How do INSTRUCTORS sculpt EXCEPTIONAL technique?

Kylo Reed

Rookie
How did the coaches/instructors of players like Federer, Nadal, Wawrinka develop such excellent technique compared to other instructors?

Did they have more in-depth knowledge of biomechanics?
Were the players just that naturally talented at technique?
Did they read books?

What sources allowed them to acquire the knowledge needed to develop such masterful technique?



 
Many things are also just natural athleticism. Pros don't figure out everything themselves and they get a ton of coaching but many movements are actually pretty similar across all sports. The footwork of a tennis player and a basketball defender for example are pretty similar.

Coaches give them the general form and the fine tuning happens over time in hundreds of training hours due to natural talent and self organisation of the body.


There are studies that successful athletes and coaches think externally. The think about their hand, racket and the ball and only a little bit about the body ( big things like bend knees, unit turn, keep head still) rather than thinking about finer points ISR, hip extension. Those things just happen with them when they try to make the racket do certain things.
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
How did the coaches/instructors of players like Federer, Nadal, Wawrinka develop such excellent technique compared to other instructors?

Did they have more in-depth knowledge of biomechanics?
Were the players just that naturally talented at technique?
Did they read books?

What sources allowed them to acquire the knowledge needed to develop such masterful technique?



I think they sculpted their own technique, through their own natural talent and 1,000's of hours of practice and tournament play.
 
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heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
How did the coaches/instructors of players like Federer, Nadal, Wawrinka develop such excellent technique compared to other instructors?

Did they have more in-depth knowledge of biomechanics?
Were the players just that naturally talented at technique?
Did they read books?

What sources allowed them to acquire the knowledge needed to develop such masterful technique?
No one in tennis agrees on how to teach or exactly what to teach. It comes down to forced discipline and you can do that to children. Like little tennis slaves. Whether they like or not.
 

chrisb

Semi-Pro
I think that the players natural athletic abilities have a direct bearing on the methodology that best suits his or needs as far as instruction. IMO two of the best were and are Braden and Wegner. Both tried to simplify methodology to help everyone enjoy the game more
 

Kylo Reed

Rookie
Many things are also just natural athleticism. Pros don't figure out everything themselves and they get a ton of coaching but many movements are actually pretty similar across all sports. The footwork of a tennis player and a basketball defender for example are pretty similar.

Coaches give them the general form and the fine tuning happens over time in hundreds of training hours due to natural talent and self organisation of the body.


There are studies that successful athletes and coaches think externally. The think about their hand, racket and the ball and only a little bit about the body ( big things like bend knees, unit turn, keep head still) rather than thinking about finer points ISR, hip extension. Those things just happen with them when they try to make the racket do certain things.

Yeah, I agree that coaches will give the foundation, while the athletes will find themselves through practice.
To your point about how successful athletes and coaches think externally, what is your response to this post: https://theconversation.com/keep-your-eye-off-the-ball-the-secrets-of-elite-tennis-coaching-11645. This study showed that when analyzing, coaches will focus on more proximal movements, meaning the hip/shoulder turn or leg drive.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Sometimes a coach is lucky enough to gain access to a hugely talented athlete and only give them modest guidance. I sometimes chuckle to myself when I consider that Paul Annacone has Roger Federer and Pete Sampras on his coaching resume. Gotta wonder who was the lucky one there, right? I doubt that either Pete or Uncle Roger would have had mediocre careers without Paul in their corner.
Yeah, I agree that coaches will give the foundation, while the athletes will find themselves through practice.
To your point about how successful athletes and coaches think externally, what is your response to this post: https://theconversation.com/keep-your-eye-off-the-ball-the-secrets-of-elite-tennis-coaching-11645. This study showed that when analyzing, coaches will focus on more proximal movements, meaning the hip/shoulder turn or leg drive.
I'll read this link later, but this direction is a very big deal for tennis I think. Some coaches like to make movement and swing mechanics the top priority for developing players, which seems like the way to construct a proper foundation. I love to give my students what Vic Braden called a "license to miss" when we get working on a new move. When they're encouraged to spray the ball all over the map while taking that leap and trusting some new technique to execute a shot, then the progress really happens.

The hip/shoulder turn and leg drive need to be reinforced sooner, not later. Otherwise you get a player who will compromise everything in their kinetic chain just to patty-cake a second serve into the box. That comes from making the result - shot placement - too high of a priority too soon.

What's the catch? Some folks want results sooner than later, so they're not as willing to put in the time and EFFORT to build that foundation. They want that private lesson to show more immediate improvements. But everybody has their own recipe for building better technique and developing players are a mixed bag, too. Each one has their own strongest learning modes and depending on the methods of the coach, it's tough to predict how readily the player will trust the coach's guidance. Sometimes good luck makes for a productive pairing for a player and a coach, but in a little different way than what I mentioned up top.
 

Simon_the_furry

Hall of Fame
Instruction is all about observation and prioritizing.
You can be the most athletic, knowledgeable coach with the most athletic, knowledgeable student, but if you can't pinpoint the flaws exactly, you're a garbage coach.
 
Sometimes a coach is lucky enough to gain access to a hugely talented athlete and only give them modest guidance. I sometimes chuckle to myself when I consider that Paul Annacone has Roger Federer and Pete Sampras on his coaching resume. Gotta wonder who was the lucky one there, right? I doubt that either Pete or Uncle Roger would have had mediocre careers without Paul in their corner.


I'll read this link later, but this direction is a very big deal for tennis I think. Some coaches like to make movement and swing mechanics the top priority for developing players, which seems like the way to construct a proper foundation. I love to give my students what Vic Braden called a "license to miss" when we get working on a new move. When they're encouraged to spray the ball all over the map while taking that leap and trusting some new technique to execute a shot, then the progress really happens.

The hip/shoulder turn and leg drive need to be reinforced sooner, not later. Otherwise you get a player who will compromise everything in their kinetic chain just to patty-cake a second serve into the box. That comes from making the result - shot placement - too high of a priority too soon.

What's the catch? Some folks want results sooner than later, so they're not as willing to put in the time and EFFORT to build that foundation. They want that private lesson to show more immediate improvements. But everybody has their own recipe for building better technique and developing players are a mixed bag, too. Each one has their own strongest learning modes and depending on the methods of the coach, it's tough to predict how readily the player will trust the coach's guidance. Sometimes good luck makes for a productive pairing for a player and a coach, but in a little different way than what I mentioned up top.
Btw most pro coaches got there through connections that were created in their days as professional players. The number of biomechanics and other experts in pro sports is raising but most high level coaches in the big sports are still former good players who basically teach like they were taught when they played and have limited biomechanical knowledge.
 

ronnie

New User
They didn't. In fact people used to think Nadal had bad technique. They changed their minds only after he became a legend.
Nadal is a great athlete his technique is not that great,not for the level hes competing at with the other players technique.His technique is average.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
Nadal is a great athlete his technique is not that great,not for the level hes competing at with the other players technique.His technique is average.
Interesting - in what way would you say Nadal's technique is "is not that great" or "average"???
 

Kevo

Legend
I think coaches just direct a players attention to things that will be the most helpful for that player at a specific point in time. Exceptional technique comes from many, many hours of practice with a specific focus on certain results. They are also resourceful and willing to try different things for different players.
 
Sometimes a coach is lucky enough to gain access to a hugely talented athlete and only give them modest guidance. I sometimes chuckle to myself when I consider that Paul Annacone has Roger Federer and Pete Sampras on his coaching resume. Gotta wonder who was the lucky one there, right? I doubt that either Pete or Uncle Roger would have had mediocre careers without Paul in their corner.
Who got Sampras to switch from a 2HBH to a 1HBH? Maybe Landsdorp? I wonder how far Pete would have gotten if he had stuck with the 2-hander.
 

ronnie

New User
lansdorp was a great coach just hardcore and ruthless on court with his players but very successful coach after sampras sharapova and davenport he mustve done something right.
 

kramer woodie

Professional
Instruction is all about observation and prioritizing.
You can be the most athletic, knowledgeable coach with the most athletic, knowledgeable student, but if you can't pinpoint the flaws exactly, you're a garbage coach.
Simon_the_furry

Or maybe a garbage student who can't grasp the most rudimentary instruction! Or just stubborn and insist on doing it (the student's) way and his/
her way, only expecting a different results. A coach is only able to help a player who is willing to follow instruction!

Aloha
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
They didn't. In fact people used to think Nadal had bad technique. They changed their minds only after he became a legend.
I called it right from the start.

To quote the mighty sureshs: "I am superior to all posters on the forum, that is the main thing"
 

Big Bagel

Professional
They didn't. In fact people used to think Nadal had bad technique. They changed their minds only after he became a legend.
Few people changed their minds. I wouldn't teach my students any of Nadal's technique for their normal shots. The Nadal forehand follow through is good on certain occasions, but I would never teach it as the go-to forehand. Nadal get's away with unique technique because of his outstanding athleticism and hand-eye coordination.

For the likes of Federer and those that actually have technique that I would like my students to have, as it has been said, the coach gives the framework, then the natural athleticism takes over in refining it, and also thousands of hours making tiny adjustment here and there. Some actually won't even try and make those tiny adjustments though, and just work on situations, and let the body find the most efficient way of hitting. This can be a very successful technique with some students, especially the more gifted students.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
I called it right from the start.

To quote the mighty sureshs: "I am superior to all posters on the forum, that is the main thing"
It's almost like a trick shot that is the center of his game.

Of course, everyone says he drives through the ball more normally in practice but in matches he goes back to the trick shot.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
You have to define what you mean exceptional technique.

Pretty much every tennis player that has had extensive coaching and has played for like 10+ years and competed, most likely was a junior doing lots of private coaching and group coaching will have excellent technique and efficient technique, I have yet to see 1 player like that with poor inefficient technique.
 

kramer woodie

Professional
You have to define what you mean exceptional technique.

Pretty much every tennis player that has had extensive coaching and has played for like 10+ years and competed, most likely was a junior doing lots of private coaching and group coaching will have excellent technique and efficient technique, I have yet to see 1 player like that with poor inefficient technique.
FiReFTW

The player you describe, that has had extensive coaching for like 10+ years...competed and plays for fun now will have excellent technique for
the time-frame that player played in. You probably won't find that player taking lessons, however that being said, if a big change in technique has
occurred, they might take lessons to learn a modern ATP forehand or a 2-hand backhand. This would probably only occur if that player is a
perfectionist and has the discipline to not revert to their learned muscle memory comfort level.

I do find many past college players (not saying they were great) do take lessons to better their technique, however, even though they see improvement during the lesson, you find them in matches during the week reverting to their comfort level. I find this especially true with women in
their 30's. I think the group lesson is not so much a learning effort, but instead a once a week social gathering.

Aloha
 
ATP & WTA levels -

Today, I believe that the players are developing the most successful new techniques. Coaches and instructors can study what is successful and be in a position of knowing what is out there. When a busy player wants to improve their game a top coach or instructor would likely know some additional techniques or ways to fix or optimize the player's current technique. Small fixes would do for some players.

An example, is the variety in the current forehand techniques, especially in the take back phase. There are currently several top forehand techniques, straight arm (Federer) vs bent arm (Djokovic), racket pointed forward in take back (Sock), racket forward start from very high (Del Porto), and more. A well informed coach or one with experience with a pro player with a strong stroke technique might be in a good position to teach a new technique. Probably the players are very aware that one or more of their strokes could be improved based on seeing and hearing about players that have the best strokes of the day.

In the future, the scientific approach based on biomechanics will increasingly point out how to improve tennis strokes and share developing the future techniques with the players and also the coaches. I don't have any idea of the current % of biomechanics invention vs % player invention vs % coach invention now producing a new tennis stroke technique.
 
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Simon_the_furry

Hall of Fame
Simon_the_furry

Or maybe a garbage student who can't grasp the most rudimentary instruction! Or just stubborn and insist on doing it (the student's) way and his/
her way, only expecting a different results. A coach is only able to help a player who is willing to follow instruction!

Aloha
absolutely. But that has nothing to do with my prior comment.
 
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