News from the court
What an incredible story Rafael Nadal is - after almost being written off
due to the problems with his knees and not playing for seven months
whilst he had work done on his knees; he has returned and fought his
way to become the world number one. This is truly remarkable.
This Internet business is very frustrating - even more so than playing tennis,
I wondered why I had not received any new subscribers to my news letters for some time (I had
regular sign ups at one time), and I find that, due to the passage of time, that a lot of the links on
my tennisatthenet website did not work. The search engines drop you from high in their data banks
as soon as they find anything amiss.
So I have spent almost a week going through everything and hope that I will move up the search
engines once more.
Then on top the above, my main desk top PC decides to go to the dogs and neither of my internet
connections work, so I am trusting I can send this newsletter out from my laptop.
The article this week should be read carefully as we all have good days and bad days, it is the name
of the game - unfortunately.
WUGS2140 Body Parts.
Warm up focusing the mind and control of the ball.
Played in half court with one player each end of the court,
distance apart depends on skill level.
Players rally - however, they must firdt control the ball - i.e.
stop it on arrival so that it then bounces on the court, then
touch the ball with a body part (head - hand - arm etc) or
with another part of the racquet, before hitting it back to
the other player.
SDPO5202 CROSS & POACH
Practicing to poach from both the deuce & ad. Courts
using the practice with six players on the court.
Four of the players start in the normal doubles positions
from the service beginning. (See diagram).
Start will be from the deuce court and subsequently also
working from the ad. Court.
The pro is at the opposite end to the receiver and also
cross court from receiver.
The pro hits a short ball to the receiver who returns it cross
court and moves in.
Just as the receiver makes contact with the ball, the opposing
net player starts to cross over to effect a poach.
The partner crosses behind and takes the net position. The point is played out. As soon as the
point is over the players rotate one position, at their own end, so that the player off the court now
What Makes Your Game Fluctuate?
What is happening! One day you will play extremely well against excellent players, but will then play terribly the following day.
What is the solution to this inconsistency?
For all players learning tennis, fluctuations are inherent to the game. Wide swings from 'good' to
'bad' are part of the learning process. The more advanced a player becomes, the less wide the
swings. All players experience fluctuations, but the gap between the highs and the lows slowly
begins to lessen as they advance to higher levels.
The problem with beginners is they look good externally that one forgets they are still beginners..
They play with energy, they bounce on their toes, some of their strokes look almost professional!
But this external excellence hides the fact that they have yet to develop flexible and adaptable internal
excellence. By "internal" I do not mean all mental. Although mental toughness may be part of the
problem, what beginners typically lack is the internal, unconscious flexibility that operates their physical
game from week to week.
Remember, tennis is played from the unconscious mind, a part of the body's internal sensory system
that learns from experience. The more players train, the more competently they can perform in an
automatic, instinctive mindset. This leads to flexibility and adaptability in their game that counters
every changing and unexpected condition.
The undeveloped unconscious of beginners mean they cannot easily adjust to the myriad of variables
thrown at them from week to week. Circumstances change: courts, opponents, environment elements,
indoor conditions, outdoor conditions, ball spins, how the player feels physically and mentally, styles
of play, timing, seeing the ball, etc. All of these variables and more can wreak havoc on a player who
does not possess a mature and flexible unconscious control. The resulting fluctuations cause parents
and players to wonder, "Is there something wrong? Is the issue mental, physical or what?"
This should be a reminder that tennis is not an external, mechanical game where the prettiest strokes
win. This is true for all players, including the best in the world! Tennis is based on acquiring an
extensive, internal database of unconscious skills that are constantly utilized during match play,
enabling you to perform in an automatic and spontaneous response mode to produce whichever
intricate and diverse mechanics are necessary for the situation.
So what is the solution? What should players do? Run from coach to coach looking for the answer?
No, though that appears to be what some players do. The answer is to get back into the grind. Always
get back into the grind of hitting balls. For all the frustration and difficulties inherent in learning tennis,
that is always the solution. Get back into the grind. There is no quick fix, no magical technique, no
immediate secret of success. The fluctuations will begin to taper off if you will just grind it out!
Think of it this way. Suppose a child learning to ride a bicycle came to you saying, "Sometimes I ride
good, but other times I'm falling all over the place. What should I do?" What would be your solution?
Simple, you would tell the child to go back and continue to practice. In other words, go back to the
grind! It works for walking, it works for riding and it works for the fluctuations in a player's tennis game.
Hitting shots off the edge of the racquet.
This happens quite a lot with inexperienced players, they have a problem with constantly missing the
‘Sweet Spot’. This makes players believe they cannot focus on the ball.
Actually, your head may be the problem and not your eyes, it has now been recognised that if you look
Up just before impact, the racquet also moves causing you to hit the ball near to the edge.
If you look at the top players, and Federer is a particularly good example, their head remains completely
Still until after the ball has been hit. The eyes do not move from the focused point, they remain fixed
What to do to correct this problem area:
1/. Be patient whilst you complete the stroke, do not worry about what your opponent is doing. You
Must concentrate on tracking the ball into the hitting zone and keeping your head still until your hitting
Shoulder or arm touches your chin. This happens so quickly you have plenty of time to see where your
Shot is going.
Use cues to assist you in your endeavours:
Don’t raise your head until you hear the ball meet the racquet.
No one is able to see the ball actually hit the strings - so look at your arm crossing in front of your
Some players find it helpful to visualise a mark on the court just below the point of impact.
Count to yourself “one thousand one” after you have hit the ball.
Keep your belly-button facing the side fenc as you strike the ball and you should then not turn or move
Your head too soon.
Lots of players actually close their eyes before striking the ball, you should consciously think about
Keeping your eyes open as you make contact, and also breath out.