Sunday, 2 August 2015


I had a great week last week hitting with a kid who I believe is a very talented young tennis player who typifies the young breed of tennis player now days. The biggest factor however I find with all these kids is their lack of knowledge on how to actually play tennis as opposed to their very refined hitting skills.
 Katelyn hits the ball beautifully off both sides and possesses a serve that had me envious of the easy nature of her action. I have not seen a kid of her age hit the ball that well for many years and I take my hat off to her coach who has worked on her superb technique.
The next step for Katelyn however has to be her on court decision making as you can only get away with a good technique for so long before opponents start testing factors beyond that. I have seen many tennis players who can hit the ball well but lack the ability to either construct a point or test their opponent beyond having a rally.
In saying that I do believe that you have to start somewhere just like you do when you first pick up a racket and hit against the wall. What's the first thing you do ? You hit it so it can come back to you, that in itself works the technique. When you get a little more refined with your shots you start moving the ball around, testing yourself, testing your mind, becoming adventurous.
So surely that's what should be on every students' agenda when it comes to tennis improvement but even more perhaps from the person teaching them the game. I wonder how many new students of the game are actually being taught how to play tennis as opposed to simply being taught how to hit a ball. The two should surely go hand in hand.
 The thing I enjoy most about hitting with new students of the sport is the challenge of putting ideas into the mind more so than actually breaking a shot down into 4 or 5 different parts that can become rather monotonous. Sometimes a session can be better spent with two tennis balls and structured point play rather than a basket of balls and a lecture on how much more I know about the game than a young kid.
I remember a session I once had in Perth when I thought I knew it all as a 15 year old, one of the greatest lessons I ever learned from a man who knew the game better than most. He taught me more how to play a point than how to hit a ball.
I wish young Katelyn all the best with her tennis and send her a big thank you for hitting the old bloke back into some form. A pleasure also to be hitting at my old local tennis club. I used to ride ten kilometres several times a week to hit there with as many opponents as I possibly could to gain some variety.
Tough sport tennis but can be made easier if we get taught how to play from the start rather than how to just hit it. Anyone can hit a tennis ball, not many can play tennis...........

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