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Thread: Questions

  1. #1
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    Oct 2009
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    Upstate NY
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    Questions

    Hi guys.
    I've been playing tennis for a while, and been told I have talent.
    I was just wondering what kind of daily conditioning do you guys do, and how much practice you try to get in.
    I've just turned 13, and have gotten various different numbers for practice hours.
    Some people say 6, but others say thats excessive, and a few hours of deliberate practice will be fine.
    I'm a very good student in school (Advanced and probablyl will graduate a year early), and so my parents have limits on practice time.

    Also, where I take tennis lessons, the head coach is mainly interested in money, and really doesn't teach much.

    Would I just be better off taking private lessons and getting in a lot of practice time instead of group lessons?


    Finally, for all of you guys that are coaches, do you not teach the racquet drop or topspin until a certain amount of time or something?

    The head coach here just teaches people to throw the ball and hit it..

    Thanks a lot

  2. #2
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    Sea Pines, Hilton Head, South Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by 03White View Post
    Hi guys.
    I've been playing tennis for a while, and been told I have talent.
    I was just wondering what kind of daily conditioning do you guys do, and how much practice you try to get in.
    I've just turned 13, and have gotten various different numbers for practice hours.
    Some people say 6, but others say thats excessive, and a few hours of deliberate practice will be fine.
    I'm a very good student in school (Advanced and probablyl will graduate a year early), and so my parents have limits on practice time.

    Also, where I take tennis lessons, the head coach is mainly interested in money, and really doesn't teach much.

    Would I just be better off taking private lessons and getting in a lot of practice time instead of group lessons?


    Finally, for all of you guys that are coaches, do you not teach the racquet drop or topspin until a certain amount of time or something?

    The head coach here just teaches people to throw the ball and hit it..

    Thanks a lot
    Okay, as a professional coach, I urge you to stay away from anyone who takes money and puts nothing into it. It will really hurt your view of the game and cause you to have problems with your development. I teach topspin immediately. Nothing too excessive, but yes, I teach topspin early on in development. If you have trouble finding a pro to help you work on your game, watch tennis on television or your computer. There are great videos on you tube in both instruction as well as competitive matches. Particularly watch the players form, movement, and really watch them keep their balance. One on one instruction is truly best until you have an idea of form, and then you choose what is best for you, whether it be private or group instruction.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
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    It's obvious you aren't pleased with your current situation so that's one dilemma you will be correcting soon I feel. As for your question on how many hours of practice, as a High School Coach, I was structured to one hour lessons however for the kids that wanted more, some would pay for an extra hour at the City Athletic Field where I would go immediately after school was over.

    I would drill on some key training and entice them to do more on their own. They did whatever they felt comfortable doing which is I'm sure hooked up with others to put into practice the tools they've been learning until the Hit or Match was over.

    btw - 13 is a great age for Tennis. You are every bit like a sponge right now. Problem is, be sure the stuff you're sucking up feels right to you and your results should tell you that.

    Thanks for Joining TennisW.Com - please please become a regular so we can monitor your growth.

    Sincerely,
    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.

  4. #4
    I've thought a great deal about your post/coach question. Having a great coach can make a huge difference in your game.

    So, if you don't mind the chunk of text, I'll re-print an article I wrote for a tennis magazine here in Japan. (The English version, not the Japanese version )

    I hope this helps, and again, sorry for the length.

    -------------

    Choosing a tennis coach can be perhaps the single most important choice you make if you are just beginning to take up tennis. Additionally, if you are an intermediate or advanced level player, choosing the right coach can be a difference maker in how you quickly you advance your skills.

    There are many areas to consider before making the final choice of whom to work with. Most of them are not simply right or wrong, good or bad type of choices. Just variables to consider when making the choice.


    *On-court demeanor
    -If you are able, try to watch the coach in question when they teach. This will give you the most information in the shortest amount of time. Watch the body language, and watch for energy and enthusiasm. Is it there, or is the coach just "punching the clock"? Listen to the voice, and see if the coach communicates clearly what is wanted. You can also listen for how the coach uses words to praise or criticize the student. Is the coach positive, or is the coach negative with the words? It is also instructive to watch the students, and see how they react to the coach. Are they fully engaged in the lesson? A coach who can keep the energy high and keep the student(s) enthusiastic is probably going to do the same for you.

    *Qualifications/history
    -While coaching certifications don't always tell the whole story, what they do tell you is that the coach in question has met a minimum standard of ability to teach tennis. The higher the rating, the more skilled the coach will be in the art and science of coaching. As well, how many years has the coach been working on the court? Don't be afraid to inquire about these factors. If the coach is reticent about revealing such information, that coach may not in fact have any "official" qualifications.
    *Note:Not having any official certificates or licenses to coach does not mean the coach is a fraud. I know many, many coaches that are "unqualified" to teach tennis, and yet are very gifted coaches.

    *What others say about him/her/local reputation
    -Try to get a feel for what other people are saying about the coach in question. If many people sing that coach's praises, there's probably a good reason. If, on the other hand, you hear many complaints about a specific coach, that might be all you need to know before continuing your search elsewhere.

    *How they answer your questions about taking lessons
    -An experienced coach should be able to confidently answer any question you have about the tennis industry, and coaching specifically. Ideally, you need a coach who will be able to quickly identify what needs to be done with your game, and how best to solve that problem. A coach who seems unsure about himself, or how he coaches tennis may not be worth your time and money.

    *Availability
    -Simply put, if the coach's schedule is filled, and on-court time is near impossible to get, that coach may not be able to give you the attention and regular lesson time you may need. It's a great situation for the coach, but maybe not the best for you, depending upon how often you want to work with that coach.

    *Lesson style
    -Again, when you watch the coach at work, take note of how the coach runs the lesson, both private and group. Does the coach get involved with the students, hitting with them and jumping into the drills, or does the coach stay on the side, just feeding balls when necessary? This may be a personal choice on your part, as to what you most need and are comfortable with. It is my personal opinion that feeding should take up only a small part of the overall lesson. A fed ball is not the same as a live ball, and students who are taught via the fed ball, often have a difficult time translating to a real situation.

    *Price
    -Most tennis coaches charge a fee that is within the range of other coaches in the area, or city. Where is your potential coach in this range? Is the hourly fee reasonable, too high, or even too low? At the coaches rate, can you take regular lessons, where your skills will develop the fastest?

    *Appearance
    -How does the coach in question dress on court? Is the appearance clean and professional, or sloppy? An unprofessional appearance on court is often a sign that the coach does not care much about what he or she is doing for a living.

    *Location
    -How far away does the coach work? Can the coach possibly come to your area, or is the coach stationed at a club or resort? How does this distance and time work with your schedule?

    *Link to other players/students and knowledge of local tennis scene
    -This is an intangible. If you only need the coach to help you with your game, this won't mean much. But, if you also need the coach to be able to find new opponents for you, and to better integrate you into the local tennis scene, this will matter more.

    Finally, the tennis lesson is about you and your tennis game. It is your time, energy and money. Don't be afraid to change coaches if you are not getting what you need. Choosing the right coach can make all the difference in how your skills develop, and the fun you can have while developing them. Happy hunting!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    104
    Thanks a lot for your replys guys . I'm really grateful because I have no one I can really ask about these things.

    So on Saturday, I had a different coach (the place where I go advertises itself as a tennis academy), and when he saw that I was interested and wanted to play, he really just focused on me.
    I think maybe the coaches here are really apathetic just because no kid wants to really play tennis, and there parents make them. (Especially the girls)
    I know a couple of guys who've just played for a year or 1 1/2 years, and they play amazing tennis.
    They're kind of insane though, because one of the boys (our families are friendly), he got up at 4 just to play.

    They go to the same tennis center as me, and I find it kind of strange that they've improved so much while kids who've played for over 2 years have terrible form etc..

    At this weeks group lesson, there were kids who had played for 3 years, and they were swinging their arms way too far back (like a full 360). What I shudder to think of is that I might've been doing the exact same thing. (Thankfully, one day we had this different coach, and he told me not to swing that far...)

    I mean, the head coach seems like the worst coach, and only good at marketing. (He's completely unapproachable)

    Maybe the kids should take the initiative,and hit some balls (and not gossip while waiting), but it just seems horrible that he's squeezing 29 dollars for 1 1/2 hours and that they'll never get any better.

    I have a friend that goes to Midtown athletic club for tennis, (She's my age, 13), and her teacher made her hit for sponge balls for over a year, and now they're supposed to be on 'transitional' balls.

    Do those of you that coach also use transitional balls and the lot for 13 year olds? My friend is kind of small though, so that might be it.

    Thanks a lot JohnH for your article.
    Based on your assesments, most of the coaches are the "Clock" sort.
    (They had a couple of twenty year olds just take us outside and feed us balls...).

    I've had only 3 or so coaches who actually bothered to answer my questions and that I've felt comfortable with.

    I mean if I could, I would also get up at 4 to play. The problem is that I practiced with the wrong technique for around 2 months, (the summertime), and now the outdoor courts are closed.

    Oh, and Coach, I'm wondering what kind of conditioning you have your kids do as a HS coach.(Or that anyone does)

    Please advise.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Sea Pines, Hilton Head, South Carolina
    Posts
    414
    Quote Originally Posted by 03White View Post
    Thanks a lot for your replys guys . I'm really grateful because I have no one I can really ask about these things.

    So on Saturday, I had a different coach (the place where I go advertises itself as a tennis academy), and when he saw that I was interested and wanted to play, he really just focused on me.
    I think maybe the coaches here are really apathetic just because no kid wants to really play tennis, and there parents make them. (Especially the girls)
    I know a couple of guys who've just played for a year or 1 1/2 years, and they play amazing tennis.
    They're kind of insane though, because one of the boys (our families are friendly), he got up at 4 just to play.

    They go to the same tennis center as me, and I find it kind of strange that they've improved so much while kids who've played for over 2 years have terrible form etc..

    At this weeks group lesson, there were kids who had played for 3 years, and they were swinging their arms way too far back (like a full 360). What I shudder to think of is that I might've been doing the exact same thing. (Thankfully, one day we had this different coach, and he told me not to swing that far...)

    I mean, the head coach seems like the worst coach, and only good at marketing. (He's completely unapproachable)

    Maybe the kids should take the initiative,and hit some balls (and not gossip while waiting), but it just seems horrible that he's squeezing 29 dollars for 1 1/2 hours and that they'll never get any better.

    I have a friend that goes to Midtown athletic club for tennis, (She's my age, 13), and her teacher made her hit for sponge balls for over a year, and now they're supposed to be on 'transitional' balls.

    Do those of you that coach also use transitional balls and the lot for 13 year olds? My friend is kind of small though, so that might be it.

    Thanks a lot JohnH for your article.
    Based on your assesments, most of the coaches are the "Clock" sort.
    (They had a couple of twenty year olds just take us outside and feed us balls...).

    I've had only 3 or so coaches who actually bothered to answer my questions and that I've felt comfortable with.

    I mean if I could, I would also get up at 4 to play. The problem is that I practiced with the wrong technique for around 2 months, (the summertime), and now the outdoor courts are closed.

    Oh, and Coach, I'm wondering what kind of conditioning you have your kids do as a HS coach.(Or that anyone does)

    Please advise.
    03 White. Are you located in Atlanta? I was just offered a coaching job at Indian Hills Country Club up in Marietta. It is the leading candidate so far of a few offers. Maybe I can help you if I take the job. Stay tuned. As for conditioning. Slowly work your way into it. Good stretching and long distance at first to get your lungs accustomed to breathing hard and feeling fatigued and then start incorporating sprints, suicides, and plyometrics as well as light weight training. As for starting out, the long distance, sprints, and suicides are fine until you step up a level or two. I will let you know if I end up moving to Atlanta (if you are from there). I coached at Bollettieri Academy and at Hopman Academy for quite awhile if you need credentials....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    104
    I wish tennisking1. I live in upstate NY. =( (Rochester)
    It would be amazing if I could actually get a decent coach.
    Maybe I'll talk my parents into moving into Atlanta.
    Or maybe you should come up here, if you could deal with the insane weather.
    BTW TK1, would you advise weight lifting as well?
    Some say you already get a huge workout on the court and don't need that much work on strength. As you were a pro, I was wondering what you did.

    Also, do you use foam balls when teaching younger kids? (If you do)
    Like does using them improve your swing?

    A tennis coach for my school told me that I should practice my swing without a racquet, and perfect it that way, and then progress straight to a normal ball.

    (Sorry for all the questions, and thanks in advance)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Sea Pines, Hilton Head, South Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by 03White View Post
    I wish tennisking1. I live in upstate NY. =( (Rochester)
    It would be amazing if I could actually get a decent coach.
    Maybe I'll talk my parents into moving into Atlanta.
    Or maybe you should come up here, if you could deal with the insane weather.
    BTW TK1, would you advise weight lifting as well?
    Some say you already get a huge workout on the court and don't need that much work on strength. As you were a pro, I was wondering what you did.

    Also, do you use foam balls when teaching younger kids? (If you do)
    Like does using them improve your swing?

    A tennis coach for my school told me that I should practice my swing without a racquet, and perfect it that way, and then progress straight to a normal ball.

    (Sorry for all the questions, and thanks in advance)
    Ahhh, Rochester. There is a Midtowne athletic club in Atlanta as well. Oh well. As for strength training, I highly recommend it. The stronger you are, the easier you will be able to wield your racquet. I worked out more like a football player than a tennis player. Don't get ridiculous with it, but it can only help as long as you are not hurting your range of motion. Get online and google tennis strength and weight training. There should be some good articles and pictures of the exercises to help you understand them. I also do not use foam balls, but it sounds like a great idea. There is no real resistance to your swing, so it probably is wonderful for form as long as you are doing it correctly. I would look up the phone number to the USTA office for your region and give them a call. Tell them you are trying to get higher quality coaching and ask them if they know of any decent pros in your area. They should be able to help somehow. Lastly, watch youtube videos of your favorite tennis pros. It might surprise you what you pick up from it.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2009
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    Upstate NY
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    Thanks!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
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    Quote Originally Posted by 03White View Post

    Oh, and Coach, I'm wondering what kind of conditioning you have your kids do as a HS coach.(Or that anyone does)

    Please advise.
    Thanks for your thoughtful & informative post. Given I dealt with HS Students who will run until they drop dead, you really have to pull back on them. There this liability thing you have to keep in mind as TK will tell you.

    The basic concept in in pre-tennis training is warming up your body so as to prevent injury as much as possible. These are the exercises that one should practice during official practice & away from as well like stretching the gastrocnemius muscles, sloeus, biceps femoris (both legs), gracilis muscles, latissimus dorsi muscles (both sides), triceps, tibialas anterior and vastus medialis muscles.

    Now of course you're not going to know what these are but they ll have to do with the power required for pushing off, stopping, pivoting and producing the energy needed for the task at hand. Yes, I do bring a medicine ball to the School Court. Throwing the medicine ball back-n-forth does wonders for everything colored in Blue. Some will say standing against the fence while pushing off from it will stretch warm up the muscles in Red. I found that to work for me especially when I was in a position whereas it appeared as though I am trying to push the fence or wall over or even taking the position of pushing a car and holding that for several moments. And then how is the best way to warm up your Triceps? With your right arm above your head lowering your right hand down your back as to scratch it while taking your left hand and holding your right elbow for support, pull with your left hand onto your right elbow will make you feel the effect. If you're left handed, then just reverse this method. Swinging your arms wildly about does very little in my book unless someone can prove me wrong on this.

    You want to warm up your tricep for serving and the impact it's going to be taking during forehand rallies. Things like running & jumping rope are excellent for increasing your body temperature. You want to just get to a nice beaded sweat but not to a point where you're dripping sweat, that is dangerous before your begin play. Every 10 mins we stop for liquids in normal heat. If you live in the desert heat, then more often than that I would ask.

    You will find that eating good carbs before you goto practice or match and doing the things above before you begin will give you the energy & stamina to last but more important, with the extra stamina, you will be able to produce the shots and get to the balls that your opponent can't because they're getting tired or sore.

    I know I'm writing a book again .. sorry

    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.

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