Tennis is the game for a lifetime. Meaning, not only that one can age gracefully playing this game for many, many years, but equally if not more importantly, the multiple facets and aspects of the game will take a lifetime to master. And no matter how much you improve, every time you move up a level of play, there will always be a new pool of opponents to test your newfound skills. This new pool of opponents may just push you to add yet additional skills to your bag of tricks.
In this newsletter, we want your feedback. We want to know what tip or feel has dramatically changed your game and where or from whom it came from. It will be interesting to catalog the replies, and might create a dialogue within these newsletters for future topics.
In my own game, I have had many coaches, played on high school and college teams, and competed in hundreds of tournaments. Over the years, as my game grew, there were many small steps taken and also a few large ones when a technique seemed to totally re-orient my game. Two in particular come to mind. In both instances, these techniques would (I believe) have been less valuable had they come either sooner or later, but in both instances they were appropriate to the state of my game at that particular time.
First was a contract, more or less, with Tom Stow and Jim Irwin: Take the net on all second serves from the opponent. And all meant all – every darn second serve became an opportunity to take the net. The idea was to apply force to the weakest point in the opponent’s game. But really, what happened, and would happen for you (if the time is right within your own game) is that I got a lot better at taking the ball on the rise, a lot better at timing the split step, and a lot better at knowing where to volley, when to angle, when to float it, when to snap it and when to fade it. Really, the contract was to learn how to play the net, nothing more or less, but in a systematic and repeatable manner. Learning any skill will always be about the “reps” and on this one there were many many reps.
The second standout technique that really changed the way I play tennis was the gravity turn I learned from Don Kerr. He was able to clearly show me the difference between a jab step and a gravity turn (see library) but more importantly, I could clearly feel the difference, and the learning of this move was actually fun. It took quite some time to integrate it into my game, but once mastered, it has become so much easier to move about the court. I can feel it, I can see it in others, I can see it when players use it on television, and it makes good sense (at least to me).
But again, we want to hear from you on this one. What thought, tennis tip, prompt or feel has dramatically improved the way you play?
(Click link to purchase Jim's McLennan's Secrets of World Class Footwork Video.)
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.
Framing Your Shots
We've all had the ugly experience of spraying the ball off the racquet frame but that is not the concept Doug King is getting at here. Instead, he's talking about creating a framework that provides the basic structure or form of a stroke - a way to control the ball that offers both tremendous uniformity and flexibility. At high levels, the margins for error are very slim so there must be extraordinary precision required from the stroke time after time. Doug's solution, "The Unified Stroke." See if it works for you.
Crosscourt - The Agassi Legacy
This week on Crosscourt, leading tennis journalists, Matt Cronin and veteran touring pro, Paul Goldstein discuss recently retired Andre Agassi's place among the all time tennis greats. He may not have had Roy Emerson's 12 or Pete's 14 grand slam titles but perhaps no other player in the modern era has had a greater impact on the growth and stature of the game of tennis.
Cardio Tennis is the newest program sponsored by the TIA (Tennis Industry Association) to help grow the game of tennis. This program is basically a non-instructional one half to one hour workout session done to “moving” music (typically 130 beats per minute). All you need is a court, basket of balls, heart rate monitors, a motivated instructor and that lively music and you are all set for a “moving experience.” Does your club offer Cardio Tennis? Perhaps they should. - Ken Dehart
Virtual Tennis Academy
Current professional tour coach, Heath Waters and wife, top 100 and former no. 33 in the world ranked tour player, Lindsay Lee-Waters, are proud to release the first predominantly all streaming video based e-learning tennis instructional website at www.virtualtennisacademy.com
Subscribers will receive personal video tennis instruction directly from Heath and Lindsay as well as mental coaching, sports performance training, and much, more from a hand chosen team of experts currently working with professional tennis players on tour. Now anyone in the world, no matter what level, can receive the same world class training the world's best tennis players receive right from the convenience of their own home.
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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