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zackohlin.com As coaches, we often talk about players being smart. But what does that mean? Is it that they are creative or crafty? Is it that they make disciplined decisions? Or is it that they know their game and their opponent’s? Of course, it’s all of the above. Ultimately, there are three things that can...
espn.com Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he's "embarrassed as a white person" over the death of George Floyd, and that there are "a lot of stop signs that need to go up -- quickly -- because our country is in trouble, and the basic reason is race."
educateinspirechange.org Raising children in a modern day environment can be stressful and difficult at the best of times. But I genuinely believe that it should be regarded as an honour and a pleasure by all adults who are able to influence children in any way, whether you are an uncle, parent or just a friend of …
Ken DeHart Tennis
Tips on winning....
Scott Wilson Tennis
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I absolutely love this from @functionaltennis “Enduring means accepting. Accepting things as they are and not as you wish them to be. And then looking ahead. And not behind.”
🏷 #tennis #tennisquotes #functionaltennisquotes #rafa #nadal
📸 @antoinecouvercelle 👍🏻
“The goal of getting better has to be the most important motivation because if it’s to simply win a tournament and then you win it, what do you do then? For me, it’s to see if I can play better now than I did yesterday.”
I call the following 8 practice objectives POWER GOALS because focusing on them on every practice will transform your game. They are the foundation of effective player development. If you are not working on them every time you are on the court, you are staunching your growth as a player.
1. Watch Every Ball after the Bounce into the Racquet.
If you fail to hit the ball in the middle of the strings at the right time, your shot will lose effectiveness, even if you have the best technique in the world. In order to do this, you have to consistently track the ball from the bounce to contact - every single time , and that requires continuous focus and concentration. If you cannot do this in practice, there is no way you will be able to do it with the added pressure of competition. Watching the ball well is a perishable skill that requires constant practice.
2. Fight for the Ideal Contact-point.
In order to swing effectively, in balance, you have to hit the ball at an ideal distance to your body. This is called “your ideal contact point. It is the “sweet spot,” the place where the swing feels effortless and smooth. As a player, you have to understand exactly where this spot is in all your strokes and fight to hit the ball there every time. After all, your opponents’ goal is to force you to meet the ball outside this “ideal spot.” Do not make it easy for them.
3. Have a Clear Target for Every Shot.
If you do not know where you are going, you will never get there. That is the same on the tennis court. Focusing on hitting the forehand crosscourt is not the same as focusing, on hitting it with topspin, 6 feet over the net, 3 feet from the baseline and close to the side-line. A clear target will force you to constantly adjust, helping you to polish your shots. With a general target, you are just going through the motions.
4. Hit every Ball as it Rises or at the Top of the Bounce.
One of the most important tactical concepts in tennis, is taking time away from the opponent, and the best way to do this is by hitting the ball from inside the baseline close to the bounce. The shorter the flight time, the less time the opponent has to react. The problem is that hitting the ball from inside the court is difficult. It requires exceptional perception and movement skills, which can only be developed by constantly focusing on hitting the ball on the rise.
5. Try to Reach every Ball and get it in the Court.
Chasing every ball regardless of where it lands, is the only way to train yourself to recognize the direction of the incoming shot early and react immediately. There are no lines in practice. In addition, the ability to improvise and hit balls in uncomfortable positions is an essential skill for any competitive player. So, your job is not only to run for every ball, but also to find a way to get it in the court as effectively as possible, regardless of where it lands. Actually, you should love running for out balls. It is the best practice for you.
6. Find the Balance Between Consistency and Power.
Exceptional play requires both: power and control. You have to learn to play automatically at the fastest possible speed at which you can control your shots, and the only way to get there, is to work on it every time you are on the court. In other words, if you are making all your shots, swing faster. If you are missing too much, add spin – still missing, slow the swing down. Practice should be a constant search for this thin line where power and control are in balance.
7. Strive for Maximum Efficiency.
True masters make any activity look easy, because mastery means finding the most efficient way of performing the activity - minimum effort for maximum results. Constantly monitor your tension and effort level on the court. Strive for maximum output with minimum effort. The question you need to constantly ask yourself is: Can I do what I am doing with less muscular effort or tension? If the answer is yes, adjust. Do this enough and you will learn to solely use the muscles you need while relaxing the rest.
8. Play every Rally as if it Were Match Point.
When it comes to intensity and focus, there should be no difference between practice and match play. Ideally, you should play every rally as if it were match-point, so that when you are playing the match point you can play it like any other rally. Demand your best effort every time. Once this becomes a habit, you will automatically be ahead of most of the competition.
It is not the drilling or the hours on the court that makes you better, it the underlying focus and intensity. The POWER GOALS will set the foundation to guarantee your optimal development. Make them part of your daily routine!
By Edgar Giffenig author of Developing High Performance Players and Play Tennis with Passion (Amazon/IBooks)
How to practice effectively ... for just about anything:
3 Drills to start serving rockets 🚀 with coach Alex. Follow @toptennistraining and learn to train like the pros.
1. Overhead cable pulls. The movement in this exercise should recreate the serve so make sure your elbow is up and away in the correct position behind the back and you get the shoulder over shoulder motion when you pull.
2. Medicine ball throw down. This drill is great for the serving motion and explosive shoulder strength as well as balance and stability in the legs and core. Try with small weight first and build it up and switch legs.
3. Windmills on one leg. This exercise is great for building up your balance and body control while rotating and works your glutes, hamstrings, calfs and quads. When we reach for low volleys or are getting out of a serve we need the correct muscles taking the shock and firing.
. . .
#tennis #toptennistraining #tennistraining #tennispractice #tennisfitness #tennisfit #tenniscoach #tenniscosching #tennisdrills #tennislessons #tennislesson #lovetennis
5️⃣ awesome shoulder exercises for you to do right now! Thanks to @tennisfitnessau for producing this video and @alexaglatch for doing the demo.
#teamwtca #wtca #wtcatennis #tennisfitness #wta #play #instatennis #stability #shoulder #prehab
Forehand power drills 🎾 Watch the full video on our YouTube channel here - https://youtu.be/cCaZiNBQxnU
Drill one is for creating racket lag out of the slot. The two boxes force the player to create lag to hit the ball.
Drill two is about acceleration during the forward phase including the lag position.
Drill three is using the legs to generate power
#tennis #tennis🎾 #tennispro #tennistips #toptennistraining
Jacques Tennis Seminars
If you want the rainbow you gotta put up with the rain ;)
What to do when you are not Playing Well
by Edgar Giffenig
The ability to perform consistently is one of the trademarks of the best players. They are able to play close to their potential day in and day out while the rest show large swings in performance.
What causes these swings? If you can do it one point, game, set or day, why can’t you do the same thing on the next? The key-words are: awareness and control. Consistent performers are just better at monitoring and adjusting their, thoughts, emotions, focus and tension level. Here is how they do it and how you can do it too:
1. Constantly monitor and fine-tune your thoughts and emotions. The first step when things are not going well is to check your thoughts and emotions. Any negativity will hamper performance, even a very slight feeling of anxiety, fear, anger, etc. will lead to unforced error. So, look for any destructive feelings and ideas and work on letting them go.
2. Maintain a positive body language. Body language impacts emotions the same way that emotions impact body language. So if you want to create a positive state of mind attacking through both flanks: your thoughts and your body language.
3. Constantly monitor and fine-tune their physical tension level. Being too tense or too relaxed hinders optimal performance. You are looking for relaxed-intensity. Intense on your focus and energy but smooth and relaxed on your execution. Work hard to find that line.
4. Be ready every point. When playing badly it is very easy to let your past mistakes negatively influence the future. Therefore, it is imperative that you play “one point at a time.” Make sure you start each point ready: forget the last point, have a plan, and start positive and focused on the moment.
5. Give yourself clear directions. Only by pursuing clear and practical objectives will you be able to perform at your best. “Get the ball in,” “Do not double-fault,” or “You are the biggest loser on the planet,” do not quite cut it. Replace those thoughts with ideas like: “Keep your head still,” “Watch the ball after the bounce,” or “Loosen up your grip” – ideas that are clear and under your control.
6. Watch the ball better. Unforced errors create anxiety, and anxiety has a negative effect on our ability to track the ball to contact. When we feel unsure we tend to look up as we swing worrying about our ability to hit our targets. Trying to find fine details on the ball such as: the seams, the brand or the spin will help you get your focus back on track.
7. Use your strengths. When parts of your game are not working, find alternatives. Run around your weaknesses and use your strengths as much as possible. Some days the job calls for trying to win with your “B” game, maybe even your “C” game.
8. Scramble. Trying to reach every ball and get it in play is always important but it becomes essential when you are not playing your best. Matches tend to turn on a dime. Winning one point that you should have lost may be all it takes to plant a seed of doubt in the opponent’s head or give you the confidence you lacked. Fight for every shot!
Fake it till you make it. I left this one to the end, because it is probably the most powerful strategy. Acting as if you are playing your best game is probably the most effective way to turn your game around. The secret is to act as convincingly as possible. You have to become one of your idols. How do Serena or Roger feel when they play? How do they carry themselves on the court? You have to evoke their confidence, focus and poise. If you do it well enough you will slowly start to flow into your ideal mental state and things will start to turn around.
Take control of your game! Playing consistently up to your potential is mostly in your hands. Do not let the Tennis Gods decide your fate!
By Edgar Giffenig
Growing up I often heard my coach yelling from the side-lines: “Focus” “Concentrate,” and although I was not quite sure what he wanted me to do, I sort of interpreted it as: “Do not get distracted.” Later as a coach, I yelled the same words at my players: “Focus,” “Concentrate.” But looking back, I never really explained to my players what I meant when I told them that. As a matter of fact, I am still not exactly sure what I wanted them to do, so I decide put down in words precisely what I am trying to tell my players when I tell them to “Focus.”
1. Be self-aware. Be aware of your thoughts, emotions and physical tension. Work hard to make sure you remain positive and relaxed. Eliminate any thoughts that are not helping or guiding you.
2. Know exactly what is happening in the match. How are you winning points? How are you losing points? Are you losing or is the opponent beating you?
3. Understand your opponent. Understand what your opponent likes and dislikes, does well and not so well. Pay special attention to his/her favorite patterns and make sure you are ready for them.
4. Have a clear strategy. Based on your analysis have a strategy and stick with it for a while. Use your strengths against the opponent’s weaknesses. Change your strategy if it is not working. Keep changing until you find a one that works
5. Be ready. Do not start the point if you are not mentally and physically ready. Perform a little check-up before you start the point and make sure that you are relaxed, confident and have a clear idea of what type of point you would like to pay. Will you be aggressive? Will you come to the net? Will you change your rhythm? Etc.
6. Watch the ball. During the point, the ball is your world. Watch the ball especially after it bounces. Keep your head still until the ball has left your racquet.
“Focus” and “Concentrate”- quite useless when yelled randomly, but extremely powerful when previously defined.
Do your players understand what you are telling them?
For more tips, drills, commentary and instruction visit
How to Make Coaching a True Profession
BY JOHN O’SULLIVAN, FOUNDER OF CHANGE THE GAME PROJECT.
“What makes you a professional?”
That was the question Dr. Richard Bailey, Head of Research at the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education, posed to me and 250 PGA instructors in Orlando this past January at the PGA Youth and Global Summit.
“Does getting paid to do something make you a professional? I don’t think so,” he continued, as he displayed the image above.
“Does belonging to a professional association of coaches or instructors make you a professional?” he asked. “Can’t we do better than that? Don’t we expect more of our professional doctors and lawyers and accountants than to simply be paid for their work or belong to a trade association?”
“No, being a professional is much more. It means seeking a standard of excellence, constantly improving and incorporating the best knowledge and research in your field in order to get better at what you do every single day. That is what it means to be a professional.”
A lot of heads were nodding in the crowd.
“Then we better get to work,” said Bailey, “because when it comes to coaching across the globe, there are far too many coaches who want to be considered professionals in their field, but have no intention of improving themselves or seeking a standard of excellence. They want to be treated like professionals but have no intention of acting like one. This is what we need to change.”
I am a coach. For the past twenty plus years, coaching has been my profession. Yet for far too long, I didn’t act professionally. I got paid. I joined associations. I took my certifications and licenses. But I didn’t look beyond those things. I didn’t seek out more. I blamed my players for not learning, instead of myself for not properly teaching. And then something remarkable happened.
I had my own children. I realized for the first time in my life that there was something more important than myself. I realized the tremendous trust and responsibility that was placed with me by parents who turned over the physical and emotional well-being of their children to me.
I realized I was letting too many of those kids down. It was time for me to become a true professional coach and not simply a coach who got paid. It changed me forever as a coach. It did not make me perfect – far from it – but everyday I try and get better. How?
I think about what I missed at practice today.
When players do not learn something, I look first to where I failed as a teacher before I blame the students.
I look for more effective ways to teach.
I try and be a better listener.
I surround myself with coaches who challenge me and critique how I work.
I read books and research on a daily basis.
When Dr. Jerry Lynch and I work with college teams, we start with two basic questions:
What are we doing now that we need to KEEP doing if we want to be successful in the future?
What do we need to STOP doing that we are doing now if we want to be successful in the future?
These questions seem quite appropriate here. What do we need to keep doing, and what do we need to stop doing, if we want coaching to be a true profession?
Here are a few things that I see great coaches doing, that we ALL must keep doing in order to truly be professionals:
– Be a lifelong learner and master of your craft: the number of NCAA, world and Olympic titles that guests on our Way of Champions Podcast have won is approaching 100, and the one commonality amongst the best coaches is that they are lifelong learners.
– Be a good listener: This is one quality that all great leaders possess, the ability to listen to their athletes and use what they hear to craft great practices and build great teams. Great listeners are great connectors, and the ability to connect is a core competency of quality coaching.
– Coach the person, not the sport: you don’t coach soccer, you coach Johnnie and Jimmy. Every single person in your group needs something slightly different from you. Some need discipline, and some need a hug, because they never get it at home. Know the difference and relentlessly connect with each person and each athlete. Ultimately, your influence will last much longer than the sport.
– Intentionally build culture and positive team dynamics: when they ask kids what makes sports fun, three of the top five things have to do with positivity and great team building. Culture is not an accident, it is something that is purposely created. Culture is not an event; it is a process. Great coaches create the positive culture and dynamics that allows athletes to flourish.
– Engage parents: “Most parents are not crazy: they are stressed,” says Skye Eddy Bruce, founder of www.SoccerParenting.com. “We need to stop using the crazy ones as an excuse to not engage the stressed ones.” YES! Parents are stressed because they are afraid their child is missing out, they are running all over the place taking kids to private this and group that, and it costs money and time. Professional youth coaches build trust, give parents good information, communicate continuously, and give feedback to parents and kids. Your life will be much easier if you recognize parents as partners in the process and engage them as such. A little work up front saves you a lot of work on the back end!
– Make yourself redundant: as opposed to joystick coaching. I have heard quite a few top coaches say this, and describe how they give ownership to athletes in incremental bits so that they start to hold each other accountable, solve problems on their own, and take ownership of the team. Steve Kerr talks about the Warriors being “the players’ team.” This is tough, but it is how great coaches work. A side benefit is your athletes will be more engaged, more focused, and excited to learn once the focus shifts to an internal locus of control.
– Understand coaching is about Xs and Os AND Relationships: we speak a lot about winning the relationship game with your athletes, yet sadly far too few coaching courses teach this. Yes, your activities and knowledge of Xs and Os and sport science matters, but it is not sufficient. Your players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!
– Get a mentor, or 6: surround yourself with other coaches in and outside of your sport who will critique you, challenge you, and push you to become better. Film yourself, ask for feedback from players and parents, and if you expect your players to be open to learning, demonstrate that you are as well.
Here are a few things youth coaches must STOP doing if we want to be considered professionals:
– Demeaning children: I just read this incredible letter from a coach who is dying of cancer. He reflected on how he speaks to the kids, and how he may be giving his last pregame talk. If we are not OK with our words being the last words a child ever hears from us, then those words should never leave our lips. As Coach Russ Powell concludes in his letter, “I simply refuse to make a player feel bad because they’ve missed a penalty, misplaced a pass or lacks natural ability in their game. Now you may read this and dismiss it that’s your choice. The one thing to think about is, you never know when your last team talk will be or the last time you see your child play football. I know that time for me is soon and I want to make it an incredible experience.”
– Ignoring Parents: who are we to be so high and mighty that we do not let parents know how their kids are doing, where they stand, and how they can help. We need to engage them, not ignore them.
– Disrespecting officials: treat them with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Just because someone gets $90 a game to officiate does not give you the right to berate them and insult them, especially over an inconsequential call. It is a terrible message to your players, disrespects the game you coach, and is currently driving officials out of sports faster than we can replace them. What will you do when there is no one left to referee?
– Not letting kids play: there is no game at the youth level that is so important that a player who comes to practices and fulfills the basic commitments of the team should not get meaningful playing time in. None. IF YOU PICK THEM, YOU PLAY THEM. The number of emails I get from parents of children who want to quit a sport they once loved because the coach refuses to put them in, or pulls them after a single mistake, are way too high.
– Refusing to educate yourself: Stop isolating skills in blocked practices and then wondering why the players cannot perform them in games and matches Please read the actual peer-reviewed science and the latest evidence on how people learn and how skill is acquired. Stop saying “I have always done it this way” as that is about as unprofessional as it gets.
– Joystick coaching: let the intelligence be on the field, not on the sideline. Let them make decisions, let them face desirable difficulties, let them make mistakes, and create an environment of learning. If you move every player where he should be and solve every problem the game presents, what then? When do the players get to learn?
Coaches, we need to be professionals.
Men and women who seek a standard of excellence in our work every single day.
Men and women who hold each other accountable for that high standard.
Men and women who call out those who do not meet the standard.
Men and women who celebrate those that do.
We are coaches.
We don’t just have a job.
We have a calling, and an immense responsibility.
And that calling demands more.
Coach O’Sullivan is a former college and professional player as well as a high school, club team and college coach. He is offering a FREE video series that is part of his Coaching Mastery program. For more information about gaining access to that program click the link above or in the image below. The video series includes a wealth of coaching education including some motivational and team building ideas used by some of the most successful coaches.
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