I Never Had a Lesson Like That!

Jake Speeed

Professional
So, wife and I are living in Florida. Yes, I spent many years there in residence and as a Snowbird. I use snowbird loosely because not really an official snowbird.

So this woman calls me up and says I'm highly recommended and she would like a lesson.

Fast forward. Where on the court and I'm giving her the quiz. You know, how long have you been playing tennis, how much money do you have, stuff like that.

Now I already know she's run out of instructors because she's out on the court with me. BTW, this was like 6 or 7 years ago.

Nice looking woman BTW and she said she used to model.

"OK, so lets just hit a few balls so you can loosen up and get comfortable." "How's that?" "That's fine, great."

Well, she can't hit two balls the same and she has no, what we would call, a good ground stroke. None at all.

So, now where up at the net talking. "You look great in white." I'm kidding, really kidding! I never said that. You must show nothing but respect to all students, both young and old. To your "elders" also, but good luck with this.

She said she's been playing a number of years and had plenty of instruction but she has had difficulty. She was no natural. I asked her to describe her last lesson.

An instructor she spent the good deal of a year with.

Here's what she said. No, not word for word, I can't remember all that.

Basket of balls, either toss and hit or he would hit a ball to her. Basket gets empty, do it again. Repeat. Between shots or ball toss he says, stuff to help her improve. Yea, yea, I know it's not the instructor's fault if she doesn't improve, or is it?

She also says she gets quite a workout with this guy. Practicing forehands, two handed backhands, volleys both sides, overheads AND some service instruction. Gee. A great workout, but a good deal to digest. That's a bunch of stuff for an hour.

She leaves the court with absolutely no improvement she says.

So I say "Look." Let's not do the workout thing because you need work with your forehand and other stuff too.

I give the girl well over an hour of forehand instruction. All the stuff that goes with it like "drop and hit" noting the importance of this, and homework, so she can instruct herself while practicing. I also told her to stop playing matches.

I wish you could see how well she was hitting, off both sides, after only 6 months.

Sure, not a workout, but she learned something every time she was on the court with me.

A true story and I have a lifetime of them.

How about a story how fathers or parents destroy their child's tennis career? I got them also. It's common and it's everywhere. Any interest in this?

JS
 
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nyta2

Professional
what's with all the line spacing... you type this on an old school smith corona where your carriage return is mechanically set to skip 2 lines? :p (that's what i learned to type on by the way)
interesting story, and i can relate... that said some students, including my own, i later realized - are not looking for tennis lessons. i mean they are, but i have one student that started taking lessons to just talk... i'd always apologize for cutting her off to do <fill in drill> so she's getting her money's-worth-of-tennis-lessons... but at some point she just said she's cool with spending whatever just to laugh and chat and occasionally hit a couple balls.

would be interesting to hear your parent/child stories...
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
would be interesting to hear your parent/child stories...
I don't know? Many of these people are sheltered, internet and all.

There's not much "real life" tennis there. Mostly commercials.

Real life isn't a pleasant commercial which is produced to sell something.

JS
 

Dragy

Legend
I believe you are right that there are many instructors out there giving no actual help to players’ progress. And it’s also great you manage to help your students improve. Even better, you are not unique, there’re plenty of decent teachers. Reference, proven record of success and mindful, critical approach helps to find ones.

Now what is “tennis tip” or “instruction” provided or requested by this thread? How should discussion proceed to create some value for fellow forum members? Are you trying to give advice how to pick a coach? Or there’s only a “PM JS” option?
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
i thought you were going tell/share a story?
I don't know? It takes time and you're my only follower. :love: (y)

I did just put something up that kinda explains why I don't seek "on line" attention.

It's not what I'm about.

Go read my new Post. It's a shocker!! :alien:

JS

P.S. Now I have to remove more grout.
 

Bagumbawalla

Hall of Fame
I have seen various post of yours.

This is the second "story" post I have come across.

In my opinion, this is where you excel- stories with humor and compassion.

Go for it.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Any advice on getting someone to move from a beautiful shadow swing to a real swing?

I've been working with my wife on her serve technique and she can shadow swing a beautiful motion (finally after 3 months) but as soon as she has to serve for real all that motion and timing go out the window and the serve is a mess of hitches and asynchrony.

Of course I'm trying to get her to just continue with reps of the proper shadow swing until if feels natural but she doesn't really understand the "10,000 repetitions to mastery" concept. She does a couple swings every second day and is not getting anywhere, as you can imagine.

Of course a prophet is never welcome in his home town so it's not surprising she won't listen to me on this singular point. Any other tips to translate shadow motions to real life motions?
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
Any advice on getting someone to move from a beautiful shadow swing to a real swing?

I've been working with my wife on her serve technique and she can shadow swing a beautiful motion (finally after 3 months) but as soon as she has to serve for real all that motion and timing go out the window and the serve is a mess of hitches and asynchrony.

Of course I'm trying to get her to just continue with reps of the proper shadow swing until if feels natural but she doesn't really understand the "10,000 repetitions to mastery" concept. She does a couple swings every second day and is not getting anywhere, as you can imagine.

Of course a prophet is never welcome in his home town so it's not surprising she won't listen to me on this singular point. Any other tips to translate shadow motions to real life motions?
Have her try and "toss into her swing", so that the swing and timing doesn't get adjusted, but the toss does.
 
So, wife and I are living in Florida. Yes, I spent many years there in residence and as a Snowbird. I use snowbird loosely because not really an official snowbird.

So this woman calls me up and says I'm highly recommended and she would like a lesson.

Fast forward. Where on the court and I'm giving her the quiz. You know, how long have you been playing tennis, how much money do you have, stuff like that.

Now I already know she's run out of instructors because she's out on the court with me. BTW, this was like 6 or 7 years ago.

Nice looking woman BTW and she said she used to model.

"OK, so lets just hit a few balls so you can loosen up and get comfortable." "How's that?" "That's fine, great."

Well, she can't hit two balls the same and she has no, what we would call, a good ground stroke. None at all.

So, now where up at the net talking. "You look great in white." I'm kidding, really kidding! I never said that. You must show nothing but respect to all students, both young and old. To your "elders" also, but good luck with this.

She said she's been playing a number of years and had plenty of instruction but she has had difficulty. She was no natural. I asked her to describe her last lesson.

An instructor she spent the good deal of a year with.

Here's what she said. No, not word for word, I can't remember all that.

Basket of balls, either toss and hit or he would hit a ball to her. Basket gets empty, do it again. Repeat. Between shots or ball toss he says, stuff to help her improve. Yea, yea, I know it's not the instructor's fault if she doesn't improve, or is it?

She also says she gets quite a workout with this guy. Practicing forehands, two handed backhands, volleys both sides, overheads AND some service instruction. Gee. A great workout, but a good deal to digest. That's a bunch of stuff for an hour.

She leaves the court with absolutely no improvement she says.

So I say "Look." Let's not do the workout thing because you need work with your forehand and other stuff too.

I give the girl well over an hour of forehand instruction. All the stuff that goes with it like "drop and hit" noting the importance of this, and homework, so she can instruct herself while practicing. I also told her to stop playing matches.

I wish you could see how well she was hitting, off both sides, after only 6 months.

Sure, not a workout, but she learned something every time she was on the court with me.

A true story and I have a lifetime of them.

How about a story how fathers or parents destroy their child's tennis career? I got them also. It's common and it's everywhere. Any interest in this?

JS
Yes...as a tennis dad this is always a concern.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Have her try and "toss into her swing", so that the swing and timing doesn't get adjusted, but the toss does.
Not sure what you mean by that?

Right now what I see is that with her shadow swing the hands move back together and the arms go up together and then she swings nicely from there. With her real serve, the toss hand starts tossing while her racket hand moves back. Then she's got a toss in the air and her racket is still by her hips. So she quickly flips her racket up waiters tray style and swings.

I'm trying to get her to keep the hands together longer so that she tosses while elevating the racket into trophy and swing from there. But it's not translating from shadow to live ammunition.
 

nyta2

Professional
Have her try and "toss into her swing", so that the swing and timing doesn't get adjusted, but the toss does.
that's what i teach the kids too
i'll even have them do a full shadow swing followed by a toss into the swing
to help illustrate "toss into the swing" i'll demo the serve with my eyes closed... it's not really important that the ball go into the box, just important that i'm make contact and not pausing the swing (bonus when it does go in the box though)
main issue is that beginners will toss, then do eveyrthing they can to chase and hit that bad toss, even if it's 3-4ft away.

since this is jake's thread, i'm sure he has better ideas.
my $0.02 though.
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
Not sure what you mean by that?

Right now what I see is that with her shadow swing the hands move back together and the arms go up together and then she swings nicely from there. With her real serve, the toss hand starts tossing while her racket hand moves back. Then she's got a toss in the air and her racket is still by her hips. So she quickly flips her racket up waiters tray style and swings.

I'm trying to get her to keep the hands together longer so that she tosses while elevating the racket into trophy and swing from there. But it's not translating from shadow to live ammunition.
Gocha! It's sort of a trick to help short-circuit your brains idea of timing. I did this with my son. He would do 3 shadow swings, but not use the tossing arm, then on the fourth shadow swing he would toss the ball into his swing path.
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
Yes...as a tennis dad this is always a concern.
How old are your children?

There was a time you could place or move an elbow or a knee to help out, but those days are LONG GONE.

If your instructor puts his/her hand ANYPLACE on your child, run from that guy or gal. Immediately. No second chance there.

Including using the racket head to touch.

Industries that cater to young children are targets for employment for these individuals with problems. Especially seasonal "Summer Camps." Sport doesn't matter.

I have stories I could share about this type of behavior. It won't be a good read.

Children. I did absolutely no babysitting. The parent was on the court with their child or children, participating. I actually taught the parent how to instruct, "homework" when not on the court with me.

I can tell you're a good dad.

JS.
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
Any advice on getting someone to move from a beautiful shadow swing to a real swing?

I've been working with my wife on her serve technique and she can shadow swing a beautiful motion (finally after 3 months) but as soon as she has to serve for real all that motion and timing go out the window and the serve is a mess of hitches and asynchrony.

Of course I'm trying to get her to just continue with reps of the proper shadow swing until if feels natural but she doesn't really understand the "10,000 repetitions to mastery" concept. She does a couple swings every second day and is not getting anywhere, as you can imagine.

Of course a prophet is never welcome in his home town so it's not surprising she won't listen to me on this singular point. Any other tips to translate shadow motions to real life motions?
Are you direction this question to Jake Speed?

Or the entire forum?

JS.
 

Fintft

Legend
Not sure what you mean by that?

Right now what I see is that with her shadow swing the hands move back together and the arms go up together and then she swings nicely from there. With her real serve, the toss hand starts tossing while her racket hand moves back. Then she's got a toss in the air and her racket is still by her hips. So she quickly flips her racket up waiters tray style and swings.

I'm trying to get her to keep the hands together longer so that she tosses while elevating the racket into trophy and swing from there. But it's not translating from shadow to live ammunition.
Slow the tossing arm (at least start slow)...
 

Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
honestly i'm interested, but seems you need to have some critical mass of people >1 (me) asking, else he won't tell the story... you know, because he's not an attention seeker.
What can we learn from yet another parent horror story? We know they are out there...

And we are not convinced that he is a real coach considering that he has never heard of Serve Doctor.

Is that his pic? He looks scary.

A real coach would choose a smiling profile pic.
 
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Jake Speeed

Professional
honestly i'm interested, but seems you need to have some critical mass of people >1 (me) asking, else he won't tell the story... you know, because he's not an attention seeker.
I came on the Forum to improve anyone's tennis ability. That's not working because, well because. :love:

You can learn from true life stories.

People would rather not learn. Remember, there could be many tennis player dads or moms out there ruining their children's life.

Many events and stories come to mind about this, and it's quite common.

I'll get to them eventually.

JS
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
What can we learn from yet another parent horror story? We know they are out there...

And we are not convinced that he is a real coach considering that he has never heard of Serve Doctor.

Is that his pic? He looks scary.
I said early on I don't do the net. I absolutely know who he is now.

Well, you could go back to my first Post and start reading.

I'll bet I "read like" I know what I'm talking about. :D :D (y) ;)

JS
 

nyta2

Professional
And we are not convinced that he is a real coach considering that he has never heard of Serve Doctor.
i dunno, i was asking something simple, or more accurately answering his question "do you want to hear more parent/child horror stories?"...
seems i need to canvas for signatures before he offers anything.
<shrug>
 

Serve Doc

Rookie
It would be great if you now apologized to the Serve Doctor for calling one of the most prolific instructors a huckster.



How many followers is he looking for before he starts to share the knowledge?
:unsure:
Thanks Raul but it's not necessary for apologies...goes with the territory unfortunately but happy so many can benefit from content that is exclusive only to a small community of students at IMG and was not accessible otherwise. It's all about growing the game and supporting each other in the process.
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
It would be great if you now apologized to the Serve Doctor for calling one of the most prolific instructors a huckster.



How many followers is he looking for before he starts to share the knowledge?
:unsure:
You'r putting words in my mouth. Which is a terrible thing and you know you are.

I would suggest you go back, take a look and see for yourself who owes who an apology. But it's not necessary.

JS
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
i dunno, i was asking something simple, or more accurately answering his question "do you want to hear more parent/child horror stories?"...
seems i need to canvas for signatures before he offers anything.
<shrug>
I said "in time." I'm busy finishing up remodeling the master bath. I'm currently removing grout. For anyone who has done this, it's not fun. I take brakes and come here.

JS
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
What can we learn from yet another parent horror story? We know they are out there...

And we are not convinced that he is a real coach considering that he has never heard of Serve Doctor.

Is that his pic? He looks scary.

A real coach would choose a smiling profile pic.
I'm in the middle, contact point actually, of a very difficult shot. A rolled back hand. Tough enough at knee height let alone the height this ball is being hit at. In my heyday I could jump and hit this shot in the air. I used to teach this shot.

Is this you in the photo? You're a coach?

BTW. I'm not a coach.

JS
 

nyta2

Professional
It would be great if you now apologized to the Serve Doctor for calling one of the most prolific instructors a huckster.



How many followers is he looking for before he starts to share the knowledge?
:unsure:
dunno, i haven't been successful yet...
 
Not sure what you mean by that?

Right now what I see is that with her shadow swing the hands move back together and the arms go up together and then she swings nicely from there. With her real serve, the toss hand starts tossing while her racket hand moves back. Then she's got a toss in the air and her racket is still by her hips. So she quickly flips her racket up waiters tray style and swings.

I'm trying to get her to keep the hands together longer so that she tosses while elevating the racket into trophy and swing from there. But it's not translating from shadow to live ammunition.
How many progressions are there between shadow to live? If the answer is "0" then that's where the problem is. You have to design progressions that bridge the gap between shadow and live.

If I want to do a backflip, I don't just jump, tuck, rotate, and hope I land on my feet and not my head. There have to be stages in between.

The ball is the trigger: shadows are smooth because there is no ball and thus no intent to hit. How about the following:

- After shadows, you toss the ball but far enough away that it's impossible for her to contact it. She still pretends like she's tossing but you do the actual tossing in sync with her. The point is to maintain the shadow form with a ball present but without the intent to hit or contact.

- After she gets comfortable with this, let her toss but again, far enough away so that there is no contact.

- Finally, try real serves.

You should be videoing everything so you can compare the shadow with subsequent progressions. She's doing things unconsciously because that's what's programmed. To program something different requires a lot of work.

Hopefully, the progressions will allow her to become comfortable incrementally rather than jumping straight from shadow to live.
 
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Jake Speeed

Professional
Good. So you and Serve Doctor can now be friends.
Absolutely. I'm not mad at the guy but I'm not back tracking anything I said either. He got a bit bold with me for absolutely no reason that I can "read." But I understand it.

He's not the first and won't be the last.

JS
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I'm in the middle, contact point actually, of a very difficult shot. A rolled back hand. Tough enough at knee height let alone the height this ball is being hit at. In my heyday I could jump and hit this shot in the air. I used to teach this shot.

Is this you in the photo? You're a coach?

BTW. I'm not a coach.

JS
Its a "very difficult" shot because you are doing it all wrong...
 

Serve Doc

Rookie
Jake,
I respect that you take pride in the fact that you made an impact in our sport with those who you have been able to work with directly...particularly since you don't consider yourself a coach.... I've been very fortunate to have provided instructional clinics in 6 of the 7 continents in my career and my patented A.P. Belt products have been shipped all over the world. In addition to the video content and books....hopefully you can respect the pride I have in having a global impact in such ways. If I offended u in response to any of your posts it was less than professional of me and please accept my apologies.
 

sovertennis

Professional
I don't know? It takes time and you're my only follower. :love: (y)

I did just put something up that kinda explains why I don't seek "on line" attention.

It's not what I'm about.

Go read my new Post. It's a shocker!! :alien:

JS

P.S. Now I have to remove more grout.
I have come to the belief that telling us about grout removal would be more interesting than your tennis stories.
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
Jake,
I respect that you take pride in the fact that you made an impact in our sport with those who you have been able to work with directly...particularly since you don't consider yourself a coach.... I've been very fortunate to have provided instructional clinics in 6 of the 7 continents in my career and my patented A.P. Belt products have been shipped all over the world. In addition to the video content and books....hopefully you can respect the pride I have in having a global impact in such ways. If I offended u in response to any of your posts it was less than professional of me and please accept my apologies.
I'm an "instructor" not a coach. I've worked with coaches numerous times over many years, so they could have a more organized approach with their instructional methods with their team players. High school and college coaches, from public schools to D-I. I specialize in proper technique and I've had great results with my students and coaches.

I understand exactly what you're doing, I told you I'm a capitalists. In fact A have a service training aid I invented back in 1973 and it's never been marketed.

It's a great device and helps, but deep inside, I know it's really not necessary. But It would sell like hotcakes. How many would IMG buy?

JS
 
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Jake Speeed

Professional
This
"There Is No Spoon".

This guy just said, "Gripping the racket as "loosely" as possible."

Do some homework, "Firmness of grip" is essential in tennis. This knowledge/science has been known for years.

Be careful with the net.

JS
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
This


This guy just said, "Gripping the racket as "loosely" as possible."

Do some homework, "Firmness of grip" is essential in tennis. This knowledge/science has been known for years.

Be careful with the net.

JS
So your contention is, that every shot requires the same grip tension and that this proposed grip pressure is 10 out of 10 in grip tension? Ahahahahaahaaah! You're just "trolling" us right?
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Gocha! It's sort of a trick to help short-circuit your brains idea of timing. I did this with my son. He would do 3 shadow swings, but not use the tossing arm, then on the fourth shadow swing he would toss the ball into his swing path.
Ok now i get you.
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
So your contention is, that every shot requires the same grip tension and that this proposed grip pressure is 10 out of 10 in grip tension? Ahahahahaahaaah! You're just "trolling" us right?
I have no idea why some of you people put words in my mouth? I don't troll.

Start with the video and what this person said. Do the research if you have interest.

Firmness of grip is a variable just like grip size. You eventually find yourself. Obviously, you won't need a firm grip while spinning the racket between shots, :rolleyes: but the grip should be firm at contact point.

Play an advanced player. Come to net and volley, some passing shots could knock the racket out of your hand without a tight grip.

JS
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Any advice on getting someone to move from a beautiful shadow swing to a real swing?

I've been working with my wife on her serve technique and she can shadow swing a beautiful motion (finally after 3 months) but as soon as she has to serve for real all that motion and timing go out the window and the serve is a mess of hitches and asynchrony.

Of course I'm trying to get her to just continue with reps of the proper shadow swing until if feels natural but she doesn't really understand the "10,000 repetitions to mastery" concept. She does a couple swings every second day and is not getting anywhere, as you can imagine.

Of course a prophet is never welcome in his home town so it's not surprising she won't listen to me on this singular point. Any other tips to translate shadow motions to real life motions?
It is a painful process. Some people will never improve. I see many 4.0 women with a dinky serve who have decades of tennis and USTA league experience.

There is no easy path but to understand what the correct technique is supposed to be, and then hitting a ton of practice serves with that imagery in mind.

Ask her to take some lessons with a pro.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
It is a painful process. Some people will never improve. I see many 4.0 women with a dinky serve who have decades of tennis and USTA league experience.

There is no easy path but to understand what the correct technique is supposed to be, and then hitting a ton of practice serves with that imagery in mind.

Ask her to take some lessons with a pro.
Pros have done a worse job with her than I have. They just do what Jake describes in his story. Most pros won't do the tough love thing of breaking someone's bad habits down and forcing them to practice hard with better habits. They'll just give you tips and then the pupil will never practice them.
 

Jake Speeed

Professional
Any advice on getting someone to move from a beautiful shadow swing to a real swing?

I've been working with my wife on her serve technique and she can shadow swing a beautiful motion (finally after 3 months) but as soon as she has to serve for real all that motion and timing go out the window and the serve is a mess of hitches and asynchrony.

Of course I'm trying to get her to just continue with reps of the proper shadow swing until if feels natural but she doesn't really understand the "10,000 repetitions to mastery" concept. She does a couple swings every second day and is not getting anywhere, as you can imagine.

Of course a prophet is never welcome in his home town so it's not surprising she won't listen to me on this singular point. Any other tips to translate shadow motions to real life motions?
The following will work if she can discipline herself. I know because I've used this task with many students.

Step 1.

OK, leave the tennis racket in the tennis bag, you won't be needing it.

One ball is all you need. If you have high ceilings you can do this in the house, if not, I hope you're having nice weather.

The task goes like this.

She should set her feet and placement up as if she's hitting a serve. Straight arm toss from wherever she's comfortable. This means, some toss the ball with their tossing arm 90 degrees to the base line, some 45 degrees, and others, advanced levels, parallel to the base line, and variables in between.

This isn't important right now, that's later.

Simple, simple, She tosses the ball up, watches it rise to the height, then the ball, gravity, will fall.

She catches it!

She must toss with a straight arm to release the ball, just like serving. Always keep the toss arm straight and pointing upward when catching the ball.

Easy? Do this with style and form. For a beginner, in some cases, it's not as easy as it looks. Sometimes, even for players.

When she has extreme confidence with this task, you can take it a bit further, making it a tad more complicated. Step 2.

Step 2, is this task performed while bending the knees and "winding down."

This is good balance practice also, for any level of play. Part of this training is also related to consistent ball height and ball drop before contact point. Really windy days, that's another conversation.

OH, one last thing. Attempt to hold the ball the same way every time AND try to toss the ball with virtually no spin. Same toss, same height every time.

Sure, you can toss the ball even higher if you wish. Good training. And bonce it a few times before the toss.

Try it!!

JS
 

RiverRat

Professional
This


This guy just said, "Gripping the racket as "loosely" as possible."

Do some homework, "Firmness of grip" is essential in tennis. This knowledge/science has been known for years.

Be careful with the net.

JS
Jake, there are many ways to interpret "as loosely as possible." No one should suggest gripping the racquet hard either. That would lead to injury and disable any possibility of fluidity in a swing. Most tennis players don't even keep their entire hands on the racquet. If "firmness of grip" were the answer this would not be the case. One should only grip the racquet as firmly as necessary. On the serve, I would suggest the grip is looser than on ground strokes. One is not having to absorb the impact of the oncoming shot, and the full arc of travel is the longest of any swing, putting a premium on fluidity. I'm not suggesting that you believe anyone should strangle the racquet, but I don't have any issue with what he has said.
 
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