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Have Tennis Coaches Failed Female Athletes?

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  • johnyandell
    started a topic Have Tennis Coaches Failed Female Athletes?

    Have Tennis Coaches Failed Female Athletes?

    Let's discuss Dr. Brian Gordon's article, "Have Tennis Coaches Failed Female Athletes?"

  • don_budge
    replied
    Originally posted by BrianGordon View Post
    Greetings don_budge - this is, of course, a great point and something I preach every day. In my part of the world (at least) it seems that "train has left the station" though - and it is not necessarily gender specific.
    Back at you BrianGordon. Excellent work with the ladies...too. The train has left the station and it is roaring down the tracks with the full fury of the mob behind it. Stay safe Brother in these very, very strange times. Hopefully when the dust has settled civilisation will still have a place for civilised activity such as golf and tennis. But they may not. What if they are deemed to be "white privileged" activity and therefore racist? Just a question. A rhetorical question.

    Perhaps a bit "off thread" but in a sense we once again see how tennis metaphors life. Once it was certainly an activity for the privileged but now more all-inclusive. Once it was an activity that maybe favoured the men. So much "progress" has been made. Even though some of it obtuse. Equal prize money for instance. But even as it has in American society there has been much change. But the progressives are an unruly mob as it turns out. This is turning out to be bottle's wet dream.

    "The Devils"...Fyodor Dostoyevsky 1871

    "I have already hinted that all sorts of low-class individuals had made an appearance among us. In troubled times of uncertainty or transition all sorts of low individuals appear everywhere. I am not talking about the so-called "progressives", who are always in a greater hurry than everyone else (that is their chief concern) and whose aims, though mostly absurd, are more or less definite. No, I am speaking only of the rabble. This rabble, which you will find in any society, usually rises to the surface in every period of transition, and is not only without any aim, but also without an inkling of an idea, merely expressing with all its strength unrest and impatience.. And yet this rabble without realizing it itself, almost always finds itself under the command of the small crowd of "progressives", who act with a definite aim, and it is they who direct this scum where they like, provided they themselves are not composed of utter idiots, which, however happens, too." Fyodor Dostoyevsky…”The Devils”, Part III Chapter 1


    I have the utmost respect for your work and truly appreciate your comment.

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  • BrianGordon
    replied
    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    Have Tennis Coaches Failed Female Athletes?


    No. In fact they have not. Female athletes must take responsibility for their own destiny. Just like the rest of the human beings on the planet.
    Greetings don_budge - this is, of course, a great point and something I preach every day. In my part of the world (at least) it seems that "train has left the station" though - and it is not necessarily gender specific.
    Last edited by BrianGordon; 06-28-2020, 12:46 PM.

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  • morespin
    replied
    macaque,

    I used to teach a girl with a pretty one-handed backhand. I was really hoping she would become the high school tennis player version of Justine Henin And she could hit a really nice sliding slice one-hander, too.

    She ended up switching to a two-handed topspin because she just couldn't handle a heavy ball or a big serve with it.

    I used to teach a high school boy who had a decent two-hander. One day he just messing around hitting one-handed topspin. It looked really good and he hit it well. He asked if he should switch. I told him if he could handle heavy balls and return serve well with that he should stick with it. Guess what happened.
    He came back after a couple of high school matches and said he couldn't handle high heavy balls or return serve well enough with it. So, he too switched back to his two-hander.

    I have always used a one-hander. It has always been kind of like Wawrinka's. That's kind of my signature shot. I think you kind of have to be a born one-hander or spend a tremendous amount of time developing one.

    I really want to create a female player with a big one-hander, type III forehand, and a humongous kick serve. That would be awesome!

    So, the simplified answer to your question is that I would start a player with a two-hander to develop the swing path and then switch to a one-hander when they're old/strong enough then work on it relentlessly until it could handle all of the possible attacks. If you have a one-hander you had better expect your opponents to mercilessly attack it.

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  • hockeyscout
    replied
    Originally posted by don_budge View Post
    Have Tennis Coaches Failed Female Athletes?



    No. In fact they have not. Female athletes must take responsibility for their own destiny. Just like the rest of the human beings on the planet.
    100% ... Moe Norman.
    Last edited by hockeyscout; 06-25-2020, 08:15 AM.

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  • don_budge
    replied
    Have Tennis Coaches Failed Female Athletes?

    No. In fact they have not. Female athletes must take responsibility for their own destiny. Just like the rest of the human beings on the planet.

    Leave a comment:


  • macaque
    replied
    Originally posted by morespin View Post
    Oh my goodness!!! Thank you Brian for biomechanically confirming what I've always believed.


    My kids have to get a "license" before they are allowed to play any competitive tennis. What I mean by that is that they have to have a good two-handed topspin backhand, a Type III forehand, and a topspin (ish) serve that they can get in about 50% of the time. It has been my experience that under competitive stresses the technique of these shots breaks down and devolves. Backswings get too big. Strokes become pushes. Serves become frying pan dinks.
    Do you not allow your players to play with a one handed topspin backhand?

    Leave a comment:


  • BrianGordon
    replied
    Originally posted by stotty View Post
    I have far more coaching knowledge than I ever had 10 or even 5 years ago. The problem is it is hard to convince folk when you’re 57 and hobbling around with an arthritic left knee and a shot rotator cuff. I do my best though.
    Well... I turn 59 this week and have my own hobbling issues so this hits home with me. I believe your best is light years ahead of most - keep fighting - great post.

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    I think it would be interesting to plunge the top girls into boys tennis and see what would happen with good coaching and self-development. Never underestimate a talented player's ability to self-develop. Coaches have never lead technical development, they just followed the rule-breakers who ended up achieving great success. It would be interesting to see how girls would adapt to a more spinny game over a period of time.

    Leave a comment:


  • glacierguy
    replied
    Originally posted by stotty View Post
    But perhaps what it shows most is an inability of coaches to ‘'make'’ a stroke happen. Many male players can get there on their own, and probably have in the past despite coaching ignorance. Female players cannot get there on their own (or they possibly might if a cluster of players developed ATP swings and started pumping increased spin into the game) so therefore are dependent on good coaching skills to make things happen for them.
    Do you think mixed competition could help? Ladders open to boys/girls, men/women, for example? I think mixed competition should be encouraged, but from personal experience I know it would take a LOT of encouragement!!

    Leave a comment:


  • stotty
    replied
    Yes, it's true, female players have been let down. And yes it's true we continually resort to forehands as evidence and rarely compare their backhands or serves to that of male players. Don't get me started on serves.

    But perhaps what it shows most is an inability of coaches to ‘'make'’ a stroke happen. Many male players can get there on their own, and probably have in the past despite coaching ignorance. Female players cannot get there on their own (or they possibly might if a cluster of players developed ATP swings and started pumping increased spin into the game) so therefore are dependent on good coaching skills to make things happen for them.

    The skill set of many coaches in the UK is likely not sound enough to coach players to have ATP swings. Most probably do not understand the biomechanics well enough and a fair few don’'t have too much inclination to learn either. Plus, it is not enough to understand the science, coaches need skill, know-how and a keen intuition to develop and teach players of differing personalities and ‘learning’ capabilities, all of whom will require different cues. Some get it, some don’'t, some can do it, some can’'t..... …you know what I mean.

    I have far more coaching knowledge than I ever had 10 or even 5 years ago. The problem is it is hard to convince folk when you’re 57 and hobbling around with an arthritic left knee and a shot rotator cuff. I do my best though.

    When I watch Serena and how well she plays, what scares me is how good she could have been.

    It could never happen for women in 5 years, and 10 years might even be pushing it. I look around and I am not even seeing the early shoots.
    Last edited by stotty; 06-22-2020, 01:34 PM.

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  • glacierguy
    replied
    Got it - thanks! Reminds me of a rather scarring incident when my serve disintegrated through nerves. It happens.

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  • morespin
    replied
    Hi Glacierguy,

    Think of what happens if you get in a car crash and car gets mangled. Your car is "all jacked up."

    That's what can happen to someone's strokes if they play competitively before they've developed and ingrained good mechanics. They're just "surviving" and doing whatever they can to keep the ball in the court by any means necessary.

    In my experience very few players' strokes improve due to early competition. What usually happens is they play a match that "counts" and then when I see them for their next lesson we have to fix whatever got "jacked up" due to playing a match that matters.

    I coach an 11 year old boy who played team tennis before the pandemic who only has a topspin/kick serve. He has never hit a serve with a frying pan grip. I tried to "program" him so he wouldn't even be able to push a serve with a frying pan grip.

    So, I see him after a team tennis match and he says, "Hey Coach, guess what happened in my match?" His tone of voice made it seem like something weird had happened. I asked him what happened and he said, "I pushed my serve because I got nervous and I don't even know how to push!" He tried to push a flat serve with a continental grip. It is really difficult to push a flat serve with an eastern backhand grip!!!

    That's just one instance of a player with good technique coming back after a competitive match with "jacked up" technique even though he/she has really good technique.

    That's why I don't let the kids I coach play tournaments or team tennis until their strokes and serves are almost "bullet proof."



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  • glacierguy
    replied
    Hi morespin - agree with your posts. Could you explain what is a "jacked up stroke" please?

    Leave a comment:


  • morespin
    replied
    Thanks Brian.

    It's nice to have some science back up what I always thought was a better way to hit the ball.

    How about two-handed backhands with a forehand grip with dominant hand? And frying pan grip serves? Those have to be the ugliest strokes ever!!! Will those strokes allow a player to "compete" sooner than waiting until the players develop Type III forehands, backhands with correct grips, and serves with a continental grip and topspin? You betcha. Do these strokes have to be blown up and rebuilt later? Yep. Is it really difficult to do this while the player is trying to do well in tournaments? Yep. Do a lot of players get stuck with jacked up strokes because they didn't learn optimum strokes from the beginning? ABSOLUTELY! (Sorry for yelling again, sort of.)

    Good thing there aren't malpractice law suits in tennis.

    Do female golfers hit the ball technically differently from how male golfers hit the ball? Do female swimmers have technically different strokes from male swimmers? Do female sprinters run differently from how male sprinters run?

    I don't know the answers to these questions, but I would bet that the women don't have substantially different technique from the men. I wonder why. Because optimal technique results in optimal performance regardless of gender!

    Ok, I'm done ranting (for now)

    Leave a comment:

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