Want Tennis Results? Educate the Parents
Today’s post comes from an email I received from Frank Giampaolo, author of The Tennis Parent’s Bible and creator of the Maximizing Tennis Potential website, and is reprinted here with his permission. It illustrates the incredible family commitment necessary to develop a young player who wants to be a top professional. I have been reading and hearing about Isa for several years now, so it’s interesting to read about the specifics involved in her training. Please understand: this is a child who has shown that she has the X Factor – I do not feel this type of lifestyle and training is necessary or even appropriate for the majority of junior players. Frank’s approach, on the other hand, can be valuable for any junior, regardless of his/her goals. Please go back and listen to some of my podcasts with various Tennis Parents (click here) for more insights.
This special report from Barcelona, Spain is a must read. Jana & Jordan Waring agreed to share with you their daughter, Isa’s, actual monthly progress report. Monthly accountability and guidance is an essential part of their developmental plan.
Two years ago, I traveled to Barcelona and worked with this wonderful family in developing a deliberate customized training plan. Working as a team, the parents decided to become educated about the process of raising a champion. Within two short years, Isa bypassed the masses and reached the top ten nationally.
“Parents educated about the athletic developmental process are the ship’s motor… Parents uneducated about the athletic developmental process are the ship’s anchor.”
The below email is a monthly report sent by Jana (Isa’s mom) regarding Isa’s current tennis efficiencies and deficiencies.
Parents, it would be wise if you’re truly interested in maximizing your child’s potential at the quickest rate, to begin with a detailed, customized evaluation session. I am home in Southern California two weeks a month in 2017.
Contact me direct at FGSA@earthlink.net or (949)933-8163.
All the Best,
Subject: Hello from Barcelona
Isa’s Monthly Progress Report
Date: November 6, 2016
Age: 10 years old
Ranking: 8th Nationally in U10
We have been with her new coach for nearly three months. I am still aiding in the training regime with feeding balls for two hours each day, hiring/firing/supervising hitting partners, physio, fitness coaches, organizing practice matches, tournaments, driving, stretching, massaging, shopping ….
Like you said, it is no laughing matter being a tennis parent.
After a brief two months of fixing a LOT of technical flaws, which you have seen some videos, we are seeing some progress. The following is Isa’s Monthly Progress Report.
- Shortening the forehand back swing (lower, on the side side)
- Starting from fantastic legs – keep low, stay low, move through each shot
- “Bounce-hit” – taking the ball on the rise
- More closed stance, less open stance and if that is inevitable, load the outside leg and move through the shot
- Loads more secondary shots (includes constant asking which shot does/did the moment demand)
- Fixing her grip on first serve (more backhand) and second serve (more backhand), pinpointing, closing her hips and keeping sideways, more explosiveness, covering the top of the ball with nice racquet head acceleration
- Adding a slider serve
- Being able to serve reliable wide and T on both sides, also jam the returner (very handy as she has a mean jamming serve)
- Cleaning up the volleys – proper grip, turn with the body, firm elbow, wrist low and move through diagonally
- Differentiate between a dangerous ball (learn to defend), neutral ball (open up the court) and attackable ball (don’t wait, go get it). This was tricky, the tendency is still to let the short balls drop (though not as much as they used to) and try to do something with a deep ball (I often tell her to just send it back where it came from with a nice acceleration)
- Hit deep – number one cause of errors, wait for the right ball, we train her favorite three patterns (deep and attack, deep and cross-court low slice, deep and drop shot).
- Train baseline patters – her favorite- use an inside out forehand to backhand deep, followed by an inside out forehand wide, and finish it off with either and inside in or backhand to the opposite side
- Play behind – she loves this one
- Train steady patterns for serve (out wide – opposite side, she can do this one on the dime
- Attack second serves
We spend a lot of time playing practice points, sets and matches with various people and analyze and plan and analyze some more… Very helpful!
- Hired a fitness coach who trains explosive movements and overall general athleticism
- Strengthen core
- Loads and loads of injury prevention and stretching
After the last two months of cleaning up and no tournaments, she started competing again. Rough start, some of the routines were difficult to reincorporate for both of us. The training of the patterns and practice matches (rehearsals) help, but she still tends to deviate a bit.
This gets me to the last, and the trickiest …
This goes hand in hand with nutrition, hydration, sleep, match preparation, and overall state of mind. I find that early morning matches are always more difficult for her, I believe the glycogen stores haven’t ben refilled and so the brain runs on fumes. She is not a morning person, so a match at 8am on an empty stomach equals flailing arms, choking, panicking, tapping a racquet and a far more difficult match than it should. I have recently started giving her some pure fructose to take on changeovers which does help IF she remembers to eat it.
She has been winning so much in the spring and summer that she only plays up now, which is trickier but she still keeps a good ratio. Oddly enough, it is it the weaker opponents that she has the hardest time with, it is almost as if she knew she should beat them easily and thus starting doing the “hotshot” tennis and then gets frustrated. In the evenly matched or outplayed matches she generally sticks to her patterns and performs much better. She is not such a head case as she used to be but she does panic and choke once in a while.