The largest problem in the tennis
teaching and coaching industry today is that far too many
so-called pros are teaching Conventional Tennis, which destroys
instinct, intuition, athleticism, spirit and feel for the
game. Conventional Tennis is unnatural, fighting against you
every step of the way. Tennis is about feel. Conventional
Tennis lessons kill feel because the pro is fixated on the
exact mechanics of the stroke, making the student believe
that mechanics performed correctly is the stroke. That is
simply not true.
Throughout my coaching experience,
I have witnessed dozens of players perform strokes mechanically
and send the ball to the moon or to the closest pond, while
other players that do not have the perfect stroke keep the
ball in the court repeatedly without a problem. Why? This
happens because of FEEL. Your internal senses must be developed
through repetition. Within the repetition of your stroke you
will find your unique style that works best because your internal
senses are being fine tuned to help with your timing, balance,
judgment, instincts, spirit and intuition. What is most important
is the functionality of the stroke, not how it looks.
Looks aren’t everything - just ask
Brad Gilbert, co-author of the book Winning Ugly. He surely
didn’t play pretty tennis, but boy was he effective. He beat
everybody who was anybody throughout his career. Remember
the 1986 Masters in Madison Square Garden? Brad beat John
McEnroe. Brad Gilbert’s genius was forcing the opponent to
play their weakness against his strength, making them hit
shots they didn’t like from spots they didn’t want – turning
their game against themselves.
Ever wonder why kids from other
parts of the world are getting better at a faster rate? The
methods and training techniques are superior. These Coaches
emphasize Modern Tennis techniques, integrating mental toughness
skills into the training. In my entire life, I’ve only seen
a handful of pros recognize and apply this in their lessons,
training and overall coaching. I incorporate all of that and
more with my students. The results speak for themselves. One
of the greatest myths is that mental toughness cannot be improved
– either you have it or you don’t. This couldn’t be farther
from the truth. While we are all born with a certain genetic
amount of mental toughness, the truth is that this can be
enhanced or damaged. Mental toughness is a learned skill.
I’m recognized for helping my students gain these skills and
apply them in training that seamlessly transfers into match
and tournament playing conditions.
I coached Kate Donnelly for three
years. Under my coaching, her ranking moved up 72 spots, going
from around 100th in New England to 28th in New England. The
fact is, she beat players in the top 15, and now plays for
Sacred Heart University Division One Tennis in the #1 singles
position as a freshman, on a tennis and academic scholarship.
Please read Kate's mother's testimonial
to see what she said about my coaching.
If you need more proof, let me tell
you about Joe Delinks, the Massachusetts State Singles Champion
2008 that I worked with heavily in preparing him for the biggest
match of his life. Joe Delinks is a special young man. It
was an honor and pleasure to be a part of his success in his
quest to become the Massachusetts State Champion in Singles
for 2008. Joe is a even better person than he is a player
– this is a young man that will always be successful in the
game of life most importantly. One thing that I will never
stray from is the importance of being a good person. I will
never put tennis ahead of being a good person. If my students
were to become great players, but are lacking character, morals
and ethics, than I have failed. Being a person first and a
player second is what I preach. Win or loose, be first to
the net to shake hands. Always respect the game, the opponent
and the people watching and set the example in the face of
frustration. People later in life will never remember the
wins and losses. But they will always remember how you acted
and how you handled yourself. Once you have the right perspective,
the tennis will come easy because the foundation is built
on rock. Everything is perspective. It is not what happens,
it is how you handle it. Read Joe's
Once I teach you how to use your greatest weapon, your mind,
and how to refocus and be a mental giant, that mind set will
lead to flow, and then zone, the optimal state of mind every
athlete wants to experience. Once there is no more conflict,
everything is working with you. Your optimal performance is
a result of mental mastery. Now you are unstoppable and the
opponent is at your mercy. That is what I teach, so you can
reach your full potential. It is the entire package that you
must have to be a champion.
Modern Tennis instruction maximizes your instinct, intuition,
athleticism, spirit and feel. The reason for this is the fact
that Modern Tennis principles are based on physics and biomechanics.
Physics determine everything that goes on with the tennis
ball. Biomechanics have to do with human movement. The bottom
line is that few people know how to teach Modern Tennis and,
if taught properly, the result is that you never stop growing
in your development.
The client may say, “I’m having trouble with my backhand,”
or “my serve is not accurate.” That is presented to the instructor,
and the instructors must change the way they teach to meet
the need of each individual. The reason for this is that each
individual has a different level of feel for their strokes.
With that understood, the instructor must make an accurate
assessment of the client’s feel to determine where to start
the process of fixing the client’s strokes. The starting point
is crucial because if you start trying to fix a particular
stroke from the wrong starting point, there will be hitches
behind the starting point that will ultimately destroy the
feel, timing, rhythm and the relaxing follow-through, which
is a by-product of good racquet head speed.
The lessons you have been taking brought you to those frustrating
results. Discernment, which is the ability to see deeply within
things, is lacking with a majority of the pros. They simply
don’t have the gift, which leads to an inaccurate assessment
of what is truly going on with your strokes, your game, your
fitness, your mental toughness, movement and a variety of
other things that must be assessed correctly for you to reach
optimal results. Students have a tendency to blame themselves,
thinking the instructor must know what he or she is doing
- after all he/she is a pro, right? WRONG! Most teaching pros
today are riddled with misconceptions, do not have the gift
of teaching, and lack discernment.
These pros lack the ability to look
deeply into what is at play. So it is no mystery why your
game is suffering, not to mention our industry as a whole,
because of the rigid, over-choreographed techniques. Did you
know that in 1970, 40 million Americans were playing tennis,
but by the year 2000 only 16 million were still participating?
Why? Incorrect instruction, which leads to not playing well
– who wants to continue with something that makes them feel
bad or makes them unable to enjoy their time with the sport?
If you are taught the wrong way, how can you feel comfortable?
You can’t! So that is why people have left – to find something
else far more enjoyable. People are victims of ignorance,
and that is the real problem. The entire structure needs to
change, and it has for some teachers out there.
the testimonials here.
Relax for Control and Power
Don’t Be Fooled By The Trophies
Training Your Internal Senses
Breathing to Improve Your Game
All articles linked
to above are courtesy of Tennis Life Magazine