The more I teach tennis the more I realize how important it is to be patient and flexible with your students. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to observe thousand of different tennis players and focus on how they learn tennis and try to understand why they behave and choose to do what they do on the Tennis court…
It still amazes me how variably different the reactions can be from different students to the same advice or cue. Figuring out how to get them on the same page and specifically getting their technical skills and footwork in line with what the best professionals today and in the past use (and have used) on the tennis court is the most challenging but yet exciting experience throughout my day. I’ve come to a conclusion that as long as a coach is patient (explain the same thing hundreds of different ways until it resonates with the student) and willing to be flexible (adjusting the schedule of training, sometimes going backwards in order to accommodate the student’s learning curve to actually progress), any tennis player will eventually learn the skills necessary to have the opportunity to be a very good player…and how good will depend on the student’s work ethic and determination to be the best they can be!
At this very moment we are blessed with some of the greatest professional players ever playing at the same time. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic from the men’s side and of course the Williams sisters on the women’s side. In my opinion, particularly referring to the men’s tour, it is the most competitive it has ever been. The way fitness has become such and important part of the sport, it has extended a tennis professional’s career by many years…there is a record high of 30 years and over tennis players in the top 100 on the ATP tour and I believe one or no teenagers in the top 100. With that said, more years on tour equals more experience…they know their games really well, they feel comfortable at different tournament venues, they know how to take care of their bodies, their scheduling is impeccable, their diet is adjusted to fit their fitness needs, and most of all they have confidence in their ability to win points, which translates into winning matches. Having all of these experienced and tremendously fit individuals on both the women’s and men’s tours sets up the adequate stages for very competitive matches and everyone, even if not a fan of the game of tennis, should try to get a glimpse of the intense battles between exemplary tennis players who to this very day have spent decades perfecting their skills and are the best we might ever see.
I’ve always enjoyed fitness and pushing myself to see how strong and fit I can become. I think I was about 16 years old when I really started to take strength training somewhat seriously. There was so much to learn, I remember at first just simply trying to do as many different exercises as I could think off, working out every day really hard, having no routine or system, and not keeping track of my progress. Over the many years (almost two decades) I have tried a lot of different workout programs and various types of gyms…from in home BowFlex gyms to P90x programs and using a chain of popular Globo gyms to CrossFit affiliates. What I have learned is that if you want to be fit and strong, you can do it in numerous ways, but you have to decide what being fit means to you and how hard you are willing to work to get there…also, no matter what approach you take, you will have to adjust your diet to get the results you want. For me, it has always been about being strong and fit…I ultimately found that if one has the time to CrossFit and do strength training, that is the best way to go…however, you can adjust different training methods to work with your life schedule in order to achieve the goals you have for yourself.
I look forward to replying to questions, hearing your comments, and learning about your experiences!
The end depends on the beginning…
Start your tennis lessons today, start the right way!