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Thread: Self tennis???

  1. #16
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    I taught myself but the hardest thing I found was improving my backhand... The only way I found that helps is hitting the ball off a wall with just your backhand.... I found reading was the worst cause when I tried what I red I made more mistakes since I was thinking too much on the shot rather then playen my way...

  2. #17

    Talking Sunday tennis

    There is a group of social players that play Sundays at the courts i play at. I have been going there for 19 yrs. What i can tell you is these people hit the same exact way as they did 19 yrs ago without an ounce of improvement. You can play forever but progress wont come without changing bad habits and practice

  3. #18
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    Jan 2009
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    Could it be they are getting OLDER and always play social tennis?

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by haretrigger View Post
    There is a group of social players that play Sundays at the courts i play at. I have been going there for 19 yrs. What i can tell you is these people hit the same exact way as they did 19 yrs ago without an ounce of improvement. You can play forever but progress wont come without changing bad habits and practice
    Well I certainly understand your position HT and to some degree I agree with your assessment however there is something to be said about consistency. If you play Tennis for 19 yrs whether good or bad, you will, if nothing else, be consistent in your approach.

    I was rated 4 times during my years and as a Training Instructor, once. In my Prime, when I could play back to back 5 Set Matches, in my estimation, I was probably a 5.0 to 5.5 Level Player. I can say without hesitation that I could hit any shot a Professional Level Player could hit and I have always had confidence in my Service Delivery to get me out of trouble when down 0-30 or 0-40.

    I'm fairly certain many of you can say the same but what defines us from the Pros, is consistency at the highest level of play. So if you need a reason to tip your hat for those Self-Taughters, you can give them consistency.
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  5. #20
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    Jun 2008
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    12

    Recipe For Failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by 10s1 View Post

    The problem is, those methods that lead to higher skill levels don't feel comfortable or familiar to most starting out...thus, they avoid them and take on easier methods that feel "right" or "Natural" and, unfortunately, gain rudementary success with such methods thus ingraining the method as feeling like the right way to go. Yet, this is the very receipe for failure in reaching any player's potential.
    Could you explain what "easier methods" that feel "natural" you are referring to? I would like to know specifically which method(s) you feel are a "recipe for failure" so I can avoid it(them). Thanks.

  6. #21
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    Sep 2004
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    New England
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    I've spoken volumes to many kids about how they can improve without the benefit of coaching. For instance, we must consider that the body naturally makes adjustments. If you are a new Tennis Enthusiast and find that your forehand shots tends to sail over the fence or into the net each time you strike a forehand shot, you will instinctively alter your shot each time the ball approaches your forehand even if you aren't quite certain as to what will give you the results you are hoping for.

    Now I must also include that this is intended for the serious Player. The person who truly wants to be a competitive player someday. I've seen it not only in myself but in others as well.

    One of my personal favorite methods is watching the Pros on TV or DVD. Not only are you getting the benefit of seeing a Player hit a shot but how they construct a point as well. One of my favorite Players to analyze was Andre Agassi. And if you're watching on DVD where you can manipulate the screen action, such as rewind & slow play, you get the benefit of viewing a bevy of information like pre-ball contact footwork, how far does he player pull back their racquet before contact, where are their eyes at point of contact with the ball, the follow-through, foot position after contact and this isn't just during a groundstroke rally but in every aspect of play including the serve most importantly. Because a Player's serve tell much about the Player.

    Do they serve to start the point or do they use their serve as a prominent part of their attack? Or are you watching the Returner? As you can tell, watching the very people touted as the best in the World, I feel there is no better coach if you are coachless and actually, in conjunction with a coach for those who have one.

    I've used Video as a tool with tremendous success on my kids. I know it works because there have been times, Ive seen over-night improvement in some. I had a kid (Josh) last year who felt Sampras' Serve was the best in the business. He especially liked the fact that Pete never felt he would get broken if his serve was on. Josh and I would sit in the Trailer and watch how Pete constructed his service toss & follow-through and then we would go out and practice it with me as the returner. My intension was to simple get the ball back in different places for him to deal with, like I would return the ball to his feet when he wanted to Serve & Volley or I would crowd the center line forcing him to serve out-wide.

    Josh solidified his place on the Team as a Starter and Josh was only 5' 9" tall.
    But most of the success he gained I had little to do with. It is his dedication to watching Sampras on Video that helped him firm up his confidence.
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  7. #22
    I just learned from watching other people and practicing

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by GavinC360 View Post
    I just learned from watching other people and practicing

    Of course we tend to watch others but how do you know if who you are watching has adequate form? Do you decide by the results they are achieving ?

    One other question, do you hit against the Wall and if so, does the Wall you use have a Net line?

    Before you answer please understand that my response does not mean watching others is not good. I make no predictions on what you can gain from that. I learned a lot about Tennis from playing, getting advice from people I trusted and watching the Pros. I received a very comfortable level of striking the ball long before I sought professional instruction and to be quite honest, the only reason I received professional instruction at all was when I decided to help out at our Community Summer Tennis Camp.

    In joining the USTA as an Instructor, they have a program for Coaches to learn various techniques for training. In other words, you learn how to teach even if you think you already have that down, you'd be surprised at how different it is from basically giving advice to actually teaching people how to play the Game.

    Some Key Elements in Tennis:

    1. Footwork
    * Keeping your balance in check at point of ball contact.
    * Transferring your weigh to generate power on ball contact.
    * Appropriate use of the Split Step [When & How] to use it.
    * Using the balls of your feet as opposed to standing flat-footed

    2. Watching the Ball
    * Hand - Eye coordination is crucial
    * Taking note of where the Ball is not where it's going
    * Increasing your ability to Track a ball enhances better preparation
    * Aids in developing a more consistent Serve

    3. Follow Through
    * Essential in Ball Control [Direction & Velocity]
    * Absolute key for controlling and/or generating Top Spin

    4. Back Swing
    * Provides assistance in controlling Return of Serve
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  9. #24
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    Mar 2009
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    240
    I started tennis when I was 4.
    I started tennis LESSONS when I was 5.
    And I will tell you self teaching tennis to yourself is a good thing. (:
    Teaching myself the basic tennis skills was difficult but here are some things which I did;
    If you have a brick wall throw the ball at the wall and play out a rally.
    This doesn't make your 100% better but it helps the arms and a lot of the muscles which need developing for tennis.
    I was too young to read about tennis, so what I did was walked to the local tennis courts and watch the older players. Then I would go home and copy the things they did. It sounds lame but trust me it helped A LOT.
    These are just some basic physical improvement tips to follow.
    Hope it helped. (:

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robyna View Post
    I started tennis when I was 4.
    I started tennis LESSONS when I was 5.
    And I will tell you self teaching tennis to yourself is a good thing. (:
    Teaching myself the basic tennis skills was difficult but here are some things which I did;
    If you have a brick wall throw the ball at the wall and play out a rally.
    This doesn't make your 100% better but it helps the arms and a lot of the muscles which need developing for tennis.
    I was too young to read about tennis, so what I did was walked to the local tennis courts and watch the older players. Then I would go home and copy the things they did. It sounds lame but trust me it helped A LOT.
    These are just some basic physical improvement tips to follow.
    Hope it helped. (:

    So are you telling us that at 5 yrs of age, your Guardians allowed you to walk alone to the Tennis Courts and at that age you were astute enough to emulate what you committed to memory?

    Well regardless of your skill level, that alone was impressive enough and dangerous to be quite honest.

    As for the Wall technique, there are a number of Drills one can utilize to increase your ability that even hitting with a partner isn't as good as.

    If you stand close, you can drill your Volley ability. You can drill Overheads by hitting the ball down to the ground first forcing the ball the strike the back wall and pronounce high in the air so you can practice overheads. This technique is actually easy & fun but you'll need to hit the ball several times until you adjust how hard to hit it.

    You can drill Serve & Volleys as well by serving against the Wall and following it in. I highly recommend that if the Wall you're hitting against doesn't have a NetLine, you will need to draw one. It is important you do this because if you intend to use the Wall often, you don't want to drill shots that would land either too high or too low into the Net upon real play.

    *Note*
    When drawing your Netline, don't forget to calculate the low section of the Net in contrast to the higher sections located at the Net Post. The proper height is 36" (inches) at the Center Strap and 42" (inches) at the Net Post.

    Thank you Robyna for your contribution. It is always welcomed

    Coach
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  11. #26
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    Mar 2009
    Posts
    240
    Happy to contribute. (:
    I didn't go alone, my mom or dad usually came.
    Basically what I did was copy what they did while watching them a few times then go home and try my best to copy it.
    It wasn't too hard and at the time the important thing was that I was learning the basic ground strokes.

  12. #27
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    Sep 2005
    Location
    Utah
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    Quote Originally Posted by Focused View Post
    Could you explain what "easier methods" that feel "natural" you are referring to? I would like to know specifically which method(s) you feel are a "recipe for failure" so I can avoid it(them). Thanks.
    Sorry for such a delay...missed this question!

    The "easier methods" are typically the following situations in learning, (although, there are exceptions and others I don't include because of time and space.)


    1. Hitting flat. Most beginners don't understand the concept of spin, nor do they understand how to execute a stroke to hit with spin correctly. Most beginners who know nothing about tennis will hit with linear strokes, trying to hit balls very flat.

    2. Grips: Most beginners will avoid the continental grip on volleys and serves. (Which is why most authors and pros cop out and say "the beginner player may use the eastern grips--or their groundstroke grip--to learn to serve and volley...it is easier [read: less frustrating] than learning with the proper grip." Then almost all books then say, "Advanced players use the continental grip for the serve and volley." My question to anyone: WHY START USING SOMETHING THE MUST CHANGE LATER?

    3. Drill: Most beginners are introduced to tennis by hitting a ball dropped or tossed to them. This is the worst way to learn to play SKILLED tennis because the student--of any age--will do what they PERCEIVE to be the way to hit the ball to a given target. They are not conscious nor do they focus on developing a particular swing path. Develop the desired SWING PATH first, then work on aim and timing and then movement.

    4. Footwork: One of the problems many pros have is they stress movement to a ball before the stroke is developed. Again, like #3, if a player has not established a reliable, familiar and consistent swing pattern, then footwork is meaningless. They can get to the ball, but they won't have any control in hitting the ball. This is not to say that footwork is not important. But, this aspect should be developed in stages: 1st, swing mechanics; 2nd, footwork with the stroke, (closed, neutral and open...ALL THREE need to be taught, not just one...all pros and skilled players use all three!); 3rd, footwork in getting to the ball; 4th, reationary footwork, speed, agility, first step, (including gravity steps, cross-over steps, jab steps), as well as recovery steps, (brake steps, reverse pivot steps, etc.); 5th, situational shots as well as combination shots; 6th, developing stamina in long-ralley situations where the stroke and footwork patterns don't break down.

    There are many other aspects to learning correctly or avoiding disasterous methods. This is why my book COACHING MASTERY was written! 400+ pages to define everything about teaching tennis and coaching. (I'm not trying to plug my book here...just pointing out that it is very difficult to offer everything in 400 pages here in a few paragraphs!)
    Dave Smith
    Senior Editor, TennisOne.com
    Dunlop Master Professional
    USPTA P-1
    Former Board Member USPTA Intermountain
    Owner, St. George Tennis Academy
    Author, TENNIS MASTERY, COACHING MASTERY
    Co-Author, HIDDEN MICKEY (A Walt Disney Mystery)
    www.tennismastery.net
    www.tennisone.com
    www.coaching-mastery.com
    www.hiddenmickeybook.com
    www.synergy-books.com

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Upstate NY
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    104
    I used to go to a "tennis academy",which gave group lessons for a few hours for exorbitant prices at a private school's indoor courts. But after about 2 months or so I quit. I was and still am very much into tennis, and have a far off aspiration of becoming a succesful pro. The coach basically ran the clock, didn't give a damn about peoples technique, and had 2 college kids take a group of about 20 kids to 2 outdoor courts, let each kid hit about 10 balls in 2 hours, and all this in November in upstate ny. To round it off, he charged 40$ for it.

    I then tried fyb, and my technique improved in a matter of days.
    I was sick with H1N1, so I was out of school, and so all I did was perfect my groundstrokes. I made my forehand's backswing smaller, switched grips ... got all this instruction for free, and I started playing a hell of a lot better.

    Proffesional instruction is great, but only when the teacher is good. Most of the time, the coaches are just freaks.

    Coach, you mention earlier in this thread that tier 4 events are mostly out of the US, but don't certain events offer hospitality?

    Also, to anyone here, how many years of practice do you think a kid should have before playing tournaments?
    I know some of the really good russians practiced for about 2-3 years, and then started competition.
    Your thoughts?

  14. #29
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    Sep 2005
    Location
    Utah
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    Quote Originally Posted by 03White View Post
    Also, to anyone here, how many years of practice do you think a kid should have before playing tournaments?
    I know some of the really good russians practiced for about 2-3 years, and then started competition.
    Your thoughts?
    It depends when the kid can compete without resorting to less effective or "safe" technique.

    Too many players play specifically to "win" early on, and in the process, resort to simple or rudementary 'pushing' or other means to beat a particular opponent.

    I recommend players work on their strokes for six months to a year, (depending on age) before going into tournament competition. That doesn't mean they can't play practice points, matches or other competititve situations, (you can create a number of competitive or pressure situations without tournament play).

    While many will disagree with me, my experience (35 years teaching beginners to world-ranked players), but I've found that those who are pushed into competition early tend to develop very questionable habits and stroke mechanics because they are focused on winnning and not improving.
    Dave Smith
    Senior Editor, TennisOne.com
    Dunlop Master Professional
    USPTA P-1
    Former Board Member USPTA Intermountain
    Owner, St. George Tennis Academy
    Author, TENNIS MASTERY, COACHING MASTERY
    Co-Author, HIDDEN MICKEY (A Walt Disney Mystery)
    www.tennismastery.net
    www.tennisone.com
    www.coaching-mastery.com
    www.hiddenmickeybook.com
    www.synergy-books.com

  15. #30

    Easy To Be Hard

    I enjoyed reading 03white and 10s1, some great observations from 2 very different perspectives! As a student 03 you nailed it that lessons are only as good as the coach and his approach to teaching. Self-discovery is apparently a fundamental aspect of tennis for players and coaches alike.

    10s1 speaks as a highly qualified, experienced coach and explains very well some of the pitfalls of certain techniques of learning and teaching tennis. Regarding the point of "easy" and "natural" stylels, I would observe that nothing is easy when it is unfamiliar. When my grandson balks at learning something new or expresses disappointment when not being instantly proficient at a new task I remind him that at one time he could not talk, walk read or write, and that makes him laugh and approach his new endeavor more optimistically. And so it is with new players who may seek ways of playing tennis that seem familiar, such as hitting a "baseball" swing, or coaches who believe they must first teach a a beginner to hit one way then later change his technique to hit a different way. Observation shows us, however, that it is much more difficult to "unlearn" than to learn something for the first time. That first impression and effort is critical to eventual positive outcome, so it behooves a coach to start every student out with fundamentals that will remain constant throughout his progression.

    I would like to make one other distinction between styles which may yeild success or failure, and that is the concept that tennis itself is complicated and difficult vs. easy and natural. Once the initial effort of tackling this new skill of finding the ball, making contact and guiding it over the net within the boundaries is achieved, IF THE FUNDAMENTAL TEACHING STYLE IS SIMPLE THE STUDENT WILL FIND IT RELATIVELY EASY TO PERFORM SUCCESSFULLY. From this point on, with patient, consistent guidance based on a gradient scale of learning the coach can move the student through progressions of increasing ability which will seem more easy than difficult.

    If a coach cannot achieve this with his students, he needs to take a hard look at his methodology.

    Regarding when to start competing, note that Richard Williams did not allow Venus and Serena to compete early in ther training or place them in competitive situations in which they were likely to fail. When they did start competing they were ready. My coach discourages aspiring players to jump into the competitive arena prematurely, rather counseling parents to be patient and allow the player to prepare until consistency and confidence have been sufficiently developed. Many parents are eager for their children to taste success early on and are disappointed when victory is not achieved. This erodes the player's confidence, whether it is expressed or not, and causes setbacks for both player and coach. Parents need to be sensitive to the recommendations of the coach and the readiness (or lack of) in the player, realizing that longterm success is more likely with adequate physical and mental preparation

    Thanks, 03 and 10s1 for insightful posts.
    Last edited by Tennis Angel; 12-23-2009 at 03:37 AM.
    How good can your game get? You too can play like the Pros with The Wegner Method.
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