How to practise split-steps?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by crystal_clear, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    I seem to forget the split-steps all the time...:confused:
     
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  2. masterxfob

    masterxfob Semi-Pro

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    not sure if it helps, but i run a few line drills when i warm up. every time i come to a change in direction, i split step.
     
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  3. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Always split step as your opponent strikes the ball on every shot.
    Just always do it in practice and when playing.
     
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  4. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    You can try some verbal cues... every time your opponent is swinging up to the tennis ball say, "split!" That way you should have started your split -- be in the air -- when your opponent makes contact w/the tennis ball. And you'll be landing more or less at the same time you figure out where the ball is going, which is what you want.
     
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  5. KonTrol

    KonTrol New User

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    even when warming up do it.. or playing for fun you will be used to it after
     
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  6. SethIMcClaine

    SethIMcClaine Rookie

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    Play hop-scotch :p

    They have training aids (they are ment for kids, but they can work for adults too) that are a 6 sided ball. when it hits the round it bounches in a random direction. if you get ahold of one of those, toss it up in the air (probably about 10 feet up, and 10 feet out), and hit your split step as the ball contacts the court, then get to the ball.
     
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  7. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    Thanks everyone for your advice~
     
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  8. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    Do you have a video?
     
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  9. SethIMcClaine

    SethIMcClaine Rookie

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    sorry, I dont. I would make one but I'm running on dial up
     
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  10. ra7686

    ra7686 New User

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    I know the ball that Seth is talking about I think. It's called a reaction ball, hexagon shaped or with spheres attached to the sides so that it jumps in a different direction every time it hits the ground. We use them for agility at training sometimes (I'm a junior). I'll see if I can find a link.

    Here you go: http://static4.matrixsports.com/images/products/81/c95d737ea42ce090687d553a92a8868e.jpg

    Not sure if that's the best thing to make sure that you split-step consistently in matches, although it'll certainly help your reaction time and explosiveness off the ground. What everyone else has said so far will work, the determining factor is just if you are remembering to be focussed on split-stepping everytime you play, and on every shot. After a while it'll become habit and you'll do it without thinking.

    The way I learned this was having my coach on my back all the time when I forgot about it for a shot or two, but most people won't have a coach there to correct them constantly.

    Barring that, I think the verbal cues are a great idea. You could hit with a friend and ask them to practice it with you. Have them yell out "split" when you hit, and vice versa. After a day or two, stop yelling "split" and just focus on it internally.

    Hopefully this helps!

    -r.a.
     
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  11. topher.juan

    topher.juan Rookie

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    #11
  12. ra7686

    ra7686 New User

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    hahaha.

    Truly, you never know. A little Soulja Boy Tell 'Em just might dial up your tennis game.

    Can't hurt, at least.
     
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  13. SethIMcClaine

    SethIMcClaine Rookie

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    Yeah thats what I was talking about. (I use the kong dog toy sold at pet stores :p )
     
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  14. SethIMcClaine

    SethIMcClaine Rookie

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    #14
  15. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    Thank you~ It is quite interesting.
     
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  16. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    LOL~ They do have some similarity...split steps, very relax, good rhythm...

    What do you call this dance move?
     
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  17. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    I am going to ask my coach to say "split" when he is swinging up to the ball.
     
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  18. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    I had my coach said, "split" everytime he swinging up to the ball yesterday. It works! I improved my timing a little bit and I felt I have more time to hit balls. Thank you Will~ Great advice~
     
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  19. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Footwork only needs to be learned naturally. ;)
     
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  20. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    BB do you think split stepping and especially correct timing of the split step is natural? for me its an ongoing conditioned, practiced movement. i started tennis at 49. im 56 now
     
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  21. princess bossass

    princess bossass Semi-Pro

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    Kind of unrelated, but does anyone know if volleyball players use split step?
     
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  22. Raid

    Raid Banned

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    not that I am aware of
     
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  23. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Hi Larry,

    I was just kidding with my comment. By now, you should know I will never let up on the importance of footwork. It is thee most important part of a players tennis game. It is also one where you need to practice to become proficient at it so it becomes smooth and natural for you.

    It is utter nonsense to think that if a player moves his left foot before his right (and he shouldn't) that we should leave them alone because that is "natural" even though he can get a a ball. However, what about the 10th ball? When do we step in when we start noticing a breakdown in the footwork that prevented a player from getting that 10th ball?

    Footwork is not always "natural" for many people and even for those that it comes easier for, they may not be so good moving to a certain side. And when a player gets tired, footwork is one of the first things to go.

    Here is an example of that:

    “He’s not satisfied,” Stefanki said. “He’s looking for ways to get better at his level. The guy has been one in the world and won a Slam. He wants to win another. What’s it going to take?”

    Stefanki said he and Roddick had worked on Roddick’s footwork and backhand technique, trying to improve his movement to that wing and bring his contact point in closer to his body. Stefanki said the emphasis had been on three primary areas: Roddick’s returns, his net play and his ability to do more with the frequently weak retorts — Stefanki calls them “dead balls” — to his powerful serves.

    “That’s what he’s focused on the last six months, and that’s what’s going to win the U.S. Open on a faster surface and Wimbledon,” Stefanki said.

    So, we have an outstanding tennis player going back to the basics to help him improve. However, there are some that will make people believe here that footwork is natural or just evolves. Tell that to Roddick after six months of training. And we are not talking about pie-in-the-sky training. He is preparing to win Wimbledon (which he nearly did) and win the US Open, which he very well could.

    So, when it comes to footwork, you need to practice it because you need to mix different patterns together and they require timing, footspeed and quickness to be able to execute them faster and faster and faster.

    Split-steps are a timing pattern and with timing, you need to practice it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2009
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  24. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    thanks for the reply BB. since the main focus when i started was more on "the swing" then we got to the core and legs and now finally footwork. not to say that was the teaching pros syllabus on how to teach ut that is how my development is/has taken place. now that i focus more on footwork every thing else is improving:)my first volley in serve and volley is stronger since i am better balanced when i hit it (duh) so im holding serve more in singles and doubles . the footwork and agility drills i do help with the little steps around the ball so i am in better position for the ground strokes. it hasnt been natural but i am determined and the hard work is paying off.
     
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  25. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    And for me, the closest thing to the Holy Grail for a tennis player is to improve their movement and conditioning for tennis. This can only be done through committment and dedicated disciplined training.

    When a player truly focuses on footwork and their tennis conditioning (not general conditioning), conditioning that is focused on getting them to another level, it is amazing how quickly a player improves. Players do need to continue improving their technique (just like Roddick had to do) but when you do it with lower body training, you really improve fast.

    Not many coaches now days have tough lessons designed to improve the lower body as the core aspect of the lesson. If you found one, hold on to that coach.

    Yup, confidence also increases because right away, without seeing your opponents strokes, you know you will beat him with your conditioning and training.
     
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  26. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^^Not many coaches now days have tough lessons designed to improve the lower body as the core aspect of the lesson. If you found one, hold on to that coach.
    bb do you have any drills or lessons i could "suggest" to my teaching pro you wish to share?
     
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  27. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    I tried to split step when return of serve in the class today and it works. :)
     
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  28. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    Question is WHEN do you split step ??? You can't teach the same thing you teach to the Junior comptetive player to the 50 year old amateur. the Timing of When you split step is completely different.
    YOu would teach a fast Junior to split step Just before the ball hits the racket strings of your opponent vs you would teach a older amateur player to split step as the ball hits the ground of your opponent as it bounces.
    Why ???? cause older amateur is much slower in reacting to the ball so need more time to react to the shot coming off of their opponent.
     
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  29. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Hi Larry,

    I sprinked a bunch of drills around here. I am sure others know where they are.
     
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  30. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    Also the speed of the split step makes difference. When I stay at the net, I do a quick split step(small hop)
    while I do a bigger split step at the baseline for return of serve.
     
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  31. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    I'll bite on this one given Bungalow Bill is probably being facetious here given there is a school of thought led by Oscar Wegner that teaches beginners to emphasize natural footwork while they develop their finding the ball skill and learning to power the ball to the finish by hitting up and across.

    MTM coaches teach footwork through drills. Every single one of my players learns to split step, but I might not start emphasizing it until I've finished showing them the biomechanical techniques of the double bend windshield wiper forehand which begins with teaching the swing from the contact point forward to the finish by bending the arm and then learning to associate the butt of the racket with the direction of the ball.

    We then teach students to hit the ball watching it come down walking BACKWARDS from the net to the baseline with slow natural steps backwards, not turning the feet, just learning to make the arms independent of the feet.

    Then we teach them to walk forwards from the baseline to the net, again, just "touch the ball" then "touch the shoulder."

    After we have a FH and a BH, then we introduce the can drill or the figure eight drill as it's known. This drill is our main drill all the way to the pro level, it just gets harder as you take the student on a learning gradient. We teach just pivoting and turning around the can and allow the student to learn to find the ball on the run, then stroke it and pull their body across back to the can in the middle of the baseline.

    This is where we introduce the split step and I show how you lift up and then land the feet. Since Oscar's Weekly Tennis Tip a few days ago dealt with this issue, I'll let you see how Oscar teaches footwork. We teach a lot of footwork, but we teach it creatively and through drills that teach the student to feel the difference between standing flat footed and springing from what is known as split-step. It's just that we teach it differently and emphasize footwork in much later stages. I have found in my 30 years of teaching that the less I emphasize specific emphasis on the feet, and then just give the student a visual picture and then a drill to test the different ways to move their feet, they invariably figure it out. That is what MTM means by teaching the split step naturally.

    Tennis Tip from www.tennisteacher.com August 20, 2009: Oscar's own words. You be the judge. Oscar is referring to the new tennisone video done by Doug King last week. These tips go out to over ten thousand players weekly, so Oscar is not afraid to put himself out there. You would be surprised if you know how many top coaches use this system based on the Power of Simplicity. The reason we started certifying MTM coaches was to make sure all our coaches knew how to teach MTM properly given as Bungalow Bill can tell you, a lot of "Wegner Method" coaches out there had misconceptions given there was no ongoing training or clarification about what Oscar really taught and how he taught it. It's bad enough there are myths about Oscar which I have tried to clear up. Any teaching can be misinterpreted unless their is some method or procedure to clear it up, and that is why MTMCA was formed. Therefore we are about to go public with Modern Tennis Methodology Coaching Academy which we tested for a year working out the kinks. We think it's the best coaching value for the money and is only to set the foundational biomechanical techniques and allow each coach to get instant results with the masses that are not produced by any other teaching method. Anyone can coach the better athletes, but MTM brings tennis to the masses and that is the role Oscar Wegner chose to adopt for himself. Many of our coaches are USPTA and PTR certified (like myself). Several are former Davis Cup coaches, former top players (at least one in top 80 in the world) and I assure you there are former top players who are current top coaches who use these tenets. Evidence and history prove that no system has enjoyed the succcess of MTM. The USPTA keeps changing every few years; now it's load and explode, and if you don't think Oscar influenced their moving to phase out conventional coaching, then you might want to read the History of Tennis Instruction on www.moderntenniscoaches.com. Our latest MTM certified coach is the Head Woman's Tennis Coach from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Must work for him.

    What's The Problem? By Oscar Wegner

    I just read a tip from a top teacher that counsels you to stay on the balls of your feet while playing.
    I would find it very tiring. You relax at times, resting on your whole foot, but ready to move when needed.

    Furthermore, being on your toes or the balls of your feet in between moves does not mean your heels are off the ground, but rather that you are ready to put pressure on the front of the foot for your next move.

    The split step is sometimes taught as a big separation of the feet, and then it becomes a stop that inhibits a quick motion to either side. I would describe it as a gentle bouncing of the body which helps timing the start of the run to the ball.

    Another thing that I read in this same article is that there is a new concept, losing balance to get the body moving. I totally agree with this concept, and I have been teaching it since 1968, so I don't consider something 40 years old new. It includes lifting or dragging the inside foot so you lose balance towards that side, helping you start the run. Some players go head first, others keep the head up, but it is the fastest way to start the run.

    Overall, don't think of your feet and don't try hard. It is better to be swift and to glide than to exert too much force on your legs. The core of your body will coordinate the torso and the legs for a perfect move.

    The Optimal Solution

    Be natural and as slow as possible, relax and enjoy the game as if you have a lot of time.

    Rushing and being constantly in movement could be an aerobic advantage, if you desire to burn calories, but in a game I would conserve energy and take my time.

    Thinking, by the way, is a SLOW and ABSORBING activity. It traps attention that should be directed to observe the ball and the reality of the situation. Incredibly, if you take your time you feel that you have MORE time.

    Give it a try.

    Move slowly, gracefully, drag your feet a bit, use your balance or unbalance to move at will and to stroke the ball. You'll learn from yourself that tennis is an easy and slow sport.

    The rush people create involves them in more and more rush. On the contrary, calmness and observation leads to more time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
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  32. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    Hi BB, I would not disagree with what you said, I just approach it when to emphasize it differently and I agree totally with what Stefanki said. You are right about how even pros go back to the basics, but I would say that Roddick moving his contact point inward is more a function of how he finds
    the ball, and the can drill is used at every level to teach people to move to the wing, but Seles used small steps whereas Venus will use larger steps. That is a personal preference. They do not use the same patterns to get to the wing. How does this strike you? Do you disagree with anything I typed out below given it's how I explain it.

    "Good positioning is obviously an important piece of the game. By consciously focusing on taking small steps takes away from allowing your mind to think and decide what shot you are going play. Small unneeded steps can actually result in poor balance. I believe that good footwork needs to be efficient and according to the situation. Your footwork needs to be smooth and fluid and “happy feet” does not promote this. It is much more effective to quiet your feet and let them react more naturally. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when small adjustment steps are necessary but you are not being efficient if you take 10 little steps to a shot that need 2 regular balanced steps."

    I demo what the pros do, and teach them to emulate the pros footwork, I just guide the, that's the difference. And balance is key also. Nadal likes to lean over with his head, Federer likes to lean with his shoulder, something Oscar taught me. Both are very different, but very personal. Players should be given choices as to what works best. As a coach, I allow my players to create, and find what works best for them, even though I have to sometimes be honest with them that they are not getting great results, while accepting that it's a process, on a gradient, and that they have to take responsiblity for their own conditioning and fitness level, which yes, aids proper footwork.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
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  33. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    More Oscasr Wegner BS. Great. Where are the Jumpulse folks when you need them? Thank god Oscar is the only one in the universe that knows what to do!

    I could give a darn what the so-called "Father of Tennis" says. There are some coaches that don't teach footwork for awhile. There are those coaches that teach basic patterns with stroke development right away. What is natural footwork? And does everyone show up with the same exact ability to exercise this natural footwork? The answer is no.

    No kidding. The split-step is a timing step and it is not what I consider a basic pattern that is learned for beginners. Beginners usually can't time things with their feet, body, and stroke all at the same time unless you slow the feed down a lot and they have had a chance to progress a bit. Still, with beginners, it is better to just use shuffle steps and move them eventually toward split-steps.

    Wow, I finally feel I have arrived. I am one with Oscar in mind, soul, and body. Thank you Lord Oscar for your invention of the modern stroke and your learn tennis in 2 hours. Nobody can do what you do.

    Really? All of that? I can teach a forehand and backhand with some basic non-timing related footwork in an hour. What is taking Oscar so long???

    I am just amazed that you are the only one on the planet that has players move and hit a ball.

    Unbelievable. Where have I been. You teach in such profound ways, that I have no clue. You make me look so old. I am one of those coaches that Oscar described is a detriment to tennis. I have never heard of teaching students how to move and hit a ball. Never.

    I had them stand on one side of the court, fed a ball real fast to the other side of the court and yelled at them for not getting to the ball. WOW! WOW! WOW!! AM I A DUMMY!

    I also have them stand on their head balancing themselves with both hands and racquet next to them. I (in fun) like to joke with the student at this time to loosen them up a bit so we both have fun and play Simon says. While standing on their head I say "Simon says, clap your hands." If they don't fall over, I say, "Simon says raise both your hands to your feet." Hahaha, it always works!! They always fall over!!

    I had no idea that you had them move. "Find the ball and whalla, you are a tennis player." Damn!! I missed that!

    Well, I wrote back and forth to Wegner himself. Gave him plenty of rope to hang himself with. I asked him why do these photos in 1926 show the western forehand and modern swing? I thought he claimed he invented it. He actually started to talk about Scientology garbage then. I then showed him exactly what I meant on preparing early and prepared my case, this time he didn't answer.

    Now why not? Is Oscar afraid? The "Father of Tennis" and his Scientology bent is a flat out joke.

    However, I am glad he is finally coming around and softening his "method". Maybe he figured he looked pretty stupid when video evidence is everywhere that pros prepare well before the bounce of the ball.

    Oh so now they are Oscar tennis myths. Poor misguided souls from Oscars brainwashing school that go out explaining the "Oscar way" in the "wrong way". Shame on those people. However, wouldn't you think after I showed him photos and videos he would have commented?
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2009
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  34. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Huh? So now Roddick is using Oscar the Cookie Monsters methods? I had no idea that you folks now look for pros and make claims they are using your methods. Wow, wonder what Roddick would say.

    BB: "Hi Roddick, I really saw you working on your footwork and incorporating yoru movement to the ball and being able to recgnoze the short ball sooner."

    Roddick: "What kind of drugs are you on man! Hahahaha, and you call yourself a coach? I wasn't doing any of that. I was simply "finding the ball" and I didn't prepare early either. You really need to get your head examined and learn what to look for before you call yourself a coach. Just want to say Hi to Oscar, my game would be nowhere without you. Get lost BB and go learn something.

    I must have missed something. Did someone say that you need to constantly make small steps? Or is this another one of those "Oscar putting words in someones mouth." Maybe Oscar also spreads myths about himself and others.

    Now this is what separates you from me. Wow, I had no idea that footwork should be smooth. I taught my students to take big clumps towards the ball. In fact, we had them balance a glass full of water on their heads. As soon as they moved, we wanted the glass to go to the floor and break. Large big ol' clumpy steps is what we are (were) after. I thank god for you. You rescued me.

    You allow players to just create. Wow. I have them take a crap a certain color. They have to pick their nose at the top of the hour or at the bottom of the hour, pick their butt.

    I am so darn rigid that they have to move their feet exactly like Federer does and only Federer. I never want them to learn on their own. I want clones.

    But thanks to you, I am now free. I had no idea I could teach footwork patterns and efficient/effective ways to move to the ball and allow them to build in their preferences! I had no idea!

    THANK YOU LORD WEGNER FOR FREEING ME.
     
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  35. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    Chill Bil,

    You are one of the most knowledgeable men on this forum, and I respect you very much, and I have learned a lot from you over the years, I had a different name on here years ago.

    Oscar has a following because twenty million people quit tennis and he feels tennis instrctuion must be simplified. He also chose to set a base foundation with the correct biomechanical techniques, and though many coaches always want the most determined and the most athletic, since I teach MTM I observe very average athletes wanting to and being able to emulate pro strokes in form and efficiency, certainly not at those speeds.

    Everyone has their role in tennis. I chose to cast my lot at the grassroots and help reform tennis instruction because after 25 yaers, I knew something was wrong and if the USA does such a great job teaching their coaches how to teach tennis, then why did we go from 69 top players to a dozen?

    Genetic mutants in Serbia? Nothing else to do in Russia except tennis? Hate to tell you but the facts are Russians up to age 13 often play tennis less than half what their american counterparts do, and I'm talking about the ones who grow up to be champions. Todd Martin played five hours a week, never went to an academy, discovered in his first year on tour he had to redo his entire game to learn the topspin game, quit stepping into the ball, and hit off the back foot (that's his words, which I have posted right here below this, not mine).

    Too bad you feel demeaned. I come on here to help people and to get them to look at a different viewpoint, and I notice some people respond very positively and even thank me, even someone who has worked with you.

    Everyone has their role. I can't change every mind, but I can help a few players breakthrough because this forum is so popular exactly because everyone wants help.

    Oscar never claimed to invent modern tennis, he observed from the 1920s pics and film you mentioned that there should be a RETURN to that swing used by Bill Tilden and Bill Johnston, who played in seven US Open finals with a big severe western grip hitting the ball on the same side of the strings.

    I even cover this in my History of Tennis article on www.moderntenniscoaches.com in the MTM library.

    Also, Oscar was not even the first to suggest emulating the pros best strokes individually. I make that very clear in the History article. Tom Stow in print in 1948 was unless I missed something in the 250 tennis books I researched. But he was the only coach emphasizing open stance and the windshield wiper to take it to the masses and try and force the governing bodies to do so. Spain happened to be the first country to buy into it over the objections of coaches like you, apparently. Good thing they didn't listen to their coaches and tested the evidence. There was a reason they brought Oscar to Spain and gave him a group of kids and said "let's see what you do with them." In six months, his kids were dominating and he won his argument on court.

    If the USA keeps doing the same thing they did, they'll get the same results. Who did Patrick McEnroe hire to reform our top juniors play? A Spaniard. Where do we send our top juniors now to learn to play? Spain!

    Something is not right in our teaching system.

    Is Todd Martin wrong? #4 in the world and now working with Djokovic. In his own words.

    But there’s no more damning myth than to tell somebody to move their feet more. This became clear to me at the US Open a few years ago. It was hot and Lleyton Hewit and Gustavo Kuerten came on the court to hit after us. Both of them are great players and were at this time. I was most amazed that they took no more than two movements for any ball after the split step, and I just couldn’t believe that. It called into question so many things I had learned. I grew up watching Jimmy Connors with happy feet, literally machine gun feet, and here I was watching two of the best players on the tour, doing one tenth the amount of work that Jimmy Connors did, and probably half the work that I tried to do for each ball, and they did so without ever losing balance, they were always well loaded for their shots, and they were never late, never late at all. What I’ve come to know is that all those steps that I took because I was so concerned about being in the right position took time away from me, there just wasn’t enough time for me to get into the right position because the ball was coming back and forth too quickly, and now efficiency of movement is much more important than the quickness of the movements.

    This brings me to loading, which I would say is at least misinterpreted or misunderstood often. I can’t stand hearing the statement “hit off the front foot.” I think the back foot lays the ground work for every groundstroke. If that back foot is not in position and not fully loaded, we are incapable of hitting quality consistent ground strokes. Indeed, sometimes we fire from out back foot to our front foot, and that’s understandable, but more times than not, at least at the professional level, the loading and the firing continues the player in another direction other than forward . Compare it to a shortstop. Derek Jeter has to go to his right to field a ground ball. The first thing he does, if it’s within range, he gets his right side loaded behind the ground ball, backhands the ball and fires from that right side towards first base. Imagine Jeter being taken further into the hole, and he doesn’t’ have time to plant and fire towards first base, what does he do? He jumps to create energy so he can throw the ball back in the direction that he is moving away from, not moving towards, and I think this is very similar to the way to especially hit a forehand, but a backhand as well. In tennis, as players, what we have to do as players is fight to get behind the ball and then fire, fire whatever direction we can, but fire. This loading is essential and for us, I think we’re just fortunate we have tennis rackets to do it with rather than throw from the shortstop hole.

    The paragraph I asked you to cite criticizing happy feet is from Kelly Jones' article top ten overrated teaching methods. Is Kelly Jones wrong?

    He was #1 world ranked in doubles, and coached one junior to #17 in the world, another to #35 in the world, and coached Xavier Mallise to his first tour win as well as many others. He was a USTA national coach who left the USTA because he knew something was wrong and there was a better way.

    Truth withstands any attack, Bill. Also I taught the shuffle to beginners exactly like you did and then when I tested the evidence on court I discovered that when I never teach a shuffle to beginner students I got much better results from the student as they excitedly realize they don't have to focus on footwork patterns that detract from their finding the ball and pulling across it. I simple ask them to not shuffle and instead just pivot (turns their shoulders automatically) and step out to the ball with their outside foot and pull across the finish with the butt of the racket pointing to where they want the ball to go. I still don't know why it works so well, but it works better than any other way I've seen and I have tested just about everything, I believe. Later on, I teach them to shuffle naturally, to conserve energy, to glide across the court with balance, with often produces a natural shuffle as they develop their footwork....with purpose. My experience is shuffling serves no real purpose in the beginning. I had a hard time with this, but who cares if it works.

    Russian coaches teach one technique. I document that here:

    http://www.moderntenniscoaches.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=18


    Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. I even use things I learned from you, Bill, but the old ways have got to go if we are to restore tennis to it's rightful place as a sport for the masses like it is in other countries. I'm tired of excuses for why the USA can't develop more champions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
    #35
  36. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    Bill, I also asked you was anything wrong in the History of Tennis Instruction I posted. I even wanted and asked for your feedback because I respect you so much. I even mention in it Nicky B is probably considered the coach with the greatest influence on the game even though personally I would rather credit a man who has brought tennis to the masses and forced entire teaching organizations to step back and realize there might be a better way. It was Oscar Wegner that tennisone.com acclaimed as "History Proved Him Right" not Nicky B, yet I observe what the public thinks, which may or may not be true. As we know, Mozart was not famed or credited as the genius he was until he died. I suspect Oscar will not get such credit while alive given revolutions are never without spilled blood, even in tennis, and I guess it's hard for the old horses to change, It's all right here in the History of Tennis Instruction.

    People are being led to believe that coaches aren't teaching the old way when look at this.

    2009 USTA Quickstart Manual:

    [​IMG]

    Paul Annacone just stated to Gene Garber that kids want to emulate the pros. Well, does this swing in the USTA 2009 manual look like teaching how to emulate the pros? It's the old 1960, turn step and hit and nothing likely destroys tennis players like teaching false muscle memory that they will have to undo later.

    Contrast this above with how the Russians teach and I quote them at Spartak using words like "feel" and "finish more thoroughly" both fundamentals of MTM.

    Notice the open hips the rackets down the spine of the back, the student almost kissing the elbow, exactly as Oscar teaches for beginners of all ages. The girl on far right has a western grip, something Lansdorp claims ruins american juniors. Good thing the Russians don't listen to the guy who claims to be the best tennis coach in the world (which Bollettieri claims he without doubt is). Oscar never has claimed such. When he gave a copy of his book to Nick personally in 1992, he inscribed it "To the best American Tennis Coach." If you want to know the truth about where Oscar has been for forty one years and compare what he was teaching with everyone else on a timeline, it's all on www.moderntenniscoaches.com in the MTM library.

    These are normal kids off the street and yet with no private lessons, no strategy and tactics taught nor playing in tournamets for the first three year, this little run down tennis club with ONE indoor court produces more top twenty players than the entire USA the last seven years. Good thing they don't start their tiny tots with the USTA method above, I guess, or should they be?

    [​IMG]

    Oscar has only invented a methodology, a blue print, the fastest proven way to play like the pros. You can get there a hundred ways, Dr. Pete Fischer figured this out on his own, hundreds of coaches did through time by observing what works, but no one before Oscar laid it out in a simple step by step progression that works for the masses and for the greatest number of players. That is all he claims he does and then it's up to rest of the coaches to allow their players to create upon that foundation. As a tennis coach, he taught me my job is to not introduce misconceptions, such as stepping into the ball for more power, for which there is even a separate thread on here on front page, which is too bad, as that player will likely never know an alternative viewpoint to test the data. I agree with Todd Martin ccompletely. People on this forum need to see different viewpoints. Why can't you just let them see a different viewpoint and test the data without attacking or misrepresenting Oscar's views such as he claimed to invent this or that, or that he's the only one who's right. Someone has to stir the pot and keep tennis instruction simplified and in the right direction. Evidence and history are on his side. I don't follow Oscar; I follow his results. Show me something that gets better results and I'll promote it with every bit of passion I do with MTM.

    [​IMG]

    This is a 1975 modern tennis swing that looks suspiciously like Federer's and is described as the most lethal topspin forehand in 35 years by the editors of Tennis magazine in their Best of Tennis Strokes compilation. They also tell that to hit the most lethal topspin in 35 years this way is WRONG, a "mechanical and cramped style" and they attack it despite it's effectiveness. This is why the USA went down: we didn't allow players to play biomechanically correct, and a few broke through in spite of, not because of what the alphabet soups were advocating. They all thought this swing was wrong. It's the exact swing Oscar believed should be taught to everyone from day one and he taught it to every student in Spain and since that time. What is wrong with that? I only explained how MTM teaches to play better tennis, and point out that people have a choice between the contradictory data that is given on this site.

    Or is Kelly Jones wrong when he claims that "Don't Wait for the Ball" is a myth. As you know, Oscar advocates "wait for the ball until the last second" in order to see the ball in present time and not through mental image pictures of where you think the ball will go. Something very unorthodox and I hard a hard time understanding at first.

    Kelly Jones in his own words: "Here in America we are taught to never let your opponent back into the court and always take time away from them. Learning to wait for the ball changed my career. Much of this philosophy is a result of playing on faster surfaces. The problem with this method is that players get in a panic mode. They will tend to rush easy put-a-way balls and often miss because of rushing. All the great players today know how to do what is called “hold” the ball. What does holding the ball mean? Well, they have essentially learned to wait for the ball. By waiting or holding the ball the players take the time to hit the right shot or take time to let their opponent make a move and then play the appropriate shot. The concept of “holding the ball” often can leave many of your opponents literally incapable of making a move for your shot. Sometimes you’ll take away your opponents’ time and other times you will deliberately hold the ball until your opponents made a move before you hit the shot."
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
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  37. firstblud

    firstblud Professional

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    ^^

    so MTM teaches only open stance forehand? what about neutral stance (like in the child's drawing picture above)? i believe fuzzy yellow balls teaches the forehand "the old 1960, turn step and hit" neutral stance way.

    is there only one stance for the backhand too with MTM (open?)?

    thnx
     
    #37
  38. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Really?

    There's no way I would split-step so early. I mean, I wouldn't even have finished my recovery if I split when the ball bounces on my opponent's side.

    Keep in mind that the ball is going a lot more slowly for an older amateur than a pro or competitive junior. So if a geezer such as myself splits when my ball bounces, I will be holding a split step for an eternity.

    I personally don't follow any hard and fast rule about when to split. I split whenever it seems right to split, which is usually when my opponent is about to make contact. I don't try to time it any more exactly than that, because if I do then I will have a beautifully timed split-step and nothing else. :)
     
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  39. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    In the beginning, MTM emphasizes an open stance forehand. We quiet the feet, teaching them to simply find the ball and from the contact point forward bend their arm by pulling right to left and finishing over their shoulder with the butt on their shoulder teaching them to associate the butt of the racket with where they want the ball to go. I often have to take adults who have been playing for years and put their toes on the service line, then lay a racket on their left foot, and then ask them to find the ball and bend the arm and kiss their elbow like you see the little Russian girl from Spartak. I teach that to every single beginner and intermediate, and as they hit more across the ball, the finish will then come down more near their shoudler or their bicep. But kids have to develop their forearms a bit before coaches should allow a severe down by the hip finish such as some pros windshield wipering across so fast they would break their collar bones if they tried to finish like the little girl. Djokovic still finishes up near his shoulder, though, and I think he has a top five forehand.

    We teach open stance and then natural footwork, and show them that a closed stance forehand occurs incidentally or when you are moving in the course of "stalking" the ball (stalking or tracking means keeping both hands on the racket in front of you, as if you were going to catch it, keeps the ball within your range). Even when the pros start from a closed stance, they finish with an open stance because they hit so fast ACROSS the ball. So there is not "turn, step, and hit finish with a closed stance" in tennis unless by accident. It's important to teach beginners to emulate the pros movements from day 1.

    We teach 1HBH closed stance but show by pulling across (MTM never teaches to hit conciously through the target line) but that you can hit an occasional 1HBH from on open stance. We teach to use the back muscles and long muscles on the bh but lifting up and squeezing your shoulder blades together as tightly as possible.

    MTM teaches an open stance 2HBH first (Azarenka, Hingis, and Venus and Serena all use primarily open stance 2HBH) and then in the course of our teaching we show them that you can find the ball from a closed stance 2HBH and allow them to choose which works best and we help them discover which works best under each situation, given open stance 2HBHs provide power as well as a quicker recovery and allow you to hold the ball longer and hide it from your opponent.

    I read fuzzyyellowballs carefully. He is teaching what the USTA believes is the best way to start beginners but I disagree totally, when I tested MTM versus the turn step and hit, I have never had a student go off my court not feeling like tennis is a lot simpler to play than they thought. The main reason the open stance forehand is easier for little kids is try to shake hands from a closed stance. It's awkward and finding the ball from the contact point forward by bending the arm to the finish is proven to be the best way to get instant results. I know why the USTA teaches the way they do, I read all USPTA, PTR and USTA literature for my upcoming book research. We (the USA) lost twenty million tennis players, didn't we, nearly all who took lessons and found tennis too difficult for all but the most gifted or most determined and disciplined. I personally will quit teaching tennis before I ever teach a closed stance FH again to beginners and lose most of my players like I did for 25 years listening to the so called "experts." This doesn't mean I don't use one occassionally or I don't show my students how to finish with an open stance on all forehands and 2HBHs (like the pros do), but that's my experience.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
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  40. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    You are full of it to think I am going to let you apply your methods on eveyr pro. You are full of it to think I am going to allow you to claim Oscar is god for tennis teaching. You are full of it to think I am going to sit here and let you promote Wegners teaching as the Holy Grail and that he deserves all credit for the modern strokes we see today that have hit the masses without considering yesteryear technology, instruction, racquets, courts, grips, strings, etc...and mostly you are full of it if you think I am going to sit here and read your BS on "your way is the only way" to teach tennis and label everyone that isn't is using USPTA old teaching instruction because they are too stupid to see it any other way.

    You are going to get a lot of flack from me on this because I know something about this. I also have tried to converse with your Scientology Guru. Your footwork position is hilarious. You really think you cornered the market on when to introduce split-steps or the building blocks to footwork training. I am flabbergasted as to how numb you have become to the chip-on-the-shoulder mantras of Wegner and his lieutenants.

    I am getting a bit tired of people like you that think Wegner is the only to teach tennis.

    I am getting a bit tired of people like you that think Wegner is the only one that teaches building blocks to footwork and incorporates footwork training in their development of a player.

    I am getting a bit tired of people like you that think coaches outside of your BS don't allow for a players natural ability and coordination to develop through training. It is pure nonsense and insulting.

    I am getting a bit tired of the propoganda of Wegner follows labelling other coaches mindlessly following USPTA systems when they don't.

    I am getting tired of hearing that only Wegner and his followers can teach someone tennis in 2 hours and nobody else can because we teach from the 1800's.

    It is absolutely ridiculous to apply this nonsense to the masses to promote your way as the only way or that other coaches that don't use your way are simply out of touch.

    If you continue with this nonsense I will drag this conversation down to h_ _ _.

    You insult me with your "higher than thou" approach to teaching me how to introduce footwork into a players development. You insult me with your preaching that I am antiquated with my teach when I will run circles around your BS. You insult me period and I wont let this go until you realize that Wegner is a way of teaching and there are other ways of teaching that are modernized and do not follow the USPTAs book on teaching tennis.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
    #40
  41. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    I couldn't have said it better, Cindy. You really are waiting to the last second and then trusting your instincts and we call what you described as learning natural footwork, "your" natural footwork timed with your physiological capability. You can teach the split step to any of my students anytime.
     
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  42. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    This is why Wegner is great for beginners. This is what we have been saying all along. This is what Wegner your guru didn't have the guts to answer. His teaching is for beginners. End of story, we agree.

    Since the ball takes more than a second to go from one side of the court to the other, a beginner and their moon balls can wait to prepare later rather than earlier. Obviously.

    Wegners propoganda takes a dump in the toilet when the ball speeds up at the 4.0 and above level. And please dont tell me the pros have all grown up solely using his methods. We already called Oscar "Father" Wegner on that one.
     
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  43. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    Bill,

    Kind of like going to a fight and seeing a hockey game break out! :) I don't teach this is the only way. I made that clear I just claim its' a simple play by feel method that gets incredible results. I never said you were antiquated, I only said that there are tons of grassroots coaches out there how teach antiquated, and they do. I admire you, Bill, and I even quote you and refer to your posts to some who ask me for advice.

    I'm just pointing out that there are different viewpoints and players should be able to choose and coaches should also be aware of the different viewpoints. I see kids hitting great who have never heard of Oscar. I have had some come to me. Oscar is a minimalist, first of all. He reduced tennis to one mechanic, from the ball to the shoulder, and if you don't think he was the first coach to publicly advocate the windshield wiper from an open stance, then let me know. He took his theories to Bob Sasano of the USPTA back in 1971 but they weren't interested; but then Spain decided to hire him. Johnny Yandell editor of tennisplayer admitted in May 2009 not one player on tour does not use a windshield wiper since Henman switched in his early '20s. I researched 250 tennis books at least and can't find anyone teaching what is known as the modern tennis swing from day one to students until Oscar appeared. I just showed you Tennis Magazine criticizing and claiming the Modern Tennis Swing is WRONG. How many USA students were just discouraged from copying Laver and Tom Okker's forehands by coaches who were trying to force a predetermined method on them. That is my story, in 1975, I was told I could not swing like Bjorn Borg and not get injured hitting off my back foot. I went from being considered college scholarship junior to a has been who hustled harder than anyone else on court and tried to turn pro with zero success, losing to players I mashed before they changed my swing.

    It's interesting that millions of new players take up tennis every year and most of them aren't playing five years later. If all the people thought tennis was simple and easy to play and were taught to quickly rally and have some instant success right away, they might not want to give up the game so easilty. I don't claim others can't get great results. Braden was my mentor up until Oscar but I went with what got the best results. When I first called Oscar and ordered the DVDs and spoke with him I told him Braden was my guru and he never said one thing bad about Braden, just asked what made me order the videos and was surprised when I told him I had ignored him for ten years because Braden told me to be skeptical of anyone who claimed "Tennis in 2 Hours." I had two videos for a year and was just as skeptical as you were. I also believe every pro today plays per Oscar's tenets because he was the first to advocate open stance forehands, emphasis on topspin, using the windshield wiper, and finishing with the butt of the racket wrapping across the body. I, like you, thought his stuff was for beginners. When I mentioned I used to play against some great college pros such as Flach and Seguso, Oscar mentioned he had taught a kick serve to Robbie Seguso after he taught a great one to his sister Karen, a great player also, and I told Oscar I did not know he worked with advanced players. He told me when you work with pros, that to keep it simple and play by feel is even more important because one false piece of data can ruin a players game.

    I only claim Oscar's MTM is good (I never implied he was a god), only that he was the Mozart of tennis teaching, because it keeps it simple and build correct muscle memory from the very first strokes. If's he Mozart, that doesn't mean Stow is not Bach, and Higueras (who met Oscar and witnessed everything Oscar did in Spain as young 19 year old pro) is not Beethoven. All are great, and all make great music, but each person plays to a different audience. Oscar's audience is the masses, though.

    For the readers, it's only fair to point out that Oscar took skeptical guys throughout the years and met them on the court to prove his theories. One tennis photographer who shot all the best tournaments, is coaching a small college tennis team. He sees Oscar who is then the Spanish tennis commentator teaching some very "weird" stuff. Being a tennis photographer, he sees merit in Oscar's claims versus the literature he's reading. He starts taking lessons from Oscar and brings him some soccer players who have never played tennis and in one week, they are able to beat some college tennis players (Div III, mind you). This photographer is impressed enough he starts his own weekly column Turbo Tennis in 1996, his version of MTM, how to quickly play like the pros. His column is one of the most widely read on the internet.

    In October 2008, Ron Waite of Turbo Tennis wrote: “The aforementioned Oscar Wegner has written a wonderful book entitled, Play Better Tennis in 2 Hours. Although the claim made in this book's title is a bit difficult to believe, I assure you that Oscar has many examples to prove its veracity. Oscar is a most unconventional tennis teacher. Some doubt his methods and insights, but I would beg to differ. In many ways, I believe Oscar was the "forerunner" with respect to the modern game. His "unorthodox" doctrine has made him an outcast of sorts. But, his devotees will certainly support that he knows what he is doing. I am one. His unorthodox methods and techniques have in major measure become a new orthodoxy! Check this out for yourself.”

    What's wrong with letting people check this out for themselves? I make no such claims as you claim I do, only that there are too many coaches teaching outdated and contradictory data, and I stand by that claim, and the USA fall in the rankings is probably and likely due to teaching poor technique to beginners.

    Cliff Drysdale told me personally when I asked (not knowing he was a big fan of Oscar's, just caught him during a break) that Oscar has great ideas for tennis teaching, and when he and Oscar reunited at the Home Depot tournment in Los Angeles, they shared memories from their days on tour.

    Please chill Bill. I am emailing several people who have contacted me privately with free tips from this forum and they seem to be wanting more and I do all this for free. All I am doing is offering help and a different way of teaching. I never said you didn't teach correctly or that you or everyone taught the USPTA way. I'm PTR Pro certified and I only keep my certification to keep reading the literature but I would quit teaching before I teach turn, step, take adjusting steps, and then hit.

    Tennis teaching is changing, and the students need to see the choices and test the data themselves, that is all I represent.

    Remember Bill, I only seek to keep it simple for the students. Tennis is not rocket science. I teach "find it, feel it, and finish it" and the students seem to enjoy a high degree of success with that as my core fundmentals.

    One last thing, though Oscar is a scientologist, which is a philosophy more than a religion, I find it ironic so many of his followers are devout Christians, and I say that because it's very true in my experience given I meet a lot of coaches and players who use MTM. I always wondered if it's because Christians are open minded truth seekers by nature. At least most of them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
    #43
  44. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    Last night, I was watching some of the 1981 US Open Mens Final, Borg vs McEnroe, on ESPN2 and both those guys had almost exactly this shot.

    2009-1981 = 28 years (behind the times)
     
    #44
  45. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    Never said the pros grew up using his methods, though many did such as Guga Kuerten, one of the all time great ball strikers of all time, and Paradorn Scrichaphan, whose father used the videos to train him in Thailand, that great tennis hotbed. Even Richard Williams said Oscar's techniques made so much sense he had his Venus and Serena watch them everyday (I assume until they learned them, and they might be the first two Americans who appeared hitting open stance off both sides when they broke through, exactly as Oscar advocates). Your blood must be boiling when you read these posts, I only said that they play per his simple tenets of open stance, ball rotation with topspin emphasis, and hitting with a windshield wiper and letting the complete finish help shape the shot. That is the foundation of MTM.

    When the ball speeds up, MTM applies pretty much the same way, in fact, "waiting" is even more important, or is Kelly Jones, who has a record 99 percent of people on this forum would envy, wrong also? I coach a lot of players above 4.5 fairly quickly and I teach the same tenets to 6.0 players (I have given lessons to three satellite tour players, all fans of MTM). I was once Head Pro of a 19 court facility which we filled up with MTM emphasis and the players loved it.

    Let's see, Vince Spadea Sr., a piano teacher who learned MTM watching Oscar teach his three young children, hired Oscar again (Oscar had started off the Spadea kids, all three who became national champions) to teach Vince Jr again right before he turned pro. Must have been to get Vince Spadea Jr to hit all those moonballs and with all those 4.0 players. Hate to tell you, but he taught Vince the same principles. But Oscar is not without controversy as all revolutionaries are. When I was in California, Vince Spadea Jr (then coached by Pete Fischer who coached him to the Australian quarters in '08) said he was surprised that Oscar's first book sold so well because coaches really didn't like it at the time. Apparently you are one who still does not like it.

    Do I want to listen to Kelly Jones, a top tour player and top coach who claimed that "waiting" saved his career or to contradictory advice? Seems to me I might want to test this theory on court before I just dismiss it out of hand. The readers deserve to know all their options, Bill.
     
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  46. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Really? I have heard Guga was aware of his methods but didn't use them full on for every single practice. I heard he only just was more of an endorsement than anything else. More like getting paid to say something that weren't his real words or experiences. Sort like me saying "drink Coca Cola" but I prefer to drink Pepsi in real life.

    However, who cares for your one person that you bring up, we can bring up hundreds who didn't need Oscars garbage and can actually beat Oscar raised robots.

    Again, compared to what? To the USPTA book that is outdated that nobody uses?

    Do you really think you have cornered the market on dissemenating tennis information? That you are the savior to us old broken and rotten coaches that just don't "get it"?

    There are a lot of excellent coaches that can paint a picture to a student and teach just as good and even better than Wegner. Further, if people pay attention, teaching tennis isn't rocket science. You have movement, technique, conditioning, and judgement. These are the things players need to learn as they grow in tennis. From there you have strategy and tactics. The other areas are practiced.

    You mentioned movement, etc...so what you are saying is unless I have a player move backwards for awhile to setup whatever footwork pattern is coming of that, that I can't use any other exercise or method to do the same thing? It means that because I dont bow down and kiss your butt, that I am in the boat of teaching USPTA by the book stuff?

    YOu are out of your mind and this is the reason I am going to read every single post to find and pull what is falls out of your information.

    You bet it is boiling. I cant stand people that throw coaches who dont use Oscars ways in one bucket and say they teach this way when you have no clue what you are talking about!!!

    Your guru was challenged. He squirmed away from the issues at hand. He started humming and moaning with his little Scientology chants. He was a whoosey.

    LOL!!! yeah it is called prepare early BEFORE the ball bounces with is evident in countless of videos which your master has failed to recgonize.

    No, I am the only one that sees through your BS. You have no claim to inventing the modern tennis game. Your methods are for beginners, because at some point in time, the ball will travel fast from one end of the court to another faster than the player can handle preparing AFTER the ball bounces. That means they must prepare BEFORE the ball bounces or good fricking luck if you don't.

    Why would I listen? I can teach a player how to hit a forehand, backhand, run around forehand, serve, volley, and work on footwork in 1 1/2 hours. Your blowhard guru says 2 hours.

    I WIN.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
    #46
  47. firstblud

    firstblud Professional

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    ^^ lol @ I WIN
     
    #47
  48. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I will even do it with that crusty old book from the USPTA in 1 hour and 45 minutes (15 minutes to scan through it).

    I WIN AGAIN.
     
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  49. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    11,885
    I can teach a player how to pick his nore, perform a back flip faster than Oscar can "find" the ball. I win.
     
    #49
  50. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    11,885
    I can even find the ball faster than Oscar and can do it before the point starts, when the point is in progress, and after the point is over. I can even find the ball in the servers hand before he hits the darn ball.

    I WIN AGAIN.

    Poor Oscar the Cookie Monster.
     
    #50

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