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-   -   3 parts of learning/teaching tennis (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=451063)

jakeytennis 01-15-2013 05:49 PM

3 parts of learning/teaching tennis
 
1. the natural way (basically the wegner method)
easiest and most efficient way to learn tennis

2. the traditional way (i dont know what else to call it. probly a bad name)
learning all the details of stroke techniques.
this allows for your skills to ADVANCE and get better

3. the mental game
most of my mental game info come from "inner game of tennis" and his "relaxed concentration"
this allows you to play up to your best abilities.

all three are equally important in my opinion

sureshs 01-15-2013 06:47 PM

There is no "natural" way of learning. Can you name one pro playing today who followed the natural way of learning?

Right from holding the racket (the correct grip for different strokes), tennis needs to be learnt through its details. Ask someone who doesn't play tennis to show you how the pros serve. They will never use the continental grip and bring the racket edgeways.

Putting the outside foot first, being sideways on the serve, leading with the edge, using the correct grip, using topspin rather than hitting up with open face, split-stepping - everything is taught to most people or they learn on their own indirectly, but using the material other people have learnt from. Seldom does anyone come up with any of this on his/her own "naturally."

The correct way of learning tennis which is followed by all proven pros and juniors and college players is to learn the technical fundamentals correctly. Then they can improvise and innovate on their own, and sometimes those become the material of the next "textbooks."

High-speed video helps to observe the strokes in slow motion and facilitates learning, removing myths which may have been floating around. Even plain old Tennis Channel is good.

CoachingMastery 01-16-2013 05:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7124235)
There is no "natural" way of learning. Can you name one pro playing today who followed the natural way of learning?

Right from holding the racket (the correct grip for different strokes), tennis needs to be learnt through its details. Ask someone who doesn't play tennis to show you how the pros serve. They will never use the continental grip and bring the racket edgeways.

Putting the outside foot first, being sideways on the serve, leading with the edge, using the correct grip, using topspin rather than hitting up with open face, split-stepping - everything is taught to most people or they learn on their own indirectly, but using the material other people have learnt from. Seldom does anyone come up with any of this on his/her own "naturally."

The correct way of learning tennis which is followed by all proven pros and juniors and college players is to learn the technical fundamentals correctly. Then they can improvise and innovate on their own, and sometimes those become the material of the next "textbooks."

High-speed video helps to observe the strokes in slow motion and facilitates learning, removing myths which may have been floating around. Even plain old Tennis Channel is good.

Great post and I agree 100%. In my experience, great teaching pros make the un-natural become natural, the un-familiar become familiar, the difficult become easy.

There are some players who find elements of skilled tennis more natural than others. But for people to clump all students into this mold is ignorant and, if they are pros, irresponsible. To simply "let" students do what ever feels "natural" almost NEVER produces a student who reaches their potential...in ANYTHING!

Do we let piano players play with just their two index fingers because using all the fingers feels 'unnatural'? Do we let kids granny shoot basketballs because it is more 'natural' than learning to set-shoot with the right hand and arm positions? Do golf instructors let students swing anyway that feels "natural"?

NO...unless you want the student to stagnate at levels far below their potential.

Why people today believe that teaching any sport or activity, (but tennis is most guilty of this), by avoiding techniques that are difficult, unfamiliar, or initially frustrating, is totally beyond me. While there is a VERY SMALL segment of population that can somehow manipulate unconventional technique into becoming somewhat successful, (I didn't say 'skilled'), all you need to do is go to the public or club courts and look at the gazillion players who dink, push, hack, bunt, and basically flail at the ball with no idea of stroke patterns, repeatable or reliable swing paths, spin, (too much or none at all!), footwork calamities, etc., who have not improved in probably twenty years!

Of course, the mark of a great instructor is one who can implement the drills, exercises, analogies, personality, and creativity, to make those difficult, frustrating, and unfamiliar patterns become mastered strokes, (thus becoming easy, familiar and confident), in as short of time with the least amount of uneasiness, and within an environment that is rewarding.

Notice I didn't say "FUN"...fun is a perception. You can have fun while working very hard. Fun for my students was when they smiled broadly when they executed a shot the way they knew was skilled. The joy of reaching goals, becoming skilled at something, and reaching ones potential is not only a higher degree of "fun" but the kind of fun that will last a lifetime...not just a moment of 'hit and giggle' that is fun for a few seconds.

Looking back at my coaching career, I remember other teams who were not anywhere near as good as my kids, at the beginning of the match were laughing and giggling, until they got killed and recognized they had not been taught tennis well at all. I have heard more than once, opponents going up to their coach and asking, "How come we can't be that good, coach?" And, within playing skilled tennis, my kids not only came away knowing they played very well, they ENJOYED the game because they were CAPABLE of executing shots that made the game more fun for themselves. Big kick serves, angle volleys, big topsping passing shots, overheads that ended points with an exclamation point, etc. These are skills that I feel I gave them to enjoy the sport for a LIFETIME...not just a mediocre lucky shot giggle and then run the ball down off the court next to them.

But, don't get me wrong; even within the idea of skilled instruction, we also had a ton of fun based on each team's personality, spirit, and individual leaders. To say you can't teach highly skilled tennis and have fun at the same time is basically saying you don't know how to teach tennis well.

Unfortunately, we still have hundreds of teaching pros and coaches who don't believe you can have both. And, unfortunately, we have instructors who believe that teaching inferior methods for the sake of "fun" is a good way to teach.

arche3 01-16-2013 05:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7124235)

High-speed video helps to observe the strokes in slow motion and facilitates learning, removing myths which may have been floating around. Even plain old Tennis Channel is good.

most players learn from a coach. not video.

skiracer55 01-16-2013 05:44 AM

It's simple....
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CoachingMastery (Post 7125370)
Great post and I agree 100%. In my experience, great teaching pros make the un-natural become natural, the un-familiar become familiar, the difficult become easy.

There are some players who find elements of skilled tennis more natural than others. But for people to clump all students into this mold is ignorant and, if they are pros, irresponsible. To simply "let" students do what ever feels "natural" almost NEVER produces a student who reaches their potential...in ANYTHING!

Do we let piano players play with just their two index fingers because using all the fingers feels 'unnatural'? Do we let kids granny shoot basketballs because it is more 'natural' than learning to set-shoot with the right hand and arm positions? Do golf instructors let students swing anyway that feels "natural"?

NO...unless you want the student to stagnate at levels far below their potential.

Why people today believe that teaching any sport or activity, (but tennis is most guilty of this), by avoiding techniques that are difficult, unfamiliar, or initially frustrating, is totally beyond me. While there is a VERY SMALL segment of population that can somehow manipulate unconventional technique into becoming somewhat successful, (I didn't say 'skilled'), all you need to do is go to the public or club courts and look at the gazillion players who dink, push, hack, bunt, and basically flail at the ball with no idea of stroke patterns, repeatable or reliable swing paths, spin, (too much or none at all!), footwork calamities, etc., who have not improved in probably twenty years!

Of course, the mark of a great instructor is one who can implement the drills, exercises, analogies, personality, and creativity, to make those difficult, frustrating, and unfamiliar patterns become mastered strokes, (thus becoming easy, familiar and confident), in as short of time with the least amount of uneasiness, and within an environment that is rewarding.

Notice I didn't say "FUN"...fun is a perception. You can have fun while working very hard. Fun for my students was when they smiled broadly when they executed a shot the way they knew was skilled. The joy of reaching goals, becoming skilled at something, and reaching ones potential is not only a higher degree of "fun" but the kind of fun that will last a lifetime...not just a moment of 'hit and giggle' that is fun for a few seconds.

Looking back at my coaching career, I remember other teams who were not anywhere near as good as my kids, at the beginning of the match were laughing and giggling, until they got killed and recognized they had not been taught tennis well at all. I have heard more than once, opponents going up to their coach and asking, "How come we can't be that good, coach?" And, within playing skilled tennis, my kids not only came away knowing they played very well, they ENJOYED the game because they were CAPABLE of executing shots that made the game more fun for themselves. Big kick serves, angle volleys, big topsping passing shots, overheads that ended points with an exclamation point, etc. These are skills that I feel I gave them to enjoy the sport for a LIFETIME...not just a mediocre lucky shot giggle and then run the ball down off the court next to them.

But, don't get me wrong; even within the idea of skilled instruction, we also had a ton of fun based on each team's personality, spirit, and individual leaders. To say you can't teach highly skilled tennis and have fun at the same time is basically saying you don't know how to teach tennis well.

Unfortunately, we still have hundreds of teaching pros and coaches who don't believe you can have both. And, unfortunately, we have instructors who believe that teaching inferior methods for the sake of "fun" is a good way to teach.

...why people avoid doing The Right Stuff, which is that everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die. Or, to put it another way, we're currently in the middle of the Instant America period, where you can get anything you want via an infomercial, including a 5.0 tennis game.

Re "difficult, frustrating, and unfamiliar patterns become mastered strokes", they're only frustrating or difficult if you don't understand the tool (the racket) and the biomechanics behind it. I coach both tennis and alpine ski racing, and I always make it a point if I want an athlete to do something different to explain why it's going to do one of two things, or better yet, both. The two things being use the tool to its optimum purpose and/or do so in a more biomechanically efficient way. An example is Conti grip on the serve. Have the athlete go through a serve motion (no ball) and stop at the contact point. Take the off racket hand and rotate the grip around to different grips...Eastern FH, Conti...what the hell, go for a SW forehand grip, which is what most players I've seen actually use. It will quickly become apparent that with anything but a Conti, there's no way you can ever get any consistency, pace, spin, or placement on the serve. In fact, you'll have to commit an unnatural act just to get the ball in the service box.

Yep, unlearning the Wrong Stuff is hard...but if you understand why it's the Wrong Stuff, and what the Right Stuff will buy you, the process is a whole lot easier and more straightforward...

Ash_Smith 01-16-2013 05:57 AM

Not that I am speaking for Jakey, but I assume by "the natural way" he is meaning teaching by process of "guided discovery" rather than simply " "let" students do what ever feels "natural" "

Guided discovery is a much less dictatorial way of the student arriving in the same place, but it could be described as a more natural process for the student (obviously you know all this Dave!)

Is that what you're meaning Jakey?

sureshs 01-16-2013 06:19 AM

The easiest way to study this would be find out how many pros today came through system (1) and how many through system (2). Families are literally selling their homes to get their kid a 1% advantage. A system which works would immediately be adopted by thousands of players, if it works.

5263 01-16-2013 06:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ash_Smith (Post 7125444)
Not that I am speaking for Jakey, but I assume by "the natural way" he is meaning teaching by process of "guided discovery" rather than simply " "let" students do what ever feels "natural" "

Guided discovery is a much less dictatorial way of the student arriving in the same place, but it could be described as a more natural process for the student (obviously you know all this Dave!)

Is that what you're meaning Jakey?

Well, of course that is what is meant here Ash, as he references Oscar's style
of learning it.

The problem is that you have the reg. posters commenting on it above that either, do
not understand how the term is used, or choose to ignore the consistent explanations
for it. Of course there is a natural path to learning and discovery,
which is evident everyday in our lives, along with advanced classroom/programs.
There are also natural ways our body can and does move more efficiently.

sureshs 01-16-2013 06:27 AM

I am into alternative and holistic medicine, and have seen both the good and bad sides. In many cases, the alternative "natural" treatment has no scientific basis. It just promises a lower cost "easy" alternative to the conventional medicine, delivered together with a rant against big pharmas and their world domination. And sometimes it works. Maybe it acted like a placebo, maybe the conventional medicine which was stopped was still in the blood stream, maybe it just went away by chance. There have been many cases in which people have been fooled for years by natural medicine before rushing to a doctor in an emergency situation. People always want an alternative to learning the details - the just want to be told to get in touch with their inner energy and everything will be good. They are told that good health and "balance" is the "natural" state of all living bodies (while ignoring the fact that animals in the wild suffer from all the diseases we do).

(But many natural medicines work very well too.)

Avles 01-16-2013 06:37 AM

Maybe this Tomaz Mencinger article is relevant to the discussion?

http://www.feeltennis.net/learning-t...e-adults-kids/.

I thought this part was particularly interesting:

Quote:

Adults are often impatient, especially if they haven’t trained in any sport previously in their life. They have no idea whatsoever how long it takes to develop correct foundations of a stroke and therefore want to have good technique very soon.
They see themselves as smart and competent and believe that moving the racquet in a certain way shouldn’t be such a problem. Therefore, they are not patient and then want to take shortcuts in the process.
In most cases, adults simply follow the instruction of tennis techniques to the T and do not allow the subconscious to take over. In the process, they destroy the body’s ability to naturally generate effortless force through optimal speed of movement of certain levers and using certain swings and momentums.
I have personally been teaching tennis to kids and adults for over 20 years, and the difference in the learning process when ONLY the analytical approach is taught is enormous.
Simply put, kids combine the technical analytical instruction with their desire to be comfortable (which is nothing else than the body’s signal of telling you what is a natural way of generating force), while adults do everything in their power to perform the movement “correctly,” even when it doesn’t feel comfortable and it doesn’t produce any natural force.

5263 01-16-2013 06:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7125512)
I am into alternative and holistic medicine, and have seen both the good and bad sides. In many cases, the alternative "natural" treatment has no scientific basis. It just promises a lower cost "easy" alternative to the conventional medicine, delivered together with a rant against big pharmas and their world domination. And sometimes it works. Maybe it acted like a placebo, maybe the conventional medicine which was stopped was still in the blood stream, maybe it just went away by chance. There have been many cases in which people have been fooled for years by natural medicine before rushing to a doctor in an emergency situation. People always want an alternative to learning the details - the just want to be told to get in touch with their inner energy and everything will be good. They are told that good health and "balance" is the "natural" state of all living bodies (while ignoring the fact that animals in the wild suffer from all the diseases we do).
(But many natural medicines work very well too.)

and to go with what imo is a very poor analogy, big pharmas often end with
a plethora of nasty side effects that end a patient's life before the disease, and
even end up with things like Newtown and Columbine .
I don't buy into this analogy and it shows how poorly understood the term
natural is expressed or used in this context by the poster.

arche3 01-16-2013 06:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Avles (Post 7125544)
Maybe this Tomaz Mencinger article is relevant to the discussion?

http://www.feeltennis.net/learning-t...e-adults-kids/.

I thought this part was particularly interesting:

suresh please read this. maybe email your boy jy and tell him to read it.

5263 01-16-2013 06:47 AM

"Simply put, kids combine the technical analytical instruction with their desire to be comfortable (which is nothing else than the body’s signal of telling you what is a natural way of generating force), while adults do everything in their power to perform the movement “correctly,” even when it doesn’t feel comfortable and it doesn’t produce any natural force."

Nice point here and much more inline with how natural is used in a tennis context.

Zolar 01-16-2013 06:54 AM

Natural Limitations
 
I'm a very stiff individual, never been able to touch my toes despite years of trying to stretch. As a consequence, my strokes in tennis are affected and I can't look like pros or copy their technique - my body just doesn't do certain thinga! To me, part of the "natural" way of learning tennis is knowing what your particular body can and can't do. Andy Roddick's serve is aided by his body type - he has an ability to bend like others can't. Trying to copy Roddick would be futile and frustrating, to say the least.
Are there other people with similar limitations? Is trying to teach them cookie-cutter technique a mistake? I don't know the answer, but it's worth considering, imo.

5263 01-16-2013 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zolar (Post 7125595)
I'm a very stiff individual, never been able to touch my toes despite years of trying to stretch. As a consequence, my strokes in tennis are affected and I can't look like pros or copy their technique - my body just doesn't do certain thinga! To me, part of the "natural" way of learning tennis is knowing what your particular body can and can't do.

this shows a much better understanding of natural in the tennis learning context.

5263 01-16-2013 07:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jakeytennis (Post 7124041)

2. the traditional way (i dont know what else to call it. probly a bad name)
learning all the details of stroke techniques.
this allows for your skills to ADVANCE and get better

Now this part is really only important for an instructor to know the hows and
whys behind the actual instruction or someone who intends to self instruct.
Also really important to have quality fundamentals vs the outdated classic basics.

Ash_Smith 01-16-2013 07:25 AM

^^^ yep, tennis coaching is equal parts Science and Art. The Science off-court informs the Art on-court. :D

Cheers

tennisfan69 01-16-2013 07:31 AM

First Letting the body dictate what flows/comes natural : this is very true. once that is in place then you can fine tune the technique a little bit. but forcing to adapt a new technique against the natural flow of body forces is very counter productive. also agree with the Tomaz Mencinger article. true true true. my little son is a natural athlete. but becasue of my impatience on certain techniques he uses and the urgency to correct them have drastically cut down the fire in him. the good thing is i realized this and have taken a back seat and now he is slowly coming back on track. but boy-o-boy i definetly lost some time there. once all said and done i can really write an article about WHAT PARENTS SHOULD NOT DO in bringing up a natural born athlete....

sureshs 01-16-2013 08:20 AM

The feel article is very good. What it says is get the feel by gently letting a ball hit the passive racket. That is great. His forehand analysis is great too.

Ultimately, look for concrete achievements, like which pro he has coached to success. Also, find out if a pro in the Australian Open now is thinking about feel on every shot.

It is easy to lecture to beginners about feel, but every one eventually develops it. It comes by hitting many balls. If someone is selling you a shortcut to it, don't buy it. There are many things which put together give the sensation of feel.

TCF 01-16-2013 08:27 AM

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