Discussion of the post “How much should a junior tennis player train?”

I got a lot of replies on that post and would like to comment on some ones.

Alex Y. tennis professional: “It depends also on age and what are they training for. There is not one define answer. It also depends on how athletic the individual is”.

 Of course it depends on, Alex. But any organism has its own resource, right? I said that a lot of young tennis players especially in tennis academies train too much, sometimes show very good results and win those who train less. But a few of them play on pro level successively for a long time. Look at Agnieszka Radwanska, she has always cares about herself and she is #4 in the world now. Where all those extremely talented young players like Nicole Vaidišová or Tatiana Golovin who started to play pro level in 14 years old?

Nick  Muresan, tennis professional “I have 3 kids. All three kids played with scholarship at NCAA Div.I, two of them played pro circuits. I never train them more then 1 1/2h /day, except Sunday.I will say , 10 hours a week of intensive and quality practice, will be enough for a junior not to get burned out, and still to love tennis”.

Nick, you just confirmed the opinion that talented kids show very good results with 10 hours training a week of very qualitative training process. Good luck for your kids Nick.

Diana Chalikov, fitness professional: “I believe 15 hours a week combined with 5 hours a week of strength training off the court. Off court exercise is also very important to develop muscles that are otherwise not engaged during regular practice, but will be helpful during tournament play. Plus one day off to reboot”.

Diana one more time concentrates our attention on a very important factor in tennis player development – specialized tennis fitness. Thank you for your point.

Lester Yesnick, tennis professional   “It is the quality of training, not the amount that is most important”.

Lester has the same opinion as John Evert, who said in his interview “Quality over quantity”.

I am very thankful for your comments and hope that readers of the blog will find them helpful for organization training program of junior tennis players.

Interview with John Evert, Evert Tennis Academy

My interview with John Evert, internationally renowned tennis coach and Evert Tennis Academy Director.

John Evert

What is the most important thing in Roger Federer play? Why he was able to win 16 Grand Slams? If someone can overreach it in future?

First and foremost, Roger Federer has been able to avoid injury. One of Roger Federer’s biggest weapons in his mind. Federer’s mental toughness provides him the edge that the majority of players do not have. Combined with his world-class talent, Federer’s mental approach, discipline and shot making ability make him among the world’s elite. It will be a tough task for someone to overcome Federer’s records, but only time will tell.

Why US tennis players lost their leadership in world tennis? What are main reasons for that?

American culture has changed – too many distractions for young kids. Global competition has become stronger. Tennis is the #2 or #3 sport in most countries, but for the USA it is much farther down the list.

Many juniors from 12 years old train from 20 and more hours a week. Many tennis academies in the world as well as in USA offer schedule for juniors like 20-25 hours a week + tournaments almost every weekend. What do you think about that?

Quality over quantity. It is very difficult to train 5 hours a day, 5 days in a row. Periodization is very important.

What is the best way to find a sponsor for a junior player?

There is no method or formula in finding a sponsor – a lot of it is luck. Of course, you can always send a player to us!

Where is the most optimal contact point, what factors affect it, and what is required in order to hit the ball with that contact point?

A player’s contact point is only as good as his movement. If the athlete’s feet and legs are not behind the ball, the contact point will be too far in front, to the side, or behind the player. Every player may have a different contact point based on their grip. Players with a western grip must be more precise with a contact point out in front.

What are your three advice to junior tennis players?

Tunnel vision, especially once that player experiences success. Trust that your hard work will pay off. Set goals that are achievable… once achieved, set the bar higher.

Thank you John for the interview and good luck to you and your tennis players!

Tennis ladder for recreational and competitive tennis player

I hope this information can be useful for recreational and competitive tennis player. I found it at http://www.tennisladders.net  The website is free to join and a terrific way to meet new players and improve your game.

Most tennis players have heard of a tennis ladder, but a lot of players still do not know exactly what a tennis ladder is, or how it works.  The concept of a tennis ladder is simple.  Players are arranged much like the rungs of a ladder.  The idea is to be at the top of the tennis ladder.  It is a lot like king of the mountain.  As you win, you move up the ladder.  Winning players take the place of their higher ranked opponents, thus “leap-frogging” them.

Ladder matches can either be pre-arranged, or can be done using challenges.  If the players choose to use challenges to arrange tennis matches, then players simply challenge each other to a match via this website.  Players then play when and where they would like.  At TennisLadders.NET, players submit their own scores online.  The website then updates the ladder positions automatically.  The site will send an email to both players letting them know they have a pending challenge that needs to be accepted or declined.

TennisLadders.NET started its first ladder in Santa Monica, California, and has recently been launching new ladders in cities across the U.S.  When you sign up, you can see the closest ladder to you based on your zip code.  The site is also willing to accommodate players who wish to launch a ladder for their company or private tennis club.  Considering that it is free to join, and will really help you with your competitive game play, it’s certainly worth checking out.

Ladders are a blast. They are a great way to meet new players and improve your game.  If you haven’t played in a tennis ladder, you may try to do.

Interview with Taylor Dent, Dent Tennis Academy

I have known famous tennis player and now a tennis coach Taylor Dent at Dent Tennis Academy just for more than one year. I am happy to be his friend and here an interview with Taylor.

Taylor Dent and me

Q.: Many juniors from 12 years old train from 20 and more hours a week. Many tennis academies in the world as well as in USA offer schedule for juniors like 20-25 hours a week + tournaments almost every weekend. What do you think about that?

A.: Designing a program for a student is a very individual thing. Some kids thrive off of intense practice, while others shy away from it. I would say that if you can be intense for more hours of practice than your competitors, you will have the advantage.

Q.:  How pros choose racquets, string and shoes? How a quality of these things is different from those that are sold in stores? Can you give an example from your own experience please?

A.: Racquets are chosen for two different reasons. 1, a company will offer a player a lot of money to use their brand. I am not a fan of switching racquets for money. 2, the player feels that a certain racquet gives them a higher quality ball. The pros have their racquets modified slightly. Some do more than others. It all just depends what the player feels he needs.

Q.:  How many kinds of serve in tennis? Which serve is the most difficult to learn?

A.: How many kinds of serves there are in tennis depends how detailed you want to go. Let’s cover spins first. There are kick serves, flat serves, slice serves and a serve that has a little slice and some over spin on it.  Locations consist of wide, body forehand, body, body backhand, and down the tee.  I’m sure every pro has hit every combination at some stage in their career.  It’s never certain what serves are the toughest to learn. Every person is different and does different serves better than others.

Q.:  What is your opinion about Novak Djokovic play? How is it possible to win so many matches and be in good shape?

A.: Because Djokovic controls points so well he doesn’t have to rely on running side to side to win his points. This makes early round matches for him easier and less physically demanding. I believe Djokovic is too solid once the point starts. He can maintain control of the point whether he gets a forehand or backhand. Federer and Nadal can’t control the point off both sides with the same consistency.

Q.: Why Caroline Wozniacki does not have strong forehand? Is it possible to make her forehand more strong and aggressive? If “Yes” how? If “No” why?

A.: Wozniacki has a forehand that suits her game. It’s tough for me to criticize it because she is the most consistent winner on the WTA tour. I don’t think it would be too hard for her to generate more pace. All pace is, is more racquet head speed. I’m not sure she would want to change it though.

Q.: Why players with strongest serves like Roddick do not have the same strongest forehands?

A.: There could be many reasons. Tactics, game style, confidence, or a technical problem. With you example of Roddick, it’s a game style. When he won the US Open his forehand was arguably the biggest on tour. But defending looks to be the style he’s more comfortable with now.

Q.: Why Henin Justin who is the smallest among top players had the stronger strokes than many bigger players? What is the secret of strong and fast stroke?

A.: Power in tennis has little to do with muscle mass and a lot to do with timing all of the parts used in a shot. There are so many examples of this. Chances are, if you are lacking power in a shot, you are being too rigid with a body part. Most likely the wrist.

Thank you, Taylor and good luck to you and your tennis academy!

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Let’s start talking about tennis

I glad to see you on my blog about tennis. Tennis parents, coaches and players can find a lot of useful information about how to develop a strong tennis player. You can ask a question about any aspect of tennis player development and get an answer from some really famous and high regarded tennis coaches and experts.