Early specialisation? Not according to De Villiers

Excellent article by Michael Atherton in The Times yesterday:

South African AB de Villiers scored the quickest and most brutal one-day international century in history on Sunday.  As a youngster he played tennis, hockey, football, rugby, badminton and swimming as well as cricket of course.  His refusal as a young man to specialise and narrow his horizons is a good lesson for all young sportsmen, their coaches and sporting bodies who demand ever more of their potential charges at even earlier ages.

Atherton emphasises the point: 'Many talented young sportsmen are being actively dissuaded from expanding their horizons as widely as possible at a young age by sporting bodies and coaches who demand that their charges specialise in one sport at increasingly early ages.  It is madness.'

'Where did this pressure to specialise come from?  Partly from the sports themselves who fear, in a competitive world, that they will miss out on the most talented children if they do not grab them and keep them early.  Partly it is down to the pernicious effects of the now widely held belief in the '10,000-hour rule' - that you have to be constantly at it, otherwise you will fall behind your peers and won't get the hours in to become top-class.  All of this is baloney.  Studies suggest that early specialisation is a bad thing.  In the US, 50 percent of paediatric sporting injuries came from overuse and more importantly, from repetitive strain on the same muscle/tendon/ligament group.'

'Putting every egg into a single sporting basket, is bad not just for the body, but for the mind, too.  What to do and where to turn when the countless hours and days of striving at one sport come to nothing?  Many have little else to fall back on when the tap on the shoulder comes.'

'The nature of his (de Villiers) sporting upbringing points the way: early participation but not specialisation; loads of sport, unstructured (albeit competitive) play as important as structured play; technical instruction taking a back seat and a broad range of interests to enable athletes to find the sport they love the most.  De Villiers is an athlete who came to love cricket rather than a young man who was developed fanatically as a cricketer.  And now he is just about the world's best.'

Beat the bounce of the incoming ball

One of our EBT Hard Cores demonstrated here beautifully by Berdych. Note the 'side-on' position of racket face. Many youngsters 'close' racket face at this point (strings facing ground) in effort to gain topspin. Problem is ball tends to drop short as 'hitting zone' can be compromised. See also his great posture. Set-up behind ball like this for spin, power and consistency!

Playing every ball with courageous purpose

The first line of the ethos of 'everyball' reads:

'We commit to fight for every ball, to run down every ball, and to play every ball with courageous purpose.'

Fighting for every ball links to our every ball hard cores of 'athletic look to split as they hit' as well as 'beating the bounce of both the incoming and your outgoing ball.' Running every ball down? No ball ever bounces twice in front of you or gets passed you!

But what does playing every ball with courageous purpose mean? We believe that it's doing the right thing at the right time and in the right place, and doing it with conviction. An example of this could be: after a long rally player is pulled out wide onto FH side, and feeling tired there is a strong impulse to 'go for broke' down the line. The courageous thing to do is to overcome this temptation, be prepared to 'suffer' a little more and go 'high and heavy' back down the middle to neutralise and stay in the point ready for a better opportunity.

In another scenario a player is up 5-4 40-30 against a player they have never beaten before. Having worked well to open up space the winner down the line is on. Does the player now have the courage to 'go for it' to seal the set.

I suppose we're all asked to the the courageous thing on a day to day basis, not just on the tennis court. Right thing, right time, right place, with conviction. Have a courageous day!

Saturday morning courses at Halton - 10th January 2015

Hello all,

Due to the current high winds and more specifically the severe gusts exceeding 50 miles per hour, we have now taken the decision to cancel our indoor courses at Halton tomorrow, Saturday 10th January. Whilst we recognise an accident of any sort is very unlikely, we simply cannot afford any level of risk to our customers in our air domes. We do apologise for the inconvenience and the re-arranged session will take place on Saturday 21st of February. We look forward to seeing all our Saturday customers next week (17th Jan) and hope you understand the action we have to take from time to time when these weather conditions occur.

With thanks,

The Everyball Team

Update for Friday evening squads 9th Jan 2015


All squads will be cancelled tonight at Halton due to severe gusts that are predicted which mean that we can not risk keeping our air domes open.

The only squad going ahead is Mini Red which will be held in the studio from 4-5 pm.

We apologise for the inconvenience and will advise of sessions in lieu in due course.

Many thanks,

The Everyball Team