I’M FREE FALLING (350)

For anyone who is interested in my writing, here are links to my books:

  1. THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK of TENNIS is my opus.
  2. PLAY IS WHERE LIFE IS. My first book.
  3. A LOT ( A Level of Thinking). A mixture of serious and fun items, collected by an old coach.
  4. HELPING.  This includes more tennis, much post-THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK of TENNIS.  Much is a repetition of blog articles.  Maybe more important is the back half of this book , as it chronicles a thorough collection of data on the issue (s) of international college tennis players in the USA.  The history of this ongoing  problem is here.
  5. THANKSGIVING.  This is a hard copy of selected blog articles, writings, family history.  Personal pictures in the back are beach and family/friend/fish oriented.
  6. NEARLY FIFTY.   My friend, Earl  (Country) Boykin of Rock Ridge, N.C,  hosted a  “duck hunting party” for fifty – one years continuously.   It started with the first super bowl. We moved to Back Creek near Bath, N.C.  and did run over a duck. From there to Emerald Isle, N.C. The book reviews, through print and pictures, the principal characters, and some of the events.

THE GRIP TRAINER (DEMO) 222

 

Perhaps the most significant tennis change in recent history is the development of the two handed backhand.   Even young players can tattoo an offensive topspin groundstroke.   No reasonable coach disputes that.

Jim Verdieck was a great coach whose business card stated “I didn’t change anything, I gave you a new one.” The addition he referred to is a one handed underspin slice or chip.

Young players have trouble developing this shot, as a strange new grip is required, and new forearm muscles must be developed and trained. The many functions this new grip enhances is worth the work required (defensive backhands, lobs, all volleys except high forehands, the service, etc.).   Recently I experimented with a simple home made teaching aid: A balloon tied with a light string (2 to 3 feet long) to a badminton racket’s center string or “sweet spot”/  Note that the very light racket and balloon allow a classic one handed backhand volley, aided by a backhand grip.

Having recently worked with high school players, too few know the value of this tool.   Young girls and little boys struggle and it takes time. However few quality players are without this ability.

This drill allows almost immediate success with proper technique, using the new forearm muscles needed. The youngster will tell you quickly: “… I can feel that pulling my arm muscles!” Don’t allow them to overdo this and cause tennis elbow.

A BACK HAND “GRIP TRAINER” (203)

A BACK HAND “GRIP TRAINER”

Perhaps the most significant tennis change in recent history is the development of the two handed backhand.   Even young players can tattoo an offensive topspin groundstroke.   No reasonable coach disputes that.

Jim Verdieck was a great coach whose business card stated “I didn’t change anything, I gave you a new one.” The addition he referred to is a one handed underspin slice or chip.

Young players have trouble developing this shot, as a strange new grip is required, and new forearm muscles must be developed and trained. The many functions this new grip enhances is worth the work required (defensive backhands, lobs, all volleys except high forehands, the service, etc.).   Recently I experimented with

a simple home made teaching aid: A balloon tied with a light string (2 to 3 feet long) to a badminton racket’s center string or “sweet spot”/  Note that the very light racket and balloon allow a classic one handed backhand volley, aided by a backhand grip.

Having recently worked with high school players, too few know the value of this tool.   Young girls and little boys struggle and it takes time. However few quality players are without this ability.

This drill allows almost immediate success with proper technique, using the new forearm muscles needed. The youngster will tell you quickly: “…I can feel that pulling my arm muscles!” Don’t allow them to overdo this and cause tennis elbow.

 

SEE VIDEO HERE:  https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/1628c405f4b463d3

 

 

 

FOOTWORK FOR BEGINNERS (205)

The first strategy is IN.  Consistency.  Next it is deep at the backhand.  Nine of ten players are right-handed.  Thus the primary target is on his/her left hand side.  Given that you know that, accept they probably know that too.  So–lots of backhands are coming at you.

Much so that the center of your defense has shifted to your left.  Given that good hit spots and position give you good shots, movement to that position is crucial.

  • Tennis starts in your eyes and brain and goes to  your feet and legs immediately.  Here is a beginning footwork drill for newcomers:  It is done without a racket or ball.  ONLY FOOTWORK.  And  mimicking several shots you will have to master.
  • The basic two handed backhand  (make the stroke like the ball is hit several feet to your left.  ALWAYS RETURN TO THE MIDDLE OF THEIR BEST SHOT, USING PROPER FOOTWORK-BEGIN WITH A QUICK WALK-LIKE FOOTWORK TO THE BALL. USUALLY SHUFFLE STEPS BACK TO CENTER.
  • Defense against the moon ball or very deep looping.   Footwork now is turn and run and loop the descending ball back.   Run to return.
  • On the rise.  Quick walk-like footwork to proper hit-spot before it gets too high or behind you.  Shuffle back.  Most of these shots will be cross court.  On really well hit deep balls, lob it or simply block it back to the middle.
  • Run around your backhand and hit your forehand  to his backhand.   This is the emerging tactic for those whose forehand is better.  Turn 2/3 or more of the backhand side into a forehand with footwork.   This is a different footwork.  Have your coach hit you a ball to the middle, then move his second shot to the middle of your backhand.   Tricky and intense footwork is needed to make your response a forehand.
  • Volley the passing shot.   If the shot to you is floating or weak, you maybe able to run quickly and volley the shot down the line to the opening.  While a skilled procedure, foot work can make it a winner.  Better be ready to run or scramble back to home base.   REALLY GOOD PLAYERS MAY FOLLOW THIS VOLLEY TO THE NET.
  • These, then, are the shots to mimic.  Next you run the cycle moving with the proper footwork and mimicking the proper shot and footwork back to home base, then on to the next shot.  Perfect the above order one through five.  Then vary the cycle with any number of possible combinations.

RE -EXAMINATION, APOLOGIES AND RE-AFFIRMATIONS (204)

  • I apologize to our women.   USOPEN SEMIFINALISTS!
  • Few good Americans develop without high school tennis.
  • Girls high school teams and girls of limited ability are the most neglected learners and often the most receptive.
  • The maturing of our women’s league players, coaches, and administrators is a gold mine of help for high school girls teams.  Boys too.
  • There are a lot of different ways to help our high school teams and coaches.
  • The two  toughest teaching spots are  developing  a working one hand backhand grip for 1. the slice and 2. the advanced serve.

Little Green Book of Tennis now available for free download for high school tennis players in NC via NCTA

The North Carolina Tennis Association (NCTA) has updated its website to include a new Resource Center assembling valuable ways to help our boys and girls varsity players, coaches and teams.

In the spring of 2015 the Little Green Book of Tennis was given to each active varsity coach of girls or boys tennis in North Carolina (711 coaches).  Now, the book is freely available to all 4000 plus players in our state.  The entire book can be downloaded to individual e-book devices.

How to download a PDF of the book: 

  1. Contact Andrew Waldrop, the NCTA liaison to NC high school tennis (andrew@nctennis) for a download code.
  2. Download the book here: http://nctennis.com/sites/nctennis.com/files/pdffiles/LGBOT-FULL.pdf

 

Helping (176)

I’d like to share a copy of my writings, comments, and a collection of sources that have helped me.  Between the books and the blog, this a “haystack” of thoughts of various types.  It is, perhaps, a folder of inspiration that goes in many directions and is presented in no particular order.  Mainly it deals with coaching and teaching tennis  in America over the past fifty years. Lately I have concentrated on helping high school tennis teams, coaches, and players.  Some handpicked “lessons” are enclosed, excerpts taken from earlier writings, new blogs,other sources, etc.  I have doggedly tried to help enhance the amount of scholarship  money going to American men and women, as evidenced inside.    As Ray Charles once said, “You may not like all of my music, but hang on, I’ll find you.”

Download the full Helping file (160 Mb) here: helping-by-tom-parham