Footwork Patterns

The above is from David Bailey (do check out his site) a noted Australian footwork coach. “I was watching Alcaraz and believe the reason he is so quick and effortless is his use of anticipationary splitting steps……..see photos above This technique helps him keep his momentum and flow as against a reaction split step where…

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Learning by Playing the Game

Thinking our loud here ……… Likely we have lost tennis games to players who appeared to have inferior technical skills And most have seen a video where an unorthodox left handed player skillfully competes against a well trained player – maybe even the leftie won There may be only two cardinal rules in the game…

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Hitting the ball or Playing the Game

Hitting the Ball – Mechanics, Posture, Balance and Rhythm, Playing the game – only two cardinal rules Put the ball over the net (translated – hit up) Always be ready and positioned for your opponent’s return And as much as this means centering on the opponent angle of play it also means anticipation and the ability…

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Underspin Backhand

A bit of history here, back to my childhood coach Blackie Jones.  He specified that all my drop hits to start a rally, or to reply when another court called, “Ball please” be topspin backhands with a full backhand grip.  And he told me, most attack the opponent’s backhand, in your case they will be…

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Simplicity

James Clear, “The highest level of mastery is simplicity. Most information is irrelevant and most effort is wasted, but only the expert knows what to ignore.” “Beginner = ignorant simplicity Intermediate = functional complexity Advanced = profound simplicity“ Certainly there is some obvious judgment in the beginner to advanced spectrum above, but for sure we can…

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Implicit Teaching

Implicit Teaching – an Alternative to Explicit Methods From – Tomorrow’s Teaching and Learning By Rick Reis – Stanford University  Instead of a detailed explicit description of a tennis skill, the implicit approach uses far less words and encourages exploration and guided discovery to access feel. Educational researchers suggest we have an overemphasis on memorization…

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The Racquet Drop

Often a useful image is to point the butt cap at the ball And when aligned the player simply pulls the racquet into contact This pulling action occurs on the forehand and backhand and sometimes referred to as the “slot” Maybe this would be called leverage On the serve this “drop” occurs from a loose…

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What’s Up With The Toss?

For sure the game has changed, and will keep changing The same goes for the toss Years ago on Tennis Channel there was a clip of a doubles exhibition – with Rod Laver, Arthur Ashe, Bjorn Borg and Ilie Nastase. Just an exhibition, but I remember thinking they all had the same serve – rhythmic,…

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Second Serve – The Glancing Blow

There is a lot here Rod Laver,”You are only as good as your second serve.” Pete Sampras about his 7 Wkmbledon titles, “I had the best second serve in the game.” Whenever possible  the first and second serve deliveries should be similar And certainly when watching Federer, the first and second delivery appear remarkably similar…

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Roger Federer – Sequential Photos

The following sequence is excellent – with very basic elements highlighted Within the 7 images please note the following He tosses with his weight on the back foot, his tossing arm is parallel to the baseline His body weight is centered as he extends his tossing arm but his right hip is lower He accelerates up…

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Early to Step

Download this Video The most difficult opponent we face is often the “dreaded pusher” – but in spite of this players consistency, this players movement, and often how “poor we think they look” – often the simplest issue here is that their soft floating moon balls deprive you and I of the rhythm we get…

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Mixing Things Up – Changing Length Speed and Spin

The drop shot Federer disdained the drop shot in his early years. But Roger believes it helped him capture the French Open in 2009 when opponents were often positioned deep to run down his shots At your end, if you are unable to hit through or around your opponent, or you are simply playing one…

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(Re) Building the Serve

Balance Rhythm and Efficiency – your keys to an Effortless Service Delivery The following materials are suitable for juniors and adults The primary target are those who are young and developing service habits, or those who are older and are willing to try something different I will be using Roger Federer and Serena Williams as…

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Alcaraz Serve Live

Video courtesy Jim Fawcette   ©jfawcette The following is research by Jim Fawcette “You had mentioned Ferero’s role in coaching Carlos Alcaraz. Searching, it looks like he came onboard in 2018, after being fired by Zverev. So … were Alcaraz’s strokes pretty much fully baked by then? I remember Fed saying something like “With serving,…

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Alcaraz the Serve

Photo courtesy Jim Fawcette   ©jfawcette                                           More and more my observations are less “biomechanical” – just about basic positions that you can come to appreciate, and in some instances approximate on your serve Frame…

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Transitioning to the Net

The most difficult aspect of the game, may be the ability to play in “open” areas Meaning, closed skills are repetitive – the serve, bowling, movements that are repeatedly similar Open skills are totally random, each event may be different from the previous – and for sure when learning how to follow your shot to…

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Tennis on the Theory of Golf – Explore with an Open Mind

Your back knee – as in, “the knee bones connected to the hip bone” In golf, as you finish your swing, you are able to easily walk down the fairway Similarly, Tom Stow (who taught the game based on the form of a 3/4 nine iron) trained that on the follow thru if you so…

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The Dog Wagging Its Tail

In this photo Djokovic demonstrates perfect posture, and how his body (dog) has truly pulled the arm and racquet (tail.) So how to synchronize the arm and body? Getting the racquet back is not the issue, but rather the rhythm of the racket back and the rotation of the body. Do you take the racquet…

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Sidespin – means hitting the side of the ball

The following is meant to be visual, with very few words about how to serve, which grip to use, or really anything else. I am choking up on the racquet so that positions of the butt-cap highlight various moments in the action. I am demonstrating with a slow swing, the toss is exaggerated well to…

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A Teacher Never Knows …

How I got here At 11 years old I would bicycle to Acalanes High School, sit in the shade amidst the trees, and watch Blackie Jones give lessons.  He was firm, he was gruff, but equally he loved the game and his students.  His lessons were interspersed with questions to see if the student was…

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This and That – Looking back

We are, as likely are you, sheltering in place. Quite a bit of time for me to revisit 10 years of work on this site, and the previous 20 years of work on TennisOne. One of the teaching notes I have been given reads, “A good teacher tells you where to look but not what…

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Loosening the Fingers – think Quantum

In physics, a quantum is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction Many interesting parallels have been drawn between the tennis serve and the golf swing.  Once the tennis player (or golfer) gets the feel for the mechanical elements of the serve (or golf swing) then rhythm becomes the overriding issue.…

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Centering the Opponent- Deep and Down the Middle

Jack Kramer (hopefully you have one of the old Wilson Kramer autograph wooden frames) played deep and down the middle when in a rally.  Note, with his serve and volley game, rallies were less frequent, but if he was stuck in a neutral position, he favored deep and down the middle. Deep and down the…

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Contact in Front

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – from an excellent camera angle One of our best coaches once described simply 4 keys to hitting the ball Early preparation Quick light steps Contact in front Finish on balance And though this is an intentional oversimplification – use your eyes to capture how Tsonga seems to dance to the ball, make…

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Squaring the Face on the Volley

The keys to improve your volley include Simplify the preparation – on the first move the strings must face the ball Use a brief but solid blocking action Finish with the racquet face in an identical alignment – means no wrist actio Certainly there are exceptions that vary with the nature of the incoming ball…

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