Good Coaching...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Ash_Smith, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. tommyfr

    tommyfr Rookie

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    High and deep: depends what you mean with DIY tennis coaching
    -Technical?
    -Physical, movement?
    -Tactical, shot selection, strategy?
    -Mental toughness, control under pressure, concentration, winning attitudes

    - - - - - - -

    As to the question of parents coaching kids successfully I think we can take out Sharapova (as her dad brought her at 7 or something to Bollettieri and a bit later Robert Landsdorp), but put in C Wozniackis dad, an ex football player who trained her up to 10 or something . Also Tomic dad I think was an amateur coach.
     
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  2. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    That's not really an answerable question as it is entirely situation and athlete dependant, however as a general rule I don't use the positive-negative (e.g "Don't do it like that, like this" or "Not quite there") and I ask questions way more than I tell - how it felt, how they think it should should it feel, what else do they do that it feels like, how does it sound when they've hit it it "correctly", can they imagine what it would be like to hit it perfectly and how close are they on a scale of 1 to 10 to that image etc etc

    It's a much more powerful way of giving feedback than simply saying "good", "well done" "ok" "no" etc - sadly I see too many coaches just saying words with no reason - even when the shot was nothing like they were trying to teach, they still give it "good", "yep" etc. Those are the coaches Balla talks about above - just going through the motions :(

    Cheers
     
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  3. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    I knew a coach (place and location will remain unnamed though it was a large center with tons of kids and he was one of the main guys) where when he was feeding balls and the student hit a shot that almost hit the back fence he'd say stuff like "Good, keep going" "Nice try, that's it" in essence rewarding effort but to defend him a bit when you got many kids on your court its difficult to ask in depth questions. Still kinda funny as even the students would comment on it and chuckle.
     
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  4. wanda

    wanda New User

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    "Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick.
    After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick.
    Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick."
    -- Bruce Lee
     
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  5. Ash_Smith

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    And how many of those players have ruined the relationship with their parent!
     
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  6. Ash_Smith

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    I can understand the financial aspect and if as coach-dad/mum you are able to remain objective and wear those different hats with out making the relationship with your child difficult or strained then all credit!

    Balla - you were obviously a lucky one!

    Cheers
     
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  7. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Yep, have seen that all too often! I actually employed a coach who, as it turned out, coached like that - he didn't last long!
     
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  8. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    It wasn't a smooth ride at all and my dad had lots to learn. I remember stories where one of the top guys (ended up playing pro events later on), his dad left him at the club after a tournament. The kid lost in the finals in 3 sets to a younger but equally good opponent, but he always won everything usually. Anyways, his dad left him and this kid chased after the car for about a kilometer with his tennis bag and gear before his dad stopped.
    Another story was with another kid who's dad chased him around on the adjacent corn field after an argument they had after a loss. Kinda funny to think about now, but I know it was difficult on them.
     
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  9. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Thanks Ash. Yes, I think it is good to do that and elicit thought about the stroke in the players mind and give them a mechanism for self-feedback. Still not sure how you implement it when you are feeding balls one after another trying to groove a stroke. If you question and explain after every single hit, there won't be many balls hit in the lesson.

    When feeding balls, I'll usually have already described the players typical problems and what the adjustment should be, so I just say cues like head still, footwork, takeback, sounds good, that's right, rotate more, etc. Depending on their level, if they implement the adjustment we are working on, I might say "good job" even if something else in the stroke causes the ball to hit the back fence (then work on that part next).
     
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  10. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Doesn't have to be after every shot, could be after a group of shots or after a set time limit. Obviously if the player has just nailed it exactly as it "should" be, then a positive reinforcement will help anchor the feeling with the player - but I always link it with a feeling rather than just pure words. I believe nothing should be said that doesn't have a purpose (not always easy!!!)

    Essentially, I am always looking for a situation where the athlete talks more than the coach! I think that's probably the opposite of a coach like RL, who will pretty much always talk more than the athlete (hypothesising based on what I have seen admittedly), regardless of the particular learning style or whims of the athlete in question.

    Cheers
     
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  11. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I'm thinking about that and how it could help me. Don't want to ping on you too much about the exact details until I've thought about the details of implementation.
     
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  12. JW10S

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    I'm not sure the point of this thread. It is very clear from his subsequent posts that the OP does not think this is an example of good coaching. Why he just didn't come out and say so to begin with only he knows. No matter how you try to sweet talk it this is a jab at Lansdorp, let's not be coy here, how about having the guts to just say so? To take a clip of a portion of a single lesson and then judge whether it is 'good coaching', which implies in turn whether or not the coach is good, is silly. Lansdorp has his own unique style, as do I and as do many coaches, and his record is far better than most. Not many coaches have worked with as many top ranked pros, not to mention the many highly ranked juniors, as Lansdorp. I competed against players who were coached by him, have known & talked to many other players (of all levels) who were coached by him, and have coached players who have been coached by him so I'm very familiar with his style and the roster of players he's worked with. He has been successfully coaching for a long time and players continue to go to him. There is good reason for that. He is not interested in selling DVD's or books and does not make outrageous claims about his influence that cannot be backed up with fact. He teaches the way he believes gets the best results, he always has and always will. Whether you like his style or not I think you'd be hard pressed to find people who would say, based on his record, that Lansdorp is not a good coach. It could be argued that if he had a different style he might not have been so successful. If you teach differently, so what, who cares? How about the OP post a portion of a single lesson of his and then we can chime in as to whether what he does is 'good coaching' or not?

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
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  13. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    Players understand differently. Yes, the correct information has to be delivered in an effective manner to be understood by the player. For example, if I am teaching a pilot the single-handed BH topspin drive:

    -- I would use the two sidelines (alley) as a runway,
    -- And the racket-arm as an aeroplane.

    -- The racket starts from the backswing (initiates the run-up), runs on the runway, and then take-off on a forward-upward trajectory as a plane would do.

    Verbal instructions with hitting demonstrations, hitting sequencing of the top players, and super slow motion vids, are the great means through which players understand and learn.

    Every body seems to be focusing on the technical part of the coaching but how about the other most important aspect of coaching such as managing the tennis team and keeping the team members, sharp, involved, and happy?
     
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  14. Mahboob Khan

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    It is very important to know your players and then help them in a way they would relate themselves to to understand.
     
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  15. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Calm down son! At no point have I said I think RL is not a good coach and I actually stated earlier in the thread that this was the first clip I came across that illustrated a style of coaching I thought it would be interesting to dissect. From my post #9 in this thread (incase you missed it)

    "Don't get me wrong, I'm not ragging on RL, he's had great success doing what he does and I agree with Balla, and give him a lot of respect for sticking to his guns and defining his methodology. He just happens to be in the first clip I came across where a coach has a very distinct "style"

    I have no opinion bias in respect to RL, I am merely playing devils advocate to try to stimulate some interesting discussion. Whilst RL has had success as a coach (assuming you measure the success/skill of a coach based on the players he has worked with?), as TCF stated his "misses" far outweigh the "hits" so does that make that style of coaching more or less effective?

    So, you can take your RL hat off and provide some opinion and reasoning as to why you believe this coaching style (directive) is effective and when, or why you think it might not be effective and actually add value to the thread. Or, you can go and post somewhere else - easy huh :D

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
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  16. Ash_Smith

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    Nice, Mahboob - I like this approach to relating the tennis skill to an existing skill or experience the player has - a great way to help cement the learning.

    Cheers
     
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  17. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    i think it's pretty good to name the balls (USTA ball, Academy ball, RL ball) even if the latter is a bit ego centric. now the kid knows that there is the dimension of high in addition to the dimension of depth that he can vary with his groundstrokes.

    also, focuses on the end result instead of clouding the kid's head with technique minutia, acronyms and metaphors (SSC, PTD, clear the shelf, pronation/supination, angular momentum, etc...)


    PS. as any good salesman he gets the decision makers, i.e. parents, to fall in love with him.
     
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  18. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    This approach has really worked for me in my coaching.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I have found the scooter throttle example of grips and their changes quite useful in my early years, specially for the Eastern BH.
     
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  20. JW10S

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    Did TCF say Lansdorp's misses 'far outweigh' his hits? Really? And you say you have no bias. No coach has had every player they've had on court become a top pro--none. Every coach has more misses than hits if you're judging by that alone. So if that's your standard than you yourself are a failure as a coach.

    As I said Lansdorp has developed or worked with more highly ranked players than most coaches but that is not my only criteria for determining the success/skill of a coach. Even though he has been teaching for a very long time he is still in demand. He teaches in So. Cal. where teaching pros are a dime a dozen, yet people still seek him out specifically despite all the other options available to them. A certain former poster here who put himself out as some sort of expert gives fewer lessons in a week than I do in a single day--a successful coach works.

    I'm surprised Lansdorp is the 1st you've seen who had a distinct style. Every good coach I have every met or dealt with had their own distinct style (I often consult top coaches from other sports to give me a better perspective about my own coaching). Just parroting what you've heard and not incorporating your own personality into your work is definitely not good coaching...
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
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  21. tennis_balla

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    Unnecessary and irrelevant.
     
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  22. TCF

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    ====================
     
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  23. TCF

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    ====================
     
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  24. Ash_Smith

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    ....................
     
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  25. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    i'm not too sure about this on hardcourts. federer and berdych don't seem to hit with a lot of net clearance on hardcourts. there are other examples, but look at most hard court pro matches and players aren't clearing the net by 6 feet.

    they do hit with a lot of spin, but it seems the idea is to hit shorter than the baseline with good margin but still ahve the ball kick forward and up beyond the baseline keeping hte opponent back. i.e. hieght over the net doesn't seem a big criteria for pros. to my untrained eye.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
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  26. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    Of course players are drawn to a coach because of the players they've worked with in the past. Who's going to say 'I want to be a pro, so I'm going to find a coach who has never worked with one'? I choose my financial advisors, my doctors, my accountants, my real estate agents, etc based on their experience and their track records. Why is so strange that tennis players do the same?

    And you can speculate all you want about whether the players he worked with would done just as well had they not met him--but it's just that speculation. I prefer to live in the real world.

    So the kid in the video is not good. Who's fault is that? Do you judge a coach more on their hits or misses? What would you say about a coach who has taught 30 yrs and had no hits?
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
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  27. JohnYandell

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    Robert worked with Tracy, Lindsay, and Pete all from under 10 years of age, and over a period of years. There were like 35 or so others than were long term proteges who ended up in the top 100 or higher. I filmed Robert working with Sharapova when she was 11 and that went on for a period of several years as well.

    As for whether any coach will do, I tend to agree that the player becomes the champion rather than the coach "making" the champion.

    But consider Yuri sought Robert out and brought Maria to him while they were still living at Nick's. There were reasons why and the technical development with Robert contributed to that first Wimby win over Serena.
     
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  28. JW10S

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    I didn't say anything about money. I said 'a criteria' (there are several) of a successful/skilled coach is that they are working. I do believe that.

    No one plays the same way and no one learns the same way. A good coach knows that and accordingly pushes the right buttons to get the most out of a coaching session for the particular player they are working with. I've said before that one size does not fit all and there is no coaching style or method that will work for everyone. I believe people who do say there is one way everyone should be playing are doing the sport great harm. I realize that there are some good coaches who teach differently than I do, but if i do have a criticism I just say so. Unlike TCF who doesn't stand behind anything he says, even he knows what he writes is BS, which is why no one takes him seriously--except Ash.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
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  29. Ash_Smith

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  30. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    ^^ that was pure class... on so many levels...
     
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  31. tommyfr

    tommyfr Rookie

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    British humor was better at other times....
     
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  32. JW10S

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    Wow. So this is what this great, heady, all important thread to stimulate discussion degenerated into? Some people have way too much time on their hands...
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
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  33. Ash_Smith

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    And yet you still find time to come in and post something that adds no value? Pot and Kettle springs to mind!

    Was just a little humour to lighten the tone a touch!

    Okay, to keep JW happy here's an example from the opposite end of the spectrum - what do we think of this "style"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zlczlqYV5E&list=UUxr1cQ***MhVlqXLJo62OMg

    cheers
     
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  34. tommyfr

    tommyfr Rookie

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    Here comes my comments, but i am also interested to hear what others think about this method:

    This method as I see it seems to be based on feel and questions about the feel at any bad stroke and a good stroke respectively, and questions related the possible reason for a weaker shot or a better stroke. Kind of guided, intuitive learning philosophy....

    Overall an interesting approach, and a lot of feeding, repetition, time for adjustment, feedback.....although I think the coach here did not master the method.

    For ex, sometimes she hit some poor slices in the middle of the net and coach not asking there at all (or commenting).... just feeding another ball. Or giving her two questions at the same time, in the middle of feeding the balls.

    But I was not impressed with the coaching in another sense.

    1. Hey, the girl is 12 years old, not 8 or 9. She is here not disciplined, focused, on her toes, energetic as i see it. She has a kind of lazy body language during this exercise. Kind of tired. She moves like an old granny, and she is 12! I think the coach should attend to that issue first of all.

    2. Second, she is taking the balls (with her backhand slices) on the way down, and hitting the balls with too much contact under the ball, and a pronounced high to low and across follow through, so most slices are quite floating. At least it sounds and looks like that from this position. And I think the coach should directly comment and attend on that.

    So why not start instructing her to take the balls a bit earlier, and tell her to have a more closed racket face at impact in order to get a bit more penetrating slice. And step in.

    And the heck, most important...up on your toes...wake up, energy!
     
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  35. tommyfr

    tommyfr Rookie

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    And Ash, dont complain on JW.... the thread had 78 interesting, "heady" messages over 9 days, but after your "funny video" the thread more or less died. (Totally out of sync and out of good taste I would say.)

    However, maybe the thread now can have a restart with the inclusion of your new video, I hope so, because I think we are into something very interesting and important here.
     
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  36. tennis_balla

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    Nothing wrong with the "funny video". The reason the thread died is because well.... people here do not want to debate real coaching issues or scenarios. They'd much rather talk about the degrees your wrist should be at during a serve, or how to properly wrap your follow through around on a forehand.
     
    #86
  37. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I like this approach. Let the student learn the body cues herself before too many words are used by the coach to interupt the guided learning.
     
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  38. Ash_Smith

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    So, the bits you are not impressed by are the technical elements? It's weird (and a bit like Balla alludes too), that the instant thought on this forum (and in coaching in general) is geared towards the "quality" or lack there of, of the technical information rather than the way the information is delivered.

    With regards to your point 1 - does it matter in this specific instance that she is not on her toes and energetic? Is that the goal, or is the goal to have her concentrate very deeply on what she is feeling in the stroke? As you said, this approach is geared towards guided discovery and experiential learning, so would that require deep concentration from the student?

    Is this a more effective approach than a directive style?

    Cheers
     
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  39. Ash_Smith

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    The thread had already tailed off at that point, and now via the course of a humorous video (at least to some) discussion has been re-stimulated, so not so out of sync!
     
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  40. Ash_Smith

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    So, it more effective than a directive approach?!?! :twisted:

    Cheers
     
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  41. tennis_balla

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    No...yes, I mean no, errr yes.

    I'm still a believer in learning to use as many methods as possible and finding out which methods work best with each of your players. Some require tough love and some loud yelling to get motivated and thrive in that environment. Others need a more softer approach.

    However, I'm also big on letting the player feel what I'm talking about. I try to lock onto the shots they hit well in a particular drill (and bad ones too when needed), and discuss those. What they felt, how they moved to the ball, the feeling they had deep inside and in their legs and arms during the stroke. Sometimes have them describe the shot(s) they hit, other times its simpler and then repeat and repeat that feeling. Once they feel what I'm trying to teach them, which comes quick once they feel it a few times I believe the player finally understands and gets it whats being taught to them.

    With enough repetition it becomes second nature of course but as a coach if you lock onto that feeling the player can then go out and practice that stroke on their own with more ease and better understanding and more importantly self correct mistake, without me having to stand there all the time telling them what to do because they have a reference point, a place they know they should be (the feel) and with time get their easier and easier and if the wheels come off get back quicker as well. Thats the big goal for me.

    Talking about it is ok. Showing it is better but making the player feel what you're teaching works best.
     
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  42. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    In my humble opinion of only 1 student. (I coach my son)
    The more I can nudge him towards the right form via visual and leading cues the better he learns a new skill. The words often get in the way because what is obvious to me is not obvious to my son. Through trial and error over the past 6 years I've learned to fix obvious technical flaws (such as wrong grips, etc...) but allow him to learn via his own internal logic.
    I often ask him how the ball and or racket felt at impact. For example on a kick serve practice session last week he told me he felt like he was carving up , down and around the ball. Throwing it in the way he saw the shot he wanted to hit.
    I discovered if I can with small nudges and comments towards a desired form he learns it faster. A small comment like hit the outside of the ball on cross court fhs worked instantly while prior I had him focusing on footwork to get to the ball properly he was stagnating. He had a tendency to run too fast to his fhs on the run. And ended up out of position and too close to the ball. One cue to hit the outside of the ball going cross court had him instantly hit a repeatable ball and he was in position much easier without over running it and getting too close.
    I now just try to stay out of the way as much as I can and he is turning into a really good player. No real flaws in his game.
     
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  43. tommyfr

    tommyfr Rookie

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    Which method is most efficient, if done in a correct way?

    Of course, we can guess, or assume from personal belief or personal experience.

    Or look into what careful studies and research tells us.
     
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  44. tommyfr

    tommyfr Rookie

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    Well, from what I have gathered from Florida State University professor Anders Ericsson's studies (on expertise in domains such as typing, memory, chess, violin, medical diagnosis, and many sports) and Doyles studies on successful hothousing institutions, incl Spartak tennis academy in Moscow, Russia:

    Most important is
    a) correct instruction-data from a coach (be it verbal or visual)
    b) practice, practice, practice - with goals and in chunks, maybe in slo motion, or with closed eyes at times
    c) monitoring and feedback on how it goes
    d) continuous fine-tuning by further advice from the coach, then b) and c) again until the skill becomes automated (...and at that point we may go more by feel, rhythm, 'instinct'....)

    All this in an environment of full concentration. This practice is not always "fun".
    Fundamental to all this is the desire and motivation of the student to really learn and master the subject.

    With this as a standard I think Robert Landsdorphs s way is a bit closer to that than the guided learning video methodology.
     
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  45. treblings

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  46. thecode

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  47. tommyfr

    tommyfr Rookie

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    Do we have any evidence, other than some personal individual case, that guided experiential learning method is really efficient at the early developmental stages in tennis, sport, chess, piano, ballet, violin???

    Any worldclass performer developed by such a method?

    Ash, or anyone else?
     
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  48. Ash_Smith

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    ^^^If we assume that in general a world class performer started their activity at around age 5 (as seems to be fairly common give or take) then true experiential learning would be very difficult as the subject probably has little prior experience (of anything) to call upon and likely doesn't have the cognitive reasoning to be able to reflect on the learning anyway. So finding examples given those assumptions is unlikely, coupled with the fact that, wrongly in my opinion, coaches working at that level rarely if ever get any recognition for the excellent work they do. The guided discovery principal is still incredibly effective at these early ages though (albeit through my own experiences).

    There are countless examples however, of using guided and experiential learning techniques, once athletes reach a level of cognitive maturity, to deliver world class performance.

    Cheers
     
    #98
  49. GA-TennisCoach

    GA-TennisCoach New User

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2012
    Messages:
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    Hi Ash,

    Slightly off topic but talking about good coaching, I have recently done some coach education sessions with Louis Cayer, what do you think of his coaching?

    George
     
    #99
  50. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^Hi GA - Louis is a guy who really, really knows his stuff!
     

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