Exaggerated Learning:

Dave Hagler

Exaggerated learning can produce amazing results at all levels.

Traditional tennis teaching is based around the concept of accuracy. We want to describe the strokes as accurately as possible, and we want our students to hit the ball accurately according to these descriptions. The same thing can be said for patterns of play. We want to understand and develop winning geometric combinations by learning to hit accurately to specific target areas on the court, and do this with different speeds and spins on balls with different degrees of difficulty.

This article introduces a supplemental concept that goes in another direction. In 30 years of coaching I've developed as series of drills that aren't "accurate," instead they are intentional exaggerations. They could also be called overcompensations.

I call the process of using these techniques and drills Exaggerated Learning. My experience has shown me that creating the "exaggeration" you suddenly help a player understand a goal in a new way. "Exaggerated Learning" helps players try new things without fear of failure. The exaggerations can produce amazing results for students at all levels. They are especially helpful when a player is struggling with a strictly reality based description. The process may allow a player to become "unstuck" and achieve almost instantaneous success. What follows are some Exaggerated Learning techniques that address common situations that we run into on court.

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Dave Hagler is a Tennis Professional based in Los Angeles, California. He works with players of all ages, but he has a special passion for junior development. He has coached numerous sectionally and nationally ranked junior players and several national champions. Dave is a USPTA Master Professional and National Tester, a PTR Master of Tennis – Performance, and was one of the first 100 coaches to complete the USTA's High Performance Coaching Program. He has been the USPTA California Division Pro of the Year and one of 5 National Recipients of the “Pro of the Year” award from Head and the PTR.

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