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Coral Gables, FL
After thirty-three years I still feel the passion for tennis.
To me there is nothing more rewarding than getting on a tennis court and working with students 1:1. It’s their time to invest in themselves and just work on their game and get a great workout. It’s one of the reasons my slogan is Find Your Aha Moment. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a student evolve in front of you in the moment with these magical self discoveries about themselves.
There is a certain pureness to our sport. It’s interdependent because you only have 50% say in the conversation but it feels SO independent when you are driving the ball with such power and efficiency.
It feels really good to see it happen fast. It doesn’t take months of training. You can see results in hours. It’s one of the advantages I love about getting older and having all of this life experience. The knowledge I’ve acquired over 3 decades even surprises me sometimes. I’ve seen A LOT of tennis.
In this blog entry below I first go over two topics. Firstly, the choice of in person or online tennis instruction? Depending where you live and your level of commitment the choice is up to you. This choice also involves personality trait, your level of commitment and the urgency you are feeling at this moment in time to solve the problem of playing higher level tennis today.
Secondly, I break down in details the natural progressions beginner tennis students go through. There is importance in these details in that each stages of your tennis development are crucial to your learning curve. There is no value in skipping stages other than fleeting psychological euphoria that dissipates quickly.
GOAL SETTING AND COMPARISON
Like a newsfeed on your Instagram comparison can be a dangerous model to live by. Due to the solo nature of our sport tennis teaches valuable life skills including self-confidence, decision making and perseverance. It’s competitive nature you vs them and the scoreboard can wait until your game is developed for match play. Goal setting is important but for now I recommend leaving comparison on the sideline while you enjoy the development of your own growth.
NUANCE IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR LEARNING CURVE
Pay attention to nuance. My methodology is purposeful and my teaching system is easy to learn. There will be temptation to skip stages. It’s normal to be impatient or compare yourself to others to the image of the place you want to be. Enjoying the process will be paramount to your accelerated learning curve.
Be mindful and stay in the moment so self discovery can flourish. The game we install together in the beginning is the one you will utilize the rest of your tennis playing life. These beginning stages lay the groundwork for your tennis future. I speak a lot about this topic in my Podcast. If you are interested your can subscribe below.
Are you new to tennis or a lapsed player that doesn’t live in Miami and you want to work with me on your tennis game? Or maybe you have hit a plateau and want a fresh perspective. If so, you have come to the right place. Here is a sample of below of my tennis philosophy and how YouTube can do more harm then good when setting expectations for the recreational tennis player. Everyday players need an action plan more then they do a professional comparison.
Personality types are a big part of taking online courses. For instance: are you a self-starter? If you have that personality trait then this online course on how to play tennis just might be exactly what you are looking for. I shot it here in Miami with my tennis students. So you will see Novice, Intermediate and Advanced tennis players and even professionals like Nona (see above). I wanted it to be relatable for the average recreational tennis player. Something you could teach yourself to do if you simply followed the progressions I outlined for you.
It’s 50 tennis lessons packaged into one online course entitled Complete Tennis Player.
What a world we live in now. With the cost of education sky rocketing now the online world allows you to learn anything you want for a fraction of the cost including how to play tennis.
To give you and idea of the progressions to learning the game of tennis I’ve included some sample videos of what you can expect when you start learning the game of tennis whether its in one of our group classes or a private lesson with me or another coach. I’ve listed some of the things that you will be thinking about in each stage of your development when you start playing tennis.
When you work within my methodology one thing you will notice in the beginning is I have students working with a very short swing. There isn’t a lot of turning and follow through. At the beginning stage I emphasize ball contact with the center of the string bed (aka the sweet spot). I do this to build consistency and student confidence. It also shows players the important of racquet face orientation at contact.
One thing you will notice in the beginning is the high contact point with your racquet face and the ball. This is a very normal circumstance when learning tennis. In a relatively short amount of time we will fix this but for now I let the student play through things without over analysis. When I was a younger pro I used to give a lot of feedback. Now that I have decades of experience I’m more observational and have the confidence to let things grow organically.
Letting your student learn organically also has an additional benefit of preventing paralysis by analysis or “over thinking”. It’s taken me time and a keen sense of reading the situation and understanding personality type. But more times than not I let the student play through their errors. The “aha moments” come from this type of self discovery.
As you will see in this next video the student is using a longer swing and swinging with much more freedom. You will see the contact point is lower and the racquet face closes during the finish which is a really good sign that the student is building confidence. This natural pronation that occurs with the shoulder and forearm is good sign for me as the teacher that we are heading in the right direction.
I would estimate this took about 10-15 sessions including lessons and her hitting with friends to get to this point. Check out the footage below.
Most new players have the goal to play social tennis with friends. On the night we shot this we played a bit of doubles to give the student a feel for match play. I simply introduced scoring and court positioning just to get her feet wet. Over time we will revisit this but for now we continue development. We must walk before we can run.
The solution to to your continued development lies on the practice court. This student in particular lives out of state and uses my online course for practice drills and when she can’t find a partner to play with she hits against the wall. The tennis wall is the toughest opponent you will ever face but the good news is you can get a lot of quality reps in a relatively short amount of time.
It will take some practice before you can get this type of timing so give it some time. But as you can see it is has some urgency to it. Tennis is great for decision making. As you can see there is only one decision to make here and it is to get ready. Tennis is also good for focus. You will be become very aware of this when you hit against the wall.
Keep in mind when you get to the wall. Start off slow to get a feel for the day including your body, the ball and your environment. I recommend starting off with a red ball, progress to orange and then go to yellow before you get to this level she is at above. Think of it as a slow and gradual online ramp to the highway. Give yourself 20 minutes before you get to full capacity and if he hit a speed bump slow down and regress back to the level where you were more consistent.
If you want to get better at tennis faster. The wall is a great resource for your development. But you need a plan so you are reinforcing good technique that will translate onto the tennis court. If you find you are slapping the ball with no technique you will experience regression. Most importantly trust the process and don’t skip stages.
Backhand City / Find Your Aha Moment