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Develop a better serve by having a stable elbow in the pre-throw position

Posts from - 8 hours 4 min ago

It's long been recognised that a good pre-throw position is fundamental to a good serve and this simple and well known progression helps a player isolate this to develop a stable elbow at the end of the pre-throw position.  Throwing from a consistent elbow position enables the racket to follow a consistent path and trajectory with subsequently a more consistent contact point.

Angles at pre-throw should be 90 degrees elbow to hand and 90 degrees elbow to trunk +/- 10 degrees.

Download TipStanceServe.MOV

Finish in a tip-toe stance (back foot) also begins to develop the necessary body-work (involves lower body - foot, knee, hip) for a serve whilst maintaining good balance and stability through contact.

Progressions can be used when players are further away from the final skill, corrections when they are closer to the final skill. 


Great job Joel and Jasmine at 16&U Winter National Tour Finals this past weekend....

Posts from - Mon, 18/03/2019 - 09:32

Super job Joel Good and Jasmine Conway at the 16&U WNT Finals played this weekend at the National Tennis Centre, London.

Joel was runner-up in consolation singles with a 6-3, 4-6, 10-4 loss against Yujiro Onuma and Jasmine won the event with a 6-2 6-1 victory over Iman Khan (4) in the final.  Super job to all coaches involved in working with these 2 excellent young prospects.

Joel pictured far left, Jasmine 4th from right.


What do we mean by 'get behind the ball'?

Posts from - Fri, 15/03/2019 - 07:46

We coaches use the expression 'get behind the ball' all the time but don't always clearly define exactly what we mean by it, so this morning I thought I'd share a definition with you.

We 'get behind the ball' when we place our outside foot (right foot for a right-hander on a forehand for example) behind the line of the incoming ball before it bounces and refer to this as 'beating the bounce'.

Getting behind the ball or setting up behind the ball gives a player the best opportunity effectively use the ground and therefore legs to transfer weight into the shot.

See here a couple of examples by Everyball players Beth Grey and Amelie Brooks as they work on progressively more challenging exercises to develop this which can involve simple hand feeding and catching/hitting (shown) to tougher basket and live ball drills (not shown).

Download BethBHbeatingthebounceMarch2019.MOV Download AmelieBeatingBouncetogetBehindBallMarch2019.MOV

'Getting behind the ball' (beating the bounce) will also develop a player's reception skills as early reading of opponent's shot direction and then depth is key.  A good analogy would be getting to the bus stop before the bus arrives as opposed to getting there at the same time and rushing to get on!


Split step - do you land before, on, or after contact?

Posts from - Wed, 13/03/2019 - 08:30

The answer is 'after contact' so you can time your movement to the ball as soon as you land (often in an 'uneven' split where you land on one foot)....

Just back from a great three days tutoring the LTA SPC (Senior Performance Coach qualification) at Loughborough University.  Module 6 of 9 complete!

See co-tutor Simon Wheatley working on this theme with the coach candidates.

Download SplitStepTiming.MOV


Catching the 'good stuff' and (believe it nor not) staying in our comfort zones to learn!

Posts from - Thu, 07/03/2019 - 09:59

.A great reminder that we've got to keep catching each other doing the good stuff.  A few quotes from an excellent article by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall in the `March-April edition of The Harvard Business Review:

'Learning is less a function of adding something that isn't there than it is of recognising, reinforcing, and refining what already is....neurologically, we grow more in our areas of greater ability (our strengths are our development areas).....according to brain science, people grow far more neurons and synaptic connections where they already have the most neurons and synaptic connections.  In other words, each brain grows most where it's already strongest.....getting attention to our strengths from others catalyses learning, whereas attention to our weaknesses smothers it.'

'We're often told that the key to learning is to get out of our comfort zones, but these findings contradict that particular chestnut: Take us very far out of our comfort zones, and our brains stop paying attention to anything other than surviving the experience.  It's clear that we learn most in our comfort zones, because that's where our neural pathways are most concentrated.  It's where we're most open to possibility, most creative, insightful, and productive.  That's where feedback must meet us - in our moments of flow.

'We humans do not do well when someone whose intentions are unclear tells us where we stand, how good we 'really' are, and what we must do to fix ourselves.  We excel only when people who know us and care about us tell us what they experience and what they feel, and in particular when they see something within us that really works.'


March edition of 'Open' - the Everyball Tennis newsletter

Posts from - Mon, 04/03/2019 - 11:38

Hi friends of Everyball,

Please see attached our latest newsletter - hope you enjoy it!


Quiet warriors...

Posts from - Tue, 26/02/2019 - 09:15

Sometimes they go unnoticed.  

Because they don't shout so loud.

They don't make a fuss.

Their parents are often visibly invisible, enabling and supportive rather than a driving force.

They take the rough with the smooth.

They trust their environment but are not dependent on it for daily motivation.

They ignore the siren call for greener pastures, for better hitting partners, for the next 'best thing'

They are the quiet warriors

They appreciate the grind and understand the value of perseverance over time

They sneak up on you, inching along

They focus on climbing their own ladder, avoiding comparisons, unconcerned by standing or status

Their definition of success is just getting a bit better day by day, ball by ball.

They are true 'every-ballers'

Big well done to Everyball player Jack Feinson on his recent success in winning the 16&U Grade 4 in Nottingham. Super example of the quiet warrior.  Keep up the great work Jack.


Why is it that beginners are more open to change?

Posts from - Sun, 24/02/2019 - 07:18

We've all been 'beginners'.

At something....

And as beginners, we've been far more open to change (learning)?


Generally, because we have nothing to lose.   When we've got something to lose, the shutters come down and barriers go up, especially when the new skill has an initial adverse effect on performance and/or the knowledge that the new skill will only come with significant time and energy thrown at it.

Take an example from tennis and the process changing to a continental/chopper grip on the serve.  When introducing this, I don't think I've ever seen an immediate improvement in performance.  The ball typically loses direction and power and the coach is challenged to communicate a vision of what could be  that is compelling enough for the learner to leave the relative comfort zone of their pancake serve that currently works.

What are other 'relative comfort zones' that we might be clinging to that are inhibiting our ability to change, grow and learn?


Varying your serving position

Posts from - Fri, 22/02/2019 - 08:05

Important to vary your serving position along the baseline in singles.  So many players serve from exactly the same spot every time from both deuce and ad courts. Varying your serving position gives you different angles of attack and so increasing your ability to vary placement whilst giving your opponent something else to think about on the return.

On the ad court (for a right hander) try shifting your position a little further left to help with your wide delivery and so giving yourself a forehand to build with on ball 3.  Not too far out that you have no access to the T serve, but somewhere approaching halfway between singles line and centre mark.  You may not want to move as far to your right on the deuce court, but shifting position by a couple of feet left and right will help with the above.

Great job to our Everyball players who have been out and about competing this week.   Best of luck to those competing today.


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