We have all seen it. We go to a junior tennis tournament and there is a young kid playing and everyone is just in awe of this player. They win so much and it seems like they are unbeatable at such a young age. They may in fact be on a great path to becoming a great player or unfortunately they may not be. Sometimes I even look at a particular young superstar and think when they get older, they are going to be in trouble, or I may think they are on the right path to do great things in tennis. (more…)
I cannot speak for the rest of the country, but where I train my students in South Florida, there is an overabundance of tennis coaches and academies. One month a particular player is with one coach and a month later they are with a different coach or even at a different academy. They just cannot stay put and they bounce around to multiple coaches or academies. This is a sure way to not have your child progress in tennis. (more…)
As many of you read my articles, I too occasionally read articles pertaining to tennis on the internet or social medial. There are times where I may agree with what is being said or taught but most often there are times where I may disagree. Over the past few years, I have been reading about how the American junior tennis players do not play enough sets or practice matches. In my previous articles, I emphatically state that each player should be trained differently and I do not believe in the cookie cutter mold. Each child has a different brain, technique, physical capabilities and even talent level.
I have had some students come to me for training that have had such immense technical deficiencies that if they did not have countless hours of private time to work on certain shots or even movements, it would result with them being stuck at the same level of tennis for the rest of their tennis career. These deficiencies do not dissipate by merely putting these students in practice sets or tournaments. (more…)
There is plenty of information on the internet about how an ATP or WTA professional prepares for their upcoming season, but there is minimal information about how high level college players prepare for their upcoming seasons. This past winter break I was very fortunate to have four very high level division 1 college players to train. Two of the players are tops in the Ivy League, one is a very solid SEC player, and the other player is one of the top players on his team locally here in South Florida.
These players were coming off of taking some grueling final exams and for a few weeks their training was minimal. If you have read one of my previous articles, no two tennis players at any level should be training the same way. I do not believe in the cookie cutter mold since each player has different body types, athleticism, techniques, etc. This situation is no different as each college player is treated differently in terms of how they are going to train and prepare in order to have a successful college tennis season. This winter break training time of a couple of weeks was spent cleaning up specific areas of each athletes game, getting into great physical condition, and also making sure they were playing the proper game and patterns which will work for each particular individual for when they are competing in their matches.
To become a high-level collegiate tennis player or professional, many times there is a tough parent or “crazy” parent as some would say, involved in the process.
I believe in tough love, which does not mean that you beat down the child mentally, but you explain and expect that certain things need to be done properly, and if they are not, there are consequences. Isn’t that what life is about? As a parent, if you make a big mistake at work, you may get fired. If a player in college tennis makes a big mistake, they may get fired as well, which means thrown off the team and in some respects, thrown out of school. (more…)
All too often, while watching junior or collegiate tennis players play matches, it is very difficult to figure out what is trying to be accomplished on the court in a tournament or collegiate match. The best tennis players know exactly how they are going to construct points against the opponent and how they are going to use their strengths against the opponent’s weaknesses.
Playing a match and running and hitting a tennis ball wherever you would like is not going to help you win more matches. Tennis is a thinking game and if you do not know how to plan points properly and execute them, your development will come to a screeching halt.
In the United States, it seems that we have become obsessed with perfecting our strokes rather than working on some more crucial areas of tennis that are going to help you win more matches. Having proper technique is important, but understanding the game of tennis and moving and competing properly on the court is much more important. (more…)
If you are trying to become the best tennis player you can, you need to go about this process in a disciplined and organized manner.
Each and every time you step on the court, it is another opportunity to become a better tennis player mentally, emotionally, tactically, and physically. All too often the athlete goes to a practice session with no clear understanding of what they are trying to accomplish. This results in precious time being lost due to not having a clear cut plan of how that individual is going to become the best tennis player possible.
This is the responsibility of the instructor and the student to map out a process of how they are going to attack their development in an efficient and disciplined manner. (more…)
There are not going to be any major surprises in my 2015 French Open predictions.
On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic seems to be the clear cut favorite as Rafael Nadal has been struggling to find his form and seems to be very low on confidence. You can never really count out Nadal, but he has never been at this level entering the French Open. If he can get some early round wins in convincing fashion under his belt, he may win the French yet again, but Djokovic looks like the man to beat.
One of the most disappointing scenarios for a junior tennis player is to lose a tough match and then be fed into the consolation draw.
When I started my coaching career in 2010, I was surprised at how many kids come up with every excuse not to play the consolation round. First of all, you have made a commitment to play the tournament so I believe you should play the tournament in its entirety. Parents who are pulling their child out of the consolation round are doing a great disservice to their child, because the great life skill that could be learned here for the child is that when you get knocked down you have to get back on your horse and try again. You will accomplish very little if you pull out of the consolation round after losing in the main draw. I believe that you should play as many matches as you can and that you should never take the easy way out. In the 2001 Boys 18’s Easter Bowl I came in as one of the top seeds and lost first round.
How many times do you watch junior tennis players train and all the players are working on the same shot, technique, or tactic? How can a person who is 6′ 4” be training to have the style of someone 5′ 10”?
The cookie cutter mold does not work if the player is trying to reach their optimum level, whether that level is college or professional tennis. I recently had a discussion with a very well respected coach in the South Florida area and we spoke about my approach of training tennis players. Looking at the size of the parents, the current size of the student, their techniques, their movement, their attitude, and obviously their strengths and weaknesses, I then develop a plan about how that particular student can then attain their goals and dreams with their tennis.