Originally Posted by Relinquis
thanks for the replies guys.
that's kind of what i'm looking to figure out. instead of just arguing classical vs. MTM, what are the main approaches, techniques or philosophies of tennis teaching/training that are currently used?
I mean there are lots of different coaches who have worked with top players (pro, college and junior) and several top academies around the world that churn out players (USA, Spain, UK, etc...). How do their approaches differ? Are they based on players and coaches handing down what works from experience/competition or is it empirical, or a mixture of the two? What about all of the analytics at the various universities? Tennis is pretty heavily researched and modeled isn't it?
from just this thread:
- High speed video analysis of pros (ideal hitting) and of the student.
- statistical analysis of shot selection and game strategy. I know people use this for pros, but have you seen this applied to college, junior or maybe even rec level players who are interested enough? Are the academies using this?
- the Oscar Wegner school MTM.
But what about the other approaches? Bollettieri, Lansdorp, or dare i say Brad Gilbert? What are they doing and what part of tennis do they focus on? What about how all of these top non-USA trained players are being taught and developed? What are they doing differently? What about going beyond just strokes and hitting to strategy and mental toughness?
Can any of us non-pros benefit from this or should we just put in the hours on the court and have a good time while everyone else argues?
For me, I try to work on my game by focusing on one area in every practice session and seeking opinions from more than one coach when i need to (a few sessions every 6 months or so). I've had experience with two coaches in two different countries over the past 12 months and have learned a bit from both. They have very different styles.
I read a lot about this stuff (and also play - put in 4 hours today). Some of the main things going on today:
Under 10 tennis is dramatically changed due to new ITF and USTA formats of smaller courts and bigger, softer balls. John Muir, the outgoing TIA President, reports that while participation grew in 2012 over 2011, the main increase was in the 6-11 demographic, due to the new initiatives.
School tennis is being targeted as the key to prevent the best athletes in the US opting for other sports. Even Todd Martin has gotten into the action in Florida.
The number of junior US tourneys on clay has been increased. It is the belief of PMac and the USTA high performance director, Jose Higueras, that the European and South American model of clay court exposure from childhood is the way forward. This is not popular with the other faction headed by Wayne Bryan. European schools like Sanchez-Casal and Henin's academy have now expanded into the US.
It is being increasingly observed that due to 18 year school in US (as opposed to 16 year secondary school in some European countries) US juniors are disadvantaged (Fed and Nadal are both school dropouts per US standards). So parents are going for homeschool, partial time public charter school, partial time public online school, flex time pricey private school or academy school to come up with a tennis-centric life for their kid. Traditional full-time public school now has increased homework and competitive demands and taking time off for tennis is very costly in terms of school performance.
The Spanish model is clay court tennis with long points favoring point construction. With the slowing down of courts, the American dominating style of tennis is getting de-emphasized. So teaching these days needs to adapt to this new reality. Endurance, fitness and upper body strength are more important than even before.
Technology is playing a big role. High speed HD Video recordings, Dartfish video analysis, 3D analysis with sensors, and fitness equipment of all kinds are being used. For example, Gil Reyes and Agassi have developed a custom gym machine which Verdasco uses, but the details are kept secret and he cannot talk about it. Same with nutrition. Latest reports are that after Novak came out about his gluten-free diet, many pros are now giving up carbs, prompting nutritionists to counter this by pointing out the negatives. Point is, technology and information are playing a big role in training, not just the traditional stroke development.
And about the analytics: no, tennis is not at all researched and modeled. Popular American sports are the ones which have been researched ad nauseum. Physics of tennis has not gone much beyond the book by Rod Cross and the TWU professor. Perhaps the most interesting things are in TWU and this forum.
Equipment changes include use of polys, hybrids, and lower tensions. Recent claims are that pro tensions are now in the 40s and below.
As far as fundamental stroke teaching goes: frankly from what I read, not much has changed. Sure, some people still talk about the reverse forehand and the inside out forehand as being "new." And commentators have to say how top spin is now much more than when they were playing. But for the cutting edge folks on this forum, this is old news. So I don't think the teaching of fundamental strokes has undergone any remarkable changes. That viewpoint seems to be unique to this forum only. I don't see it reflected in the tennis literature in the form of magazines or Tennis Channel etc.