In a huge, huge, huge, huge funk . . .

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Love this analogy, MLK. I also love to eat and use marinades all the time. Funny how often the marinade, by itself, isn't very good....but the end results are usually fantastic.

    Good luck, Cindy, with finding that new coach. Time and money have kept me from developing any (serious) relationships with teaching professionals. I have, however, had the good fortune to have some good higher-level players serve as mentors. I would be in a similar "funk" if one of them "abandoned" me as one of their "projects." LOL

    Seriously, though....keep at it until you find someone you like. Remember, you're the one paying them.
     
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  2. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, well. Exactly. It took some doing to find a guy who wasn't afraid to Speak The Truth. And even then, it took some time before even he would do it. Most folks do not want to change what they are doing, so pros have to be careful not to push too hard or demand too much.

    So. It is going to take time and money to develop enough of a relationship so we can see what the pro is *really* like. For this semi-private on Tuesday, we decided to tell him that our goal is to learn to play the net like 4.0 players. Let's see what he does with that assignment.
     
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  3. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    At some point, the cord has to be cut....

    When you find a new pro, you need to tell him/her where you'd like to be and lead that journey rather than having him/her lead you so much.
     
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  4. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You know, I used to think that. Looking back, I now think it was a mistake and I am glad I changed my outlook.

    When I first started working with this pro, I told him what I wanted. I was a beginner and felt my biggest weakness was my BH, and I thought my FH was OK. I also wanted to learn some specialty shots (e.g. drop shot, groundstroke slice) and to hit with more power.

    Over the years, he convinced me otherwise and brought me around to his way of thinking. Which was that the most important thing to do was develop my FH into a weapon, develop consistency through proper technique, do good footwork. He said we shouldn't work on my BH because the mechanics were actually pretty good, but the FH was a technical mess. He pretty much ignored my requests to learn specialty shots, saying that you can't hit specialty shots without good fundamentals, and it is important to work on the shots that you will use the most and that will win you the most points.

    The result is that I now play with the proper grips and have a lot of good habits. Sure, I still screw things up, but I understand why and can self-correct some.

    In contrast, I have friends who use different pros, and I think their pros are doing them a disservice. One, for instance, thinks things like grips and split steps are just distractions. I've seen women who are trying to hit all kinds of advanced shots (e.g. dip drive) when they can't put a decent topspin FH into the court. I've been a guest in some of these other clinics, and you can go the whole two hours without hearing the word "footwork."

    I figure that if I am hiring a professional for their knowledge and expertise, it is probably best to let the expert tell me how best to improve. If the new guy's philosophy is way off the mark, the solution will be to find someone whose judgment I do trust and respect, and then listen to their guidance.
     
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  5. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Cindy, it sounds like you know what you're doing, what works and what you're talking about. Good luck with finding a new coach and asking quetions. I admire your entusiasm for the sport.
     
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  6. MNPlayer

    MNPlayer Semi-Pro

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    I totally agree with this - having a pro tell you something different than your preconceived notions is often the most valuable service they can provide. My favorite lessons are when I get a totally new way to look at my game, and it "clicks".

    I've never had the experience of a pro "just going though the motions" that you describe in a private lesson. Maybe because I am not a woman... but all the guys I've taken lessons from take my goals seriously and give me serious criticism. I'll play/hit with their good junior players as well to test out their game and mine. This is great fun by the way - decent juniors usually hit the crap out of the ball without too much tricky stuff :)
     
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  7. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    I think we come at this from different angles. I started playing fairly young so issues surrounding technique and "special" shots were ingrained pretty early on but as I got older I've been lucky enough to have coaches that listened to my input. And when I say input, almost never was it as specific as you're describing in your personal situation. For example, I would say something like "I want to learn to return serve like Agassi". At that point, my coaches would build my game, my fundamentals to help me move closer to that goal.

    And when I say, you have to lead it means you have to have an idea as to where you want your overall game to go. You and your pro then work on the intermediate steps it will take to get there. Either way, you control the outcome.
     
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  8. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    ^Yeah, I get what you're saying. And I do think there is a huge difference between being a young guy and being a middle-aged lady taking lessons in the daytime.

    As for goals, though. Given my circumstances (started playing mid-40s, not all that athletic, never played a sport before), the goal is pretty obvious: I'd like to suck less! :)

    Actually, I think the main area in which I did set the goal and rejected the pro's advice was on the issue of singles v. doubles. He really, really wanted me to become a singles player. I think this it was rare for him to come across someone who could conceivably cover the court. I had to veto that idea because I simply did not like singles.

    Then again, I am reconsidering the idea of playing singles for 2011. The nonsense I am having to deal with in doubles is killing my soul. Maybe he was right about singles too . . .
     
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  9. Sakkijarvi

    Sakkijarvi Semi-Pro

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    "...tis a fine fresh scent. Manly, yes. But I like it too!"

    One of my tennis and other sports buddies ... recently went through the same process Cindy is describing. I mentored him from his 3.0 phase to 3.5ish ... using gentle stuff like "those strokes &^%*" and "serve like a &^%$# and you'll be a &^%$#". He hit a wall a couple of years back ... found the right pro, weekly group (3 guys)... and his game has moved forward ... and our matches went from me taking 20 straight (lots of battles but he always lost) to a 55-45 split now. He also plays in a singles league at his local club, a 3-day a week tennis guy plus pickup with me and some others. Serious player.

    Anywho, when his pro moved on .. and upwards ... a few months back my burly, athletic friend found himself in the same situation as Cindy ... many of the same factors at play .. time slot ... plain talking pro ... a comfort zone. And like a lot of growth situations, a new is now in his life and things are cooking along nicely. It all worked out fine.
     
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  10. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    Let me ask my best friend (a prominent DI coach) if he knows someone at University of Maryland he can recommend. Would someone in the Metro DC area work? BHBH
     
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  11. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, Metro DC. Maryland but close to DC is good. Virginia is much less good. Thanks!!!!

    Well, my friend and I took a 90-minute semi-private lesson with a guy at a super-posh country club. He had been recommended by a teammate. Let's call him "H".

    I told H on the phone that we were 3.5s looking to move up, and we felt we needed work on volleys, poaching and net play. My friend was late, so H and I talked a bit more before the lesson began. I reiterated the group goal, but told him that I personally was hoping to add weight and penetration to my FH, and I wanted to improve my BH volley so that it has as much weight as my FH volley.

    H asked, "Are you looking to add topspin to your game?"

    Ugh. I guess he assumes the old gal doesn't hit with topspin already. I told him I had changed to a SW grip last year and did hit with topspin, but I felt I wasn't getting enough extension and weight transfer.

    We warmed up and then hit at the baseline while we waited for my friend. To his considerable credit, he immediately addressed a problem I'd been having, where I have my elbow too far from my body. He had a few other pointers, all valid and all consistent with thing the old pro had been trying to fix. So far, so good.

    Then my friend arrived. My friend hits in Chris Evert style. You know, the way people used to steer or guide the ball back in the day. No spin, just a flat ball with excellent placement. H asked her if she wanted to add topspin to her game, and she said she did. He asked us if we were mostly interested in learning strategy or improving our strokes. "Strokes!" we said, adding that we understand the importance of footwork and proper technique. H seemed pleased to hear this, saying you can't progress past a certain level with poor technique.

    He explained SW grip to her (I guess she was using Continental?). He then fed to each of us while we implemented the various tips he had.

    And that is when things fell apart. He tried to do drills -- he feeds short ball, I approach to her at baseline, play out point -- but they didn't work. The problem was that no one can implement such a drastic grip/stroke change that fast, so my friend couldn't get the ball in the court. He also suggested she start hitting a 1HBH volley instead of 2HBH, which is also something difficult to learn quickly. The balls, they were a'flyin', when they weren't going into the net.

    Looking back on it, I see one difference between H and my old pro. My old pro would not and did not make major stroke changes in any setting other than a private lesson. As a result, he never suggested to my friend that she make these changes in our clinics (she doesn't do private lessons). I don't know if H made an error in handling this situation or not, but I know I can't take a semi-private again with my friend until she learns how to implement these changes.

    As for me, I think I could work with H. He seemed to have a good eye and is willing to teach an older player how to hit aggressively. He didn't say anything I would consider "wrong," and he zeroed in the same glaring problems in my strokes as the old pro.

    Anyway, I have a lead on another guy, and I would love to hear what BHBH comes up with.
     
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  12. Sherlock

    Sherlock Rookie

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    Sounds like for the most part you liked the pro. Why not ask him to do mostly stroke production drills (not points) for a few months while you adjust to the new techniques? It doesn't sound like a bad thing if he is modernizing your games.

    When I started taking lessons I learned how to hit proper volleys and made some changes in my FH. At the beginning we did a LOT of stroke production drills. It took me about 4 months to get comfortable with the FH and 8 months to get comfortable with the volley. Granted these were private lessons so it is easier to do stroke production, but certainly not out of the question in a 2-person lesson.
     
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  13. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    I have an e mail into my pal, and will be in touch once I have word back from him. :) BHBH
     
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