HELP! I NEED SOMEBODY

Ron Smarr is a life-time coach and a life-friend. I asked him to “coach” me on this chapter on coaching. Coach Smarr has coached many players and fellow coaches. Me included. Recently he was a major help in providing “THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK of TENNIS for every high school coach and player in North Carolina.

Currently we are picking the best of the past instruction, and new and additional worthwhile suggestions since the earlier book. Below are shortened comments Ron offered having read this chapter.

  1. Never serve at your opponent’s strength on big points.
  2. Drop shots and topspin lobs are old shots that modern players are revisiting.
  3. Other than football, basketball and perhaps baseball-other college sports may become “club sports”!
  4. Serves and groundstrokes up the middle can take angle away from your opponent. And you run less.
  5. High school coaches and players and teams often are aided greatly by college coaches and local pros and players.
  6. Coaching is not just about winning.
  7. Many players are returning serve from way back. Enter the drop shot?
  8. The closer you are to the net the more you keep the racket head out in front.
  9. Over- night camps make directors much more exposed to liability.
  10. One Jerk will and can make things bad for the whole program.
  11. Movement can make2/3 of the court available to a powerful shot. And avoid weak shots !

******Comment to Coach Smarr: Guess we are now the “old timers”. We should accept improved good changes.

You and I began when the Australians and Californians were the classic models. Borg and other Europeans’ and South Americans added extreme western grips and open footwork. As good or better. Another thing I hear from young pros is the term “swinging volleys”. Maybe they are talking about very high level players. and while these shot are much more powerful, I would suggest that a volley fundamental is placement, or “spot specificity”. And that doubles at any level call for classic styled shortened shots. Watch the pros. Club doubles players, high school kids, and even talented youngsters need fundamental volley technique.

2 thoughts on “HELP! I NEED SOMEBODY

  1. Randy Bailey

    It is interesting after over 40 years developmental coaching, I am amazed at how coaches and players keep figuring out how to attack a a players style with superior technique and long term training. I would not teach a young player today even as I taught a player 5 years ago, much less 20 years ago. The game is getting faster and players must learn to cope with the spin, force, and speed of the modern hit ball.
    My quick takeaways.
    The Hitting style of leaning and hitting off the front foot will not withstand the consistency needed today. Most all balls are hit from the back hip. That is how players often have a consistent 75mph speed of the ground stroke.

    The swinging volley should be introduced to junior players before slice volleys. It is much easier for them and the slice volley is the opposite of everything you have taught them regarding groundstrokes.

    You don’t need to step over to hit the slice volley. Just like the ground strokes, the back hip provides stability and the weight transfer comes just after contact. In fact, you can get to and recover better at the net not stepping over.

    Most all balls that go long or in the net are the result of a transfer of weight to the front foot to early. Assuming a semi western grip, the ball must be hit too perfectly on a consistent bases to hit off the front foot.

    All serves should be a kick(topspin) serve. Slight manipulations of the wrist will provide all the side spin needed. All my top players can put their serve anywhere in the service box when I ask them to direct after the toss has left their hand. Rather amazing.

    All players have their favorite and least favorite strokes. 95% of stroke deficiencies are technique based. Not a lack of ability.

    Just a few musings.

  2. David Linebarger

    Thoughtful musings. I do think the drop shot is being reinvented some since so many modern players are uncomfortable at the net. It’s great to see.

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