Coach’s Corner – November tips

Every month Chuck will share some tips that should help improve your tennis game

For parents of junior players: Here’s a simple story: Your child is trying to open a tricky gate.  You can be wise and observe as they try to work it out. As you are patient they’ll understand that you trust them to be able to do it. Finally your child opens the gate and develops greater self-confidence from working it out and seeing your trust and belief.

The same reasoning can be applied in tennis; give the kids space when they play, watch from outside the fence, do not communicate with them. Let them grow independent and evolve by working things out on their own. Understand that when you “help” your child (scoring, carrying their gear, fetching their balls etc), you are actually disabling and handicapping them. My door is always open to parents to discuss developing young ones into complete and independent human beings.

For Players: Whatever it is you want your body to perform (shot placement, technique, watching the ball etc), avoid using words.  Your tennis playing body does not understand words, only your intellect does. Your brain cannot even hold a racquet.  Use your mind to convey images (visualisation) and sensations of the desired outcome.

Here’s an example; instead of thinking “hit the sweet spot”, imagine the feeling of doing it.  It will be your best path to attain a desired ability. Let go of the chatter, a quiet mind equals a fluid body.

For doubles partners: Obviously you do not want your partner to make mistakes, but if you try to get that result by putting pressure on them (saying things like: “just get it in”, “you can do it”, “we need this one” etc), they will most likely make more mistakes than if you send the message of “hit freely and have fun”.