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Everyballers descend on L'borough University yesterday

Posts from - Sun, 17/02/2019 - 08:18

14 players from the Everyball Tennis Academy Programme at Halton Tennis Centre descended on Loughborough University yesterday to train with candidates on the LTA's Level 4 Senior Performance Coach course.  Players trained throughout the day in small squad and 1:1 sessions.  It was an inspirational day with a fantastic group of coaches who are training hard to strengthen  the performance work-force in Great Britain.


Here, Josh Oakley trains with Jocelyn Ray (career high world ranking of 67 in doubles).  Nice disguise on that drop shot Josh!  There is also a nice clip of Calum Fairey in the background moving onto a forehand as he trains with coach George Coupland.  Super energy and shot making shown by Robyn Went in the second clip.

Well done all players and big thanks to Everyball coach Alan Hutcherson for leading the trip and driving the mini bus  and to supporting parents who also helped with transport.



Mini Red 'Aspirantes' squad training with Everyball Tennis

Posts from - Tue, 05/02/2019 - 08:55

Players and coaches working hard last night!

Developing consistent and stable contact point with ball control


 on the forehand from the 'waiting position' (as opposed to recovery back to ready position which would be next progression)


The distance between a pat on the back and a kick up the....

Posts from - Mon, 04/02/2019 - 14:35

Lovely line by David Walsh yesterday in The Times:

'Eddie Jones reminded Ireland that the distance between a pat on the back and a kick on the backside is very short indeed.'

Always worth reminding ourselves of this, especially when things are going well but also when they are not.

That's one of the wonderful things about sport - there is very little permanence, things can change very quickly and the rise, fall and rise again comes and goes in the blink of an eye. 

So if we're sitting smugly in the aftermath of success, beware, a kick up the arse is just around the corner!


Developing key technical fundamentals early

Posts from - Fri, 01/02/2019 - 08:40

Everyball players training last night as part of Halton's LTA Local Player Development Centre Programme.  Working on basic fundamentals:

  • Open the gate (foot nearest to ball) and turn shoulders (for a 'unit turn' to prepare the racket and beat the bounce
  • Step towards the ball
  • Swing with tip-stance finish 'on balance' Download


US College Tennis - balancing the argument

Posts from - Wed, 30/01/2019 - 17:08

In my post yesterday I mistakenly claimed John Isner had only played 1 year of college tennis.  This is in fact not true, and I apologise for the assumption I made here and should have double checked my facts.  He played for four years at the University of Georgia (Bulldogs) and in his junior year achieved the number 1 spot in US Div 1 NCAA rankings.

To balance the argument, please see the following article which supports how Isner's decision to go to College and not turn pro out of high school helped his rise to the top of the game. 


Tarbes 2019 - a few observations

Posts from - Tue, 29/01/2019 - 07:59

It was once again a privilege to take away 15 Level 4 LTA Senior Performance Coach Candidates (alongside co-tutors Simon Wheatley and Rhys Hanger) to Tarbes, France, a Grade 1 Tennis Europe Event widely recognised as the 'unofficial 14&U world championships' affectionately known in this small town nestled at the foot of the Pyrannes as  Le Petits As (the small champions).

It was an event dominated this year by the Czech Republic (the first time any Czech has ever won the event) with Linda Fruhvirtova and Vojtech Petr winning the girls and boys singles titles respectively and Fruhvirtova teaming up with her younger sister Brenda to win the girls doubles.  See the following link for a more comprehensive round-up of the event:

A few personal observations:

  • With the top players game-styles are clearly emerging - Big server, Aggressive baseliner, Counter-puncher, All court player, Net rusher
  • The boys finalist from Qatar Rashed Nawah has adopted a pure 'retriever' game style  and in the final showed incredible defensive skills which included stunning court coverage and racket face control at the outer limits of his reach.  He will need to add more to his game (counter-punching ability) to progress through the ranks.
  • Top players competed unconditionally - gave 100% no matter the score, situation, environment
  • Playing 'catch up' with the top players will be harder and harder - their 'head start' is significant.  The girls winner Linda Fruhvirtova (13 years old, born 1 May 2005) is already ranked 184 in the world junior 18&U ITF rankings, recently losing in the round of 16 in a Grade 1 event.  We unanimously agreed she is 'on course' for WTA top 100 within a few years.  She has not attended regular school for several years already, and is a seasoned world 'tourer' by 13.  Her younger sister Brenda, following the same journey, is reportedly stronger than her older sister at the same age.  This is the 'playing field' at international junior level and we must continually ask the question in Britain whether the pursuit of top level tennis is compatible with traditional school education unless that particular school shows a huge degree of personal flexibility to enable not only the training to take place and players to remain rested and fresh, but of course the significant travel at a young age?  Many will point towards the U.S collegiate system as a stepping stone onto the pro tour, and whilst this is true, few players have progressed on to the very top via this route.  John Isner is perhaps an example and we saw Danielle Collins do very well at this year's Australian Open, but of course Isner only played college tennis for 1 year before turning professional and Collins was the top ranked US Collegiate player when she turned professional after her senior year having twice won the NCCA singles title in 2014 and 2016.  Some will point to Naomi Osaka as not playing any junior tournaments, yet she made her professional debut on the ITF women's circuit at 14 years old (following the Williams blue print) and lost her first 7 qualifying match attempts.  She was still 'very good, very young'.
  • In my opinion, the girls level this year was higher than last year, and the boys a little lower than last year.  
  • The very best pros were also very good juniors.  Not being 'very good, very young' does not preclude you from future success at the professional level, but it's clear by the honours board below that many of the very top players were outstanding juniors at 14&U.


The 'U' - Returning 2nd serve

Posts from - Thu, 24/01/2019 - 07:29

Return of 2nd serve is a huge opportunity to take control of the point.

Direct returns outside your opponent's 'U' and there is a high percentage probability that server will reply back into your 'U' and therefore enable you to dominate from the middle third on ball 4 of the rally.

We can attack in 3 ways (usually a combination of these of course):

  1. With power 
  2. With precision (controlling space, moving your opponent)
  3. With the early ball/on the rise (taking time away)

What would be your hierarchy be in this game situation.  Think I'd go for 'early ball, then precision, then power'.

Look forward to observing this in action in Tarbes, France over the next 3 days where the world's best 14&U juniors meet to battle it out for this coveted junior title (Les Petits As)


Complicated versus complex - where does 'coaching' sit?

Posts from - Wed, 23/01/2019 - 08:43

It's been said that firing a rocket into the air is complicated, but bringing up a new-born is complex.

Complex is where coaching sits because we are dealing with human beings.  It's what makes the job fascinating, infuriating, challenging and rewarding all at the same time.

There is no 'one size fits all' solution to a problem.  We all learn at different speeds, in different ways, at different times and for different motivating factors.  A singular approach will work for some students, but the skilled coach will learn to dance between authoritative and enabling coaching styles and everything in between.

Here are come coaching styles that have recently been presented to LTA Level 4 SPC candidates in a recent module on this year's course, split evenly between 'authoritative' (in italics) and 'enabling'.

Prescriptive - intention is to direct the learner

Informative - intention is to give the learner more choice

Confronting - intention is to raise learner's awareness

Catalytic - intention is to encourage learner to problem-solve for themselves

Cathartic - intention is to release feelings that are holding back a learner's progress

Supportive - intention is to affirm learner's self-worth


Beth Grey back to the courts following injury

Posts from - Tue, 22/01/2019 - 07:28

Great to be back on court with this lady as she begins to get back to gentle training after injury in preparation for a great year ahead!

FH cross-court accuracy.  Depth being the single ball characteristic that causes most amount of forced and unforced errors from your opponent across all levels.

#protour #bouncingforward #PROv3 #everyballtennis

Download BethFHJan2019.mp4


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