Great job Joel and Jasmine at 16&U Winter National Tour Finals this past weekend....

Super job Joel Good and Jasmine Conway at the 16&U WNT Finals played this weekend at the National Tennis Centre, London.

Joel was runner-up in consolation singles with a 6-3, 4-6, 10-4 loss against Yujiro Onuma and Jasmine won the event with a 6-2 6-1 victory over Iman Khan (4) in the final.  Super job to all coaches involved in working with these 2 excellent young prospects.

Joel pictured far left, Jasmine 4th from right.

What do we mean by 'get behind the ball'?

We coaches use the expression 'get behind the ball' all the time but don't always clearly define exactly what we mean by it, so this morning I thought I'd share a definition with you.

We 'get behind the ball' when we place our outside foot (right foot for a right-hander on a forehand for example) behind the line of the incoming ball before it bounces and refer to this as 'beating the bounce'.

Getting behind the ball or setting up behind the ball gives a player the best opportunity effectively use the ground and therefore legs to transfer weight into the shot.

See here a couple of examples by Everyball players Beth Grey and Amelie Brooks as they work on progressively more challenging exercises to develop this which can involve simple hand feeding and catching/hitting (shown) to tougher basket and live ball drills (not shown).

'Getting behind the ball' (beating the bounce) will also develop a player's reception skills as early reading of opponent's shot direction and then depth is key.  A good analogy would be getting to the bus stop before the bus arrives as opposed to getting there at the same time and rushing to get on!

Catching the 'good stuff' and (believe it or not) staying in our comfort zones to learn!

.A great reminder that we've got to keep catching each other doing the good stuff.  A few quotes from an excellent article by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall in the `March-April edition of The Harvard Business Review:

'Learning is less a function of adding something that isn't there than it is of recognising, reinforcing, and refining what already is....neurologically, we grow more in our areas of greater ability (our strengths are our development areas).....according to brain science, people grow far more neurons and synaptic connections where they already have the most neurons and synaptic connections.  In other words, each brain grows most where it's already strongest.....getting attention to our strengths from others catalyses learning, whereas attention to our weaknesses smothers it.'

'We're often told that the key to learning is to get out of our comfort zones, but these findings contradict that particular chestnut: Take us very far out of our comfort zones, and our brains stop paying attention to anything other than surviving the experience.  It's clear that we learn most in our comfort zones, because that's where our neural pathways are most concentrated.  It's where we're most open to possibility, most creative, insightful, and productive.  That's where feedback must meet us - in our moments of flow.

'We humans do not do well when someone whose intentions are unclear tells us where we stand, how good we 'really' are, and what we must do to fix ourselves.  We excel only when people who know us and care about us tell us what they experience and what they feel, and in particular when they see something within us that really works.'