Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Regaining Number 1 Tennis Ranking in America

 Regaining Number 1 Tennis in America

TEN THINGS THAT’S WRONG WITH AMERICA’S TEACHING OF TENNIS TODAY: Old School taboo; Starting too young; Bigger; Better Program Myth; Playing and Practicing; Purposeful effort; Student Immaturity; Inattention to detail; Lacking Sound techniques; Role of better equipment.

1         Old School is considered taboo: Many of todays' players don't come from private clubs, and many have taught themselves, and watched players on T.V., and are not familiar with Old School, that taught basic footwork and ball control.

2         Myth: Starting sooner will get you there faster: Many of today's parents, who themselves have not played tennis, heard that the father of Venus and Serena taught them to play, and believe that starting their youngsters at a very young age 10u might  make the difference.

3         Bigger program the better: Local tennis facilities with numerous courts are filled with instructors that have played, or are playing tennis, and looking for part-time jobs and have taken up teaching Tennis.  These players, often with no tournament, or teaching experience and limited background in sports, see teaching  tennis at the recreational level as an easy way to make money.

4         The difference between playing and practicing: Playing is putting into use what you have practiced. Many tennis players think that simply by playing they will improve.  Unfortunately, this is never the case.  One must practice so that their strokes are performed as they are needed, and done so subconsciously .  This can only occur when you are able to slow down your movement so that you can prepare by getting your racquet back, getting into position, planting you feet, for a good hitting foundation and following through.

5         Purpose of effort: Practice must be done with real results in mind.  One good example is a player who fails to follow through on the serve because of fear it will go too long.  The follow through must be done so that the serve will have control, and direction.  A player must remember that every stroke has three elements: The strokes early preparation, the contact point, and the follow through. 

6         Immaturity of student: Many of todays' youngsters are not mentally, emotionally, and physically mature for the rigors of the discipline of tennis.  For example, some learn to play with two hands because their fingers are to short to control the change in grip necessary for the one hand backhand, though two hands shortens their reach and requires them to run more.  Many don't understand the need for proper footwork that assures proper balance. And finally, losing is a part of the game that players must understand. There has never been a tennis players that doesn't make errors.  Youngsters must be taught that the only time you start at the top is when you're learning to Ski, or learning to swim.

7         Instructional inattention to detail in teaching:  Many teachers, I have observed, fail to correct footwork demands, or the need to explain why certain style, or playing technique is ineffective for that individual player, and often fail to show the cause of certain errors in stroke making because of their limited knowledge, or understanding.

8         Lack of sound approach to teaching: Anyone teaching tennis, must not only have a love of the game, but must have an understanding of the mechanics of constructing the stroke. Simply being able to demonstrate the stroke is not enough.  The instructor must be able and willing to  dissect the stroke so that the problem is evident to the student.

9         Players’ reliance upon equipment: Players must understand that, if they put in the time to practice, to learn the mechanics of producing each and every stroke in tennis, there is no reason to give credit to your equipment bag, your newest racquet, or your colorful shoes.
10     Playing –not practicing to  improve: Being unwilling to play a weaker player for fear it will damage your game, is a foolish idea that can be observed on numerous courts throughout the United States.  Playing against a weaker player is your opportunity to work on shots that a better player doesn't give you time to attempt.

No comments: