Teaching Progressions - Need Help

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by ipodtennispro, Sep 27, 2007.

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  2. teaching progressions

    I think I am being too ambitious with this post. I don't want to beat a dead horse but, let's try one more time. Should we demonstrate the entire sequence (whole method) of a stroke or movement instead of the complete stroke, or, a step-by-step method (part method)?
     
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  3. JCo872

    JCo872 Professional

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    I met Neil at a USTPA conference at Stanford where I spoke about the windshield wiper forehand. He came up to me afterwards and told me how he had been teaching the "Maui rainbow" for years with tremendous success, despite the protests of other coaches. I told him he should shoot a video of the way he taught it, because I was very curious how he was teaching it to kids. And I loved how he called it the "Maui Rainbow" So this video is AWESOME!!! I think he is right on, and from what he told me, the results of his kids should be a real indication that he is onto something.

    I personally think Neil is right and that you do need to teach in segments initially. Strokes today aren't as simple as "take the racket back and finish towards the target". When you have upper body rotation combined with rotation of the arm and then throw in the takeback to the mix, it isn't really manageable to teach it all as one thing.

    I really like that video you have of the "Figure 8" on the forehand. That gives you a great sense of the stroke overall, while Neil's video gives a great example of one segment. Both approaches are needed in my opinion. Great stuff Lee!
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2007
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  4. Serve progression

    I personally think Neil is right and that you do need to teach in segments initially. Strokes today aren't as simple as "take the racket back and finish towards the target". When you have upper body rotation combined with rotation of the arm and then throw in the takeback to the mix, it isn't really manageable to teach it all as one thing.

    I really like that video you have of the "Figure 8" on the forehand. That gives you a great sense of the stroke overall, while Neil's video gives a great example of one segment. Both approaches are needed in my opinion. Great stuff Lee![/QUOTE]

    Thanks for your comments Jeff. Since I have your undivided attention on this post (ha ha) I would be curious to know your thoughts on the serve. Especially with teaching the abbreviated serve as opposed to a full serve motion. It seems counter productive to me as a teaching pro to teach it(abbreviated) but I do use it as a progression. Do you like the straight up take back position?
     
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  5. JCo872

    JCo872 Professional

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    Thanks for your comments Jeff. Since I have your undivided attention on this post (ha ha) I would be curious to know your thoughts on the serve. Especially with teaching the abbreviated serve as opposed to a full serve motion. It seems counter productive to me as a teaching pro to teach it(abbreviated) but I do use it as a progression. Do you like the straight up take back position?[/QUOTE]

    With the serve, I really like to teach the overhead first. That way you don't have to worry about the toss. You can have a studnet start in the "trophy" position. And then you just work on shoulder rotation (cartwheeling), arm and racket drop, extension, and pronation. They really start to develop the "throwing" mechanics of the motion this way without getting derailed by the toss and exaggerated takeback motions. I find a lot people start the serve off with exaggerated mechanics, and never get a chance to develop the crucial shoulder, arm movements that lead to a big serve.
     
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  6. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    ipod,

    Starting someone off, I think you need to break it down into steps. It's important for a beginner (and anyone) to have a macro understand of a particular shot, but understanding something and being able to execute it are, of course, two different things.

    The video you posted was great. I think it does a good job of combining the two competing approaches you talked about -- "step-by-step" vs "the whole thing" -- in that he starts someone off w/a specific motion (the rainbow) and then adds it to the rest of the shot (body rotation / shoulder turn / etc.).
     
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  7. ThePro101

    ThePro101 Rookie

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    Very interesting, I have used a similar progression for teaching forehands, but I have never forced a grip like that nor forced that much topspin on a student.

    I can see the benefits to using this. I guess one plus side would be that the students would be hitting fewer balls long... but i'm not convinced with this philosophy; it looks as if the "strike zone" would be smaller using this technique compared with a more traditional one. It also appears to produce a greater strain on the body.
    It looks interesting, but I would have to do more research before going this way.

    maybe I'll experiment with a non-paying friends :D
     
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  8. Teaching progressions

    Will,

    I just checked out your site and I think it is awesome. I hope to take some time later to look at all the videos. Also, thanks for commenting here. I noticed that you are USPTR so I think this is a big plus for them. I made a suggestion to the USPTA last year to post a one to two minute video on their website's homepage and I noticed that they are doing it now. Every little bit helps. To me it doesn't matter what organization you are with. It's what the professional is doing to promote the sport of tennis. I hope to see more websites like yours on the internet (and I am sure we will) as we all know that the best way to learn is visually. Also, have you thought about podcasting your videos?
     
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  9. windshield wiper

    Yes, I think experimenting with it is the way to go. But always keep and open mind and stay curious like Neil. I give him a lot of credit for thinking of this progression and taking any criticism that might come with it.

    Thanks
     
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  10. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    ipod,

    Thanks, glad you like it. We've thought about going wireless but haven't really made much progression in that department. If you had any thoughts / recommendations I would be all ears -- I just checked out your site and you obviously know what you're talking about :) One problem I can see ourselves running into is file size. Most of are videos are 40 - 100 megs apiece before they are transcoded to flash. So not sure how that works with a wireless device.
     
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  11. predrag

    predrag Professional

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    Well, that Maui rainbow is excellent way to teach somebody NOT TO HIT TROUGH
    Exactly the opposite of what I am trying to teach my students.
    I was hitting whole summer with a D3 player that was thought exactly what was shown on the video.
    And he is hitting the ball with his bodyweight going AWAY from the ball.
    Terrific foot speed, excellent athleticism, but 20% less power on the forehand.

    Regards, Predrag
     
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  12. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    If the goal is to help the student reach their true tennis "potential" what ever 'progression' you choose to follow must include the key elements of proper stroke mechanics. This is what I call the "Advanced Foundation" (the cornerstone of my book, TENNIS MASTERY). If your progressions include elementst that MUST change for more advanced play, then you will stagnate the player at levels usually far below their potential.

    If you break down a stroke into segments, it is easier to master the key foundations. Yet, too many pros avoid teaching the proper grips, swing pattern and footwork elements, those which tend to be more difficult or less comfortable, in favor of teaching what I call "instant gratification" of 'allowing' a student to use more simplistic, familiar grips, which will usually provide less initial frustrationg, ease in hitting a ball cleaner, YET, will completely fail the student when they want to move on to more advanced play against more advanced opponents.

    If you look at my series on TennisOne.com on following the training of an 8-year old, you will see how I break down the component parts of advanced strokes. My 8-year old daughter hits a kick and slice serve, open and closed stance forehands, excellent forehand and backhand volleys, and even very solid slice approach shots on both wings and a solid overhead. (All using the proper grips, footwork, balance and swing patters.) In this series you will also see her, after only 6 months, rally with exceptional form from the baseline.

    The point here is that, even as my daughter is not a gifted athlete by any stretch, her strokes are superior to that of those who are certainly more gifted, and far better than those who were taught "transitional" stroke methods. (Transitional methods are those which are easier to accomplish early on, yet MUST change at some point for the player to curpass such mediocre levels.)

    Understand that all players will go through evolutionary changes as they progress. I have taught over 3000 players and even as they have all been taught essentially the same methods, no two players play alike. However, they all play within their potential, not limited by inferior techniques...only by their levels of desire, dedication, drive, discipline, and determination.

    Hope this helps you. I suggest you look at the articles I mentioned for the many methods that I employed to help my students master the unfamiliar or uncomfortable. Just remember that if you are giving in to letting kids or adults use those methods which they are most familiar with to avoid the challenging aspects of learning and mastering those methods that will lead to more prolific play, then you are not only not helping those players learn to the best of their potential, but you are, in my opinion, being an irresponsible teaching professional.
     
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  13. Progressions

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2009
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  14. Progression

    Predrag,

    I understand your concerns. Vic Braden would probably have a cow if he saw that video, however, I still give the pro credit for BREAKING down the windshield wiper forehand into segments. You might be surprised to find out how many people benefited from that progression. The concerns that you have are legitimate. It is hard to flatten out (or, as you say "hit through the ball" when you learn excessive topspin first. But, when it all boils down, most people will never develop a true windshield wiper forehand for whatever reasons. That progression is a result of years coaching and experience, trial and error and experimentation. If you want, you could have the student hit "through" the canvas and make your own adaptation to the progression. Again, thanks for your comments.
     
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  15. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    ipod,

    I've sort of already said this, but I think that guy's approach to the windshield wiper is pretty clever. I wouldn't teach that shot right out of the gates, but if someone has a classic forehand I think his progressions would work almost immediately. I guess the trick is figuring out when someone is ready to add another layer to their mechanics.
     
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  16. Progressions

    With regard to your other post, I don't know if wireless technology has anything to do with podcasting, however, I might be wrong. Our IT dept set up our website and I know nothing about making websites. But as you say, your videos are stored on a server, it is just a matter of linking them to the podcast. I do not advertise my website, have no budget, (I do have two sponsors but I had them before the site was launched) however, I had relatively low activity to the website until the link was made to the iTunes music store. Talk to your website people and I am sure they can do it. There are over 27 million subscribers to the iTunes Music Store.

    With regard to your above post, I agree with you. I also took a look at your site more closely last night. I think some of the other fee sites could take a lesson from you on your format. I think it is very difficult to read and watch a video at the same time. Having you explain the techniques while watching IS the way to go. That was the first lesson (from feedback)I learned when I put up my first few videos on line. No words, talk through the video. Lastly, music and the audio is 60% of "experience or feel" of the video. Some people like the music I add to the videos. Do you plan on weekly updates to the site? More drills? What's next?

    Thanks,

    Lee
     
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  17. predrag

    predrag Professional

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    I donlt mean neccessarily to hit flat, don't get me wrong, I have no problem with topspin.
    Two best forehands in todays game are loading ball with ton of topspin.
    However, point is to have momentum going forward and through the ball.

    Regards, Predrag
     
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  18. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    but the guy says you shouldn't extend through the ball!!, he's going to produce some pretty weak as$ forehands using that technique.

    extend your arm through the ball, look at federer and nadal, you hve to combine forearm rotation, which is what that guy is teaching, with extension
     
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  19. progressions


    He does mention to extend the arm at the end of the progression. I think the problem is how to get your students to articulate these movements.
     
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  20. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    ipod,

    We're going to be updating the site all the time. We've got to work through the rest of the fundamentals -- footwork, volleys, etc. -- and then we'll add more sophisticated content. Also putting together some drills for the stuff we've already got up there. What do you think we should add? Thanks.

    Will
     
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  21. Progressions

    I think we have enough websites showing slo-mo footage of the top pros. I am not sure why we need to see anymore of this but I do understand why people are fascinated about Roger's or Justine's strokes. Like I said before, I like your site and the way you stand in front of the screen like a teacher. It has the feel of being at a lecture. It's also unique --- I loved the big picture of the grip with the explanation of the grips. I wish I had thought of that for the grips however, I am working on something BIG like that using animation. It also depends on what market you are going after. I use Google analytics to check on the popularity of the videos and the traffic to the site and I can tell you this-----the public audience would like videos put up on a daily basis. A little bit like a you tube mentality.

    Originally, I wanted to start a shared library of teaching drills, tips and games for teaching pros only, however, I am finding out that a lot of pros either do not have the time or know how to make a movie. At this point in time I don't know who watches our videos but they are viewed in over 90 countries.

    Personally, I would like to see more videos of progressions (like what this post is all about). But hey, it's your site, you can do whatever you like. Congratulations, and I will check in your site from time to time.

    Good Luck.

    Lee
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2007
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  22. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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  23. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

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    Sign Up !

    Tennismastery,

    Why in the WORLD would you put up a link on this thread, or ANY thread on this forum, that REQUIRES a paid membership to access?

    Just so you can test the link YOURSELF next time, delete the cookies from your browser (Tools / Internet Options / (Browsing History) Delete / Delete Cookies / Close / OK), close and open a new browser.

    Then you can just say:

    Lee,

    The posts are part of TennisOne.com...which, as most know, is a FOR-FEE site. The articles "Training an 8-year old" are in the lesson library.

    I hope that was helpful.
    __________________
    Dave Smith
    Author, TENNIS MASTERY
    Wilson Premier Advisory Staff
    USPTA
    Senior Editor, TennisOne.com
    Owner, St. George Tennis Academy
    Master Helper

    __________________
    __________________
    __________________
     
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  25. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    Well, MG, sorry...I guess I was not clear enough. I thought I had mentioned that it was a for-fee site and that I didn't know if the link would work. Sorry I didn't try it out first. My mistake.

    However, as I mentioned, that those who did have a membership would at least have the link to what I was talking about.

    It was not my intention to promote the site...(which is why I try to always mentione other legitimate sites even as they might be considered competitors), but to answer the question from Lee.

    Didn't mean to offend you!
     
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  26. Progressions

     
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  27. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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  28. Video

     
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  29. Trinity TC

    Trinity TC Semi-Pro

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    I do something similar where I toss the ball up from the side for my novice students. It does reduce a lot of that funky takeback herky-jerkiness. They also seem get used to consistently visualizing the peak point of the toss and the contact point. Another plus is that they generally don't have that service toss complex that some of my more advanced students have ("the toss is the most important part of the serve"...really?) because I guess they figure if I can give them a good ball to hit 99 times out of a hundred with my wrong hand from a spot 4 or 5 feet away...then it can't be that difficult.:p
     
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  30. Progressions

    Trinity TC,

    I got side tracked a bit on this post. This site is very addicting, but at the same time it can be very frustrating. Thanks for getting it back on track.

    You and JC make sense in this approach and it is a bit like teaching the volley before the groundstrokes so they can get instant success on the contact point. Then increase the back swing for the groundstrokes.

    I meant to get back to JC about this approach as I have introduced the overhead smash after students learn the serve, however, I am going to try this new approach as I think it makes better sense. I have done this out of habit because I have always felt that the overhead, approach shot or speciality shots should be taught last as they require more complex motor movements.

    Your points are well taken also. The overhead can be used as another type of progression for learning the serve.

    Thanks for sharing
     
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  31. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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    As I make reference in my book and articles, I start all players with the volley for some very specific reasons:

    1. You can teach a large group the volley with excellent results. (I actually did teach 72 people on one court the volley, among other strokes, during a charity event a year ago.)

    2. You teach the players to develop a feel for the continental grip from the start, (obviously, the precurser to not just a good volley but the serve, overhead and two-handed backhand.).

    3. The player first learns to "find the ball" without having to learn to time a swing element as they would with groundies

    4. The volley teaches a short stroke first. This definetely is easier to learn the volley instead of learning a full swinging type groundstroke first and then having to learn to shorten the stroke.

    5. You can work with partners in what I call "toss and block" drills, creating an opportunity for players to literally hit hundreds of balls in a short period of time. (One player tosses, the other player blocks a forehand or backhand volley.)

    6. Toss and block drills helps the tossing player learn to toss to place, the precurser to understanding how to aim; the tossing player also learns to track and catch the ball, very similar to the simple volley...so, both the volley player and the tosser gain important learning elements during a drill.

    (I have seen the traditional pro teach 5 to 10 kids with the typical line-em-up, have them hit a ball (usually groundstroke), go to the back of the line routine...only to have the kids hit about 12 balls in 15 minutes in this manner. Not very productive or much fun!)

    7. You can teach more advanced patterns with the toss and block volley drills: a) alternate the tosses; b) speed up the tosses; c) include half volleys; d) include high or low volleys; etc.

    We also teach the angle volley as the first volley sequence learned when we do move from the toss and block drills to pro-fed drills. This teaches kids to use finesse instead of the often-perceived needed power of volleying deep to the baseline. (Which usually results in the players feeling like they have to swing more.)

    All of these drills are discussed in my articles (and shown with video clips) in the series I mentioned earlier on training an 8-year old.
     
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  32. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

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  33. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

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    Volley First


    Thank you TM . . . easy to visualize, understand and implement.

    MG
     
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  34. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I'm not as experienced a teacher as others on this thread (though I am a rocket scientist in my day job) but I do tend to break things down into progressions when teaching - it is my nature. I do believe in teaching the volley first, especially the backhand volley because it is a natural shot with the continental grip. This gets the student used to using that grip and feeling productive doing it.
    On the serve, I will teach hitting with just the wrist first (make sure they know they are not expected to hit it over the net so they don't strain themselves). This shows them where they must put the toss height-wise and approximately where they should put it over their bodies. When they are making solid contact, then start to include the elbow bend, then onto the shoulder, core and hips (this is when the toss must be adjusted some because they are changing the position of their bodies), and then legs until the entire chain is engaged.
    Groundstroke-wise, I teach much more traditional strokes initially than the Maui Rainbow - I work on body mechanics, especially the lower body, both weight transfer and rotation - but I really do like the simple progression in the video.
    One breakdown I have done depending on the student is to have them freeze their arm in the hitting position and just rotate the body to strike the ball.
    Good luck.
     
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  35. Trinity TC

    Trinity TC Semi-Pro

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    I actually like a little thread drift because it gives discussions a little life. OK...back to our regular programming.:p ;)
     
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  36. Progressions

    One breakdown I have done depending on the student is to have them freeze their arm in the hitting position and just rotate the body to strike the ball.
    Good luck.[/QUOTE]

    Rocket scientist, impressive. I will have to call on you from time to time when I get these physics questions which I know nothing about.

    I am trying to visualize the freeze and then rotate and I will go out and try this. A little like using the swivel chair to sit in and then just rotate. I have these lazy susan's that I put my students feet on and I make them pivot like how you are describing. However, I will try your suggestion of freezing first as I have them hit a full motion swing while they are on the disks. Technically, freezing the stroke first and teaching the core rotation is correct and probably should be taught first before the backwing so you make a good (excellent) point.

    Thanks
     
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  37. Progressions

    Good drills, Thanks
     
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  38. Mountainghosttennis.com

    Mountain Ghost,

    I went to your web site but I can't get off the main page and into the site. Is there a certain browser I need?


    What is virtual strokes solutions? I am curious.

    Lee
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2007
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  39. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

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    MOUNTAIN GHOST TENNIS Web Site

    Lee,

    Currently, my web site is a contact point for online consultations, along with customized content for private clients.

    MG
     
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  40. Solat

    Solat Professional

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    firstly in regard to the OP vid, and the complaints about it producing a soft FH, whilst this is true if that was the only methodology being taught, but if the intention of the activity is the introduction of topspin then by all means it is perfect. If it is a complete FH instruction it is not. To be a good coach you need to have activities and progression to achieve specific results and overall results. I am sure this is just a topspin exercise not a how to hit a FH vid.

    and back to the OP
    i'll explain my methodology for introducing topspin
    I am a firm believer in whole - part - whole teaching for groundstrokes and part - part - whole for serves (being a more complex stroke). There are plenty of good arguments for both teaching styles (as well as game based) but this is only my current methodology, which is ever evolving, the more you try the more you learn.

    FH topspin:
    1. let player hit FH with any technique they currently possess, watch for good parts of the swing, the less u have to teach the easier it is for them to learn.
    (in my realms i like to see : for R handers)
    Prep - Looped backswing, vertical racquet, 90 deg shoulders, extended L arm
    Load - weight on outside foot, flex R hip
    Drive - racquet drop, hip drive, rotate to contact, weight transfer to L foot
    Contact - infront of body, upward acceleration
    F/T - High R elbow, box out finish, central balance

    2. Suggest basic changes to swing to compliment desired swing path :
    loose "catch phrase" to achieve result ie "circle back", "drop the racquet", "out in front", "scratch your back"

    3. Breakdown weak areas, if a player has no concept of topspin then this would be my progression:
    I. Teach contact - follow thru
    a) grip : S/W or FH4
    b)double bend :contact : square to target, elbow tucked in at hip, forearm straight fwd, racquet 90 deg . to arm.
    c) box out : contact - follow thru : swing is upwards from double bend, elbow extends straight up to shoulder height, racquet "windscreen wiper" to finish with strings touching L shoulder, butt cap forward, this creates a "box" of chest, racquet forearm and upper arm
    d) drop ball exercise, repetition of swing path, using multicolour balls to observe spin.
    e) change to fed ball.
    II. Teach Rotate to Contact
    a) double bend : rotate body to 90 deg / side on : butt cap to target, racquet head below hand
    b) drop ball exercise : rotate to contact, no follow thru, check contact position
    c) drop ball exercise : rotate to contact, add step I
    d) feed ball exercise : as per c)

    and so on..and so on....adding in each step going backwards in the swing til it is complete.

    4. Test full swing, repeat stage 3 for weak areas

    5. Test in rally, repeat stage 3 for weak areas

    6. Test in tactical scenario ...

    7. Take payment for hard work :D

    and a different one that works well:
    if the client has reasonable skill; a good activity to get them to do the correct swing path is to stand at the correct distance to the net so they can swing upward at contact but not forward (net being in the way). Coach stand on their R holding a racquet by the head with the butt cap pointing at the client's hip. Client should turn and take their racquet over the top of the coach's racquet and then swing underneath to contact and upward before hitting the net.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2007
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  41. Progressions

    Solat,

    Just when I thought this post was dead in the water, Solat comes to the rescue. You make some excellent points and yes, I agree with everything you say. Maybe I should have been more clear with my post that this is a "how to get there", beginners progression post. Not just drills. However, some people might argue, "Why are you teaching a beginner a windshield wiper forehand?". Or, for that matter, a scissors kick overhead.

    When the student is just not getting it, you will have to break it down into parts. Your final point is knowing their skill level ----and how much to keep adding to their plate.

    Suggestions like your progressions are appreciated. Keep them coming everybody. This is a sharing post.


    Thank you
     
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  42. Ten_is

    Ten_is Rookie

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    What about the hips

    Will (fuzzyyellowball),

    I think one of the biggest things in the serve that is not included on your website is the use of the hips well into the court in the trophy position. I don't even see yourself doing it as this is a huge power generator most people don't think about or are taught.

    Also, perhaps you can discuss the different types of stances and reasons behind them? Not sure the rocking back and forth is necessary either as in my opinion simplifying the serve is the way to go (federer doesn't rock yet he's one of the more effective servers today).

    In regards to the hips bending into the court, take a look at Pete Sampras as an example and understand why he has one of the best and most effective serves in history of the sport.

    Great website!
     
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