DON’T BE AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES
The 2016 FHSAA tennis practice is about to start and if you coached last year, I am sure you have evaluated last season and have learned from those challenges and rewards. If this is your first year coaching, don’t be afraid to make mistakes or to ask questions.
Be prepared to put in long hours; if you attended the FACA December workshop and our FHSTCA training you should understand that coaching high school tennis is more than technique and tactics, it is also about people and simplicity. All of us who were sharing their expertize, learned from our previous mistakes; so check your ego and ask those with experience.
If you were not at the workshop, I suggest you go to FHSTCA Training and view Will Adams video on FHSAA policy. If you have not created a handbook or your predecessor did not leave you one, I suggest you have your Athletic Director contact the USPTA and take advantage of their new School Coaches Category membership, for only $99.00. You can find the information in the last issue of Florida Tennis Magazine, along with other high school tennis info. If your school is not receiving Florida Tennis, send us the address and we will make sure your school receives it.
KEEP THE BALL DEEP
Jim Evert told his daughters and many others, that the secret to winning at tennis was to win more points than your opponent.
GREAT ADVICE and the best way to win more points is to keep the ball deep in the court. To often juniors think power, rather than spin. The easiest way to keep the ball deep starts by raising the height of the ball over the net.
Developing more spin will provide a path over the net, which will cause the ball to drop into the court. So the combination of more height and more spin, with a lot of practice against the wall, will generate deeper balls to your opponent. Consistency will give you the time needed to recognize opportunity, (moving your opponent off the court) allowing you to leverage the opportunity presented, moving from a neutral position to an offensive position.
If you have been patient and developed the needed skills to take advantage of the opportunity, (the short ball) you can now impress the viewer with your power, or when called for, finesse.
Keeping the ball deep buys you time. At the John Danise School of Tennis, we used to say that the game of tennis is about TIME. Remember: The first person hitting the short ball normally moves from a neutral to a defensive position and then begins scrabbling to find time to get to the next ball.
WHY TEACH THE SLICE STROKE?
Every year one of my students asks, “Why must I learn slice”? Many tennis clinics begin with teaching a flat stroke and then progressing to the low to high long stroke and then move to top-spin. Naturally top-spin becomes the dominate stroke of most tennis players.
Early on we teach the slice stroke, why; because I do not know what the Almighty has planned for the individual, but if he/she becomes a tennis player: and being we start at the net with volleys, slice is a natural progression. The following five reasons are why we insist that our players learn slice.
1. By learning how to hit slice, they also learn how to recognize when their opponent is hitting slice.
2. The transition game is a common aspect of many successful tennis matches.
3. Defense is essential in today’s power game. Knowing if you are in a neutral, offensive or defensive position is essential. Slice will often buy you time and allow you to go from a defensive to a neutral position.
4. Change the rhythm of the match with slice. Even though top-spin might be your favorite stroke, changing the pace with slice could induce your opponent to change their game or produce an error.
5. Only when you can hit deep slice, do you have an effective drop shot.
Coach John Danise
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”