Dan Dean and Jasmine Conway progress to quarters of 16&U Winter National Tour finals

Super job to Dan and Jasmine with first set tie-break wins in yesterday's opening round of the 16&U Winter National Tour finals at the National Tennis Centre, Roehampton.

Dan, seeded 4th, beat Noah Cutting 7-6 (6) 6-1 and plays Matthew Rutter this morning in the quarters.  Jasmine beat Natalya Ogunwale 7-6 (11), 6-1 (same score!) and her quarter-final opponent Alicia Dudney lies in wait this morning.

All the best to both of you!

'Play-full, players of the game'

Our vision for player development at Everyball Tennis is to develop 'Players of the game, skill-full, competitive and athletic' 

The phrase encompasses and integrates the four performance factors:

  1. Players of the game (play-full) - tactical
  2. Skill-full - technical
  3. Competitive - mental
  4. Athletic - physical

For younger players, we believe this order is very important and here's why:

The concept of developing 'players of the game' early on is critical.  I remember the first time my kids went to football at 3 or 4 years old.  They 'played the game' right away!  This is tough to do in tennis due to the challenge of the sport, but it's vital we get little ones to a stage as quickly as possible whereby they can rally and play the game because this is what really hooks them in to the sport - playing like the big kids or the pros on telly!  One of the big barriers to this is the serve, due to it's technical complexity AND the requirements of hitting it accurately into the appropriate box in order for the point to start.

Recently, in our group sessions and internal 'play the game' sessions we've been experimenting with a 'serve anywhere' approach.  If the ball lands 'in' the court somewhere, it's in play.   Results have been fantastic.

  • immediate longer rallies and sessions are more 'full of play'
  • fear of missing taken away so children are more up for serving and for developing more complex aspects of the serve such as the chopper grip

Great job by coaches Alan Hutcherson and Neale Proud for leading this innovation/initiative for us.  See it in action this morning in our Red session 9.00-10.00 am!

The a-Mazing Mezzone run continues

After a 7-6, 1-6, 6-2 win yesterday over Sophie Williamson, Everyball's Sophia Mezzone finds herself today (9am match time) up against Staffordshire's Mae Mccutcheon (GB ranked 24, 16&U) in the 1/4 finals of the Loughborough Bristish Tour.

Keep it going Sophia - we're all backing you!

Everyballer Sophia Mezzone qualifies for Loughborough Brit Tour Main Draw

A battling performance from Sophia Mezzone (2003, GB ranked 75 16&U first year) against Caitlin Ward (2002, GB ranked 38 16&U) yesterday saw her qualify into the MD today.  Her comeback from 0-6 first set to win the last 2 sets 6-3, 6-3 showed great grit and resilience and has earned her a first round match today against 7th seed Aleksandra Topalovic.

All the best for today Sophia!!

Use of the basket to develop patterns, physicality, work into the legs

Was good to get outside yesterday for afternoon academy training in preparation for the outdoor competitive season beginning in just a few weeks time!

Important to get some foundational work into the legs early on, develop some key movement patterns, and generating own pace which becomes more important outdoors.  

AGS student and Academy player James Weller demonstrates simple approach volley drill here (Guti, your spirit lives on even with you back in Barcelona!)

 with coach Seb Callcut.  Movement to get back behind the ball for the down-line approach followed by closing cross-court volley and repeat!

All serves are different, aren't they? (Part 2, power producing phase)

The power producing phase.

Forward swing

  • Legs/back hip drive 'up' as ball comes down, causing racket to drive down as racket drops as shoulder externally rotates; at point of full-external rotation (lowest part of racket drop, hips are still side-on to fence)
  • Elbow & hand stretch and climb throwing top of racket towards the ball
  • Ball placing arm begins to lower towards stomach area assisting in shoulder over shoulder rotation
  • Racket face turns underneath the ball prior to impact

Impact point

  • Both legs off ground at impact
  • Impact always as ball is dropping
  • Impact 12-1pm (in line with left foot RH)
  • Impact 10-50 cm in front of baseline
  • Both hips and shoulder parallel to net near pronation stage (just prior to impact)
  • Tossing arm tucked into stomach

Follow through

  • Pronation occurs after impact to help prevent shoulder loading
  • Front foot lands just inside baseline
  • Beck leg stays behind pointing to back fence
  • Ball placement arm moves away from stomach to a sideways on position

A few further notes

  • 40% power comes from internal rotation, 30% from wrist flexion, 30% from leg drive
  • Front foot drives 70%, back foot 30% BUT back foot is more important because it drives back hip 'up'
  • Pronation has nothing to do with power, it just helps ball direction
  • Chopper grip permits the best range of movement in external rotation (racket head drops down and away from body), internal rotation, elbow extension, pronation and wrist flexion
  • Grip pressure only increases just prior to contact

All serves are different, aren't they?

Yes, the cosmetics (form) of serve differ from player to player, but most top serves share a range of common technical 'points' or 'moments' throughout the action (function).

Let's look at the preparation phase (set up > backswing and ball placement > pre-throw position) demonstrated here by Beth Grey.


  • Relaxed continental grip
  • Semi-closed stance - front foot towards net post, back foot parallel to baseline
  • 'Palm-in' racket 'side-on

Backswing and ball placement (toss)

  • Both arms down together before separating
  • Ball placement arm goes up earlier than racket arm
  • Ball is released at eye level
  • Knees bend as ball goes 'up'
  • Foot up (if) after ball toss and before load position

Pre-throw position (often a moment in time with racket arm moving rather than a still/fixed position)

  • Elbow is stable at 90 degrees (elbow to trunk)
  • Elbow is stable at 90 degrees (elbow to hand)
  • Pre- throw position when ball is at the apex
  • Slight tilt from front shoulder, back shoulder and back elbow
  • Palm of hand facing side fencing (palm out)
  • Both hips facing side fencing
  • Knees at most flexed in pre-throw position
  • Hip dipped slightly into the court
  • Eyes and head are focused on impact area