Ask a Coach 2.0

Ash_Smith

Legend
This time play nice!

The premise of MasturB's thread was quite reasonable and got derailed pretty quick, so here's a rehash of it (basically I have a couple of hours to kill whilst watching the rugby). If any other coaches want to chime in feel free :)

Ask away...
 

indianballer

Semi-Pro
Hi Ash. I have a 14 year old student. He is just starting tournaments. Played 4 so far. His record is 1 and 4. Lost last 2 due to mental issues. 1st loss he was up 5 1 then got a bad line call and lost 1st set because he was really mad. 2nd set up 5 2 then 2 bad line calls and he couldn't hit a ball he was so indignant about it. This was a kid he should beat 1 and 1.

Last loss for some reason he double faulted 20 times. And still got both sets to tie break and lost.

He plays practice matches last 3 months and destroys the other kids. Clearly a level above skill wise.

At what point does the use of a sports psychologist play into the juniors development? At the early stages of getting tournament experience or after a year or 2?

Thanks.
 
1) He (or you) needs to get that "should have beat that kid 1 and 1" mentality out of the head. You cannot take opponents for granted. Respect the game, respect the opponents, and enter each match expecting the best from your opponent(s).

2) You're going to have bad calls, that's just the way it is. As honest a person can be, judgement can still be faulty. Your student needs to realize that one or 2 point do not decide a match. Even if the calls came on break/set points. You said he should have beaten this kid 1 and 1 right? Then surely you can break back.

3) When you double fault 20 times, at some point, you're going to have to ease off the 1st serve a little bit. Even if you have to spin the 1st serve in. Spinning the 1st serve in is not that dangerous in reality, because you're praying on the possible fact that your opponent won't be all that offensive on a 1st serve return. You need to get some 1st serves in because you can't let you opponent accept these facts, since you've been double faulting left and right:
- You're going to get a look at a 2nd serve on virtually every point.
- You're going to give the point on a double fault on every other point.

4) Practice matches are practice matches, who's to say your opponent in the tournament hasn't been killing kids for months as well? It's good to have confidence, but you can't let it get over your head man.

5) Can't comment on sports psychologist. Unlike most people here, I don't touch on stuff I know nothing about.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
@indianballer Some form of psychology training/mental skills development should be built into every session in my opinion, even from a fairly young age. Tennis requires a ridiculous level of personal resilience, so the earlier you can start to create an environment that helps develop resilience the better - even though the athlete may not know that is part of what is happening.

The language you use and the reinforcements you make also have a massive bearing on the psychological make up of the athletes you work with.

In the example you show above, going only on what you have said, I would suggest that the player in question values winning above all else. If he is beating the same kids in practice and then underperforming "when it matters" I would suggest helping change the way he views tournaments. For example, I talk with players about competition as being the best training session they will ever get, because we can never recreate the same environment in training (as much as we try) - once an athlete views competition as "another training session" it starts to change their perspective.

I would also recommend sitting down with the player ahead of an event and having them answer the question "Success for me today will look like..." (hint - the answer cannot be winning!). You then evaluate post match/es based on that statement. For example, a lad I work with has issues around emotional control and has a big regional event coming up at the weekend. We have worked on a couple of interventions for him to use during the match and for him success for the tournament is "trying to maintain my cool, but even if I don't I will be 100% ready for the next point" - in other words he has to accept his current thoughts/emotions and shift focus back to the task.

*Edited to add - Say Chi Sin Lo makes a great point - the word "should" is psychologically dangerous - not one to use with athletes or allow athletes to use.

Hope that helps.
 

Postpre

Rookie
Ash,

I've enjoyed reading your contributions over the years. Thanks for starting this thread.

A while back, when Heath Waters' brain based approach (to the forehand) was broached, you chimed in a bit how your coaching methods have evolved over time. From what you've learned, what are some ways to implement a practice plan for 10-12 year old juniors that utilizes brain based/outcome oriented/random approach to practice?

Two handed backhand: Do you see a trend toward the semi-western grip for the top (non dominant) hand? Any pitfalls to this grip? Would you allow such a grip with a young junior? Also, did you get the chance to ask Murray if he purposely flexes his right wrist (bottom hand) when he drops his racquet below the ball in the downswing of his backhand?

Thanks!
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
Ash,

I've enjoyed reading your contributions over the years. Thanks for starting this thread.

A while back, when Heath Waters' brain based approach (to the forehand) was broached, you chimed in a bit how your coaching methods have evolved over time. From what you've learned, what are some ways to implement a practice plan for 10-12 year old juniors that utilizes brain based/outcome oriented/random approach to practice?

Two handed backhand: Do you see a trend toward the semi-western grip for the top (non dominant) hand? Any pitfalls to this grip? Would you allow such a grip with a young junior? Also, did you get the chance to ask Murray if he purposely flexes his right wrist (bottom hand) when he drops his racquet below the ball in the downswing of his backhand?

Thanks!
I prefer the word "variable" to "random" in respect of practice (to me random implies that the training is not targeted towards a specific improvement). In terms of implementing a practice plan (i'm assuming you are referring to team training or similar - if not please correct me), then you are looking to create scenarios that allow the athletes to explore and find technical or tactical solutions to the problems you set. I would try and keep everything as close to the competition environment/format as possible (that is live ball, player hitting with player/coach as opposed to feeding or ball machine), which naturally brings variability into play (there is, of course, a place for dead ball feeding). As a simple example, say you're helping players identify game styles - you might write a bunch of different game styles on bits of paper (S&V, counterpuncher, defender, net rusher, whatever) and have each player pick one at random. They then have 5 minutes to figure out what that game style could look like and then play some points against another player. They get to explore different ways of playing and different tactics their opponents might play and through experiential learning they get to develop skills. You can then reflect with them and question to guide the learning if required.

Backhand, more so with the girls. Have no issues with it providing the player finds an appropriate contact and it fits in with their tactical intention/gamestyle. No, didn't get a chance to ask Andy :)
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
Ash, wouldn't you say every top player values winning above everything else? I get it that you are teaching a young player and this psychological issue is getting in his way, but it seems to me this approach lets someone be satisfied with losing gracefully.

I think there is a lot to be said for concentrating on just hitting each shot rather than getting results obsessed, but tennis gives you so many opportunities to get discouraged or quit during a match.
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
...1st loss he was up 5 1 then got a bad line call and lost 1st set because he was really mad. 2nd set up 5 2 then 2 bad line calls and he couldn't hit a ball he was so indignant about it.
One drill that helped me get over bad line calls when I was younger,...
Play sets, where every player gets a chance to overule a point in a game (ie. forcing the equivalent of 2 bad line calls per game). Over time, you just expect it, and shrug it off, and get into the habit of getting on with the next point (vs. getting angry over the injustice of the previous point).
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
Ash, wouldn't you say every top player values winning above everything else? I get it that you are teaching a young player and this psychological issue is getting in his way, but it seems to me this approach lets someone be satisfied with losing gracefully.

I think there is a lot to be said for concentrating on just hitting each shot rather than getting results obsessed, but tennis gives you so many opportunities to get discouraged or quit during a match.
@RetroSpin Absolutely, every elite athlete values winning - but when we focus on it more often than not, form a mindset perspective, we come un stuck. So, we need to park the fact that winning is important and shift our focus to something that actually helps us do just that.

The goal with any developing athlete is exactly that - development. An outcome focus hinders that development in the vast majority, so we must switch to a process or performance mindset. Losing is all part of learning and so yes, I have no issue with an athlete losing, providing they have focus on the performance or process goals and that they learn from the experience. I don't mind an athlete losing a few matches now if it means she wins a medal in Rio in 8 months time :)
 
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Ash_Smith

Legend
One drill that helped me get over bad line calls when I was younger,...
Play sets, where every player gets a chance to overule a point in a game (ie. forcing the equivalent of 2 bad line calls per game). Over time, you just expect it, and shrug it off, and get into the habit of getting on with the next point (vs. getting angry over the injustice of the previous point).
Yep, I like this and do something similar where we give each player 2 "hawkeye" challenges, which they always win - so they always get to replay the point. The fun part is after when you start to dissect why they took their challenges when they did - some do it because they fee they should have played the point better, others just to p*** off the opponent after they hit a good shot.
 
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indianballer

Semi-Pro
Well as a coach I can usually say the game scores in matches in most cases in match ups. It is the mental aspect that is the variable imo. So that is why I ask about it. I am not sure of the current high performance ideas for developing juniors in terms of a professional psychologist so which is why I asked. Would not the use of a psychologist during the early development stages teach better coping skills for emotional control? Or is it better to get say 50 matches under your belt before using a sports psychologist? Or is the use of one even necessary? And only match play teaches this aspect?
 
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PittsburghDad

Guest
Do you believe we will be able to actually see a difference in quality of tennis (good or bad), ten years from now directly related to Play and Stay/Quick Start? Do you think kids will be tactically better? Could it save the OHBH?
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
Well as a coach I can usually say the game scores in matches in most cases in match ups. It is the mental aspect that is the variable imo. So that is why I ask about it. I am not sure of the current high performance ideas for developing juniors in terms of a professional psychologist so which is why I asked. Would not the use of a psychologist during the early development stages teach better coping skills for emotional control? Or is it better to get say 50 matches under your belt before using a sports psychologist? Or is the use of one even necessary? And only match play teaches this aspect?
If the coaches doesn't have the psychology skills necessary then accessing a sports psychologist is a good idea - but I would recommend the psych work with the coach, rather than the athlete initially - to up-skill the coach. One coach up-skilled helps 100's of players! One player up-skilled helps 1.

As I said earlier - build psychology/mental skills training into all sessions and from quite early on - there is no need to wait for the athlete to start competing, get ahead of the game and be proactive rather than waiting for the horse to bolt and then locking the door.
 

indianballer

Semi-Pro
1) He (or you) needs to get that "should have beat that kid 1 and 1" mentality out of the head. You cannot take opponents for granted. Respect the game, respect the opponents, and enter each match expecting the best from your opponent(s).

2) You're going to have bad calls, that's just the way it is. As honest a person can be, judgement can still be faulty. Your student needs to realize that one or 2 point do not decide a match. Even if the calls came on break/set points. You said he should have beaten this kid 1 and 1 right? Then surely you can break back.

3) When you double fault 20 times, at some point, you're going to have to ease off the 1st serve a little bit. Even if you have to spin the 1st serve in. Spinning the 1st serve in is not that dangerous in reality, because you're praying on the possible fact that your opponent won't be all that offensive on a 1st serve return. You need to get some 1st serves in because you can't let you opponent accept these facts, since you've been double faulting left and right:
- You're going to get a look at a 2nd serve on virtually every point.
- You're going to give the point on a double fault on every other point.

4) Practice matches are practice matches, who's to say your opponent in the tournament hasn't been killing kids for months as well? It's good to have confidence, but you can't let it get over your head man.

5) Can't comment on sports psychologist. Unlike most people here, I don't touch on stuff I know nothing about.
I can say he should beat this kid 1 and 1 because I am a tennis coach and I guess scores all the time pretty correctly between kids I know.

In terms of double faulting 20 times and losing. He broke the other kids serve every service. So they basically decided the match on tie breaks. Where my player double faulted a few in each. So the match was decided on the double faults.

My question was very specific and yes thanks for your reply but the typical tw water cooler regurgitated posting is not what I am asking.

My question was when is it appropriate to include a sports psychologist.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
Do you believe we will be able to actually see a difference in quality of tennis (good or bad), ten years from now directly related to Play and Stay/Quick Start? Do you think kids will be tactically better? Could it save the OHBH?
To a certain extent it is irrelevant as just about every major tennis nation is running some variation of "tennis10s" so the playing field is level across the board! I think we will see better 12/14 year olds - whether that translates further into the pro's is very hard to judge as there are still limited spots available to make a living. We will see increased participation though, that I am certain of.

I wrote a piece years back about how the 1HB could be back in vogue with the advent of mini-tennis as all the usual excuses for not teaching it are removed - unfortunately I think we now have a generation of coaches who have never hit a 1HB or learned how to teach one, so it may make no difference - if coaches aren't allowing it to happen then it won't make any difference what format the game takes :(
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
Ford, Farrell, Cipriani, Burns.

As a coach, who do you pick?

And does the decision change as a fan?
Cipriani, if I pick Goode at fullback as he can kick (last time I watched Danny in person at Kingsholm his place kicking was shocking). Otherwise Ford, he can kick almost as well as Farrell, isn't a card risk and can at least get a backline moving.
 

indianballer

Semi-Pro
If the coaches doesn't have the psychology skills necessary then accessing a sports psychologist is a good idea - but I would recommend the psych work with the coach, rather than the athlete initially - to up-skill the coach. One coach up-skilled helps 100's of players! One player up-skilled helps 1.

As I said earlier - build psychology/mental skills training into all sessions and from quite early on - there is no need to wait for the athlete to start competing, get ahead of the game and be proactive rather than waiting for the horse to bolt and then locking the door.
Well I am the coach... I don't have the psych skills. I guess I need to really learn this side of tennis coaching. I need to get ahead of this. This kid is a pure athlete and can be scary good. If I stay his coach and he does well I can attract a lot of new clients.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
Well I am the coach... I don't have the psych skills. I guess I need to really learn this side of tennis coaching. I need to get ahead of this. This kid is a pure athlete and can be scary good. If I stay his coach and he does well I can attract a lot of new clients.
I have long now been an advocate of certification courses and qualifications for coaches including way more of the "softer" coaching skills rather than just loading up on the sports specifics - those "soft" skills are what helps build the athlete. If you are serious about developing as a coach then psychology skills are essential - everything in coaching relates back to it in some way (even skill acquisition is based in psychology).

Maybe find a psychology student at a local college and see if they'll work with you or if nothing else read "Mindset" by Carol Dweck.
 
I can say he should beat this kid 1 and 1 because I am a tennis coach and I guess scores all the time pretty correctly between kids I know.

In terms of double faulting 20 times and losing. He broke the other kids serve every service. So they basically decided the match on tie breaks. Where my player double faulted a few in each. So the match was decided on the double faults.

My question was very specific and yes thanks for your reply but the typical tw water cooler regurgitated posting is not what I am asking.

My question was when is it appropriate to include a sports psychologist.
Wow. Definitely can't expect the kid to listen when the coach isn't open to other people's perspective. And you've completely missed my point, it's not a matter of whether you can guess scorelines correctly, it's the mentality of being overly confident, borderline arrogant.

Maybe if you taught your kid to adapt and find a way to increase his 1st serve %, and ways to fight off a bad service day, he wouldn't be in a tie-break to begin with. Because, based on your arrogant tone and description, your kid basically handed out games until the tie-break, where he handed out more points, right?

You should modify your initial question, when is it appropriate for your student and "the coach" include a sports psychologist, eat some humble pies once in a while.
 
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PittsburghDad

Guest
To a certain extent it is irrelevant as just about every major tennis nation is running some variation of "tennis10s" so the playing field is level across the board! I think we will see better 12/14 year olds - whether that translates further into the pro's is very hard to judge as there are still limited spots available to make a living. We will see increased participation though, that I am certain of.

I wrote a piece years back about how the 1HB could be back in vogue with the advent of mini-tennis as all the usual excuses for not teaching it are removed - unfortunately I think we now have a generation of coaches who have never hit a 1HB or learned how to teach one, so it may make no difference - if coaches aren't allowing it to happen then it won't make any difference what format the game takes :(
Thanks. I agree about coaches not teaching it. My daughter hits it because nobody told us different. But we NEVER see any other juniors hitting a topdoin OHBH
 

indianballer

Semi-Pro
Wow. Definitely can't expect the kid to listen when the coach isn't open to other people's perspective. And you've completely missed my point, it's not a matter of whether you can guess scorelines correctly, it's the mentality of being overly confident, borderline arrogant.

Maybe if you taught your kid to adapt and find a way to increase his 1st serve %, and ways to fight off a bad service day, he wouldn't be in a tie-break to begin with. Because, based on your arrogant tone and description, your kid basically handed out games until the tie-break, where he handed out more points, right?

You should modify your initial question, when is it appropriate for your student and "the coach" include a sports psychologist, eat some humble pies once in a while.
You need to stop putting your thoughts of my students into your ideas. My questions and post should be taken at face value. When did I say he was not taught a spin serve. Or to back off? He does everything you posted. The question was does applying psychological help early from a psychologist help the player.

The kid is not arrogant. He is not mean or rude. The question was simple and aimed at other coaches. Your answer was regurgitated tw postings. Trust me. Everything you said the kid knows. I don't need sureshs to teach me a fh. Get it?

Don't you think my asking this question is seeing if there are other methods to get the kid to adapt to tournament play faster? What is your problem? If you can't answer the question stay out if this thread.

I ask a mechanic how to fix my flat tire and you start yelling about the pizza store. Get real.
 
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eaglesburg

Guest
How can I work on not overhitting in rallies? A lot of times I will get impatient and just go for the kill with my forehand and oftentimes miss.
 
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PittsburghDad

Guest
Would you have any long term injury concerns about a kid (9) using a full eastern backhand grip on serve? If it's the one they prefer? Probably hitting 150-200 serves a week.
 

Crisp

Professional
hi ash I have no specific question but I am interested in the differences between coaching wheelchair tennis to coaching the usual type of tennis. What technical differences and tactical differences are there? I have never coached a wheelchair player. Also how does someone like Esther vergeer ( spelling) win so many matches
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
How can I work on not overhitting in rallies? A lot of times I will get impatient and just go for the kill with my forehand and oftentimes miss.
Without wishing to be glib about it - you have a choice - choose not to be impatient! You may need to send some time building awareness of what it is that causes your impatience, but generally it is something you have complete control over - choose to be more patient!
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
Would you have any long term injury concerns about a kid (9) using a full eastern backhand grip on serve? If it's the one they prefer? Probably hitting 150-200 serves a week.
There is nothing inherently risky from an injury perspective in choosing any grip - how that grip then affects the rest of the mechanics is where there could be an issue, but if the technique is mechanically sound there there should be no long term risk of injury. Volume of serves for a 9 year old I would be more concerned with - depending on how those 150-200 serves are broken up.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
I watched some 12s and 14s matches and I don't think they're better than anything from before if anything they're worse. Some ropey tekkers which wasn't my main issue but they lacked any skills. (I've not been in the industry for long enough to understand but chatted t over with another coach who's coached some top players) They couldn't volley, half volley or slice or move the opponent off the court with the angle.

So my question. Is this the same as ever or do the players have a narrower but more developed skill set that revolves around high loop and grind but have too many neglected skills or is this just my perception from an inexperienced stand point
I think the hope was that mini-tennis systems would allow players to develop more all court game styles as the court is more proportionate to their physical stature - however, we probably still see coaches encouraging baseline grinding as that is what gets wins now - and for far too many coaches, players and parents winning now is most important. Until we change that mindset we will likely see the situation continue - how do we change that behaviour over night - simple, get rid of ratings for u12's ;)
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
hi ash I have no specific question but I am interested in the differences between coaching wheelchair tennis to coaching the usual type of tennis. What technical differences and tactical differences are there? I have never coached a wheelchair player. Also how does someone like Esther vergeer ( spelling) win so many matches
@Crisp To keep it simple - it's still tennis at the end of the day, 80% of what I teach is what I would teach to any athlete. The 20% difference is the movement patterns, which in respect of covering the spaces etc is very similar, but obviously the technical aspects of the movement are different. Technically, there is not a lot to change, only we work from the waist up, rather than the ground up - for different impairments we may have to adapt and overcome different challenges, but to me that's the great thing about working in wheelchair tennis - you are constantly problem solving with different players with different physical capabilities.

As for Esther - I spoke to her just before her retirement to ask her the secret (for anyone who doesn't know she was unbeaten for 10 years and 470 matches) - she said "every rally i had to hit 4 balls into the corners of the court, in any sequence" and that was it, that was her secret!
 
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PittsburghDad

Guest
There is nothing inherently risky from an injury perspective in choosing any grip - how that grip then affects the rest of the mechanics is where there could be an issue, but if the technique is mechanically sound there there should be no long term risk of injury. Volume of serves for a 9 year old I would be more concerned with - depending on how those 150-200 serves are broken up.
Thanks. We don't do more than 50 a day. Never three days in a row.
 
Without wishing to be glib about it - you have a choice - choose not to be impatient! You may need to send some time building awareness of what it is that causes your impatience, but generally it is something you have complete control over - choose to be more patient!
Greatest advice ever:D I resemble this....LOL. I play (much of the time) first strike type tennis (as I find it enjoyable), but I know it is detrimental statistically.

I read somewhere that unforced errors determine the outcome of nearly every single rec player tennis match and that even at the pro level that concept applies until the very top of the rankings. Basically, most of us are going to make an error at some point on what is otherwise an "easy" ball. So, if you can hit 15 in a row, but your partner can do 16, you are cooked. Tennis scoring exaggerates differences dramatically, and this is where the UEs start to show great and unfortunate affect.
 

johndagolfer

Professional
Hey Ash,

I have a few casual high school students that constantly do two things no matter how much I try to change them.

1. Refuse to move their elbows away from their sides often causing a self induced jam when the ball is hit at them.

2. Refuse to hit farther forward that their hips. Very arms oriented swing with very little drive from the legs

I honestly think that the root cause of this is that they were never taught an athletic move growing up. This is evident when I try to get them to throw a ball. Have you dealt with older students who lack this coordination and how would you over come it

Thanks
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
Hey Ash,

I have a few casual high school students that constantly do two things no matter how much I try to change them.

1. Refuse to move their elbows away from their sides often causing a self induced jam when the ball is hit at them.

2. Refuse to hit farther forward that their hips. Very arms oriented swing with very little drive from the legs

I honestly think that the root cause of this is that they were never taught an athletic move growing up. This is evident when I try to get them to throw a ball. Have you dealt with older students who lack this coordination and how would you over come it

Thanks
@johndagolfer In many situations like this the issue is not lack of coordination, but that the athlete lacks 'feel' and therefore do not realise there is a problem - you may need to over exaggerate the problem to help them feel the change that is required.

To give you an example from a rowing. There was an athlete who, when fatigued, would lean to their left and therefore lose control and rhythm with their oar. The coach decided to make a road wedge for the athlete to sit on to counter act the lean - which would help mask the problem, but not solve the issue. So we suggested that they actually put the wedge under the right side of the athlete, to force them to lean more to the left - what then happens is they can really feel the lean and so force themselves to sit up right and maintain posture, especially when fatigued. It solved the problem as the athlete became hyper-aware of their issue and learned how to fire the correct muscles to hold a good posture.

So, in your case I would try to find some method of over exaggerating their issues - for example find a way to make them hit with their elbows literally touching their sides (maybe they have to hold a piece of paper against their side with their elbows and not drop it during the swing, or something like that). That should allow them to develop the sense of how 'wrong' it feels and may prompt them to correct it when you release the paper.
 
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Ash_Smith

Legend
But then how will we know which 12 year old is the best and who to give all the funding to so that the will be top 10 when they are 22?
I know right?!?! :)

Sadly I doubt my idea will ever be accepted, not here anyway.

NB - I say my idea, it isn't really as the Dutch have the same idea for football, no league tables for under 12 (or at least they used to).
 

Coolio

Professional
Design a 1 1/2 squad session with 8 tournament players aged 14 years old. Physical Warm up has been done. You have 2 full courts, so every player could have a half court. Then what would you do differently if I gave you a 3rd court.

Goal of session is consistency from the baseline and aggression with the forehand where possible.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
^^^ That's not a question :)

That said, I would look to design some challenges which reward consistency when both back - things like first to 100 where the number of balls in the rally is the number of points the winner gets - the players have to decide how they approach it, do they look to attack early and pick up 2 and 3 points at a time, or go long and try to maintain pressure to pick up big points in one go.

Then I would look to change the scenario to encourage the forehand aggression you're looking for - maybe something like designating one player the "attacker" and they have to win the point inside 10 shots, if they succeed the next point they have 9 shots and so on counting down to 2 then swap roles. Could be done 2 on 1 so the attacker has to cover the full court and work harder (the attackers play alternate points, defenders play 2 on in singles court)

That could be my basic framework, from that I would edit and amend as necessary. I like to let drills run for a certain time before I interject with reflection and questions - i'm not one to bark out instructions every 30 seconds.
 
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Coolio

Professional
^^^ That's not a question
How would you run a 1 1/2 squad session with 8 tournament players aged 14 years old? Assuming Physical Warm up has been done, You have 2 full courts, so every player could have a half court.

Goal of session is consistency from the baseline and aggression with the forehand where possible.

Just interested in how you would run the session, and see if I get any new ideas...
 

Coolio

Professional
Would you always try and include serve and return as often as possible in squad situations or in any coaching sitaution?

Sometimes squads can involve a lot of baseline drilling and not so much serving and returning which make up 40% of the sport and reflects a match situation. So your 100 point game could be done cc with a serve and return to start the point.

A lot of squads for high level juniors I know, look like this, 10-12 juniors. Baseline hitting for depth past service line 10 mins, Crosscourts with depth past service line 20mins, Crosscourt Pointplay 10mins, Warm Up Volleys Smashes, Serves, 5mins, Play sets 40mins....5 mins serve practice other than set play, this is a big mistake I see. Have you come across these sorts of squads, with players Moving Up and Down courts if they win or lose drills and what are your thoughts on these situations?
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
^^^ Yep, every scenario could/should be started with a serve, unless I was asking the players to hit straight up and down in half courts for whatever reason (maybe to promote pressure through hitting depth), in which case I wouldn't have them serve.

Yep, I see that kind of session pattern quite a lot. The one that really irks with me is when the coach sets up like half the session devoted to doing "2 cross, 1 line" drills. When you ask the players when was the last time you did that pattern in a match, most of the time they can't remember doing it or will say hardly ever.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
@MethodTennis - I suspect that when coaches do 2 cross - 1 line they will argue that the drill forces the player to get into a position for the third ball whereby they can go line and as such that is where the learning lies. I'm not sure I buy this argument.

I much prefer the variation you speak of, whereby the player gets to choose the ball they feel is the best to change on - then you get decision making and positioning.
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
the coach at our uni loves that. 3 cross 1 line, then 2,then 1. usually do some kind of progression when you go cross until you get chance to go line then play it out. I think it happens fairly often but that drill can become awkward because youre going line or cross when you'd never do that on that ball. On the other hand there is a skill in trying to even get it to head towards the target from the awkward position.

I think quite a lot go like the point at 18.35 in this one at 30-30 on ferrers serve, they grind 4/5 balls cross court then wawrinka goes line
@MethodTennis - I suspect that when coaches do 2 cross - 1 line they will argue that the drill forces the player to get into a position for the third ball whereby they can go line and as such that is where the learning lies. I'm not sure I buy this argument.

I much prefer the variation you speak of, whereby the player gets to choose the ball they feel is the best to change on - then you get decision making and positioning.
Variations of this drill I like doing is awarding weighted points to the person who initiates going down the line (if they win the point)...
* Variation 1: start cc game (say bh to bh) to 11. if a player A goes down the line, and player B misses, player A gets 2 points (if player B defends and gets it back - regardless of where it goes), Player B gets 1 point
* Variation 2: same as #1, but now when B defends, just play out the point (initiator A gets 2 if they win the point, defender B only gets 1)
You can change the weighting if you have 2 conservative players that still don't want to change direction.
You can change the rules of the drill according to what you want to practice (eg. no approach shots/net play, can't hit "inside" stroke when ball lands cc, can't hit drop shots/must land past the baseline, etc...)
I think this still promotes enough incentive to practice going down the line, and lets players choose the "right" ball to go down the line.

Then again, my favorite drill, when I really want to practice going down the line,... is 1 person always goes dtl, 1 person always goes cc,... play to 5 or 7, then switch roles. Gets tiring, quick!
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
This time play nice!

The premise of MasturB's thread was quite reasonable and got derailed pretty quick, so here's a rehash of it (basically I have a couple of hours to kill whilst watching the rugby). If any other coaches want to chime in feel free :)

Ask away...
A big "ahha" that happened that really helped my forehand was on the take back. I was using my arm mostly and that was messing things up. Since then I am taking things back with the body almost entirely and same on the one handed BH, using more body than arm.

Looking at the serve, I think I can do the same thing and volleys too.

Is it safe to say that the take back on most shots is best being done mostly by the torso??
 

Rino

Banned
Hi Ash.

In training I have no problem with volleys. Doing drills like volleying to a partner across the net standing in the service box I could go all day. Same goes for being fed balls and playing them back. I think I am also solid at volleying in doubles when playing as the net player and kind of pride myself on my quick reactions.

However in match situations, particularly singles, I find myself time and time again playing the ball behind me and swinging into my shots rather than punching them, particularly when approaching. I find it harder to track the ball onto my racket - it feels like I am late/rushed into playing the shot as I don't gauge the direction/height/speed until the last second.

How can I translate my volleying from practice into actual match situations? What drills would you recommend? There seems to me a big difference in the feel and mind set of volleying in practice in closed drills compared to match situations.

Thanks
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Hi Ash.

In training I have no problem with volleys. Doing drills like volleying to a partner across the net standing in the service box I could go all day. Same goes for being fed balls and playing them back. I think I am also solid at volleying in doubles when playing as the net player and kind of pride myself on my quick reactions.

However in match situations, particularly singles, I find myself time and time again playing the ball behind me and swinging into my shots rather than punching them, particularly when approaching. I find it harder to track the ball onto my racket - it feels like I am late/rushed into playing the shot as I don't gauge the direction/height/speed until the last second.

How can I translate my volleying from practice into actual match situations? What drills would you recommend? There seems to me a big difference in the feel and mind set of volleying in practice in closed drills compared to match situations.

Thanks
My $0.02... there is a different feel when volleying while planted vs. volleying while moving in
Even tracking the ball is different when the head is moving vs. relatively still.
Couple drills I practiced to help:
* partner drill.. start behind 2-3ft behind the service line volleying to one another, moving up until you reach the net, then make your way back... you can alternate 1 person moving, 1 person planted,... or both people moving, etc...
* play s&v sets, cc only, to maximize opportunities to hit that first volley, and closing volley... with 2 equally skilled players, the s&v'er should win every time (because it should be net to impossible to pass with the constraint of only hitting cc)
 

julian

Hall of Fame
Hi Ash. I have a 14 year old student. He is just starting tournaments. Played 4 so far. His record is 1 and 4. Lost last 2 due to mental issues. 1st loss he was up 5 1 then got a bad line call and lost 1st set because he was really mad. 2nd set up 5 2 then 2 bad line calls and he couldn't hit a ball he was so indignant about it. This was a kid he should beat 1 and 1.

Last loss for some reason he double faulted 20 times. And still got both sets to tie break and lost.

He plays practice matches last 3 months and destroys the other kids. Clearly a level above skill wise.

At what point does the use of a sports psychologist play into the juniors development? At the early stages of getting tournament experience or after a year or 2?

Thanks.
Please google Larry Lauer ista
 

Bomba Server

New User
Ciao Coach,

How much practice time should be devoted to service training?

My 15 year old son is a national level junior player in Italy where we live, and is now developing his game style around his big serve. He is 6'7" inches and has a first serve at 220 km or more hit flat with the serve going in about 65% of the time. The second serve is a heavy slice serve still hit with a lot of speed, only one or two double faults in a match, and he is working on a kick serve, which is still under construction. Most of this big serving seemed to come naturally with little coaching and serve practice of about 10 minutes per day. Because he is very tall, and muscular, his balls are very fast and heavy and his serve is big. Not being a tennis expert....I am not sure what type of serve program is needed at his age. His level of serve is rarely seen here amongst the smaller Italian junior players, and I wonder if it is something we need to focus on more with specialzed coaching for the serve? What type of training and how much would be advised?

Looking forward to any advice. Thank you.
 
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