37. ga tennis

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  38. Tennishacker

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    Agree, how do we define "athletic"?

    Everybody has differing definitions.
     
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  39. hhollines

    hhollines New User

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    Food for thought: More practice matches

    "The two are very different. Basketball has positions. A kid can be a stiff with no fundamentals and be 7 feet and be a star in basketball. Maybe not NBA but a stiff 7 footer can play college ball. Try that in tennis."

    The topic is player development and, with respect to that topic, basketball and tennis are not that different. Again, the point is the lack of simulated match play in tennis for juniors, especially juniors in cold weather (non-tennis) sections. I played basketball at a high level and I will tell you the vast majority of time is spent scrimmaging and playing sand lot which is, again, simulated game situations.

    I think we've established that a great coach is a major asset in tennis although the financial barrier alone will remove most kids from having access to a great coach and, given that reality, then the next best thing is to play a lot. There are plenty of pro's with less than perfect fundamentals but they are mentally strong and fierce competitors and that comes from "social environment" . . . it comes from competing and dealing with pressure.

    The fact is, the amount of $ we spend on junior tennis is insane and while we do product top flight juniors, we should produce more given the resources available (private and USTA) and the money being spent by parents.

    You have a unique situation in junior tennis. In basketball and other sports, we play anyone/any time but in tennis, you have coaches and parents that isolate kids and refuse to let them play anyone which, ultimately hurts everyone.

    Bottom line, I think Coach Nott made great points in the article most of which I agree with except, as I said, a great coach can make a big difference (just like in any sport). But, to practice like the real thing is so valuable.

    Just the other night (I only know this b/c my daughter told me; I didn't watch it :), my daughter played a practice match and was up 5-2 and started to come apart and ended up in the time breaker and she went on to win the set 7-6. That is a prime example of why practice matches are so important . . . it wasn't about winning or losing that set but it was about dealing with adversity; dealing with a lead that you lose and have to pull yourself together (the more practice you get at that, the better). If you are a competitor, even in practice matches, you will bring your competitiveness (you don't turn it off) and that will bring some level of pressure which is so good!!!

    You can do all the drills you want (and I don't disregard the value of drilling) but nothing is the same as playing an actual real set.

    Harry
     
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  40. Tennishacker

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    I have to disagree, what separates the top men from the rest is mental toughness, not athletic ability.
     
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  41. BirdieLane

    BirdieLane New User

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    Drew Brees was a tennis player. Has a win over a younger Roddick if I remember right.

    http://www.protennisfan.com/2006/02/andy_roddick_an.html
     
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  42. Pro_Tour_630

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    best post in a long time,

    I am here in Paris checking out the local tennis, everyone is so nice to each other, parents, coaches, players, they all want to share and are passionate. In the US I see lots of ego trips and isolation, sad :(
     
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  43. tennis5

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    Thanks for posting.

    So, being familiar with cold weather bubble tennis where the bubbles are up usually for ten months,
    the problem seems to be lack of court time.
    ( a bit like ice skating time, but while you can skate at 1 in the morning for ice time, you can't do that for tennis).

    Juniors either play in groups where there is some point play, usually king of the hill
    and most juniors do a lesson to two per week where you hitting with the coach.

    The problem setting up practice matches is that after groups, courts are reserved/booked on an annual basis as they sell the court time for the year to grownups or juniors with privates.

    My question, yes I have one in this ramble, is what would be better in your opinion
    ( or anyone else's out there.....).

    Either bring a friend in to hit during your lesson with the coach there
    or find a time where the two juniors hit by themselves with no one watching
    ( no coaches, and I don't stay for groups or privates, so I wouldn't be there for this).

    Thanks.
     
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  44. Pro_Tour_630

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    The French parents and coaches are on the same age with regards to technique and improvements. Many US parents are focused on the win. The parent of my #1 high school player just fired my assistant coach who was a Davis cup player and taught at boca for three years because her son lost a USTA match. The parent made the kid quit HS tennis as well. All because of just one loss.
     
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  45. Mitch Bridge

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    So you are saying that Isner, Querrey, Roddick, Levine, Ram, and Baker just need to be better mentally and they can be as good as the top 4?
     
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  46. ga tennis

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    They could be.
     
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  47. MarTennis

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    Top Pro coaches...

    ...continue to sell the idea that juniors must have 2:1 win ratio. Albeit, some do say otherwise. I agree Americans want wins early. I almost need to meditate to calmly push development within the tournament process as opposed to wins for a 10 year old playing 12s. Difficult, but important. Although wins are fun too.
     
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  48. tennisconsultcom

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    Look at top 20. Only one American, but three Spaniards (all in top 10), three French players, Germany, Swiss and Serbia have two players each. European countries dominate in today's world tennis. American tennis is in deep crisis. This is statistics. Just eight in top 100 (including Andy Roddick who already retired). Only Harrison is relatively young.

    Sock may be the next American star. He has a huge potential.
     
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  49. ga tennis

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    All it would take for U.S. tennis to become a tennis hothead is for some young guy with a great story to win a grand slam.It would be ideal fo him to be African American and cocky and have a lot a swag about himself. This would make tennis cool to some of those unreal athletes that end up playing point guard in the N.B.A.. If tennis was cool to those kids the U.S would DOMINATE!!!!
     
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  50. MarTennis

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    Possible...

    ...still would require public/private tennis professional partnership to foster total development. For example, private tennis biz (club/academy) need to be willing to help bridge development from parks that may have the nontraditional tennis athletes.

    Personally, if this sort of partnering would have occurred after Ashe won Wimbledon we would still be dominating tennis or at least more in the global mix at the top. All court play would compete with grinder play, contrast would be awesome and tennis would be even bigger. No use crying over spilt milk. Can still do now. Question is do clubs have taste for such sacrifice?

    Big shout out to San Francisco Tennis Club and Claremont Resort and Spa in the Bay Area. Both stepping up bigtime.
     

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