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Women's Tennis and the ATP Forehand

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  • BrianGordon
    replied
    Hello don_budge - my prep utilizes band work, air resisted swings and segmented shadow reps in conjunction with the hitting progressions I mentioned earlier. Nothing too high-tech but it has worked ok so far. Thanks for the post.

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  • don_budge
    replied
    Originally posted by BrianGordon View Post
    Great advice don_budge. The initial stages are the most dangerous - I’ve been fortunate to not have any issues but I prep them for a long period and bring them along slowly.
    Hello BrianGordon...can you please explain what prep you do before hand? I am using a term that I tell myself that I coined...prehabilitation. Doing the "rehabilitation" before the injury actually occurs as to prevent or minimilize or reduce recovery time.

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  • johnyandell
    replied
    Postpre: Also check out the Sports Attack. That's what I have. Does return of serve and also has great speed, spin and trajectory control. About half the price.

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  • BrianGordon
    replied
    Great advice don_budge. The initial stages are the most dangerous - I’ve been fortunate to not have any issues but I prep them for a long period and bring them along slowly.

    Postpre - I like the playmate grand slam with lift. I really only use it for serve return though.

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  • postpre
    replied
    Originally posted by BrianGordon View Post

    Recently I was on the court with a well known wta player (to remain unnamed) to do a 3D evaluation. If I gave her 70 - 75 mph flat-ish feeds she'd spank it back. Give her 65 plus 1500 - 2000 rpms and she couldn't handle it at all on either side. Frankly I was shocked how bad it was - I make my girls hit at least 100 of these per day on each side.
    Brian, do you have a favorite ball machine?

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  • don_budge
    replied
    Originally posted by BrianGordon View Post
    The most common argument is strength.
    I know when I first started monkeying around with this technique I could feel the strain on my shoulder. So another possible argument is the anatomy of the shoulder. The width of a man's shoulder is basically the width of the head. Not so with a typical female shoulder. Strength and anatomy? I would suggest some "prehabilitation" work on the shoulders of the students to avoid any possible shoulder injury.

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  • BrianGordon
    replied
    Kyle - thanks for the great words - still want to hear about your new project.

    postpre - yes, the rating systems have created a generation of head cases - fight it everyday.

    stotty - agree with everything you say here. The twist I'd put on it is that it is the heaviness (speed PLUS spin) of the game, not the speed. The type 2 and even type 1 can handle speed well but not heaviness (nor are they great at producing it). For me when I saw heaviness that is when I had to change - speed alone was not a problem. I feel the girls don't face significant heaviness until it is too late to change, if ever.

    Recently I was on the court with a well known wta player (to remain unnamed) to do a 3D evaluation. If I gave her 70 - 75 mph flat-ish feeds she'd spank it back. Give her 65 plus 1500 - 2000 rpms and she couldn't handle it at all on either side. Frankly I was shocked how bad it was - I make my girls hit at least 100 of these per day on each side.

    On the evolution front I guess it is a chicken or egg question - they won't change until the heaviness increases, and heaviness won't increase until they change. So yes, coaching evolution must lead the charge. I just think a lot of people are going to get caught on the wrong side of history on this one - as I've said before, plenty think I'm wrong - we'll see.
    Last edited by BrianGordon; 05-11-2020, 02:46 AM.

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  • stotty
    replied
    Originally posted by BrianGordon View Post
    Hi Guys and Human Females - sorry, out of the loop last couple of days.

    Regarding the progressions and adaptations I will talk to John about running a series on teaching the ATP forehand - next time we get together perhaps I can incoherently babble on video about the details.

    On why girls don't naturally evolve to the ATP swing (yet) - strength is the easiest explanation except if done correctly the ATP swing does not require more strength - it is purely technique (a sequencing of body rotations that is not the same as other types). The problem is that getting to that level does require more strength initially and a lot of painstaking work - in the UTR universe many don't have patience for this. The article I referenced earlier in this thread discusses my reasons in the current obsessive coaching environment - jolly added an additional interesting perspective.

    In the pre-obsessive coaching era (of which I was a part) I do believe the adaptation was the result of necessity. Progressive increases in speed and spin in developmental stages create an adapt or perish reality that the girls didn't face - so why change what they learned. In my case around 14 (remember it to this day) I got undressed by a level of heaviness I hadn't seen before. I went home and spent days diagraming options to address the blow to my ego - the following experimentation led to a much tighter swing pattern and once in that realm my neural muscular system figured out the optimizations available in that pattern - I ended up with a straight arm ATP style forehand by age 18 (if I knew then what I know now it would have been by age 15).
    Thanks, Brian. I’'m with you all the way on the ‘where needs must’ theory. The men’s game became faster and men being men adapted and so the Type 3 was born. There’s a simple Darwinian logic to it that we have all come to understand.

    With the women, however, there is still that little riddle that doesn’t quite fit. Perhaps that ‘initial strength’ factor required you mentioned might be a more significant barrier than thought to women naturally evolving a type 3, but I doubt it. I don’t buy into the whole strength thing either.

    Serena, and a handful of other women, is probably as strong as a bloke (she’s probably stronger than Simon and Gofin put together), and the women’s game has been quick for a while now. Yet the Darwinian theory of forehand evolution is still nowhere to be seen and is showing no signs of evolving ‘naturally’ despite the increased speed of the women’s game.

    To me it’s a mystery, a puzzle. The type 3 has to be taught to female players or it simply will not happen. It’s not that women can’t learn a type 3, they can; it’s not that they aren’t strong enough, they are; it’s not that women’s tennis hasn’t become fast enough that it wouldn’t greatly benefit from evolution, it has.

    I just cannot see evolution ever happening without a big helping hand from the coaching department and an almost forced culture change in the female forehand.

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  • stotty
    replied
    Yep, taking ownership is a vital part of a performance player's development...or even a club player's come to that.


    Originally posted by klacr View Post

    Stotty, agree wholeheartedly on having a player buy into the evolution of their stroke. Remember, you can teach anyone, but you can't make everyone learn. This is the bugaboo for our profession.
    Creating a unique, engaging learning environment where explaining the purpose of the technical progression/evolution/adaptation is clear for them to understand and develop but not so blatantly obvious where it screams your fingerprints and steals away the player's individuality and sense of ownership on the improvement or adaption.
    Often overlooked, I feel Brian does a great job with this. Many of his students have the confidence and ownership that made made this shift and therefore and significantly easier for them to further develop and overcome more technical hurdles in due time.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Delray Beach
    SETS Consulting

    Leave a comment:


  • postpre
    replied
    in the UTR universe many don't have patience for this. The article I referenced earlier in this thread discusses my reasons in the current obsessive coaching environment
    Brian, I'm glad you touched on the idol ("Golden Calf") of junior tennis, which is doing more harm than good to junior tennis development :-). The UTR obsession.

    Leave a comment:


  • klacr
    replied
    Originally posted by stotty View Post
    Great video article.

    Where I have had good success with girls is in first shaving down the size of their backswing. I often go this route first before trying to make things ATP- like. I find if I can get girls' backswings smaller then the shot at least becomes more secure and they seem to be able to tap into better topspin as well. Depending on the ability of the player, I then start teaching the ATP stroke by standing alongside the player and drop feeding them, having set in ideal outside backswing position ready to swing forwards. I then carrying on from there using what knowledge I know and my own intuition. It seems to work. I have a handful of girls doing it quite well. I will upload some clips once the damn lockdown is over.

    One girl I teach is around top 10 in the country under 12. She doesn't do an ATP and her backswing remains on the inside. It's not that I cannot get her to shave the backswing down or get her to do an ATP, she can. It's just in following lessons, or in tournaments, her old backswing comes straight back. Other coaches have tried also. The girls I have got doing it are actual much lesser players but very more receptive. The bottom line, in my view, is the player has to buy into it and be committed to the process. Otherwise it is pointless....and infuriating for the coach!

    I agree girls can actually pick it up quicker than boys, especially mentally mature girls who are bright. Mature, bright girls are actually the best athletes to work with...by miles.

    Thanks, Brian...really informative and great work as always.
    Great info from Brian Gordon on this article. I enjoy working with female players as I find it much easier to see significant gains and they absorb information and apply it much faster than boys. Glad to see Brian thriving in South Florida.

    Stotty, agree wholeheartedly on having a player buy into the evolution of their stroke. Remember, you can teach anyone, but you can't make everyone learn. This is the bugaboo for our profession.
    Creating a unique, engaging learning environment where explaining the purpose of the technical progression/evolution/adaptation is clear for them to understand and develop but not so blatantly obvious where it screams your fingerprints and steals away the player's individuality and sense of ownership on the improvement or adaption.
    Often overlooked, I feel Brian does a great job with this. Many of his students have the confidence and ownership that made made this shift and therefore and significantly easier for them to further develop and overcome more technical hurdles in due time.

    Kyle LaCroix USPTA
    Delray Beach
    SETS Consulting

    Leave a comment:


  • J011yroger
    replied
    I'm 18 with 20 years of experience.

    J

    Leave a comment:


  • johnyandell
    replied
    Hope we can do that! But I want to see is Brian Gordon age 18.

    Leave a comment:


  • BrianGordon
    replied
    Hi Guys and Human Females - sorry, out of the loop last couple of days.

    Regarding the progressions and adaptations I will talk to John about running a series on teaching the ATP forehand - next time we get together perhaps I can incoherently babble on video about the details.

    On why girls don't naturally evolve to the ATP swing (yet) - strength is the easiest explanation except if done correctly the ATP swing does not require more strength - it is purely technique (a sequencing of body rotations that is not the same as other types). The problem is that getting to that level does require more strength initially and a lot of painstaking work - in the UTR universe many don't have patience for this. The article I referenced earlier in this thread discusses my reasons in the current obsessive coaching environment - jolly added an additional interesting perspective.

    In the pre-obsessive coaching era (of which I was a part) I do believe the adaptation was the result of necessity. Progressive increases in speed and spin in developmental stages create an adapt or perish reality that the girls didn't face - so why change what they learned. In my case around 14 (remember it to this day) I got undressed by a level of heaviness I hadn't seen before. I went home and spent days diagraming options to address the blow to my ego - the following experimentation led to a much tighter swing pattern and once in that realm my neural muscular system figured out the optimizations available in that pattern - I ended up with a straight arm ATP style forehand by age 18 (if I knew then what I know now it would have been by age 15).
    Last edited by BrianGordon; 05-08-2020, 02:09 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • don_budge
    replied
    Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
    The only redeeming thing about that article is in showing how far we have come...ways to go...not just in tennis.
    The women's tennis tour used to be sponsored by Virginia Slims cigarettes. Their propaganda slogan...I mean their advertising slogan used to be "We've come a long way Baby!" Well I think the jury was out as to how far along they had come then and I still do now. There is propaganda and then there is the reality of what is and what was. All of it obfuscated by the interests of groups and group think.

    But as far as women's tennis is concerned it is at a low point in history as is the men's tennis. The fact of the matter is that no matter how far we tell ourselves we have come the closer it appears that we come to the precipice. The all out striving and struggling for "improvement" effectively has cut out the species from an evolutionary cycle and contributes to one of engineering. My goodness! Life metaphoring tennis once again. Will it never cease. Tennis casts the illusion of much better achievement levels by only altering the equipment. The rest of life has just plain made a convoluted mess of things. Perhaps most of all is the debate about boys and girls. Boys and girls by the way have been out to exploit each other one way or another since the dawn...of man and woman. Take Adam and Eve for instance.

    How far have we come? Well look around...everyone has been locked up now for what seems like forever and in reality it has only been a few weeks. Yeah...we have a ways to go. In every aspect of reality. Just a bit of food for thought...while you are cooped up wherever you are.

    Leave a comment:

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