Halton Tennis Centre & Everyball Tennis named as one of GB's 50 Local Player Development Centres today

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) today named 50 tennis centres across the country that will act as Local Player Development Centres (LPDCs), marking the next milestone in the development of the new ten-year Performance Strategy for tennis in Britain.

We are delighted to announce that HaltonUK & Everyball Tennis have been invited to contribute to the new Performance Strategy in this capacity and we look forward to partnering the LTA in our ongoing work developing young, local talent in our area.

For further information on the new Performance Strategy and today's announcement by the LTA please see this link https://www.lta.org.uk/news/general-news/2018/july/lta-announces-50-local-player-development-centres/http://

Congratulations to the entire Everyball/HaltonUK team who have made this possible.


A really rather special day at SW19

She entered the stage like she belonged and then played like she belonged with a joy, freedom, smile and grit that we grew so accustomed to over the years in our journey with Katy at Halton and to see it manifest itself on the biggest stage in the world yesterday was really rather special.

Not only was it an absolute privilege to be invited up by Katy to support her on the day, it was beyond my wildest expectations that she'd play her first round main draw Wimbledon match against 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko on Centre Court.

To be there in her box alongside her parents, friends and coaching team from @GoslingTennis who have done such a fine job with her over the last 18 months or so was the fruition of a dream that began 11 years ago when she first rocked up at Halton as a 12 year old.

Thank you Katy for the superb experience yesterday and wishing you and Harriet all the very best in the doubles!



Katy Dunne receives wild card into Wimbledon singles Main Draw - 'Keep the dream alive' is realised!

Just over 10 years ago, we took on at Everyball Tennis & HaltonUK a promising young 12 year old Katy Dunne from Batchwood Tennis Centre where her then coaches had done a great job on setting her on a journey towards becoming a professional tennis player.

By 14 years old Katy was ranked inside the top 10 in Europe and in order to travel and train more she left school and with the superb support of her parents embarked on a full-time programme of tennis and education with us at Halton.

In order to further support Katy on her travels alongside the LTA High Performance programme (Katy also spent time at the National Tennis Centre under coach Jane O'Donaghue) we developed a (still ongoing) scheme called, 'Keep the dream alive' (KTDA) - the dream being to see an Everyball trained player compete in the Main Draw of Wimbledon (or indeed another grand slam).  Through this scheme, led by Alec Clapperton, Halton adult members contribute into a monthly fund that contributes to the overall investment that Halton makes to support our up and coming junior players.

By 18 years old, and with the help of our own Pete Thorne (now coaching in Sydney, Australia but still in close contact) who travelled extensively with Katy in those last couple of years of her junior career, Katy had broken into the worlds top 10 ITF junior world rankings.

Since that time, Katy has worked and travelled tirelessly on the women's ITF circuit, recently breaking into the world top 200.  Over the last couple of years she has been based at Gosling Tennis Centre under the watchful eye of coach Richard Hawkes who has done a superb job in bringing Katy on in this critical phase of her career.

Yesterday, Hertfordshire's Katy Dunne (turned 23 in Feb) was delighted to hear that, on the basis of her progress of late, has received a wild-card into the Main Draw Singles of Wimbledon and all of us at Everyball and Halton would like to say a massive 'well done' to you Katy and we'll be backing you all the way in a couple of weeks time when you take to the courts for your maiden Grand Slam singles event.  This is only the beginning for you!!

A massive thanks to all those original members of KTDA who contributed to making this possible.

See Katy training here at Halton back in 2011!






Optimal Competition Parenting Workshop - Thursday 21st June 6.30-9.00pm at Halton Tennis Centre

Are you a parent to a competitive tennis player?  Would you like to learn more about how best to help and support your child during competition or have you been at it for years and think you've got it sorted??!!  

Attending this fantastic course developed by the LTA and Loughborough University may shed some light on how to most effectively help your child during competition, and even the most battle hardened parent can pick up something new with the fantastic material presented and the discussions that result.  

This course is being delivered across the country by a trained panel of tutors, so don't miss this one on your doorstep here at HaltonUK (Halton Tennis Centre, HP22 5PD)  (Suitable distance for Bucks, Herts, Beds, Oxon).

Not too late to book, and even The Times today had parenting on the front page!!

Course tutor for this course: Mike James




Parents play too!

As part of a new Everyball/HaltonUK scheme, parents of our mini tennis players had an opportunity to play themselves this past weekend  whilst their children attended their regular Saturday morning coaching session.

The objectives of this 'parent play' scheme are to:

  • Introduce or re-introduce parents to our fantastic sport through the game of mini tennis - it's easy to play, social and great exercise!
  • Coach parents using the same language, techniques and philosophy that we apply to their children, thus equipping parents to play with their kids more often, and at the right moments, to be able to offer some basic reminders and tips that will speed up the learning process and help our minis progress a little quicker!

If, as a parent/carer of one of our Mini Tennis Red players, you missed this session, don't worry and we'll see you next week 9am for another go! (We'll be rolling this out every Saturday for the rest of term, so look forward to seeing you on court!)





Greetings from Manchester 100K (Fusion 100 Manchester Trophy)

Greetings from Manchester where Everyball and PROv3 player Beth Grey takes on Tunisia's Ons Jabeur (WTA 180), second on court 1.  Beth then teams up later with Olivia Nicholls (Loughborough Tennis) to take on 3rd seeds Jamie Loeb (US) and An-Sophie Mestach (BEL).

Conditions a little breezy to say the least but rain looks to be staying away, and the grass courts here at The Northern Tennis Club are in great shape.

Beth warming up this morning and also pictured below with Olivia after yesterday's doubles victory.

Conditions a little breezy to say the least but rain looks to be staying away, and the grass courts here at The Northern Tennis Club are in great shape.

Beth warming up this morning and also pictured below with Olivia after yesterday's doubles victory.


Want some more juice on your forehand?

Everyball's Sophia Mezzone demonstrates her killer forehand in training yesterday.  Notice how she sets up with great load through the legs and upper body turn/coil, ready to explode into the shot.

'In groundstrokes, the back leg and hip, to a greater (square stance) or lesser (open stance) degree, are the first part of the kinetic chain.  They begin trunk rotation and drive the trunk upward and forward.  This enables the trunk and then the arm to build racket speed...The trunk of the body links the legs and the racket arm, and has an important role to play in transferring energy from the slower-moving yet large legs to the faster-moving yet smaller upper limbs.' (Elliott/Reid from 'Tennis Science')

Rotation as we know is key to developing power, but notice also how well Sophia combines her body segments and uses the forward movement of her hitting shoulder through impact.  Her head also stays beautifully still providing great stability through the shot.

Great work Sophia in learning to bring more control to your fearsome forehand!



The least practiced and paid attention to aspect of the serve?

It's one of the great contradictions of our sport that arguably the most important stroke, that is also the most easily practiced (just you and a basket of balls), is often the most ignored.  

And more often than not, the efficiency and effectiveness of the serve hinges so often around the contact point area and therefore the ball toss, or ball placement ('toss' conjures up images of a jerky throw, whilst placement suggests something more precise, smoother and controlled).

There are 3 aspects of contact point that relate directly to the location/accuracy of ball toss as shown in this video of world number 67 Taylor Fritz delivering a second serve at the Surbiton 100K last week.

 

1.  Height

Typically most top players contact the ball on the fall (ie: as it's dropping from the apex of the ball placement) so the ball requires a placement high enough to enable this.  Taylor has a relatively low ball toss, but a careful look shows he still makes contact on the fall.

2.  Distance front to back

Contact ideally should be made inside the baseline for both 1st and 2nd serves, though to facilitate more spin a second serve ball toss will be placed further back to encourage more vertical path of the racket (for a top/slice spin).

3.  Distance side to side 

A tricky one.  12 noon (in line with heel of front foot) to 1pm would be considered within a range of acceptability.  Ideally, you are looking for a contact point that enables 'shoulder over shoulder' (cartwheel rotation) rather than shoulder around shoulder as this creates more vertical velocity through the hips, a higher contact point, and promotes greater internal rotation of the hitting shoulder (this action contributes to 40% to the generation of racket velocity at impact in the male high-performance serve).  [Bruce Elliott & Machar Reid, 'Tennis Science']

Elliott and Red however, are keen to point out that 'coaches of young players alike must be careful to appropriately time when they emphasise the importance of internal rotation in the service action.  For example, research has observed that increases in internal rotation velocity occur primarily after puberty.  Therefore, young players should attend to other aspects of the service action and lay the foundations for appropriate internal rotation velocity development prior to puberty, so that they can most effectively use this aspect of the serve when they mature.'

A couple of photos below showing a slight contrast in body position at contact of Fritz to a younger, physically developing 14 year old (albeit it different angles)

Finally, a few keys for an accurate ball placement:

  • A smooth rhythmical service action is helpful, especially when score-board pressure and muscular tension come into the equation
  • Release at eye level
  • Straight arm and lift from the shoulder
  • Imagine holding on to a tube of balls or a plastic cup/ice-cream cone to limit last second wrist flick which can send the ball anywhere!

Above all, have fun getting out there and practicing your serve - no hitting partner required!