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Old 02-07-2013, 09:34 AM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,109

I would focus on her timing first because it doesn't matter what grip she's using, how open or closed the face is, or what motion the back swing goes in if she is hitting the ball late. Contact must be out in front.
Also, if she is cramped on standard backhands, she just needs to be further from the ball so her arms can extend.
The last of the initial things I would examine is the grip, just make sure her hands are in the correct place every time.

While I am a learning student of advanced level tennis myself, I have coached elementary-middle school aged children for many many years, and I just got a job in my new living area as a 10U junior tennis coach, so I am better at breaking down issues for younger players than older players. You just need to smash any bad habits she has by making her uncomfortable. If she is making contact late, start with tossing balls and tell her to swing as early as she can while still making contact. Doesn't matter right away if they are good shots or not, but it's getting her to make hitting early a new habit. Similarly, toss her balls and have her make contact as far away from her body as she can.

Even though they are similar, do the two drills separately. The point is to make her initially uncomfortable, and then you need to explain why she needs to hit earlier and farther out from her body. With those ideas in her mind, and constant reminding from you, she will eventually and naturally find a new comfortable hitting zone that has her hitting early and farther out with success.

With the grip, if you need to change it to correct it, after every backhand have her replace her hands where they need to be and have her tell you where they are. Eventually, she should start to make a mental note of where her hands should be and it will be natural, but have her do this until it is definitely natural and she can show you that it is.

It's all about making good habits, so whenever she starts deviating from what she should be doing, start this process again. I also find that it helps to be creative, using terms like "pat the dog" and "check your watch" really do stick for children. If you make terms more personal for your daughter they will stick even more. Also, I have no problem with young players watching pro videos, but slow motion is the best way to go. Watch it with her, show her all the things the pros are doing that you are trying to get her to do naturally, and explain (to the best of your ability) why they are doing them. I am also a fan of making your own videos, so if you film her before you start to make the adjustments and show her what she is doing wrong, it should help her thinking process. Take as much video as possible, especially after she makes a good habit so you can show her the difference. I am a visual learner so I know it helps me.
"Why should the devil have all the good music?" Kevin Max, formerly of DC Talk

Last edited by TheLambsheadrep; 02-07-2013 at 09:38 AM.
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