Plz teach me to teach

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by wihamilton, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Hey folks. We're going to film a bunch of new content in 2009 and I was hoping you could give us some suggestions. Not in terms of what we're going to film. Rather, how we should film it. I think we do a pretty good job of explaining what has to be done to hit a particular shot. That said, there are a number of other ways we could approach our lessons. They include:

    1. A heavier emphasis on methods and techniques for self-analysis. Common errors / error detection / how to correct common errors / etc.

    2. Attaching drills to the end of each video so people have several tried-and-true ways to practice each lesson.

    3. ???

    The critiques I got from my stroke analysis experiment (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=234739) were really helpful. Come to think of it that is a potential way to teach. Anyway, thanks in advance for your thoughts. As always, brutal honesty is appreciated.

    - Will
     
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  2. Okazaki Fragment

    Okazaki Fragment Semi-Pro

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    How about separating out advice by NTRP levels?
     
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  3. oneguy21

    oneguy21 Banned

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    What purpose would that serve? It'll be too confusing.
     
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  4. Racer41c

    Racer41c Semi-Pro

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    First of all FYB is very very helpful, so a personal thanks!

    The only recommendation I would make is to show a single stroke from several angles and distances. Seeing someone setup for a shot from a bit of distance allows for a sense of timing creation as well as directional input. Seeing the setup upclose lets us see the finer details of the lesson.

    And by the way, the spilt screen stuff is fantastic.
     
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  5. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Ya that's not too bad. You could tie lessons around the USTA's NTRP poster.
     
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  6. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Thx Racer. So this would keep our current format but rotate through more angles / distances when possible?
     
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  7. jasoncho92

    jasoncho92 Professional

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    Im not sure whether you think the advice given so far is actually good or not, but you should just be frank and say no to bad ideas. Although im not sure how you would do it since most people who make errors in their strokes dont have cameras to film themselves with, but error detection would be nice.
     
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  8. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Well I'm trying to foster a discussion. The more ideas people throw at me the better. I want to have as much on the table as possible. Hopefully, that will allow me to make the most informed decision(s) possible regarding what to keep / what to change in upcoming videos.

    I don't necessarily need to see people hitting. I have enough experience coaching to know what the most common errors are. Not pivoting and turning your shoulders? Check. Arming your forehand? Check. Incomplete follow through? Check. List goes on and on.
     
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  9. jasoncho92

    jasoncho92 Professional

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    Well i didnt mean that you personally need the videos to. Im just saying that the people playing usually cant tell the errors they are making even if they are told so. If you can find a way that allows people to know their mistakes, props.
     
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  10. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Ah. Well let's assume you're hitting the ball short. There are several common mistakes that cause players to do so. If I list the fixes for these mistakes, chances are I can help a lot of people from a purely statistical perspective.
     
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  11. TNEU91

    TNEU91 Banned

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    Using basic analogy's such as hitting through four tennis balls help a lot when describing things. Since most of the site is aimed towards beginners I think that would help the most.
     
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  12. TNEU91

    TNEU91 Banned

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    Additionally, I think pointing out all the critical reference points would help a lot.
     
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  13. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Hmm. We're going to be focusing more of our attention on advanced stuff this year.
     
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  14. TNEU91

    TNEU91 Banned

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    Well that's great news for me then.
    ^_^
     
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  15. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Wil, I hope you won't cave into the misconception that there are "beginning levels" that players need to develop then change to reach higher levels of play.

    I've been impressed with your site and enjoy the detail and quality of instruction you are providing.

    It is interesting that tennis is the only sport that promotes more mediocre methods first that MUST change for more advanced play. Your site very well documents and describes the elemenst of skilled shot making; by saying that beginners should learn certain grips, swing patterns or footwork patterns that are generally associated with low level/beginner levels, such players will be hard pressed to transition to more effective shot making.

    The NTRP levels for the most part address the ability to execute certain shots, defend certain shots, and create variety in pace, spin, and execution. They DON'T address that lower level players should use certain grips or hit with certain footwork patterns or swing paths.

    The truth is, (as I'm sure you know from your own experience), that an "Advanced Foundation" (as I call it in my two books and in my own articles at TennisOne.com) is achievable by all ages and abilities of players. From training 6 year olds to 86 year olds, I guarantee that players do NOT have to learn rudementary methods just because they are beginners.

    In fact, the vast majority of the 3500 players I've taught over the last 36 years not only reached very high levels of skilled tennis (among those who stayed with the program and applied the methods taught), they progressed on a fairly equal level to those players being taught less challenging, more simplistic methods (just so they can "start playing tennis quickly"). And, of course, our players and those taught an advanced foundation soon pass up those using inferior--but still very comfortable patterns!

    Let's face it: there are those people (kids and adults) who continue to progress and improve to reach 4.0, 4.5, 5.0 and above levels, with no more athleticism or desire than others who stagnate at the 3.0 or 3.5 levels. What differenciates these two groups? I think you know the answer!

    We employ a wide range of teaching "tools" (drills, exercises and progressions within the Advanced Foundation), that help players master those initially more difficult or challenging methods, which might be one area on your site to expand on--by extrapolating those methods that successful pros use to help players achieve these skills.

    I suggest that within your excellent shot reviews and discussions, that you make sure you include ways in which the student can practice, train and execute such means.

    Let's face it, many people can recognize proper shot concepts, but far less can emulate, replicate and execute them even when they understand them. Like any skilled activity, players must be trained to overcome natural tendencies and make the unfamiliar become familiar.

    Too many say that if it is unfamiliar, than avoid it. This is a recipie for failure. (Or, at least limiting students from reaching their potential!)

    We all know that skilled tennis strokes are seldom initially comfortable or familiar. (Other wise we would not have 12 million active tennis players stuck at the 3.0 or 3.5 level for life!)

    Hope this is helpful. I believe in all things that help players improve. Your site is one of them, just as I know TennisOne and other tennis sites are great too.

    Let's just say that thirty years ago I would never have dreamed of having the kind of information and resources that we have today!

    Best of luck in your continued quest to bring skilled tennis to the masses!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
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  16. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Dave,

    Thanks a lot for the response. I agree 100% with your assertion that you shouldn't teach "beginner level technique" to novices and something else to more advanced players. You should teach novices the fundamentals -- the pivot and shoulder turn, for example. The fundamentals are a foundation from which novices can develop their games without having to retroactively go back and change something because it doesn't work at higher levels of play.

    Perhaps sometimes I am two loose with my language online (who isn't?!). I did not mean to create the impression that I was caving into the misconception you mentioned by speculating that we build lessons around NTRP rankings. I suppose that post was more of a reflection of my though process. I bounce from idea to idea (occasionally to my detriment) and sometimes land on some good ones, such as the greenscreen. New functionality is literally popping up on the internet every single day. There is a ton of untapped potential out there for tennis instruction. One hope for this post is that someone will recommend something clever and doable -- something that helps people learn the sport in ways that weren't possible until recently.

    By the way, I saw your daughter hitting in an article you wrote for TennisOne. She has beautiful strokes. You should be (and I'm sure you are) very proud. Where do you live in Utah? I was recently in Salt Lake and will be there again soon skiing more aggressively than I should.

    - Will
     
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  17. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    I'm not gonna lie to you. This is gonna get kinda weird... Two dragons.
     
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  18. EPaps

    EPaps Rookie

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    wtf are you talking about?

    and yes, I would say continue to do the slow motion, but after that show the same shot you are analyzing maybe 3 times in real time (maybe with three different people if possible in a drill type setting).
     
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  19. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Thx EPaps. Mansewerz was referencing Starsky and Hutch -- amazing movie.
     
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  20. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    This is a great idea. There are so many times where I hit it out and I don't understand what i'm doing wrong. Maybe FYB could add a forehand slice section, a lob section (topspin and slice variation) because it's such an underused tool that can be very effective. Also, it seems like some high speed videos that were there before are gone. I think it was the slice and kick serve vids.

    Spot on. Good catch!
     
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  21. Headshotterer

    Headshotterer Professional

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    i tried following your kick serve videos and mine looks nothing like yours!
     
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  22. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    Go to my website in my signature, that should help :neutral:
     
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  23. Dags

    Dags Professional

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    Your drills idea is a good one.

    If you could make it into a set of videos, I'd like to see a section on matchplay and tactics. Focusing on a player's own strokes will always be the basis of a site like yours, but when playing the game it's as much about adapting to your opponent as it is retaining your own form. You could maybe start with stereotypical player types: baseliner with heavy topspin, S&V etc., and suggest some of the ways you could exploit them (with a focus on why each tactic may work).

    One camera angle I've wondered about is a 'player cam', with the camera somehow mounted on a cap (or more likely helmet for stability) to give a first-person perspective. My gut instinct is that it would probably be a disaster, but it's possible it may work on your split-screen alongside another angle... (hey, you wanted new ideas, right? You're bound to get a few stupid suggestions in there).
     
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  24. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Hi Will,

    You do a great service for all players. I didn't mean to infer that you were actually going to "cave in"...just that you and I know that the vast majority of books and many in the teaching profession, pontificate from the concept of teaching simple stroke mechanics so that their students experience some level of "perceived" success! (These books and teachers teach from a platform that if a player can hit the ball over the net, maybe in a general desired direction, the student will feel like they are progressing! Top pros teach from a desire to help students master desirable STROKES which translate to more EFFECTIVE strokes over time. Aiming and consistency naturally result from this style of teaching...without the frustration of recognizing inadequacy and then trying to adjust to new grips, strokes and footwork patterns!

    I have never seen you on your site teach this way which is why I highly recommend your site whenever possible. (I know we are in competition in a way...but, I've always been happy and proud to recognize those who have much to contribute and you seem to really have that same passion to share your wisdom!)

    Thank you too for your comments on my daughter. She is a classic example of my teaching foundation. There you see an 8-year old hitting all shots with solid strokes and control. And, as she gets stronger, faster, and more experienced, those strokes will allow her to be as good as her desire will take her. (I have taught her the same principles in golf and her golf swing is even better than her tennis swings!) And, yes, I'm proud that she is enjoying the game from the factor of hitting more effective shots and defending more effective shots from better players. (Last week, she was hitting with the top college girls here in town!)

    I live in St. George, which is about 4.5 hours south of SLC...or about 100 miles north of Las Vegas.

    Keep up the great work and I hope many will take advantage of your wisdom.
     
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  25. Il Mostro

    Il Mostro Banned

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    ^^^^^
    Dave, any news on the DVD's? Haven't been around here as much and want to be sure I did not miss any news. Thanks!
     
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  26. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Unfortunately, the guy that was working on the DVD's is doing another project.:(

    Sorry...I had hoped to have TM on disk before now.

    I'll be sure to post a change in that status.

    Thanks for asking!
     
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  27. benasp

    benasp Semi-Pro

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    What i'd like to see is a point construction analysis. Like taking video of pro playing a point and explain thing like why they changed direction there or there ... it will help a lots of people to have more strategic input.
     
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  28. oldhacker

    oldhacker Semi-Pro

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    Hi Will - first of all I think FYB is a great site which I find very interesting and useful.

    My suggestion, in addition to adding drills, would be to broaden out from the technical stroke mechanics content and develop sections which cover, say, singles tactics / shot selection and footwork. There are many sites which cover technique but I have found very little and certainly nothing comprehensive on these areas which I think are as important as technique when it comes to matchplay. The 'Operation Doubles' site covers doubles tactics and shot selection very well but I have not found anything comparable for singles play.
     
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  29. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    I think FYB has done more to help the self-taught tennis player than any other source in any media. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

    FYB could help us even more by including some of the footwork that one might use before the strokes that are explained in excellent detail. From the ready position, how one moves to take shots that are farther away from center is a valuable thing to know. Likewise, one often has to take balls that are either higher or lower than their optimal height for a particular stroke. Help with that would be greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work!
     
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  30. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the responses everyone. They have been very helpful and we will be working in suggestions in upcoming videos.
     
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  31. mordecai

    mordecai Rookie

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    Focus less on the aesthetic qualities of a stroke in your lessons and try to convey the 'feeling' of executing various specific tennis movements. Use still frames and segmented hi-speed footage and say less of what a body part or a racquet is doing, and more of what is being done to that body part or the racquet.
     
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