First, Happy New Year–and Happy New Decade (yes!) to everyone in the TennisOne community.
Phil Dent on TennisOne
This first bonus is for everyone. Today we're introducing our first article by Phil Dent, former top 20 ATP pro and now a leading coach in L.A. Phil's coaching accomplishments include instructing pros on the tour (including players ranked #1) and coaching his son Taylor Dent, a tour player, formerly ranked as high as #21 in the world. Taylor owns one of the most effective serves on the tour and is in the record books as recording the 4th fastest serve (151 mph) in tennis history. Players travel from all over the world (and pay thousands of dollars) to receive instruction from Phil Dent. Now he's your coach on TennisOne.
How to hit a serve 151 mph? – Mark calendar for Jan. 5th
We are launching our January membership drive on Jan. 5th at 9 am (Pacific). This will feature Phil Dent on how to build a worldclass serve. Want to know how Taylor Dent hits a serve 151 mph? Look for an email on the 5th--as this will be a limited offer bonus.
$100 value and tool for every TennisOne member – Jan. 8th
For our current TennisOne members, we have a great bonus to roll-out at the beginning of the year–January 8th to be exact. This will be a $100 value (no gimmick or exaggeration) for each TennisOne member and is something that can take your game to a new level in the coming year and decade.
--Kim Shanley, Publisher, TennisOne
"What's New" Product Video
- from Tennis Warehouse - Babolat Pure Drive Roddick GT Racquet
A Decade Ends... A Look Back and a Look Forward
David W. Smith, Senior Editor TennisOne
As we welcome the entrance of a new decade, it's only natural to reflect on how we fared in the previous ten years. These milestones are really just another day, month, or year in the continuation of our lives, yet the marking of a new decade's commencement offers a perception for hope for the next period in our timelines.
The last ten years has had its fill of world-affected events. From September 11th, 2001 to a general collapse of the world's economy at the close of the decade; from the recent expose' of Tiger Wood's infidelities, to an American Swimmer breaking the record by winning eight gold medals in one Olympiad, the last ten years has had events that rocked the world in one way or another.
Likewise, in the last ten years, the game of tennis has seen a host of changes. From the passing of the torch of domination, (from Sampras to Federer), to a lack of domination in the women’s game, with some nine players sharing the number one spot at one time or another.
In 2009 we saw a charismatic and physical Nadal offer a challenge to Federer’s top spot only to relinquish it as injuries hampered the Spaniard’s quest to become the next dominating player. We saw Serena Williams berate a linesperson at the US Open, exposing the nasty side of her character. And, in the same tournament, we saw “people’s choice’ player, Kim Clijsters, return with a vengeance to the game she retired from some 18 months earlier and capture the final slam of the decade.
What about the 20 million other tennis players?
Like that of a person starting the New Year with well-intentioned resolutions, tennis players often set their sights on improving their games for the New Year. The problem with many individuals is that there is a belief that true improvements in the game can be simple, "Band-Aid" solutions that can come from attending a new camp, clinic, lesson, or by reading books or watching DVD’s on tennis.
While these vehicles can be the starting point to changing one’s game, people must understand that long-term improvement takes long-term commitments. Establishing the ability to execute more effective and advanced techniques requires three distinctive elements that many players fail to recognize. If a player fails to employ all three of these concepts, then the ability to establish real change, effective change, will remain elusive.
Understanding and Education
This concept refers to players having a clear understanding of what mechanics are required to execute specific strokes. Whether it is hitting crisp, consistent, deep volleys off a tough return, or, hitting a 110mph first serve, a 90mph kicker second serve, or a full overhead while moving back near the baseline, players need to understand that such stroke elements have specific grips, swing patterns, footwork patterns, and balance, that all must be understood to be fully executed.
Dedication over Time
If players make changes for a week, only to fall back to more comfortable, yet effective strokes and strategies, this will ensure only one thing–stagnation. With clear understanding of stroke elements comes the need to maintain those elements long enough to master them.
I generally tell people that it isn’t an issue of maintaining certain strokes for a “period of time" (as if failure to hit them well within that period of time means the player can “go back” to their old game elements). This is where so many fail: they give themselves a specific
period of time to master certain strokes. This mentality will always
give the player an "out," or "permission," if you will, to go back to
their old, familiar, and yet ineffective strokes after that specific
"trial period" has expired. This will ensure
a lifetime of mediocre play.
One must not establish a period of time to “see” if the new methods “work.” Players must know that mistakes will be made, even after they have mastered a stroke. (You don’t see Roger Federer start changing his strokes every time his misses a shot!) I am amazed that players will usually say something like, “Hey, this new stroke isn’t working,” after using it for a week! Yet, they go back to their old, ineffective strokes, and not only don’t improve, they miss many, many shots. However, because their old strokes feel comfortable, misses are not magnified. In fact, a player can miss more with the old familiar strokes yet feel as if they are hitting better than when they were indeed using more effective techniques. This makes teaching tennis very frustrating.
Implementation in Competition
On the other hand, many can employ new stroke mechanics in
practice; however, when it comes to competition, most will revert back
to their more comfortable and familiar swing elements. They just want to win to much and this has to do with “confidence.” Most players who want to win will use those patterns they are most confident with. Since new patterns and mechanics are seldom as comfortable and confident as those the player has been using for years, the natural inclination for each player is to go back to those patterns that are more comfortable – no matter how flawed or limited such methods may be. In fact, this concept is why some pros have said, “It is more comfortable to lose matches than to use new techniques.”
When these three concepts are fully understood and bought into by the student, long-term improvement can occur. No longer will a player look at others who are far superior and wish they could play like that. I’ve found very few exceptions where individuals can’t play at very higher levels.
Once players are able to identify these three things, then permanent change is possible. And, today, with the incredible resources and tools available, such as TennisOne.com’s incredible library of lessons, gallery of professional strokes, and the new stroke comparison tools, (allowing TennisOne member upload and play video clips of themselves side-by-side with any number of hundreds of professionals hitting the same stroke from the same angle), and other learning tools that were unheard of in my day, there is no reason why any student can’t understand every nuance and stroke element they need to master.
So, here’s to the new Decade! May your coming New Year be filled with great tennis and, if desired, a new level of tennis that can then be enjoyed not just for the new year, but for a lifetime!
Best wishes to all our TennisOne readers!
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
Game Symmetry and The Two-Handed Backhand
A good stroke is comprised of many elements, but two fundamental aspects are structure and flexibility. As with the human body, the stroke is built upon stability and mobility, strength and flexibility. Here Doug King examines the concepts of symmetry and uniformity and the role they play in developing a stroke “philosophy,” He also looks at stroke “balance,” and talks about the way to develop the “aspects” that are necessary to create a technically complete stroke.
The Split Step
Former professional tennis Champion and 1974 Australian Open finalist, Phil Dent, talks about the importance of the moving split step and how it is to be used. The most often asked question is, "when do I split?" But with a moving split step, it has to be instinctive and Phil has developed a drill to to make the move an almost unconscious reaction and therefore easier to do.
Working the Alley in Doubles
The most common direction of play in doubles is crosscourt. Returns are hit crosscourt keeping the ball away from the net man, the net is lower in the middle, and you have more court to work with when you hit diagonally. So when should you hit to the alley? Hitting to the alley can be a powerful move and a lot of fun when executed at the right time. Alan Margot offers some strategies to show you when to use the alley and how to make it effective!
ProStrokes 2.0 – Nikolay Davydenko's Forehand
This 28 year old journeyman finished 2009 on a high, capturing the season ending Masters tournament, and recording wins along the way over Federer, Nadal, and Del Potro. Currently ranked 6th, Nikolay plays solid, no nonsense tennis. Nothing overly big, but equally, nothing glaringly weak. Speed and consistency are major assets. With his strong showing at the Masters – look for him to keep this momentum and, perhaps vault to his first Grand Slam title in Melbourne early this year (hey, stranger things have happened).
The Etcheberry Experience DVD
For more than twenty years Pat Etcheberry has been providing athletes from around the world with the winning edge. We call this the Etcheberry Experience, and players with an Etcheberry experience have hoisted Championship Trophies at over one hundred major championships, including 28 Australian Opens, 18 Wimbledons, 22 UP Opens, 22 French Opens and 15 Olympic medals.
And now it's your turn! This is your chance to experience the same drills, exercises and words of tennis wisdom that Pat gave to Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and others, that helped launch them on their incredible careers. For the first time, Pat Etcheberry shares his training secrets in a series of DVDs for players of all ages, their coaches, and trainers.
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