Drilling with others

MRfStop

Professional
Here locally there are several days during the week where there are adult doubles drills. A pro feeds balls to players and then they play out points working on their game. Last night, due to low participation by 4.0+ Men the past few weeks, the pro invited some ladies to play ranging from 3.5-4.0 in rating. Some of the ladies have decent strokes and compete with the 4.0 guys.

I usually attend only the 4.0+ men’s drill during the week. It’s a decent work out and it helps my game. The other drills during the week are more social oriented and aren’t really worth the 25-30 min drive away and I also try to avoid the mixed drills because of certain people and how they operate. For example: there is a 3.5 guy who only concentrates on who won the point and tends to tell the pro what the next drill should be when the previous drill is over. What irritates me is when someone in my group would hit a ball obviously out (sometimes hitting the bottom of the fence) he would yell “OUT!!” and him and his partner would throw their finger up every single time. He grunts LOUD every shot. Some of the women in these mixed drills do not care about getting their game better. They are only concerned about winning the point or winning the round of drills (forehands cross court etc). They congratulate their partner on every point they win even if the ball is fed to someone across the net and they hit the ball out.

Drills to me is a work out and an opportunity to focus on weaknesses trying to strengthen those weaknesses through repetition. If I hit the ball out then I hit it out. But my main focus is to keep the ball in trying to give my partner and myself a chance to win the point. I don’t care if I lose the point because of a winner hit by the other team.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
I came to tennis from mostly a "team sports" background - baseball, basketball, and soccer, so I always look at "group lessons" the same way I looked at team practice. Admittedly during baseball team practices, the coaches would pull individuals aside and work on something - especially pitchers - and there was always batting practice which was pretty "individual" (but of course, HS and college team practices were 2.5 hours or longer, every day) but by and large - team practices were about drilling, and if needed, pulling an individual aside to work on a specific technique.

I do group tennis lessons to put what I've learned in my private lessons to work in "live" point play situations, so I tend to gravitate towards group lessons oriented at that... when I drill, I do so intensively, with a private coach, or with a ball machine, etc., so hitting one volley and then going to the back of the line isn't really doing me much good. I'd rather play "king of the court" or some other sort of live point play drill than "skill drill". I've paid for "skill drilling" in private lessons, so paying 1/6th as much for 1/10th as many reps isn't really worth it for me.

I have found very few adult rec tennis players that approach group lessons this way. Most of the ones I see are basically looking at group lessons as a cheap way to get tennis instruction ($10-15/hour instead of ~$60/hour for private instruction)... and so... what my experience has been is that drilling/group lessons with a group of randos is going to be a mixed bag... some folks will, as you mentioned, try to "win the drill"...

Meanwhile, other folks will attempt to hijack the group lesson to get personal individual stroke/technique instruction...

Find yourself a group of folks who views "group lessons" the same way you might view a baseball team practice, and you'll be able to get a lot done... but that group is about as rare as hen's teeth in my experience.
 
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OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I enjoy taking several group clinics a week. For me it is a cheap way to hit a lot of balls ($15 for 90 minutes) and I use it as an opportunity to work on what I am personally working on with a lot of repetition. I also use them as a warm-up prior to a match if the timing works. Usually after a clinic there will be a two-some or foursome that will play a real set of singles/dubs.

I find some people in some clinics insufferable. Those that try to "win the drill" are among them .... (aside from those drills that are merely live-ball match play where I play to win). But if they are loudly calling OUT or whatever ... don't care ... did I strike the ball well, did I work on my XYZ etc.

I am there for my reasons and I can focus on what I am trying to do and what they are trying to do is their own business.

The only people I will avoid are those that are dangerous .... typically the very young male 3.5 player who has zero control and zero clinic etiquette. (e.g. if 2 people in the drill are at net and he is waiting for the rotation, hit a line drive from the baseline on a missed ball, or after a point is over and he has netted a shot pick up a ball and smack it to a player who is re-setting for the next feed. I really hate these guys)

Figure in those situations everyone paid their $15 and if they are there for the social aspect, the get a bit of exercise aspect, improving, learning something ... whatever .... that is how they chose to spend their $15 and I am focused on why I am there.
 

MRfStop

Professional
I enjoy taking several group clinics a week. For me it is a cheap way to hit a lot of balls ($15 for 90 minutes) and I use it as an opportunity to work on what I am personally working on with a lot of repetition. I also use them as a warm-up prior to a match if the timing works. Usually after a clinic there will be a two-some or foursome that will play a real set of singles/dubs.

I find some people in some clinics insufferable. Those that try to "win the drill" are among them .... (aside from those drills that are merely live-ball match play where I play to win). But if they are loudly calling OUT or whatever ... don't care ... did I strike the ball well, did I work on my XYZ etc.

I am there for my reasons and I can focus on what I am trying to do and what they are trying to do is their own business.

The only people I will avoid are those that are dangerous .... typically the very young male 3.5 player who has zero control and zero clinic etiquette. (e.g. if 2 people in the drill are at net and he is waiting for the rotation, hit a line drive from the baseline on a missed ball, or after a point is over and he has netted a shot pick up a ball and smack it to a player who is re-setting for the next feed. I really hate these guys)

Figure in those situations everyone paid their $15 and if they are there for the social aspect, the get a bit of exercise aspect, improving, learning something ... whatever .... that is how they chose to spend their $15 and I am focused on why I am there.
I have noticed all of the mixed drill here that I have attended and try to avoid there are a few that only want to win the drill and every drill.

I don’t care about winning the drill. I don’t even care about winning the point. All I want is repetition and to hit against decent competition. Meaning that I don’t want to have to continuously move to from the baseline to the service line back to the baseline because people can’t hit the ball in on a feed.

The ladies that were on my side of the net were even commenting about how stupid it was for the guy to call the ball and throw his hand up every point out that was out.
 

R1FF

Semi-Pro
I’ve found most clinics are 90% social mixers with a tennis theme.

I stopped going to them entirely. Not efficient use of time. Switched to private lessons exclusively. Got some things fixed but have moved on from even the lessons...

Right now Im loving the hitting wall and meeting up with another serious player to do drills with (ie: let’s work on colleys for an hour).

I meet up to spar & drill with serious players 1v1 a few days/week. And play 2-3 matches per week.

I’ve found the wall to make for the most significant improvements to my game. Im not even doing private lessons anymore. 2x per week was getting too expensive. I now film my wall sessions, sparring, and matches. Send the videos to a coach. Get their feedback. Then it’s back to the wall to build the muscle memory. My best drill partner is that wall.

The sparring is good for staying match ready. And the matches are where the proof & pudding mix.
 

R1FF

Semi-Pro
When I was a kid, going to a week long basketball camp was a great experience but 90% of improvements were made alone for long hours in a gym shooting by myself.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
If the goal is improvement, a private clinic is awesome. Find a good pro and 8 sane players to be on an email list. Each week, 3-4 people play, 90 minutes or two hours.

The advantages are numerous.

If you are mostly teammates, you will learn better teamwork.

The pro doesn't have to explain every drill or deal with people who dont understand drilling.

The pro knows you and can give feeds or construct drills calculated to challenge each player differently.

The pro can correct counterproductive behaviors, like refusing to hit a ball that lands out, failing to hit cooperatively, positioning based on the drill (like draping oneself on the net for volley drills), missing repeatedly so no one else gets to hit, trying to win the drill.

Players hit balls coming off of the rackets of peers, not just feeds from a teaching pro.

Because the group is small, the pro can do some actual instruction and even address stroke mechanics.

I'm surprised how few people set up private clinics. That's the only kind of clinic I will do unless I have no choice.
 

R1FF

Semi-Pro
If the goal is improvement, a private clinic is awesome. Find a good pro and 8 sane players to be on an email list. Each week, 3-4 people play, 90 minutes or two hours.

The advantages are numerous.

If you are mostly teammates, you will learn better teamwork.

The pro doesn't have to explain every drill or deal with people who dont understand drilling.

The pro knows you and can give feeds or construct drills calculated to challenge each player differently.

The pro can correct counterproductive behaviors, like refusing to hit a ball that lands out, failing to hit cooperatively, positioning based on the drill (like draping oneself on the net for volley drills), missing repeatedly so no one else gets to hit, trying to win the drill.

Players hit balls coming off of the rackets of peers, not just feeds from a teaching pro.

Because the group is small, the pro can do some actual instruction and even address stroke mechanics.

I'm surprised how few people set up private clinics. That's the only kind of clinic I will do unless I have no choice.
Really solid advice. I wish I knew 7 other people (or just 3) that were this serious about tennis.

And I wish I knew a pro willing to put in the work.

Not every “pro” is a teacher & not every player a “student”.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
If the goal is improvement, a private clinic is awesome. Find a good pro and 8 sane players to be on an email list. Each week, 3-4 people play, 90 minutes or two hours.

The advantages are numerous.

If you are mostly teammates, you will learn better teamwork.

The pro doesn't have to explain every drill or deal with people who dont understand drilling.

The pro knows you and can give feeds or construct drills calculated to challenge each player differently.

The pro can correct counterproductive behaviors, like refusing to hit a ball that lands out, failing to hit cooperatively, positioning based on the drill (like draping oneself on the net for volley drills), missing repeatedly so no one else gets to hit, trying to win the drill.

Players hit balls coming off of the rackets of peers, not just feeds from a teaching pro.

Because the group is small, the pro can do some actual instruction and even address stroke mechanics.

I'm surprised how few people set up private clinics. That's the only kind of clinic I will do unless I have no choice.
Every team I have been on, someone has suggested this... and every team has had nobody volunteer to set it up. I volunteered twice. NEVER AGAIN.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
What happened when you tried, Cawlin?

For the moment, our clinic (which was alive and well for ten years) is dead. People went back to work. Moved. Got injured. Stopped playing.

I tried over the last few years to get it going again, and I was successful now and then. One problem is that we don't like doing it in the winter because indoor court time becomes too bloody expensive.

And the other problem I found was that some people would try the clinic but bail because they were unwilling to do the drill/didn't like the approach. What does that look like?

It looks like people who are used to doing what they always do and refusing to try anything out of their comfort zone. Of all the things our pro makes us do, the one that causes the most pushback from new players is being forced to volley from at or behind the service line. Some just get frustrated. Others say there is no reason to learn to volley from deeper in the court because you are supposed to be closer than that. And some just figure that 4.0 or 3.5 is good enough and they don't want to address things like footwork or difficult volleys.

For now, I'm getting by with privates and the occasional semi-private with one of the old gang. But if I could get my teammates to commit to clinic for even one spring/summer/fall, we would be unstoppable.
 

MRfStop

Professional
If the goal is improvement, a private clinic is awesome. Find a good pro and 8 sane players to be on an email list. Each week, 3-4 people play, 90 minutes or two hours.

The advantages are numerous.

If you are mostly teammates, you will learn better teamwork.

The pro doesn't have to explain every drill or deal with people who dont understand drilling.

The pro knows you and can give feeds or construct drills calculated to challenge each player differently.

The pro can correct counterproductive behaviors, like refusing to hit a ball that lands out, failing to hit cooperatively, positioning based on the drill (like draping oneself on the net for volley drills), missing repeatedly so no one else gets to hit, trying to win the drill.

Players hit balls coming off of the rackets of peers, not just feeds from a teaching pro.

Because the group is small, the pro can do some actual instruction and even address stroke mechanics.

I'm surprised how few people set up private clinics. That's the only kind of clinic I will do unless I have no choice.
Like

Hmmm...I’ll have to take this into consideration. There is only one pro in my area that I respect and listen to about my game. I have been going to this pro for the past two months every Saturday morning and then attend the lower level drills afterwards to just get more reps in.

The public weekly drills are full of annoying players that rip EVERYTHING. That hit line drives to the fence that are head high and could easily hit someone walking to the back of the line. That sit on top of the net when it’s suppose to be an approach volley. These are supposedly rated 4.0 players some 3.5. The pro makes recommendations to people and tells them to either not cheat on their positioning or try to keep the ball in...but they can’t really do anything about the quality of the drill because if he/she does they will lose revenue.

I really like going to drills and I really like going to private lessons but I’ve seen the drills slowly go down hill. And need to find something that is as good or better.

There is a private drill that has higher level players sometimes. It’s ran by one of the other pros. He runs an ok drill but it’s only feeding balls. But it’s been coordinated by one of the ladies that doesn’t particularly like me...or any one that hits ground strokes “hard” to her in drills...so I’m not invited.
 
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Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Remember to ask your chosen pro whether he has other students who might want to join the private clinic. I believe we have filled gaps in the roster over the years that way. That works perfectly because you're getting someone who already knows and likes the pro.

And just to be clear . . . the way we run it is that the email goes to the group, and the first four to commit are in for that week. We don't allow more than four at a time -- then you wind up with people standing around or drills that don't approximate reality.

Lastly, our pro kind of "held" a particular slot for us week to week, but he wanted to know early in the week if we couldn't use it that week. So if we didn't have enough for clinic, either two people would do a semi-private or someone would take private. No penalty for cancellation if we were thoughtful about giving him lots of notice.

Good luck.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
What happened when you tried, Cawlin?

For the moment, our clinic (which was alive and well for ten years) is dead. People went back to work. Moved. Got injured. Stopped playing.

I tried over the last few years to get it going again, and I was successful now and then. One problem is that we don't like doing it in the winter because indoor court time becomes too bloody expensive.

And the other problem I found was that some people would try the clinic but bail because they were unwilling to do the drill/didn't like the approach. What does that look like?

It looks like people who are used to doing what they always do and refusing to try anything out of their comfort zone. Of all the things our pro makes us do, the one that causes the most pushback from new players is being forced to volley from at or behind the service line. Some just get frustrated. Others say there is no reason to learn to volley from deeper in the court because you are supposed to be closer than that. And some just figure that 4.0 or 3.5 is good enough and they don't want to address things like footwork or difficult volleys.

For now, I'm getting by with privates and the occasional semi-private with one of the old gang. But if I could get my teammates to commit to clinic for even one spring/summer/fall, we would be unstoppable.
Jeez... where to start?

In order to make it wortwhile for the pro, the price has to be decent, the time slot has to be reasonably stable (weather permitting) and it should be a "package" deal, rather than a one-off...

People would be willing to pay $10 to $12 per hour for a clinic... initially 10 or 12 people are interested... by the time we settle on a night and a price and a time slot, only 4 are interested for the whole package of 5 group lessons, but they aren't interested in paying more than $12/hour, and the coach wants $60... but two more people can come to half of them. So I work it out so that 6 people total go in on X night at Y time, the 5th and 6th people are splitting the package, one will come to 3 lessons, the other will come to 2... now you've got an odd number (5) people for each lesson, paying $12 each... so that's a pain... but several of the people REALLY think this will be good for their dubs game. I remind everyone again that the clinic will be dubs oriented with positioning, volley drills, point play, all focused on dubs scenarios and NOT focused on individual stroke technique. They all agree and are excited. We've got a 5 lesson package, $60/person, person 5 is paying $36 for 3 lessons, person 6 is paying $24 for 2 lessons.

You tell everyone that they have to pay up front for the whole package, but of course, nobody does and I'm chasing everyone constantly for their $ beforehand and by the time lesson 1 rolls around only half of the people have paid... so it's now the first night of the lesson package. 3 people show up (those who paid up front), the other two forgot it started this week and ask if they can get a credit because they didn't know... nope... no credit, it was in the email (you have to use email because some people don't want to deal with a group text going off all day while they're at work, and those same people can't be bothered to use an app like groupme or whatsapp)... so anyway, those two people who haven't paid yet say they understand that they owe for this lesson, and lament that they really need to remember to read their emails. Lesson 1 had 3 people in it, Because I'm the organizer, I pay the coach for the people who didn't show up - he's not going to be there for $36/hour... half of the lesson is spent with the coach assessing where people were with their skill level.

Week 2 rolls around, and the two people who haven't paid show up, but they only have money for that lesson... no money for the lesson they owe me for (which I've already paid the coach for), no money for the remainder of their lessons either despite my NUMEROUS emails reminding them that they needed to pay for the whole package up front. Meanwhile, one of the prepaid people cancels because their kid is in the band and there's a "mandatory" band parents meeting that night... so 4 show up for lesson 2, and I'm personally owed $24 from week 1.

Week 3 rolls around, you finally get the rest of the package money and the lesson owed to you by one of the two folks who hadn't paid yet, but now two of other originally prepaid folks don't even show up because it rained earlier that day (at 10 am and the lesson is at 7 pm) and despite the email that said the courts were dry and the lesson was on, these folks assumed it was rained out despite my email saying it was on - they ask for a credit too when I call them asking where they are... week 3 has 3 people in it... lots of fun. I'm only $12 short now and don't have the package fully paid for yet by all those who committed to do so.

Week 4 rolls around, one of the "half package" people is no longer coming (and still owes me for the first lesson), their half package split person forgets because it's been a month and they don't read their email either, and they don't show up (they haven't paid a dime yet). The same two who skipped last week skip again, they're pissed and they find that with the shabby turnout from the lessons they DID attend, that it's not really any fun, so they just drop out but only after remarking that it's a shame they each paid $60 for two group lessons... now there are two people at the lesson, and I've paid for the person who was supposed to show but didn't... now it's a semi-private lesson. Well that doesn't suck... me, the other person, and the coach work on some personal instruction on stroke technique or whatnot... I'm personally owed $24 now.

Mid week before week 5, the two people who have cancelled want some of their money back when they realize that two of us got a semi-private lesson with their money last week, the half package splitter says they're going to cancel after all because they don't see the value in going for just the last lesson and they ignore me when I tell them that they still owe me for the two lessons they committed to... I refuse to refund the other peoples' money and if lesson 5 goes off without the half package splitter's money, I'll be out a total of $36 total.

Week 5 it rains, lesson cancelled because this was the only night in the week that anyone could do anyway... let's try to get the last of it in next week...

Early in week 6 (during which we're supposed to do the last lesson in the package), the other person who paid and was going to all the lessons with me can't come as they had a previous thing scheduled for this time since before the lessons started...

I finally tell the coach that it doesn't look like we're going to be able to get the last of the lessons in and just cancel. I pay back everyone who paid me for the lesson, but still wind up $24 short - so I paid $72 for 4 group lessons that sucked and wrote about 382394 emails and another 5498 text messages between me and the coach and the people who WOULD use text... two people think I'm a d*ck (which is OK because I think they're d*cks too), and I vow to never do this again... never ever ever will I organize this again for these kind of dipsh*ts.

And THAT was the easier of the two occasions that I did that for... the other one was a true clusterfk.
 
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ChaelAZ

Legend
Here locally there are several days during the week where there are adult doubles drills. A pro feeds balls to players and then they play out points working on their game. Last night, due to low participation by 4.0+ Men the past few weeks, the pro invited some ladies to play ranging from 3.5-4.0 in rating. Some of the ladies have decent strokes and compete with the 4.0 guys.

I usually attend only the 4.0+ men’s drill during the week. It’s a decent work out and it helps my game. The other drills during the week are more social oriented and aren’t really worth the 25-30 min drive away and I also try to avoid the mixed drills because of certain people and how they operate. For example: there is a 3.5 guy who only concentrates on who won the point and tends to tell the pro what the next drill should be when the previous drill is over. What irritates me is when someone in my group would hit a ball obviously out (sometimes hitting the bottom of the fence) he would yell “OUT!!” and him and his partner would throw their finger up every single time. He grunts LOUD every shot. Some of the women in these mixed drills do not care about getting their game better. They are only concerned about winning the point or winning the round of drills (forehands cross court etc). They congratulate their partner on every point they win even if the ball is fed to someone across the net and they hit the ball out.

Drills to me is a work out and an opportunity to focus on weaknesses trying to strengthen those weaknesses through repetition. If I hit the ball out then I hit it out. But my main focus is to keep the ball in trying to give my partner and myself a chance to win the point. I don’t care if I lose the point because of a winner hit by the other team.

When I do any practice, drills, cardio tennis, or drop-in play with a large variety of levels I just focus on the balls that I get and making sure I practice what I want. I remember a good coaching friend of mine and I were talking about managing classes and I mentioned that I didn't like having the large variety of levels. He told me he has top level juniors and lower level alike during drills and he just reminds them that a fed ball is exactly the same to each one, but what matters is what they do with it. I get that point play is a bit different for drilling, but you still have the opportunity with each ball to make the shot exactly as you want.

Cut out all that other noise and let them do them.
You do you.

If it gets to start draggin you down, mention something to the coach or find other places to drill. It's all you can do.
 

MRfStop

Professional
When I do any practice, drills, cardio tennis, or drop-in play with a large variety of levels I just focus on the balls that I get and making sure I practice what I want. I remember a good coaching friend of mine and I were talking about managing classes and I mentioned that I didn't like having the large variety of levels. He told me he has top level juniors and lower level alike during drills and he just reminds them that a fed ball is exactly the same to each one, but what matters is what they do with it. I get that point play is a bit different for drilling, but you still have the opportunity with each ball to make the shot exactly as you want.

Cut out all that other noise and let them do them.
You do you.

If it gets to start draggin you down, mention something to the coach or find other places to drill. It's all you can do.
I am setting up a private drill. He is cancelling his 4.0+ men’s drill due to lack of participation and is going to allow me to have people show up for the private drill.

This past Wednesday at the start of the drill with the ladies invited I went from the baseline to the service line the baseline to the service line multiple times because the person receiving the feed couldn’t start the point. Hitting it in the net, whiffing it or trying to rip it and hitting it to the fence. To me that is a waste of money and is part of why I posted this thread
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
...I went from the baseline to the service line the baseline to the service line multiple times because the person receiving the feed couldn’t start the point. Hitting it in the net, whiffing it or trying to rip it and hitting it to the fence. To me that is a waste of money and is part of why I posted this thread
Ughhh, the worst. Bummer the group class didn't get enough though. I like individual drills, but love situational play and such too for reinforcement. But hey, maybe the rpivates will be that thing to make some changes and improvements like you want, and focused on you.

All the best.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Yup ... a bad clinic with a mix of skills too far apart is no fun.

I hope that your setting up of a private group clinic goes well for you. When it works it is fantastic.

My history with it is a little more like @Cawlin with one team. Prior to season I send out a group survey and get unanimous response: we want team practice with pro. Even more amazing, everyone agreed on a night .. and the night and time worked for the pro .... sounds great!

Pro's rate is $105 for the 90 minutes. 1 pro, 2 courts, 90 minutes with pro, additional 30 minutes for team for either warm up or a set after.

Team agrees that we would pay as we go (big mistake #1) and split the 105 by the number participating. 14 people agreed that we should do this and that they would all prioritize it.

First week: 8 show up ... $13.25 each ... easy peasy good session, great feedback from everyone
Second week: 7 show up ... $15 each no problem
Third week: 5 show up ... $21 ... I am not that happy
Send out to group text ... Hey, I now need to start confirming for practice ... we all agreed to this and made a commitment
Get 8 people who commit for 4th week and going forward
4th week: 4 people show up: $26.25 ... uncool ... but had a really intense session

Rest of the season went like that ... felt like I was begging and that is not nice.

I ended up taking a 3 or 4 of those sessions as privates for 1 hour instead of 1.5 because as I figure it, the pro had made a commitment on his schedule and just canceling last minute when I start getting all the "i can't come" texts is not fair to him and makes me look bad.

NEVER AGAIN.

If I ever do a team clinic with a teaching pro again, everyone who commits to come and agrees we should do it .... entire cost of entire season will be paid UP FRONT. Then if you don't show up, that is on you and doesn't monetarily harm anyone else (especially me)
 

MRfStop

Professional
Yup ... a bad clinic with a mix of skills too far apart is no fun.

I hope that your setting up of a private group clinic goes well for you. When it works it is fantastic.

My history with it is a little more like @Cawlin with one team. Prior to season I send out a group survey and get unanimous response: we want team practice with pro. Even more amazing, everyone agreed on a night .. and the night and time worked for the pro .... sounds great!

Pro's rate is $105 for the 90 minutes. 1 pro, 2 courts, 90 minutes with pro, additional 30 minutes for team for either warm up or a set after.

Team agrees that we would pay as we go (big mistake #1) and split the 105 by the number participating. 14 people agreed that we should do this and that they would all prioritize it.

First week: 8 show up ... $13.25 each ... easy peasy good session, great feedback from everyone
Second week: 7 show up ... $15 each no problem
Third week: 5 show up ... $21 ... I am not that happy
Send out to group text ... Hey, I now need to start confirming for practice ... we all agreed to this and made a commitment
Get 8 people who commit for 4th week and going forward
4th week: 4 people show up: $26.25 ... uncool ... but had a really intense session

Rest of the season went like that ... felt like I was begging and that is not nice.

I ended up taking a 3 or 4 of those sessions as privates for 1 hour instead of 1.5 because as I figure it, the pro had made a commitment on his schedule and just canceling last minute when I start getting all the "i can't come" texts is not fair to him and makes me look bad.

NEVER AGAIN.

If I ever do a team clinic with a teaching pro again, everyone who commits to come and agrees we should do it .... entire cost of entire season will be paid UP FRONT. Then if you don't show up, that is on you and doesn't monetarily harm anyone else (especially me)
The pro’s only open night is on Wednesday night. Wednesday night is also the night the 4.5s play their fun league together since there isn’t enough 4.5s to play a regular USTA league. So that means that there isn’t many higher level players that are willing to participate in the private drill. So I’m trying to invite some of the 4.0s that want to play on a higher level, compete at state and get a work out in. And try avoid the “drill winners” and the “hit the ball as hard as I can on every feed” all together.

The pro’s only concern is that there won’t be consistency..people will show up and then won’t. People here are really annoying in comes to scheduling practices etc. Most only want to play and don’t want to put in the work to get better.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
The pro’s only open night is on Wednesday night. Wednesday night is also the night the 4.5s play their fun league together since there isn’t enough 4.5s to play a regular USTA league. So that means that there isn’t many higher level players that are willing to participate in the private drill. So I’m trying to invite some of the 4.0s that want to play on a higher level, compete at state and get a work out in. And try avoid the “drill winners” and the “hit the ball as hard as I can on every feed” all together.

The pro’s only concern is that there won’t be consistency..people will show up and then won’t. People here are really annoying in comes to scheduling practices etc. Most only want to play and don’t want to put in the work to get better.
Yeah, I get it .... oh boy do I get it as captain of multiple teams ..... some people are there just for fun, some are really working to improve .... better to have all on the same page but that is next to impossible.

My only thought here is to see if you can get another 3 people who are all really committed and commit to a 4 week or 6 week cycle.
Create a plan ... what do you want to work on to improve over the next month, 2 months?
As a group set your training priorities and then let your coach know what you want to work on.
And have the entire 4 or 6 week cycle paid up front ....

In my mind it is important to hold the coach accountable.
I have been in the position where I have said what is important is to work on Serve and Return .... the next team clinic and we are working on approach shots and mid-court volleys .... well that just doesn't work.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Holy smokes, OnTheLine and especially Cawlin.

From reading of your experiences, I think the take-away is that private clinics can only work in one of two ways:

1. The private clinic I do where players make no commitment upfront and do not owe if they don't play that week. This requires the pro to be flexible -- our pro can fill the slot if we don't have enough people, but we need to let him know early enough in the week.

2. People owe the pro, not you. They are less likely to stiff the pro.

I will say, the prices you all are paying seem very low. Maybe you'd get more flexibility from the pro if the price were higher?

I think our summer price for 90 minutes, four players, is $35. So pro gets $140, with no cut going to a facility. That money buys his flexibility.
 
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I know at least 2 other guys caught in the "Cawlin trap"

They are so busy playing social director (mixed, playing on 8 different 3.0 teams, doubles, Meetups, organizing "practice", etc)
that they waste years never getting better, despite devoting massive amounts of time to tennis.

I hope Cawlin can get serious about his tennis and break out of his 3.0 mindset.

FOCUS, my man.
FOCUS.

Here is a simple plan to reboot you on the right path.
DO NOT PLAY WITH ANYONE WHO IS WORSE THAN YOU.
If you play with a lost cause, do not play with him again.

Try to follow this rule for 3 months and tell me where it takes you.

Once you build your 3.5+ circle, then you can play down.
Until then, you have wasted 3 years EXCLUSIVELY playing down.
Time to do the opposite for a while, to right the ship.

FOCUS
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I will say, the prices you all are paying seem very low. Maybe you'd get more flexibility from the pro if the price were higher?

I think our summer price for 90 minutes, four players, is $35. So pro gets $140, with no cut going to a facility. That money buys his flexibility.
Is that for indoor or outdoor and does it include facility fees?

Vegas is much less expensive than your area when it comes to court fees. The $105 is the price for a standing weekly clinic minimum of 4 weeks ... would be 120 if a one-off or flexible. It is pretty much the standard going rate in Vegas at the various tennis clubs.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
Holy smokes, OnTheLine and especially Cawlin.

From reading of your experiences, I think the take-away is that private clinics can only work in one of two ways:

1. The private clinic I do where players make no commitment upfront and do not owe if they don't play that week. This requires the pro to be flexible -- our pro can fill the slot if we don't have enough people, but we need to let him know early enough in the week.

2. People owe the pro, not you. They are less likely to stiff the pro.

I will say, the prices you all are paying seem very low. Maybe you'd get more flexibility from the pro if the price were higher?

I think our summer price for 90 minutes, four players, is $35. So pro gets $140, with no cut going to a facility. That money buys his flexibility.
Yeah, so around here in Atlanta there is no shortage of either coaches or adult rec tennis players...

What there IS a shortage of is adult rec tennis players who are "serious" about improving their games. I put "serious" in quotes like that because I am trying to be as realistic as I can be about what that term means...

As for pricing, there is a lot of competition for coaching and with so many of the ALTA teams wanting "group lessons", the coaches are willing to go a bit lower on their pricing, as they see these situations as an opportunity to get some private lesson business out of the mix, and frankly, if one coach isn't willing to do the group lesson for $10 to $15/person/hour, some other coach will be willing to mail it in too for that same price. It's not really such a great deal for the coaches, but it is what it is... Our group lesson scenarios have no facility fees associated with them - since we all live in or know someone living in a "swim/tennis" community, one of us just reserves the courts that we're already paying HOA dues for, and books the group lesson. Coach gets paid outside of the HOA, by the individual people in the lesson.

With that said, both of the occasions that I've tried to set up group lessons were with my own coach, with whom my wife and I already had a working relationship - so for us, it matters to keep that relationship intact - I'm sure you understand. With that said, also, for the low rates they're getting, the coaches aren't really interested in going through the legwork to get fill-ins and that sort of thing. They want a single person to pay them (so they don't have to chase people) and they want the money to be guaranteed. I can't blame them, given the rates they're forced to accept.

One of the reasons I haven't found much use for group lessons is that for about 6 months, in addition to our individual private lessons each week, my wife and I would do a semi-private lesson with both of us on court where the focus was entirely on dubs strategy. Private lessons were $50/hour with the package deal we'd do, and the semi-privates were I think $65 or $70... but in those semi-private lessons, it was more like a dubs clinic. The coach focused on some fundamentals such as reading the ball off of the opponent's racquet and reacting to that - which is absolutely NOT the same thing as "anticipation". He also focused on movement without the ball - shading... i.e. if the ball is in the opponents' court and out wide in the deuce court for instance, one player on our side needs to shade the ad alley, while the other player needed to shade towards the T... if the return came back CC, the player not receiving the shot needed to shade a step or two towards the middle, while their partner went out wide to handle that ball... depending on where the partner sent the next shot, both players move to compensate - i.e. EVERYONE is ALWAYS moving... from there we went on to approaches, chip and charge, volleys, staying out of NML, etc. all the good stuff you'd expect to find in a worthwhile dubs clinic.

So we got semi-private coaching on this stuff for months, which was great and which put us leaps and bounds (in terms of strategy) ahead of many of the other dubs players we knew.

The "clinics" we get invited to now are garbage by comparison - maybe they do a little rally warmup hitting cross court, then maybe a little volley work, then we're playing "king of the court", and when we play that, if I'm not immediately on the "king" side, I get there on my first rotation, and basically stay there with whomever my partner is until I either get bored, or see that the other people in the clinic are getting bored, then I let someone else "win" the king side, and go back into the rotation and regain the king side on my next trip through the line...

Anyway, yeah, I'd totally be willing to pay $35 for 90 mins, or even an hour for a 4 person clinic with 3 other people at, near, or above my level, but the only other person I know willing to do that is my wife. Most of the rest think these $10/15/hour clinics are more than enough and a "good deal"... The reality for me is, as @TimeToPlaySets has mentioned, I need to start associating with tennis players that are more serious about their development.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Is that for indoor or outdoor and does it include facility fees?

Vegas is much less expensive than your area when it comes to court fees. The $105 is the price for a standing weekly clinic minimum of 4 weeks ... would be 120 if a one-off or flexible. It is pretty much the standard going rate in Vegas at the various tennis clubs.
The price I quoted does not include a facility fee, as we play outdoors on public courts. All of the money goes to the pro. The cost to do the clinic indoors at a facility is insane, something like $60/person for 90 minutes. Rather than pay that, we go on hiatus from December-February.

It is, without question, possible to get a better rate: Just pick a cheap pro. You can find all kinds of people willing to take your money in my town. For me, it was important that the clinic be taught by someone with enormous experience teaching rec players -- especially women. That is what we got, and he has been worth every penny.

It sounds like you do have the possibility to pay more and get a pro who is willing to allow you to go week-to-week instead of make a commitment up front. I have to say, if I were invited to a clinic where I had to commit up front, where I lost money if I couldn't come or got injured, and where I didn't know whether I would like the pro or the other players, I would decline.

If you think about it, the no-commitment model is a much easier sell. The great thing about it is that the people who don't like it or aren't serious kind of wander off on their own, and you replace them with someone else if you start coming up short on numbers.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Yeah, so around here in Atlanta there is no shortage of either coaches or adult rec tennis players...

What there IS a shortage of is adult rec tennis players who are "serious" about improving their games. I put "serious" in quotes like that because I am trying to be as realistic as I can be about what that term means...

As for pricing, there is a lot of competition for coaching and with so many of the ALTA teams wanting "group lessons", the coaches are willing to go a bit lower on their pricing, as they see these situations as an opportunity to get some private lesson business out of the mix, and frankly, if one coach isn't willing to do the group lesson for $10 to $15/person/hour, some other coach will be willing to mail it in too for that same price. It's not really such a great deal for the coaches, but it is what it is... Our group lesson scenarios have no facility fees associated with them - since we all live in or know someone living in a "swim/tennis" community, one of us just reserves the courts that we're already paying HOA dues for, and books the group lesson. Coach gets paid outside of the HOA, by the individual people in the lesson.

With that said, both of the occasions that I've tried to set up group lessons were with my own coach, with whom my wife and I already had a working relationship - so for us, it matters to keep that relationship intact - I'm sure you understand. With that said, also, for the low rates they're getting, the coaches aren't really interested in going through the legwork to get fill-ins and that sort of thing. They want a single person to pay them (so they don't have to chase people) and they want the money to be guaranteed. I can't blame them, given the rates they're forced to accept.

One of the reasons I haven't found much use for group lessons is that for about 6 months, in addition to our individual private lessons each week, my wife and I would do a semi-private lesson with both of us on court where the focus was entirely on dubs strategy. Private lessons were $50/hour with the package deal we'd do, and the semi-privates were I think $65 or $70... but in those semi-private lessons, it was more like a dubs clinic. The coach focused on some fundamentals such as reading the ball off of the opponent's racquet and reacting to that - which is absolutely NOT the same thing as "anticipation". He also focused on movement without the ball - shading... i.e. if the ball is in the opponents' court and out wide in the deuce court for instance, one player on our side needs to shade the ad alley, while the other player needed to shade towards the T... if the return came back CC, the player not receiving the shot needed to shade a step or two towards the middle, while their partner went out wide to handle that ball... depending on where the partner sent the next shot, both players move to compensate - i.e. EVERYONE is ALWAYS moving... from there we went on to approaches, chip and charge, volleys, staying out of NML, etc. all the good stuff you'd expect to find in a worthwhile dubs clinic.

So we got semi-private coaching on this stuff for months, which was great and which put us leaps and bounds (in terms of strategy) ahead of many of the other dubs players we knew.

The "clinics" we get invited to now are garbage by comparison - maybe they do a little rally warmup hitting cross court, then maybe a little volley work, then we're playing "king of the court", and when we play that, if I'm not immediately on the "king" side, I get there on my first rotation, and basically stay there with whomever my partner is until I either get bored, or see that the other people in the clinic are getting bored, then I let someone else "win" the king side, and go back into the rotation and regain the king side on my next trip through the line...

Anyway, yeah, I'd totally be willing to pay $35 for 90 mins, or even an hour for a 4 person clinic with 3 other people at, near, or above my level, but the only other person I know willing to do that is my wife. Most of the rest think these $10/15/hour clinics are more than enough and a "good deal"... The reality for me is, as @TimeToPlaySets has mentioned, I need to start associating with tennis players that are more serious about their development.
Yeah, I'm not doing the clinic anymore, as I said above. Mostly privates and semi-privates.

The semi-private is awesome, as you say. You can work on almost all of the same things. And you can also have the pro on one side and you two on the other, working on how to play 2 at net.

I would say, however, that a private clinic of friends/teammate still has value because one purpose of a private clinic is to get everyone on the same page. Say I am partnered with someone who has not done clinics with this pro. My partner may have different (read: wrong) ideas about matters of shot selection, communication, positioning, etc. So I get into situations where I am ad, my partner is deuce, opponent is in front of me and fires crosscourt up the middle, my partner thinks FH takes the middle, and she let's that ball go unplayed because "that's not her ball." This, I can tell you, is a nightmare.

Anyway, it sounds like the cheap instruction available in your area makes people think good instruction ought to come cheap, which is a hurdle. I think the easiest way to overcome it -- assuming you want to -- is to make contact with other students of a particular good (not cheap) pro. They will already be on board with her pricing structure, so maybe they will see value in a private clinic.
 

stapletonj

Professional
In the tennis hinterland of Huntington, WV, where there are exactly 5 total indoor courts (private) in a city with a D1 tennis program (women only), and exactly 4 outdoor hartru courts at the fancy schmancy country club that only Dr.s can afford, we are soooooo sympathetic to the first world problems with mixers, socials, leagues, semi private lessons, etc.etc.etc.

sorry to be sarcastic and caustic, but I am very jealous of all of your alls opportunities.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
In the tennis hinterland of Huntington, WV, where there are exactly 5 total indoor courts (private) in a city with a D1 tennis program (women only), and exactly 4 outdoor hartru courts at the fancy schmancy country club that only Dr.s can afford, we are soooooo sympathetic to the first world problems with mixers, socials, leagues, semi private lessons, etc.etc.etc.

sorry to be sarcastic and caustic, but I am very jealous of all of your alls opportunities.
Thank you for reminding me .... yes I am lucky to be where I am and with all of the relatively cheap programs available to me.
Feel free to come and visit anytime.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
In the tennis hinterland of Huntington, WV, where there are exactly 5 total indoor courts (private) in a city with a D1 tennis program (women only), and exactly 4 outdoor hartru courts at the fancy schmancy country club that only Dr.s can afford, we are soooooo sympathetic to the first world problems with mixers, socials, leagues, semi private lessons, etc.etc.etc.

sorry to be sarcastic and caustic, but I am very jealous of all of your alls opportunities.
Heh, to be honest, despite my love of watching tennis for much of my life, if I had not moved to the Atlanta region in 2013, where tennis courts are practically around every corner and practically every subdivision has tennis courts, I probably never would have picked up a racquet with serious intent to play...
 
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Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Here locally there are several days during the week where there are adult doubles drills. A pro feeds balls to players and then they play out points working on their game. Last night, due to low participation by 4.0+ Men the past few weeks, the pro invited some ladies to play ranging from 3.5-4.0 in rating. Some of the ladies have decent strokes and compete with the 4.0 guys.

I usually attend only the 4.0+ men’s drill during the week. It’s a decent work out and it helps my game. The other drills during the week are more social oriented and aren’t really worth the 25-30 min drive away and I also try to avoid the mixed drills because of certain people and how they operate. For example: there is a 3.5 guy who only concentrates on who won the point and tends to tell the pro what the next drill should be when the previous drill is over. What irritates me is when someone in my group would hit a ball obviously out (sometimes hitting the bottom of the fence) he would yell “OUT!!” and him and his partner would throw their finger up every single time. He grunts LOUD every shot. Some of the women in these mixed drills do not care about getting their game better. They are only concerned about winning the point or winning the round of drills (forehands cross court etc). They congratulate their partner on every point they win even if the ball is fed to someone across the net and they hit the ball out.

Drills to me is a work out and an opportunity to focus on weaknesses trying to strengthen those weaknesses through repetition. If I hit the ball out then I hit it out. But my main focus is to keep the ball in trying to give my partner and myself a chance to win the point. I don’t care if I lose the point because of a winner hit by the other team.
here is how it works. if men drill with women. 4.0 men should drill with 4.5. 4.5 men shouls drill with 5.0 women. and all drills below 4.0-4.5 stinks bad
 
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