Vic Braden Update

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by heretoserve, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. RadfordGirl

    RadfordGirl New User

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    Coaching Mastery. I have a couple of questions for you.

    1. You stated that most athletic kids view tennis as not a challenging, viable sport to explore. I gather after reading your books, you believe if the quality of instruction was better (as you state in your book teaching an Advance Foundation) verse teaching the Quickstart/Instead Tennis methods would make even average athletes better tennis players? Do you think champions are born or are created by superior technique?

    2. I believe we are bless in the U.S. to have many great athleles participate in many different sports the kids here look up to. (basketball, baseball, football and many other Olympic events). The U.S. also has a long history of having many great tennis champions over the years. What is your oppinion on why Serbia has recentlly become a hot bed of tennis talent (Djokovic, Jankovic and Ivanovic)?

    Since I am appartently one of those rare pro's that have read lots of tennis books over the years (yours include which I did enjoy) and read what's going on on all the major web sites, I just wanted to hear what your thoughts are with all comments flying around on this thread.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Great questions!

    1. I believe nearly all champions are made, not born. While athleticism is innate in those who make it to the "world class" levels, I've seen enough nominal athletes overcome a mediocre level of natural ability only to become superior tennis players through dedication, hard work...and OPTIMAL learning information.

    We can't dismiss the effect that an easy road has on limiting athletes in becoming the best. In the U.S. kids in general, have it easy. They don't know what having sincere dedication and sacrifice means. I believe we would have great number more of viable tennis players competing at the highest levels if we were teaching a more concrete, "advanced foundation" to all kids, create more challenging and demanding programs at younger levels. (I'm not talking about hard-core, military type training.) Look at the various karate, dance, gymnastics programs and the most popular are those which have higher levels of expectations, challenges, goals, and the like. Tennis really is no different. Programs the do the "hit and giggle" programs seldom keep kids very long. The good ones get bored. In a challenging program, sure, we would lose a lot of kids who would feel too challenged. But, in reality, you will lose those kids anyway since they don't have a work ethic or a sense of working through difficulty.

    Clubs and programs would not only retain players longer, but raise the level of perception of what tennis is really like! Tough, challenging, demanding. Making tennis seem "easy" or not a challenge will only attract kids that are looking for an easy program.

    2. While I agree that Serbia has had a large percentage of good players recently, I would not consider that three or four players, even from a small country would consitute a label of being a "hot bed" for tennis. It is a country that has tennis emerging as a hot sport...much like tennis was in the U.S. back in the 1970's. But, even when the U.S. was "dominating" tennis, we still only had a handful of players dominating. Beyond the Changs, Agassi's, Sampras', Courier's, there were only a handful of other Americans in the top 100 at that time. So, take away three or four players of that bunch and you would have about the same ratio of American's in the top 100 as we do now. (Not exactly the same, sure...but, the numbers were not like we had 30 of the top 100 back then!)

    The world has caught up with the U.S. in many sports: Basketball, golf, swimming, etc. As much as I like to say that we are not training our tennis players in an optimal manner, (which I don't believe we are as a whole!), the change is more in the issue that other countries are now training tennis players not only well, but they are getting more and more players...and more good athletes learning the game today. Look at China, Taiwan, Japan, and even Russia...tennis was barely a sport that any one in those countries played, let alone trained athletes to do well in twenty-five years ago!

    So, I hope I've answered some questions regarding American and world tennis to a certain degree! And let me say that I know that there are still many people, pros like yourself, who do indeed study the game, read up on it, and learn as much as possible. And I commend you and others who take their responsibility seriously!
     
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  3. RadfordGirl

    RadfordGirl New User

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    Dave

    I appreciate you answering my questions so quickly.

    I several more for you...If you don't mind.

    1. It seems like you are saying that the coaching here in the U.S. is poor. Not only the technique, but we do in motivating our juniors to strive to higher levels? Or do you think it is a cultural issue...not many things distracting the kids? How would you break it down to a perentage of which is which?

    2. Have you read Danial Coyle's The Talent Code? If so what do you think of his conclusion?

    3. I have heard that there are U.S. coaches are trying to do gentic testing to figure out what would make a kid more suitable to be a superior tennis player. Do you think this is a good idea or do you think it lead us all to what happens in the movie Gattaca (1997)?

    Thanks for your kind words.
     
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  4. heretoserve

    heretoserve Rookie

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    WOW! Wegener you have really improved your english! That's amazing!
     
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  5. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Bevel 4 is within the range of semi-western (barely), because it is almost impossible to hit a backhand without adjustment. As soon as your knuckle touches bevel 5, I would consider that grip to be full western.

    The correct definition of the grips (eastern, western and continental) is what Bill Tilden described in his book _Match Play and the Spin of the Ball_. There is no need to change the definitions, and anyone who does so is IMO just being ignorant. As computer programming gurus say, RTFM! If, over time, fashions in grips change, people should say so instead of changing what words mean.

    In Borg's time they erroneously described "eastern towards western" grips as "western", and today they erroneously describe western as "semi-western". What people do changes, but definitions are definitions.

    By the way, it is wrong to call today's game "new technique" in contrast to "old school." Here is a link to a video of a woman windshield wipering the ball with a (true) semi-western grip back in 1910:

    http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=80525

    Also, it is wrong to blame the old teachers for "ruining" forehands. For most of tennis history, only spoiled rich kids had coaches, and lower-middle class players (the ones who might eventually become champions) did not. Therefore, whichever grips a person came to use on his groundstrokes he came to use at net. (Western grip players before WWI used western grips at the net as well.) This turned out to be a disadvantage; when people learned to drive the ball off both sides you could easily beat western players by bringing them to the net and passing them. Therefore, from the 1920s onward, champions all came from among those people using eastern and continental grips; check the other tennis videos from britishpathe.com dating from 1920 to 1970 and you'll see just about everyone hitting "old-school" technique. So much for Wegner's claim to describe "the way the top players _really_ hit the ball."

    Also, on moist grass with soft, heavy wood rackets -- topspin just made the ball sit up nicely for the opponent; flat shots that skidded through (relying on the lighter coefficient of dynamic friction as compared with the coefficient of static friction) were more aggressive. Heavy topspin players were clay-court specialists (as were the South Americans Wegner taught early in his career), and clay court tennis was a minor part of the game. It was called the USLTA (United States LAWN Tennis Association) for a reason.

    It's true that Bill Tilden advocated different grips for groundstrokes versus net play, but as a gay man who didn't have to worry about supporting a family he could dedicate his life to learning every stroke and variation; most people did not try to master multiple styles of play.

    It's just that in the 1960s and 70s people became bored with the "serve-volly-smash, serve-volley-smash" style of tennis that the pros adopted in the 1950s, so the promoters and associations they tried to change the game (via rackets and court surfaces) to bring back the all-court style of GOAT players such as Don Budge and Ellsworth Vines. Unfortunately, they overshot the mark and wrecked the game, rewarding incorrect technique and destroying the competitiveness of correct technique. It took a while for tennis teachers to realize the implications, and Wegner was merely the first to recognize that incorrect technique (by the standards of LAWN tennis) -- on the groundstrokes only -- had now become the way to win.
     
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  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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  7. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Dave,
    quote- "but overall, no real distinction about all of Oscar's work"

    Wow, after reading 20+ tennis books and spending time with Nick, Van der Meer, Vic, Ralston, P Mac etc.... this statement seems a little incredible for me.
    Seems he would have been considered distinctive due to the stir he has created, at the least?
    I've heard a lot of comments about Oscar, but lack of distinction is one I did not expect.
     
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  8. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Sorry, I meant that I don't have any real distinction TO ME. I believe that many interpret his ideas in ways that might be considered not only distinctive, but well away from "center"...what ever center might be!! I just don't consider his work, as I know it, to consist of such a wide range of differences from a lot of the pros who are teaching variations of his and other industry leaders. Sure he has some issues that are unique and some that I don't agree with totally...or in the same sequence as he might believe.

    A good example of this is his stalking the ball. I use this all the time, love his "cat" analogy. However, I would never teach this to beginners. The relationship of a moving ball to a beginner is far different than the relationship of a moving ball to an intermediate and advanced player. Because of this perception of relationship, a beginner will develop many poor habits as a result of waiting to get the racquet back earlier...gaining a perception of time by doing so. As we all get better, the ball seems to slow down. This is because we now have mastered the perception of preparation. Once this has been mastered, then the stalking issue comes into the next progression. Thus, having real application and not confusing the beginning student because of their perception of a moving ball is far different than it will be when they are more experienced in seeing and intercepting a moving ball.

    It is like Braden and his loop swing. I've taught 3500 players and all of them have developed a loop swing that FITS THEM and I've never had to introduce a single player to the loop. It is a natural evolution of a angular swing path. YOU DON'T HAVE TO TEACH IT! Yet, when I was the head pro at one of his facilities, I would watch the "pros" insist on people developing a specific loop swing...and a great number of these players, I would observe, simply could not hit topspin because they first didn't learn how to get the racquet below the ball! In fact, over the three days I would see these players, a good number of them developed such a poor habit of hitting down on the ball because they were so focused on creating a loop.

    There are dozens of things I've found through my own research...37 years of real on court application, working with the widest range of players in terms of age, ability and males and females, and working with these players for a long period of time...in addition to observing hundreds of other pros and seeing the results of their programs, (or lack of results), because of specific ways they were interpreting the learning of tennis for their students.

    I've changed many of the ways I've taught over that 37 years. Honed my methods that are far better than they were twenty years ago. I believe Oscar has made a mark on the way tennis is taught just as Braden did. However, both pros need to understand that they may NOT be right all the time. But, of course, this would require them to admit that they were WRONG about certain things. And with Braden, this would be very difficult because he has always prefaced his teaching by saying things like, "Our research has shown..." or "Other things are a myth, this is the most effective way..." These types of statements collectively create a problematic issue: If he said his ways were the best, most effective, highly researched methods, then it would be very difficult to say he was wrong.
     
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  9. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    Hi Dave, and you are right on about the loop. And I also enjoyed and learned from your books though I look at things from a different paradigm regarding how beginners learn to "wait" and "stalk the ball. I'll deal with that issue later. I'm writing something to address the grip issue because it's already causing a lot of confusion in tennis and my recent research with 242 books (and more will be added) has made me realize it's a bigger problem than I thought. This grip problem has been bugging me even before Frank made his excellent points, so stay tuned.

    I never teach the loop anymore and it occurs almost universally. Yandell in his excellent video analysis of the backswing more or less came to the exact same conclusion: keep it simple, get the racket below the ball....the seven players he looked at all did it a little differently, e.g.; Nadal closes the racket fact at the very last instant on back swing, and all of a sudden it morphs into a perfect swing. I already knew that, but I transcribed Yandell's video because I thought his presentation excellent for sharing with other coaches. Glad he is discovering what I think is a basis truth about tennis teaching: if you keep it most techniques in their minimalist correct biomechanical form, you allow the student to create and discover their optimal biomechanical results.

    Dave, I hope you actually meet or talk more with Oscar Wegner on this point of what exactly is early preparation and why stalking is important to beginners, as I suspect you will find him a lot more thought out than what might be apparent from his videos. Many who even borrow or claim to use a lot of his stuff don't have a complete understanding why he teaches "stalking" to beginners, and I was in your camp as it took me until I talked with him to fully understand what was going on in his progression, which he defines as a learning gradient. This is why we formed MTMCA which is issuing press releases as we speak. My experience is just the opposite of yours in that I now realize why stalking is so important to beginners but it took me a while and several conversations with Oscar to get the correct understanding, and 5263 will know what I mean given we have discussed that most coaches differ in what we define as "early preparation." I like your phrase "perception of preparation." I simply ask my students to learn to see the ball slow by observing and staying in present time, and "waiting" until the last second before they blast up and across the ball.

    Also, the point you made about Braden and Wegner stating things some definitively have some merit. In my History of Tennis USA Instruction book of which I've published excepts for free on line for others to challenge and offer feedback, I note that Oscar must have been pretty sure of himself when he started printing 3000 books knowing the book would brand him a revolutionary. It's ironic that despite his influence worldwide after the poor review of his 89 book by Tennis magazine, neither of his subsequent books have been reviewed in any of tennis' mainstream media, nor has Oscar been interviewed by Bodo, Wortheim, Garber, etc....... never been invited to appear on the Tennis Channel (yet Hobden, who trademarked Tennis in One Hour and Think and Play Like the Pros...both obvious takeoffs of Oscar's creeds is all over)... and no mention of his name in Tennis Magazine despite the incorporation of many of his techniques by those who claim to teach modern tennis. You'll find him very open; however, Oscar is a minimalist. He reduces the beginner stroke for both children and adults to it's shortest form, which is why he emphasizes open stance from stroke one (on FH and 2HBH only) and a kiss the elbow finish with the back of the hand touching "the earlobe" (as I like to put it) and the racket down the spine of the back and never mentions a backswing. To start my lessons and make an impression, I often lay my racket against the net pole next to my calf (proof that there will be no backswing) and blast the ball to the fence to make the point the backswing does not have to exist to propel the ball with power and pace and to challenge their "perception of preparation" as you put it. Less can go wrong the shorter the stroke, and in sequence, the later they prepare. He demonstrates this with his famous drill where he covers the eyes with his hand and then when the ball is tossed to their forehand he removes his hand and steps back quickly and they suddenly have a beautiful swing. I do that a lot with my students and let the parents toss the ball or cover their eyes with great results to keep them focused on learning to observe the ball "after the bounce" from the earliest stages. Their shoulder turn (unit turn) usually appears without even a mention. Very weird drill, but it works every time, for all age groups, even. That redefines their "perception of preparation" as well as mine when I first saw him do it with a five year old Miranda Ramirez when I was Head Pro at Dwight Davis Tennis Center and bringing Oscar in to teach my pros. Miranda is now a top ten and under player in Kansas City.

    I have some points to make about grips when I get time later today. Great discussion. This one is going to be good. I'm learning already.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
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  10. RadfordGirl

    RadfordGirl New User

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    Dave,

    I find it interesting that you don't teach beginners to "stalk the ball" and think it is an intermediate or advance player skill. I teach the youngest kids to "stalk the ball" although since kids don't understanding what stalking is you have to relate it very clearly to them (hopping of a frog, being a patient jedi before you response...etc. What ever it is relate it to what the child likes). Plus, taking the racket back early I have found complicates things tremedously. In other sports, like basketball and baseball coaches don't have children start with their hands behind their back moving towards the balls, then move their hands forward to catch it. I don't think children or adult beginners can "stalk the ball" well at all with their raquets back. In tennis, a player doesn't know how much spin and speed is really on the ball until it touches the ground. Don't you think it a good idea to train children in this (to use your word here) advance foundation from the beginning and let their backswing develop naturally as their gaining skills?

    I agree with you said above in your point 5 about finding simple ways to "get the ball over" and not being able to change their strokes later to more advance methods. This is what is wrong with Quickstart. The technique that is taught (teachestennis points out in is MTM forum straight from the Quickstart manual) is ruining players from the start. They are trying to make it simple, instead children are taught poor technique that will never advance them to beyond a 3.5. The only way to go is to teach good technique from the first moment a child walks on the court. Then let their athletic abilities and internal resolve (thought you might appreciate a Dr. Desmond Oon verbiage). I believe our role as coaches is teach them great technique in what what ever way makes sense to the student (could be learning modalities, Niednagel's Sports Brain Typing or Hubbard's Learning How to Learn) and sportsmanship. Then it would be interesting on how many great athletes tennis really has in the U.S.
     
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  11. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    I think the idea of "Stalking" the ball is used within different ideas. I don't disagree completely that a beginner can make the turn, bring the elbow back, using both hands to make this turn and then move to the ball and establish a hitting position from this foundation turn, then approach hitting the ball with the remaining parts of the stroke done in a fluid, dynamic move.

    My issue is to say that this is the ONLY way to train players to reach highly skilled levels. To say that the old-school taking the racquet back early will prohibit players from becoming highly skilled is just plain rediculous. I've seen where players are trained with other methods and they simply never get it. That isn't to say that many beginners CAN be taught things like the stalk, the loop, the western grip, the open stance, etc., early on. But for many such patterns are prohibitive in nature for them to progress within the context of more advanced play. They simply develop some terrible habits that are difficult to move out of sometimes.

    Ideally, the best pros are those who have ALL the techniques of getting a kid or an adult to learn to master advanced stroke patterns. I have 6 year olds hitting volleys and serves with the continental grip and from 37 years of teaching MY students are far superior to those students who learn with eastern grips on the volley or eastern forehand grip on the serve...even though the vast majority of books and a large number of teaching pros say "its okay to learn with these grips." Sure...if you want to stagnate the player at the 3.0 or 3.5 levels for life!

    There are some patterns that are detrimental others which are neutral in their ability to produce improvement, and others that are helpful to all students in getting them to improve to their highest potential.

    And that is really what all these arguments among other posters need to be considered: Will a method prohibit improvement? Will a player understand that some methods take longer to master...yet produce more effective shots more consistently when mastered? Or do we avoid methods that are difficult and choose to teach simple methods that feel better for the student at first...but, then the student wonders why they can't improve like others can. Yet they have all the athleticism, desire, and opportunity!

    I probably am most against any teaching method that favors comfort over proven technique. There seems to be a real weird emphasis on many pros saying, "make tennis feel comfortable...easy...natural."

    I'm sorry, but playing the piano, typing on a keyboard, playing golf, dribbling a basketball with our off hand, playing a guitar, learning to do karate moves, learning to do a tumbling routine in gymnastics...etc., etc., all require learning movements, (fine motor skills to gross motor skills) that are NOT NATURAL nor COMFORTABLE, nor EASY...

    Through proper training, dedicated practice, and other practical means, students BECOME comfortable with more skilled techniques, the patterns BECOME more natural, and in time, more advanced methods BECOME easy.

    The idea that a student will somehow spontaneously develop skilled grips, swing paths, and footwork patterns naturally, or by attrition is simply NOT TRUE!

    I have a saying for this whole discussion:

    If we avoid that which we are trying to achieve, we will only achieve that which we are trying to avoid.

    This is why so many millions of tennis players who simply went out and tried to figure tennis out on their own, (without study, without understanding it), seldom develop beyond a 3.0 level. Then, of course, they come to pros saying "I am stuck playing at the 3.0 level for 20 years...help me."

    And, of course, when the pro recommends a grip change or a stroke change or a footwork change, the student says, "Oh, that feels terrible"...and goes on to compete reverting right back to those initial, comfortable, easy and natural patterns that will perpetuate their stagnation for life.

    This scenario is not a rare exception, but the very rule.

    I know this is more than what we were talking about, but I think it all has context in the concept of the discussion.
     
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  12. RadfordGirl

    RadfordGirl New User

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    Dave,

    I think you misunderstand what I am saying. I never implied that you could not become a highly skill player by learning the old school way of taking the racquet back early, in the beginning. I just think it makes it unecessarly more difficult then it needs to be for the vast majority of people. I agree with you that the best way to evaluate a method is will it prohibit improvement. I think like an engineer...what is the most effective way to hit a ball and what is the most effiecient way to teach it to them.

    When it comes to "playing a panio, guitar, drilling a basketball..etc I agree that they are all learned skills. Like tennis they are all done by the brain learning (developing myelin layer) how to move the body. The more that te brain can learn and practice the better we get at moving the body, thus we get more "natural movements". When we learn things at an early age and practice that skill over and over, it becomes second nature to us. I'm pretty sure that if some who throws you a ball that you catch it without much thought.

    TeachesTennis..you make so really great points. I enjoyed reading your real history of tennis.

    Dave... you can point this discussion in any direction you would like and I don't have a problem with it. Still would like you to answer my last set of questions when you get a chance.

    Thanks.
     
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  13. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    I'm not implying you had any issue about a straight back. (Which is why I don't post here much anymore...the context and the inference gets all twisted on forums!) I use both, when a student either needs a different idea or if they show they are not establishing the swing path that is optimal. I don't use the stalking idea exclusively, but describe it in various settings: clinics, lectures, workshops, private lessons. Considering my "beginners" are only beginner for a couple lessons or clinics, (in terms of understanding the mechanics and becoming more in tune with what they are trying to do), it doesn't take long for a concept to be either employed or introduced to any of my students.

    I just don't put as much emphasis on it as perhaps Oscar does.

    And, I know what Oscar means when he is accused of putting people down: I've had issues with Braden's teaching philosophy yet I have repeatedly mentioned that he is truly one of the nicest, most giving and genuine men in our sport. I too, have been accused of putting him down. I don't agree with his teaching methods; I do agree he is a great person who has contributed to the game. That said, just because he is nice or has engaging stories about tennis, or is sincerely giving of his time or energy, doesn't mean ALL his methodologies must be taken as gospel truth nor that is has merit in developing top-rated players.

    Like so many in the industry, nearly anyone who has an idea about the game has probably had some level of success teaching that idea. But, that LEVEL can be very misleading...simply because getting a player to level A is one thing...getting them to level C is another...and, if a method gets a player quickly to Level A, BUT prohibits them from reaching Level C...then I would classify that method as not just limiting, but a failure in every sense of the word.

    I'm sure there are hundreds of pros who scoff at my teaching of the two-handed forehand. It is a fairly uncommon approach to teaching the forehand. (Much as the two-handed backhand was back in the early 70's!) Yet, the problem is that many have NEVER even tried to teach the stroke to the masses, (as I have), so they have no idea how this method helps or hurts players. I don't mind a pro telling me that it isn't a good way to teach...yet, every single pro who says this, answer my question "Have you ever tried teaching it?" says, "No, I don't need to. I know it doesn't work."

    This is ignorance in the highest degree. And when even respected pros say negative things about some aspect of a teaching philosophy, then the followers of that pro say negative things too, even when they themselves have no idea about what they are talking about.

    This has been demonstrated over the millinium. Even the great Jack Kramer said that the two-handed backhand was a weak shot that gave your opponent confidence and an advantage. Well, today we have 80% of all the top men and women (combined) using the shot. So, Kramer was not exactly correct in his evaluation of a 'new' shot.

    Sort of like the Fosbury Flop in high jumping...very frowned upon for the first two years after he introduced it...now, everyone uses it!

    That is the way tennis works sometimes. (Or doesn't work!)

    I would be more than happy to talk with Oscar at length, just as I have done with Vic Braden, (when I used to be the head pro at one of his facilities). That doesn't mean anything will be accomplished, it is just a chance to talk tennis with experienced people in the industry!
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
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  14. RadfordGirl

    RadfordGirl New User

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    Dave,

    All I am attempting to do is to be clear. That is all. I have no malice or hinden adgenda. I am not trying to twist words around.

    In my opinion, I think Oscar is right on about stalking the ball. I use different words to describe it (hunting, tracking...etc)depending on the students I'm working with. In my view, tennis is hand -eye coordination. In order to play the the student most make contact with the ball, to do that they must "find the ball" first.

    Like you I've have been exposed to many different teaching ideas from numerous pros. Some I think good and some....well are terrible. There are lots of wonderful great people in the industry. I hope you notice that I don't say anything negative about anyone person. I have personal enjoyed all my times talking to Van der Meer, Braden, Boliterri, Maci, Schonborn, Wegner and even you. To me it's pretty simple: how can us coaches be more efficient and effective at teaching skills in order to grow the game and develop more players beyond that 3.5 level. I'm for anybody that is doing that weather they are consider main stream or not.

    Thanks for all you do for our sport that we both love so much!
     
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  15. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    I don't believe you have any malice whatsoever. I think we are very much on the same page and appreciate the issues of developing tennis and tennis player. I may not believe that the stalking issue is that big of deal. I have 6 year olds advance very rapidly without mentioning stalking. I too use words like "find the ball", but I also use other tools to accomplish these things as I'm sure you do to. Such methods of tossing bean bags so players learn to "catch" the bag on their strings which facilitates learning to track much better than trying to "hit" a ball. Both objects are moving to the racquet, but the concept of catching versus hitting contributes to kids and adults learning to find the ball--and later, learning to hit the ball--in very productive ways.

    I'm a believer that the more analogies you have and the more your foundation you are providing is an advanced one and the more tools you have in your teaching arsenal, you will be more successful in helping more of your students reach their potential. It sounds like you are definately one who looks for ways to teach better, you study the game by discussing it, (as we have done here!!), and you evaluate which means are working best for you and your students.

    So, there you have it! We are both helping players become skilled players! What more could we ask!
     
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  16. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    Dave,

    First of all, I still promise to clear up the grip situation but I've been swamped all day and just finished a lesson before it gets down to 39 here in St. Louis. We've had a bad summer of global warming, about thirty record low temps and the coolest August on record.

    Seriously, first of all, I want to commend you Dave for your participation and for you fine books. I also teach the two handed forehand a lot to youngsters, and often use it for convering adults who have poor technique. It's fits right in with the MTM philosophy of minimalist distillation, and it keeps the FH stroke as short as possible for further correct biomechanical development. My 12 year old son still uses it occassionally with nice succes though he is an accomplished baseball player since he didn't like tennis when I taught him a neutral stance (closed stance) FH before I decided to convert to MTM.

    MTM means when I see someone not stroking efficiently, I simply reduce their stroke to it's shortest form and the 2HFH is a great tool and also promotes the double bend FH windshield wiper. When I get to the 21st century excerpts of my History of TI, you will discover I use two things you promote as an example of thinking outside the box.

    You need to be at some of these USPTA conventions, too, because you are right, I didn't even want to go in 2007 when I could have gone while teaching in SoCal because I knew most of the speakers from other conventions or knew their work

    We do need to think outside the box. Your beanbag idea is good also, because you are correct, we need more tools in our toolbox, but as I believe, we have to have all tools teach a consistent biomechanical technique, which is why I believe our players are confused by all the contradictory data. All tools should have a purpose. The latest teaching tool I promote is the tennismusclememory board because it was built to promote the correct biomechanical swing of hitting up and across the ball. It was built by a coach with a large program tired of his kids being taught to hit through the target line, and since he saw Oscar teach that the swing is more vertical than horizontal, he designed a board to build more muscle memory. Ken Flach, who teaches in St. Louis where I do, is a big fan of it and I saw one student he was teaching go from being a great ball striker who hit too flat and could not win to probably the 2nd best 14 year old by simply using this board to build new muscle memory and break her old habits.
    www.tennismusclememory.com is the website. Another MTM influenced product, lol.

    History can be cruel! Guess who wrote this in a revolutionary tennis book?

    It seems odd that up until now no one has called attention to the fact that “name” tennis players teach one method and play according to another………Why is this so? The players themselves, when asked this question, often reply, “The way I play is for experts and should be used only be experienced players. It should not be attempted by beginners. But I do not agree, for two reasons. First, on theoretical grounds, I believe that a beginner learning anything should learn it correctly from the start, to avoid the formation of bad habits. And secondly, on practical grounds, it has been my experience in teaching tennis that the correct stroking, which the experts would reserve for themselves, can be taught to beginners with complete and rather startlingly satisfactory results. I have taught pupils who had never played tennis before in their lives, and within five minutes had them hitting (strokes) with the actual footwork and the swing of the champions. This is not to say that all their shots were perfect, for precision in tennis comes from long practice against all the variables in the bounce of the ball. Their shots, if not perfect, were fundamentally correct—for they were using the stroke of the champion; they were using what I call....

    I quote this because it says a lot about how his new ideas were resisted by many of the big names in tennis and he names who fought him and who supported him (one supporter was legendary . But guess again who said it. Written in 1962 by Dick Bradlee, in Instant Tennis. Oscar took it pretty well when I informed him he can no longer claim to be the first coach to draw a dichotomy between the way the pros played and the way they taught. Bradlee was years ahead of Oscar in promoting open stance forehands though he promoted open stance 1HBH, which is odd, though they do occur in today's game about as often as neutral stance forehands, which I teach to take a drop step out of in most cases. Bradlee even calls it the Ballistic Swing. I've posted this in the History already but this book is a classic, even if it promotes hitting through the target line with a sword in the air finish.

    Dave, if you haven't read this incredible book that was years ahead of its' time; I recommend you do so. I first heard of it from Pete Fischer, who I have spoken extensively about how he raised Pete Sampras but Fischer couldn't remember the last name of the author and then a reader alerted me to it the other day.

    Bradlee, like Oscar, couldnt' get anyone to listen, he went to everyone screaming there was a better way to start youngsters, but he was denied, even when Kramer gave him an audition, which Braden witnessed and recently wrote about. Bradee's best quote: "We should never teach a position that later has be discarded."

    I second that, and this book makes my all time top ten, and is the 243rd tennis book I've read, over 140 videos, besides the 25 years of Add and Tennis magazines as well as pretty much having gone through everything on tennisone and tennisplayer.

    Sorry Oscar, history always has a way of finding the truth, but your MTM is still the best teaching method I've found so far. But Bradlee was hot on the trail
     
    #66
  17. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for sending me that information I requested via email. Thanks for posting the above referenced book, I am going to order it from Amazon.com. For anyone interested, here's the information on that book Instant Tennis

    I thought that I would luck out and get it in it's entirety from "google books". No such luck..................not even a preview, but it is listed there. This just demonstrates that Teachestennis has done and does do his research.............................
     
    #67
  18. RadfordGirl

    RadfordGirl New User

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    Dave & TeachesTennis,

    Are you saying that you have a child catch a bean bag on a their racquet. Then the racquet must be flat (face of the racquet facing up)? If that's the case and I'm understanding you correctly don't you'll find that promotes:
    1. a eastern or continental grip
    2. teaches a child to hit the ball they must come under the ball instead of beyond the ball.

    Would it not be better to teach an "advance foundation" here by putting them in a grip some the start that allows them to put topspin on the ball from the start? I found it to be an easy thing to do, so that right from the start a child is hitting with topspin. Plus, the child is able to start to rally with correct technique.

    Please clarify if I am misunderstanding
    what you'll are saying.

    Looking forward to checking out that Instead Tennis Book. I wonder if he ever trade market the name.
     
    #68
  19. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    #69
  20. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    That Tennis Muscle Memory board looked interesting:
    http://www.tennismusclememory.com/
     
    #70
  21. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, it is quite a useful tool.
    I worked on them last week for 2 days with the inventor and Oscar.
    There is no end to the drills you can use them in!
    I got one too.
     
    #71
  22. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    If I recall correctly, I liked that one drill where they used the board for the swing path and then immediately afterwards, the hit the ball with that same swing path.
     
    #72
  23. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    That's interesting. But the modeling video of Anna Kournikova below the tennis muscle memory board video is truly fantastic... :)
     
    #73
  24. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Let me clarify a few things regarding this tool and other concepts:

    First off, these are 'message boards'...they are not complete resources or references that would offer an indepth use, or an explanation of usage where, when, at what point and why.

    Thus, when I make a very loose reference like the bean bag catch, there are situations and uses in which that tool and others like them can be used and what the purpose is in their use. So, if you read too much into a post here, you are likely to misinterpret the context of the tool in the big picture.

    I've explained these tools and drills in my book COACHING MASTERY, a 403 page book that outlines the ways I created, along with my father, one of the most successful high school teams in the country, how I trained hundreds of players to become ranked, even as they started late or as beginners within my program, and how I learned to develop programs that attracted players to my teams, my clubs, my academies, and my programs in general.

    Let me answer your question as brief as I can without trying to rewrite my book that is for sale here at Tenniswarehouse...(and is one of the best selling books here at tenniswarehouse!)

    First, we use the bean bag drill for two main reasons: to teach the volley...the drill teaches kids and adults not to swing but instead catch the bean bag. It also helps kids tremendously in tracking the bag better than a ball because the idea of catching the ball has a one-demension concept for them to think about: they only have to worry about the bag coming to them, not where it might be going if it were a ball being hit somewhere. This concept also helps them work on form instead of concentrating on hitting the ball to a target. (which comes AFTER learning the technique...NOT before as so many pros are guilty of doing!)

    Second, the bean bag catch is not done with a racquet held flat open, but beveled at a 45 degree angle, again helping kids and adults learn to volley with an open racquet rather than hitting the ball flat...a common fault among beginners and others who hit volleys flat. (I won't go into the wide range of issues of hitting volleys flat and how it leads to players basically becoming dinkers or "gravity reliant players." I've covered this in both my books.)

    In our program we start all beginners with volleys first. Thus, this is one of the first drills we use with beginners. In answer to your question, YES...this drill emphasizes the continental grip which we teach all beginners for the volley and serve.

    Yes, we teach an advanced foundation on the ground game, using strong eastern forehand grips on the forehand, and exact backhands as the pros use with two hands. (I hope I don't have to explain these strokes!) We don't teach a semi or full wester grip on the forehand to beginners because it is too severe for most to develop an advanced stroke with. And, like the loop swing, nearly every player will migrate their grip over to a more aggressive topspin grip as they become more aggressive with the stroke. It is very natural. Not to mention, the forehand grip, among skilled players varies anyway from strong easterns to full westerns. So, even in teaching an eastern forehand grip, we are teaching an advanced grip that not only can be taken to the highest level, but it provides the foundation for players to evolve their grip as their personality, perception of topspin, and other factors help define their game and strokes.

    Hope this helps!
     
    #74
  25. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    I like the bean bag idea for teaching the continental as Dave claims because it teaches the students to "feel" a force coming in and how they can control it with the conti grip, so I thik it has merit in my opinion. Every drill should have a purpose to develop a set of skills. That one is not for topspin, it's for "catching" is what I would think. Since I pretty much start with SW grip on all my tiny tots and beginners (V between the thumb and forefinger on first right slanted bevel, I would think I could also have them catch something giving them the sensation of using the palm and strings as one unit. Teaching the actual stroke is a whole different matter.

    I'll try to get the grip article posted ASAP. I have been doing my research, thank you very much. Dick Bradlee's technique was not as good as Oscar's on the forehand, but it was damn close on a lot of the other stuff. He even documents who were the biggest objectors and points out how bogus the teaching was. He was much more critical than Oscar ever was, lol, of conventional coaching; he was about 50 when he wrote the book so not likely alive for me to contact and interview. Regarding History research, I just had a long conversation with Alison Scott former #64 in the world of Australia about growing up being coached by legendary Charlie Hollis and what made him so great. She also was coached by other famous Australian coaches such as Hopman though she only knew him in his seventies and he started every morning practice with a shot of whiskey, lol. Apparently, Hollis was the Landsdorp of Australia. He didn't want anyone in front of him who didn't want to give 100 percent effort. If I had all kids with herculean work ethics, I am sure I could do better, but evidence from my Spartak article indicates it's not how much you play that makes you a champion as much as how correctly you play. Todd Martin only played 5 hours a week with one private for years, never went to an academy, and did pretty well.

    I'm never going to complain about court charges again. She told me she has to pay $22 for an OUTDOOR court. I pay that for an indoor court in St. Louis. No wonder the Aussies fell as hard as we did, lol. Make it a rich person's sport and then you lose the best potential athletes to rugby.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
    #75
  26. RadfordGirl

    RadfordGirl New User

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    Dave,

    I appreciate you provide clarity on what stroke you were talking about wish was not clear on your earlier post. I have seen way to many Quickstart, PTR and USPTA lectures were they do what I menchin for ground strokes. I was not thinking volleys when I wrote that so my apology. I do, however; like teachestennis most of all my students learn in a SW grip. It's the natural way in which they pick up there racquet off the ground (once in a while someone has something different).

    I find all of this interesting and a fun way to exchange ideas. It's a great way to learn what people are doing and new stuff is going on. The next time you come to Southern CA I am happy to show you what I mean with this (the grip on the forehand and how I progress them).

    By the way. I know you teach the continental on the volley... so do I.
     
    #76
  27. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    You sound like you are on the same page as I am. However, I've found that the sw grip, while is natural to pick up a racquet off the ground is not a natural grip to hit a ball over the net with for MOST beginners. I find many who indeed can learn the proper swing path to lift a topspin over the net with a sw grip...but, most will turn the racquet under the ball because the racquet's face tends to be so much more closed on the forehand than the EF which is still a closed grip but not so severe in the hands of beginners.

    And, like I said, it IS natural for players to evolve the grip to the sw automatically as they develop the understanding and effect that the grip offers without it being a "taught" aspect. I like anything that allows the player to gain the CORRECT stroke or grip (for them) through the natural evolution of the game.

    This is perhaps the biggest area that I feel separates really experienced pros from those who may know what should be taught but don't know what natually occurs over time within the progression. Many will indeed try to force a loop, a grip, pronation on the serve, etc., when certain patterns allow the student to migrate naturally to these issues. Using not just the right tools, the right progressions, and the right drill will allow this to occur in 90% of all students. The small percentage of students who don't naturally migrate can then be nudged by using other drills, tools and progressions.

    I don't disagree at all that the sw grip is probably the ideal advanced grip that good teaching pros strive to get their students to use. But, I've had a number of players who have maintained a Sampras-like forehand and have achieved what I would consider their potential or beyond. So, I don't discount the EF grip...either from the learning model I've discussed in which the student will natually evolve from, nor from a high performance standpoint.

    BTW, I will be in So Cal doing a book signing event in Orange County on Sept. 19th and then I will be in Santa Maria doing a book signing event there too. Where are you located in SoCal?

    (The book signings are for my new Disney novel...not my tennis books! Although I will have those available too!)
     
    #77
  28. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    Dave, again, thanks for your book Coaching Mastery. When I mentioned above I will be listing a few things in that are significant regarding the changing evolution of tennis instruction, I will also be listing your book and crediting you as a progressive and "think outside the box" teacher so I didn't want you thing from my post above I was going to borrow without crediting. I am taking a new look at several books after all this research and yours if one of them but I can't say yet I have taken a second look with my new eyes given I am overwhelmed with lessons and research and not yet up to the 21st century but you make some very interesting noteworthy points. That is why some new blood needs to thrown into the USPTA as you mentioned. I think Colette Lewis of zootennis.com has a lot of insight and she's not even a tennis coach. Maybe I should write Kirk Anderson and ask him why you are not up there. It is odd that you and Jim McLennan have not been featured a lot given your hard work and your progressive insights. Oscar has been there a few times but he has been hired by Finland and the Netherlands this year and just got back from Minneapolis giving clinics but he's much more popular overseas than here, no doubt.

    I understand why you teach the volley first because it is a short shot and teaches emphasis on hands and feel first, and if it gets results, that is all that matters. I have done it a couple times after reading your series on tennisone before your last book came out and the only reason I decided to stick with teaching the groundstrokes first is that I want to teach each child to "feel" the ball with their hand and learn to hit low to high first because that is the primary stroke that I wish to make the first impression with. It might just be a personal preference but I think also, teaching a child to wait and observe from the very first ball (I teach to point at the ball until it bounces) is accomplished easier when I don't let them start with the volleys which don't teach the skill of waiting or the valuable double bend which all students should learn ASAP. They won't be volleying much at all in the beginning, though I teach it a lot to emphasize the power of the hands. I am now teaching volleys by having students stand on a 4 inch platform to keep the emphasis on their hands, and am now teaching advanced volleys having them on a trampoline, which I saw the young Federer did on video as part of his training even at age 19.
     
    #78
  29. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    Ditto - Vic was/is great for the game & brought many into the fold, probably many people who wouldn't of even attempted to play the game.
     
    #79
  30. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    I appreciate your comments and your mention of my book, Coaching Mastery. I'm sure it ruffles a few feathers, but as you have discovered, I'm sure, that it is full of PROVEN methods, concepts, drills, progressions, and philosophies that are not necessarily my own, but cultivated by listening to hundreds of experienced pros and players.

    I think your book idea, derived from your research of many books and instructors, is a good one. Obviously, that is how my books evolved and came to be.

    Personally, I don't know why the USPTA nor the USTA for that matter, does not get out of their "good ol boy" network and establish a wider range of speakers. There are dozens of solid pros who know their stuff and could present it in a way that would help dialogue and discussions around the world. I do know that there is a ton of political issues within both entities. And when anything political invades a functioning group, little forward progress is made, in my opinion.

    I see it in the fact that about half my books are sold in Europe, to Japan, Taiwan, Belgium, Italy, Sir Lanka and other emerging tennis countries. I hear it from daily e-mails from coaches who have echoed your sentiments about my books and the ideas within them.

    It is not that the regular presenters at conferences don't have legitimate things to say. Yet, if you have heard most of them once, you have heard them a dozen times. Sure they present some new ideas and have some key issues that are important. But, the idea that it is the SAME guys and a few women who are there year after year, that has lost favor with me and dozens of fellow pros whom I speak with regularly.

    Regarding groundstrokes versus volleys, I don't have any problem teaching GS first. You're right, they are the dominant stroke in any given rally and there is merit in introducing it right off the bat. However, my strategy in teaching the volley first is more than just the shot itself:

    1. You can have kids hit thousands of balls in various volley drills in an hour less versus maybe a hundred groundstrokes in the same period of time. Toss and block drills are incredible for taking 50 students and actually teaching them the foundation of tennis and doing it on one court.

    2. The volley is the least practiced shot and, in my opinion, a shot that reveals a player's weakness later as they become more competitive. I don't want my players to have a weak shot because of over emphasizing the groundstroke game as many pros tend to do. (I'm not saying you do! Just that many tend to avoid the volley for some reason!)

    3. Teaching the volley early helps player develop the tracking and timing to make contact with any moving ball faster than hitting balls that are bouncing with a full or even half swing. The volley teaches players that you don't need to swing big to hit a firm shot with depth and pace.

    4. If you teach GS first, then the tendency to swing and use topspin grips is far more entrenched than teaching the continental grip first and the blocking action of the volley.

    5. Because we move directly to the serve after the volley in our progression, we again are moving right to a shot that uses the continental grip. The serve is the second revealing shot that prevents millions of players from reaching higher levels of skilled play.

    6. Topspin type strokes come fairly easy to most kids and most all adults. The stroke mimics many charicteristics of things they have already done: swinging a baseball bat or golf club, bowling, tossing balls underhand, etc. I've found in my 37 years teaching that the GS is the easiest to teach and the easiest to master. Especially when teaching kids and adults a two handed forehand...the improvement and progression is incredibly fast.

    There are many other reasons why I choose to use these progressions. Believe me, I used to teach much differently years ago. It wasn't until I saw a better way, (arguably marginally, sure), or discovered better ways...and it wasn't until I saw the comparable improvement of my players between the way I used to teach to the way I now teach. (And comparing my system to the countless other coaches I've seen coach and teach.)

    And, perhaps the most revealing and rewarding is the huge number of e-mails and phone calls I've received and continue to recieve from coaches and pros who are amazed at the difference in their teaching when they have adopted my teaching methods and philosophy. (Which, again, are not necessarily MINE, but my interpretation of many philosophies and methods that I put into a reasonable, logical and standard form in my books.)

    Thanks again for sharing my work with others. I appreciate the recognition for anything that I may have developed or established, but I honestly gained my understandings by standing on the shoulders of others and learning from them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2009
    #80
  31. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    By best athletes, I guess you mean most motivated and hungry to learn?

    points you, dave and radfordgirl are covering, thanks, keep it up.
     
    #81
  32. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Dave, your two hander uses a cross grip on one side, right?
    You don't have any probs with that?
    I'm truly curious, as I've never tried it because it looked so odd.
     
    #82
  33. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Yes, it is the Monica Seles, Marion Bartoli, Peng Shaui, Akiko Morigami, Fabrice Santoro, et al version. It is not the Jan Michael Gambil, nor the Gene Mayer two-handed forehands.

    No problem at all, except players initially like to cross the wrists on the backswing. Easy to fix. It is ideal because it naturally shortens the backswing of the forehand...hence, why so many two-handers are good doubles players!

    Read my articles on the two handed forehand on TennisOne.com
     
    #83
  34. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    The two handed forehand articles are excellent, Dave, and I will be be mentioning their importance as an example of forward thinking and distillation to breaking down a stroke to take out excess movment, as this concept fits not only very well with MTM (MTM observes what works and then incorporates it...it's not as rigid as people think it is, as long as it doesn't introduce misconceptions...if people rally well standing on their heads, all my students would stand on their heads, lol). I don't start everyone with a two hander if I see they hit fine with a one handed fh, but when I do teach the 2HFH, whether children or adults, I teach it like you do, Dave, and I always get good results with an open stance first and then I teach them how to step from neutral into an open stance finish to recover more quickly. In the History if I ever get up to the year 2000, lol, I'll send you an excerpt to make sure I represent your views correctly given I also am quoting some other very important insights you state about coaching in general.

    One day I was teaching in Irvine almost in Newport Beach. On the court next to me I saw a little tiny girl start playing tennis with her mother. The mom and the little girl started playing mini tennis with real tennis balls and I was shocked to watch the little girl remind the mom to put the racket “in the backpack.” I asked how old the little girl was because they repeatedly rallied ten plus balls before the ball invariably was hit too high for the little girl to hit or the mom could not control it but the little girl simply moved efficiently to each ball and touched it finishing over her shoulder each time. She was FIVE years old! Since I recognized it as MTM with the SW grip (V on first right angled bevel), or at least exactly how I teach to swing, I asked her how long had she been taking lessons and who was her coach. She had only ONE lesson with Susan Nardi and her mom told me it was called Mommy, Daddy, and Me Tennis. I then contacted Susan and discovered she gave Mommy Daddy and Me classes in a clinic setting every Saturday morning. I showed up for one the next week since it was at 8am and I could be back on my court by 9:30. I saw parents and children rallying with foam balls back and forth in a clinic setting. Susan got every child to rally well as well as got the parents to be part of the lesson. Needless to say I discovered Susan taught MTM as her foundation. She got every child to rally back and forth and her teaching them to knock a cone over with their rackets and then put the racket in their backpack to build the low to high stroke of the pros was really an effective tool, one I stole immediately. She even had the parents play dodge ball with the kids throwing foam balls at the parents which Susan used as a tool to teach the kids the throwing motion in anticipation of them learning to serve later. I called up Oscar and told him I could not believe what I just saw with the little kids and that my first impression was that Susan was the best I had ever seen teaching tiny tots. My impression two years later is still the same. I worked closely with Susan in Southern California and we still work together to promote tennis. Her website is www.mommydaddyandmetennis.com. When I met you Dave at the USPTA conference, she knew you, I believe. Have you seen her teach? She is amazing with all levels, but an expert at munchkin tennis and I think she should be running Quickstart and would be if if the USTA went by results and not by name.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2009
    #84
  35. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    That is a great story about the little girl. I know Susan well. I just got off the phone with her yesterday and we are getting together in SoCal when I come out to do a book signing in Orange County in two weeks. Her work is highly regarded among all whom I've spokent to about.

    If you are in Orange County, I will be at La Quinta High School for an alumni match among many of the players my father and I coached during our 22 years there, and I will be doing the book signing at the end of the match. If you can, stop by on Sept. 19th around 12 noon and we should be just about getting done with our matches and stuff.

    Would enjoy the talk!

    And regarding the two handed forehand, I too don't teach all my kids the shot, just as I don't teach the two-handed backhand to everyone either. (Although, most players do far far better with both two-handed strokes! It is just some are so adement about playing two hands that it is too much of a fight to get them to try it long enough to discover the value!)

    But having the understanding of the two-handed forehand offers a terrific tool in helping those who are struggling with a conventional one-hander...and in terms of teaching a lot of little beginner kids, it is FAR superior to what they normally try to do with one hand.

    Thanks for your efforts and hope we can meet up again!
     
    #85
  36. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    That is a great story about the little girl. I know Susan well. I just got off the phone with her yesterday and we are getting together in SoCal when I come out to do a book signing in Orange County in two weeks. Her work is highly regarded among all whom I've spokent to about.

    If you are in Orange County, I will be at La Quinta High School for an alumni match among many of the players my father and I coached during our 22 years there, and I will be doing the book signing at the end of the match. If you can, stop by on Sept. 19th around 12 noon and we should be just about getting done with our matches and stuff.

    Would enjoy the talk!

    And regarding the two handed forehand, I too don't teach all my kids the shot, just as I don't teach the two-handed backhand to everyone either. (Although, most players do far far better with both two-handed strokes! It is just some are so adement about playing two hands that it is too much of a fight to get them to try it long enough to discover the value!)

    But having the understanding of the two-handed forehand offers a terrific tool in helping those who are struggling with a conventional one-hander...and in terms of teaching a lot of little beginner kids, it is FAR superior to what they normally try to do with one hand.

    Thanks for your efforts and hope we can meet up again!
     
    #86
  37. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    This statement is exactly true. Most coaches don't understand the importance of the shortening of the stroke and you have several examples in your book that I believe make your book an important technical addition to any basic modern tennis coaching library. When I first asked Oscar about why he placed the butt off the racket in the belly button for all beginners, regardless of age, it had never occurred to me that it sets the wrist laid back (the first bend) and that when you then take the racket back naturally and then then bend the arm across (the second bend) to the finish over the shoulder on the collar bone near the ear initially, you have an instant double bend. I missed that even after I had Master Strokes 1 and 2 for a year and kept thinking I could mix closed and open stance FHs to beginners. In my experience with close to a couple thousand students in five years, this instant double bend with a very shortened stroke, when combined with his associating the butt of the racket with where you want the ball to go then builds a beautiful body rotation as the student progresses, especially with the figure eight drill (can drill) as the base developmental drill.

    I have since returned to St. Louis area where I have a 12 year old that I can't leave except for each winter. I will help spread tennis through MTM this winter in warmer weather climates for some club who needs a pro who can help the Head Pro grow tennis faster than ever. Haven't decided where I will go yet, considering a couple places but open minded. I thus won't be California in September. I have plenty of students outdoors. The 11 court indoor club Andy Davis and I used to teach was sold for conversion a few years ago, which is why I moved out to California in 2007 and had a blast teaching high performance players and beginners both and stirring up some great debates. That's why we have about 40 MTM coaches in California by word of mouth. They saw the on court results.

    Glad you are meeting up with Susan. I talk to her occasionally still and sent her a coach with a nationally ranked junior and he called me amazed at how she instantly got results which he could not comprehend given until he saw it with his own eyes. That coach who blew me off in 2007 due to being told to be skeptical about Oscar's claims, is now MTM certified, lol.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2009
    #87
  38. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    For anyone interested, Dave Smith who wrote Coaching Mastery wrote a great analysis for tennisone.com newsletter dated 9/1/09 of Novak Djokovic that is simply right on. Very astute. I also have come to the conclusion that Novak's swing is a great model to emulate and I always think of his FH as top five (Tsongas and Gonzales might hit the hardest FHs). In particular, I find Novak's serve very easy to teach visually with my better students. Nice job, Dave. I hope everyone reads it.

    http://www.tennisone.com/newsletter/template/9.1.09.newsletter.html
     
    #88
  39. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    I greatly appreciate the comments and the link for those who might not get the free newsletter by TennisOne. I agree, obviously from my article, that Novak does indeed have a solid foundation and one that does not have a ton of imbellisments and idiosyncracies that make emulation difficult.

    By the way, the article points out another issue that all players need to recognize: the use of the internet for observation and evaluation of most all pros: From the different clips visible on Youtube to the thousands of clips at TennisOne, TennisPlayer, Fuzzyellowballs, Hi-Techtennis, and many others, there really should be no excuse for players of all ages and abilities and experiences, to see with clairity and conclusiveness what patterns are common among all the pros. From grips on volleys to tosses on serves, to footwork patterns on backhands and everything inbetween, we now can see using the high def and super slo mo cameras that show the actual swing elements that were twenty years ago nearly impossible for the average Joe to review.

    Thank you again for the nice note!
     
    #89
  40. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    My pleasure Dave. I play a different role as an unknown grassroots coach who works to stimulate debate about the key issues and I support what you and Jim McClennan are doing entirely. Your "How To" article and Jim McClennan's "The Power of Simplicity" are simply two articles that all level players and coaches can learn from. This last post of yours about the internet is so well stated I would like to borrow it and pass it around on my website, if you don't mind. Yandell's Advanced Tennis Project makes my top ten list of Tennis Developments (though I think he got a primary conclusion wrong...I agree with all his other conclusions) because high speed video, along with the internet and sites like this, particularly with participation in forums from coaches like you, tennisking1 (he coached at Bollettieri's and Saddlebrook, he's currently on a different forum), and yes, the ever agressive but knowledgeable Bungalow Bill (I wish I had an alert for everytime he posts, he is never boring), are helping speed the USA back to tennis prominence.

    tennisone.com has been at the forefront. And yes we disagree often, but we are drawing closer to the truth that there is likely one optimal technique, and you know what it is Dave, because you stated it in your article. PMac is on the right track, but it's important that our youth be taught the double bend FH from stroke one in order to build the lasting muscle memory that will sustain a player through the trials and tribulations of being a champion. That is why I advocate Oscar's MTM as the best simplified way to introduce tennis to the masses, which builds grassroots support, which builds financial support, which allows juniors to move from coach to coach without having to rebuild their swings because of contradictory data, which then allows more potential champions that do not have to almost come from a rich family that is so often the only way to currently build a champion due to lack of better grassroots competition. I do not think necessary as I heard JMac and Carillo state yesterday that you almost have to have a huge financial pot behind you. Russia has proven the opposite as has Serbia and countless other poor nations. Thailand has the ITF #1 Junior in the world right now. They also have a current player ranked 53 in world. The Scrichaphan Academy in Thailand is actually a couple courts in Paradorn's father's backyard, not exactly an academy in our sense of the word. It should not be that expensive but good players are too far and few between because of the poor state of grassroots coaching and poor technique that gets murdered by those who have money and access to the few coaches who truly know how to coach. PMac better get the grassroots teaching in line, which is where Oscar works because no one else has proven to do better with grassroots coaching that I've ever seen. England has 700 coaches lines up to certify in MTM already. Hopefully the USTA will take heed and take a new look. It's no longer the "Wegner Method." He's passed it onto others to keep the focus on simplified tennis instruction, which is key if the game is to boom again as it does in other countries. I think a coach nearly fainted on the phone when I told them Oscar is taking a good look at The Bailey Method and actually liked a lot of it because if it gets optimal results for the masses, it will be incorporated into MTM.

    Champions should not be defined as being #1 in the world, but as giving your all in an effort to be the best you can be given the circumstances you have to deal with. Melanie Oudin, like the Williams Sisters, did not come up through the USTA channels, but PMac has already made her coach Brian DeVillers and the Zimbabwe coach he works with (forgot his name for the moment) and their club a USTA National Training Center.

    Dave's (Coachingmastery) post on "Are Great Players Born" thread is also right on. Technique is everything, as they say in Russian. Correct technique from Day 1 grows the game. That is why I am critical of Quickstart. Foam balls are great for teaching "feel" but I see 90% of the kids in the St. Louis area Quickstart classes with horrible technique, hitting the foam ball as if it were a a baseball. I'll be going South this winter to coach at a beautiful club (I haven't decide which yet...have a few feelers) and I hope to see Quickstart kids hitting better down there.

    Again, thanks Dave, and I'll have you review my comments to make sure I don't misinterpret your ideas before I publish the book. You know I can't patronize anyone as I call it as I see it which is just my opinion as to what I think is a great basic set of tennis books when my own book is published. One author might not be so friendly when he sees my library of must have books, but I can't find a reason to list him in the cutoff. I look forward to sharing ideas and hope to see your name at the top tennis coaching conferences very soon. You have proven you would be a huge addition. My History Part 1 has changed quite a bit due to this thread. A very great thread, by the way.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
    #90
  41. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    What is the "double bend forehand" and where is it explained?

    Thanks in advance.
     
    #91
  42. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    The double bend forehand has been around for years. Many players do it automatically or naturally. John Yandell used the phrase a lot as do other coaches.

    The doublebend is very simple to understand.

    1. It has a bend in the elbow.

    2. It has a bend in the wrist to lay the racquet back.

    There is a some misinformation coming from coaches that have written articles on the double bend forehand labelling it as a "modern" stroke. This is completely false. The double bend forehand has been around for decades. What has changed is racquet technology, how fast and powerful we can swing the racquet, and the instruction around it.

    Here is an example of the double bend forehand being hit in 1926 and don't think this guy was the only person doing it.

    [​IMG]

    Another example.

    [​IMG]

    Also, there is misunderstanding of what the wrists role is in the "modern" forehand. The role of the wrist is actually minor and should not be the main focus of the stroke.

    The role of the wrist should be passive in nature. With the double-bend, the wrist or hand lays back. This happens because the motion of the forehand is suddenly thrusted forward which forces the hand back. As the hand/arm accelerate, the hand stays in a laidback position. Once the arm and rotation starts maturing and slows down, the elasticity in the wrist area allows the hand to spring forward. This is a very precise movement that happens in fractions of a second so do not try to "time" it. The human brain can not send sensory information to the wrist in such a short interval. Just let it happen because your are reasonably relaxed in the wrist (elastic).

    This spring forward is something you should not try to force. You simply allow your body to do it naturally. Therefore I believe it plays a passive role rather than an active one.

    Here is an example with some instruction for you. It is very important to have your elbow area work this way described in the video to help reduce the chance for injury.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/herbdotcom03
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
    #92
  43. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    Great explanation Bungalow Bill. I note in my History of Tennis Instruction that regarding strokes, I can't find any new developments after 1925...even metal rackets existed 100 years ago.

    I am researching the Top Ten Developments in Tennis Instruction (my opinion, of course, with input from some interesting people if you would like to suggest something) for publication and Yandell's Advanced TEnnis Project is already listed in my History as one of the great developments. His research confirms the role of the wrist as passive in the stroke, in fact, he notes that it "plays virtually no role" in the modern stroke. When I refer to the modern stroke, I refer to the current style of play. Modern Tennis is the name of two large books, both written before 1915. I have fifty pics similiar to what you have, Bill, not just those, but I posted one on moderntenniscoaches.com from 1890s showing a wrap finish.

    I have yet to determine when during the 1960s or 1970s the phrase modern tennis started coming into common usage. Modern Tennis was not coined by Oscar Wegner, but he started using the phrase to contrast his teachings with the techniques accepted as dogma during the 1970s. Even Dick Bradlee in 1962 in his book Instant Tennis noted that pros were playing one way and teaching something totally different. So he advocated open stance forehands and called it the Ballistic Swing. But Bradlee got laughed at by Kramer and Braden (Braden's own words) in a demo of open stance. Oscar figured out that the double bend was likely the optimal technique in 1968 because he modeled his methodology after Manolo Santana's forehand who had one with an over the shoulder finish. Oscar is the first I can find in print that advocates what we call the windshield wiper. After Oscar took off to Spain in 1971 and returned in 1974 to set up shop in the USA (and still he was ignored by tennis hierarchies), he's not sure when he started calling his method Modern Tennis Methodology, maybe after his teaching in a top German tennis league in 1982 before accepting an offer to go to Brazil. Modern Tennis is now used to describe the way the pros play today as contrasted with classic conventional tennis: the turn step and hit method promoted by the USTA, USPTA, and PTR until the USPTA decided to advocate open stance in 2005.

    The more I read your posts, Bill, I suspect we have more in common in our teaching than differences.
     
    #93
  44. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    For instructors, the technique to teach is to help a player understand the pressure he needs to apply to the handle so that the player can control the racquet head during the swing and maintain elasticity in the wrist. The natural part is allowing the body to work within those parameters.

    Yes, that is fine. However, understand that a players choosing to use a more classical style is not wrong. Using a classical style vs. a "modern" one really plays a lessor role in the club level of play. A player can be successful using either style. What is most important to understand is what is best for the player, their style, their tempermant, etc...

    I dont know. I would have ot verify what you are saying. Much of this is simply a sprt maturing and trying to settle on things about who it is from an identity perspective. Part of it was tyring to make it more popular looking to secure TV time when it was competing against other sports on the rise like the NFL, the NBA, etc...

    But Bradlee got laughed at by Kramer and Braden (Braden's own words) in a demo of open stance. Oscar figured out that the double bend was likely the optimal technique in 1968 because he modeled his methodology after Manolo Santana's forehand who had one with an over the shoulder finish. Oscar is the first I can find in print that advocates what we call the windshield wiper. After Oscar took off to Spain in 1971 and returned in 1974 to set up shop in the USA (and still he was ignored by tennis hierarchies), he's not sure when he started calling his method Modern Tennis Methodology, maybe after his teaching in a top German tennis league in 1982 before accepting an offer to go to Brazil. Modern Tennis is now used to describe the way the pros play today as contrasted with classic conventional tennis: the turn step and hit method promoted by the USTA, USPTA, and PTR until the USPTA decided to advocate open stance in 2005.[/quote]

    Well, Braden is a stubborn Welch and maybe he felt a little threatened. Or maybe he saw the game differently which there is nothing wrong with that. Back then, people were trying to build consensus. Oscar just happened to start a new consensus when the other was gaining momentum. That to me is just bad timing. However, overtime, Braden and the other coaches came around on this. Or maybe it was the way Oscar presented it. Maybe they felt Oscar was a loner and was not tactful in his presentation. I dont know and dont really care to know.

    The point is we are working now and the past was the past. There are two ways to teach tennis and both are viable for many players. Even the classical style has improved by adding certain elements like having the wrist laid back and incorporating the open stance.

    Hahaha, I dont know about that. However, I can say just remember tennis had the following:

    1. Two main tracks of playing tennis with several variations in those tracks
    (baseline and S & V) in different eras.

    2. A lack of consensus and information on good ways to play this game which still exists today in various forms.

    3. Pioneers trying to further the game of tennis in both personal, professional, and selfish ways.

    4. Modern strokes are not really modern. They are current. Now, if you want to consider them "modernized" because of racquet technology, better awareness of how to hit the ball, better training, etc... that is fine because all you would be tellin me is that we are improving on what we already know.

    That is also why I get upset about the labelling of coaches that are considered old or stuck in the USPTA Teaching Manual. It puts me and other coaches that I know try to teach strokes in the most current and reasonable way possible in a bad light. And as I said, I dont know of too many.

    After hearing Oscar, we would better further the game of tennis by not calling out USPTA manuals that people dont use and better understand what we have in common vs. building an "us vs. them" atmosphere.

    Now, that I understand Oscar better, I believe deep down he has always wanted that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2009
    #94
  45. heretoserve

    heretoserve Rookie

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    Steve Smith's son Connor Smith started with a two handed forehand(intentionally). Steve Smith is the developer of the first 2 year degree program for tennis teachers(tennis tech) in Tyler Texas. Connor is ranked 7 in the nation in the boys 18's. He just started with a full ride at FSU.
     
    #95
  46. heretoserve

    heretoserve Rookie

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    Having Steve Smith as basically my surrogate father I have seen a number of kids started with a 2 handed forehand and become national champions.
     
    #96
  47. heretoserve

    heretoserve Rookie

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    #97
  48. teachestennis

    teachestennis Rookie

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    I haven't really published much on the web History about "modern schools" of tennis instruction as today. There are numerous tennis schools that I believe have excellent teaching and coaching. However, I do think the USA is missing something or we would not have gone from 69 top 100 players to a dozen if our junior development programs were in sync. Bungalow Bill did make an important point that Oscar needs to focus more on what we all have in common. I have been pushing him in that regards also, but his premise that if tennis instruction is complicated with even one piece of contradictory data, then junior development is stifled, and thus his insistence on a foundation of teaching the double bend from day 1 of every forehand, whether with one handed or two handed, is hard to argue with. When I met Oscar on court in August 2004, he taught both forehands, depending on what he observed. My own son is 12 and hits two handed off both sides because of what I learned from MTM and the subsequent encouragement from Dave Smith's writings. MTM incorporates whatever works as long as it will work for the masses but respects those incredible idiosyncrasies that players often come up with (Francine Durr's index finger down the back of her backhand in the '60s). But my son took up baseball full time because he could not master tennis quickly using the shuffle turn step and hit method I taught him as a certified tennis coach. He just made a baseball all star team which kind of broke my heart because if he hadn't made it, he was going to go into tennis full time. If I hadn't discouraged him with poor instruction from the start, he would be a really good junior player now instead of just a human backboard with nice strokes.

    This issue of finding agreement is important. The more I look at Yandell, the more he sounds like Oscar. Doug King admits that he is often compared by his readers to Oscar in his teachings. I have a lot of data on Steve Smith's first accredited tennis degree program and just haven't published it the History of Tennis Instruction on www.moderntenniscoaches.com or decided where it fits in but Steve will be credited in the book.

    I follow Oscar's teaching and help others understand them better because at this point, I believe it's hard to argue that Oscar got too many things wrong. As Dave Smith points out, the advent of high speed video is allowing our juniors to at least have a more accurate idea of what the pros have in common and is forcing coaches to change. I was talking with Ken Flach the other day, who teaches what I consider very modern (windshield wipers, hit up and across the ball), he even was taught to play tennis like ping pong, which Oscar uses that analogy often to describe the modern game. Ping pong is likely what made St. Louis the one time tennis factory of the US during the '60s (per capita). Ken says he's shocked at how "primitive" coaching still is in St. Louis, though he has discovered since he return here, there are more windshield wipers than ever and some better coaching than just a few years ago, and I told him I credit that to high speed video and Oscar and I spending a lot of time here pushing the coaches to teach more "modern."

    I believe you can raise a child to a great tennis game with other methods that are nothing like MTM. But I ask,with all the contradictory data being taught to juniors, how many are left at the side, like my daughter, who upon learning MTM, was already a varsity track letterman as a freshman and now could instantly look like a nice ball striker, though raw. She had moved on.

    It is a shame when coaches all teach biomechanically different techniques that do not allow every tennis student to develop the correct muscle memory progression that will enable the maximum number of students to play their optimum game. I know that is why Russia dominates women's tennis, because they teach one technique. You don't go to Spartak in Moscow and then to Galex in St. Petersburg and have one coach teaching linear through the target line swings and one teaching angular momentum hit up and across the ball swings. Each coach emphasizes the same windshield wiper swing from day 1 with a finish over the shoulder down the back just like I show in the picture on my Spartak Article on www.moderntenniscoaches.com. I should publish the emails I received from two Russian academy's in different cities who told me they translate all of Oscar's weekly tennis tips into Russian for their coaches to read and keep up on. One expressed surprise when I told her (she was the psychologist...the only one who spoke English) that Oscar is not the most popular guy over here. If she only knew, lol.

    Someone has to hold the line in tennis instruction. Someone has to draw the line in the sand and say the truth that we have complicated what should be a fairly simple game. Oscar feels he has to draw that line, and for that he if often an outcast by those who all claim to have figured out the secret or who also act as if the secret wasn't known until they all discover it. I even wrote proof in the MTM library that all this clay court emphasis you hear at the top now was all said and even predicted by Oscar in that 1989 book. How different things would be if they had listened back then but it took twenty years for the USA to suddenly listen when they had been warned by Oscar TWENTY YEARS ago in a book.

    People want to play a game that is not rocket science if the game is to be played for a lifetime. MTM is about to go national with our grassroots movement. At least MTM does not complicate and gets more people playing tennis. Whatever we coaches have done to this game the last twenty years, given what we spend on it, we have not produced anything close to optimal results. Spartak, where kids don't play tournaments for a few years while they ingrain their windshield wipers until they are second nature, is proof that there is a better way.

    I have made it clear, that I see a tennis methodology that gets better results than Oscar's MTM, I will ally with it. I like a lot of what I see out there now, but we coaches have to stop fighting and test the data objectively. We are on the right track, and Dave Smith, Doug King, and Jim McLennan are putting out great observations, as is Johnny Yandell, but even people who read them interpret things that they see visually differently because we have ingrained biases and preconceptions. I read every tennis and Add magazine for 25 years but until I understood what Oscar Wegner really meant versus what I was told by some very famous names what they thought he meant, I could not see that the 19 myths in his 1989 book all turned out to be true. I believed other coaches myths that claimed the opposite. I had not idea even when I had Master Strokes 1 and 2 that he taught the double bend from stroke 1. I missed it even watching the videos, I was so blinded by my complicating things and thinking it can't be that simple.

    Simplification is key to tennis instruction, but correct biomechanical technique evidenced by the growing role of "myelin" in building muscle memory is proving to be an important componet. That is why I promote the book "The Talent Code" and have posted a couple articles and pics outside the book in the MTM library for all to read and consider. I'm trying to build a grassroots concensus about how to get more players to enjoy instant success which I believe begins with a rally using natural biomechanical swings that produce optimal output with minimal input. That instant success then sparks the flame of ignition that will allow more athletes to have the drive and motivation to given their all in pursuing becoming a tennis champion. We USA coaches have to come to consensus and agreement, but as Dave Smith aptly points out, they often don't even allow real debate of other's viewpoints at the higher levels of coaching. The PTR, the USTA, and the USPTA are all promoting their own agendas and their own people, and tennis, as BB astutely pointed out, has suffered. I just renewed my PTR Pro membership at the last minute. It was tough, but I do it to keep their literature coming given they need the most help. Hopefully Santorum will one day be open to working with those who teach differently and get observable better results. We need a national forum to test the data. That 2001 gathering of coaches should have had Oscar Wegner there, you would think, given his influence worldwide at least. But the usual suspects arranged by Gene Scott were Braden, Bollettieri, Van der Meer, Saviano, Macci, Landsdorp, (I document it it the MTM library) with no real production since that meeting.

    Whew, have to spend the say with my son, it's going to rain again. How about that for a Sunday morning rant, lol? Will check from my Blackberry the rest of the day.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
    #98
  49. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Heck, I think you have your book written just in these posts!!

    All in all, I like the way this thread matured and evolved. I like it when we can identify things that we can see in each other's point of view...agree to disagree at times, and maybe respect the level of experience and value everyone has.

    That doesn't mean we have to agree or adopt another's idea. But hearing them, hearing the rationale, and hearing of the success, (legitimate success), is always good.

    I've learned so much in my 37 years teaching. I continue to.

    And, quite frankly, I agree that our industry, in the U.S. needs to seek out new faces, experienced faces, and others that have proven history...instead of constantly relying on the very same "leaders" (some old, some young) who don't really understand the game from the ground up. (Many pros only work with top ranked players who are already trained in their foundation...how can such pros understand the real concepts of how to get ALL players to reach their potential?) Some pros only work with a handful of players for a couple days and then never see them again...how can they understand the ramifications of their own teaching?

    But, all in all, I like the kind of "grass roots" type of communication this forum provides. I'm not on here a lot myself anymore...but love to check in and see if I can help someone or contribute myself in some way.

    Keep up the good work and words, gentlemen...and ladies!
     
    #99
  50. film1

    film1 Semi-Pro

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    Did any of you instructors from there use this pressure plate or scale.
    This never made sense to me and perhaps I am missing something but I don't see how a reading from a plate like this would be able to measure the force put into a serve.
    I could see it being used to test some things but not force behind a serve because of the other variables.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42STJgl2K4E
     

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