Change

We grow older, we get slower.

The next generation take over.

Competitors improve.

Funding gets withdrawn.

Illness.

New school, exams, university.

Kids leave home.

First job.

Last job.

A new job.

No job.

Brexit.

No Brexit.

House prices drop.

House prices rise.

A baby

A new dog, cat, hamster, whatever....

The only sure thing we know about change is that it's inevitable.  It's gonna happen.  It part of life.  It's sometimes welcome, it's sometimes unwelcome.  Either way, we've gotta embrace it because through change, opportunity is lurking.

Sir David Brailsford of Team Sky said this week (on Sky pulling out as main sponsor):

'You've got to be calm - in life the goalposts are going to move - it's not a question of if they move but when.  We've reacted very calmly and change brings opportunities.  We build things, we're creators and we see it as an opportunity.  It's been an amazing run, but equally you look to the future and think, 'Ok, let's move on, let's build something.'


Wozniacki BH masterclass (part 2)

Continuing this little mini series on the Wozniacki backhand today.

4.  Contact point shown as level or just marginally in front of front foot, with hitting shoulder (her left) marginally behind the right (unlike the forehand where hitting shoulder would be in front of non-hitting shoulder at contact on a neutral rallying shot).  Note the back foot is in tip-toe stance and there is a strong sense of body picking up rotational speed at this moment.

5.  Wozniacki show great arm extension (a long hitting zone) out towards her target area 

6.  Great poise and balance on the finish, rotation now close to complete with left shoulder marginally in front of right and hitting side of racket face facing side fence indicating internal rotation of left forearm/wrist has taken place, and topspin been imparted on the ball. Left-elbow level with shoulder pointing towards down the court in classic pose.

Have fun practicing!



Wozniacki backhand masterclass

Want to hit a backhand like Wozniacki?  Follow this sequence, paying particular attention to how she uses her legs to transfer weight into the shot.


1.  As Wozniaki steps in towards the ball with her front foot, notice her weight is still significantly stored through her back leg, with the heal of her front foot striking the court first.  Shoulders have turned a little more than hips and she's now ready to unload into the shot. Super athletic position with knees flexed (bent).

2.  One frame on and a shift in weight now onto the front foot is apparent with heal of back foot beginning to lift, shoulders still very much turned and 'in coil'.  Knees still in flexion.

3. Critical frame to hitting with easy power.  Wozniacki now clearly turns the back knee towards the oncoming ball before contact to release her kinetic chain (knee, hip, torso, shoulder, elbow, wrist) for maximum easy power through the strike.

We'll pick up the next few frames tomorrow to look at contact point and follow-through.


Can you teach it??

In 2019 I very much hope to bring out a new edition of my book 'Everyball' Reflections, anecdotes and observations from a life in tennis aimed to tool you up for the game of life! first published by Panoma Press LTD in 2016.  It would present a wonderful opportunity to extend my thinking, explore a few more ideas and tell some more stories, and particularly work on the bits that make me cringe when I read them over again now!  I guess that's a writer's curse - never being happy with what you've done!

Anyway, driving home last night listening to some football punditry on the radio extolling the virtues of Liverpool player Mohamed Salah, the discussion touched on the nature versus nurture debate, what you can teach, what you can't, what God put in and what God left out.

This was a subject I explored in Chapter 19 of Everyball, 'Can you teach it?' and here is a short excerpt:

My own position is that we do indeed ‘arrive’ with a certain genetic (natural) starting point and with the same amount of quality practice and exposure to a sport, not everyone will get to the same level, unlike the now well-known 10,000-hour rule might imply. By the way, Epstein stresses it was never called a ‘rule’ by K. Anders Ericsson in his paper ‘The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance’ and it frustrates me when advocates of early specialisation in sport use this argument to win business for their programmes. I also maintain these different genetic starting points can be both physical and mental and even the ability to practice may have genetic influences.

But practice of course, makes what? Yes, permanent! Not perfect, so be careful what you practice! And I’m a great believer in practice and that with real persistence over time kids can indeed develop a high skill level and, at the very least, become the very best they can be, within their own genetic framework. There is also a very strong link here to passion, and my understanding that passion for a sport does not come as some lightning bolt out of the sky, but from a position of where a child is introduced to a game, struggles and wrestles with it and in persistently doing so, develops a love and passion for it.

As parents and coaches therefore, it’s so important to be aware what our kids are attracted to and what they in turn become passionate about, as before we begin any discussion on talent, ability, deep practice and the like, a love and passion for what you do must come first.

Look at Federer now at almost 35 years old and Serena at 33. Above and beyond all their gifts and talent, whether natural or nurtured, they love the sport, they love competing, they love the journey of continuous and never- ending improvement.

To support this we have posted the following quote attributed to Roger Federer on an outside wall leading to the courts at Halton:

Sometimes you’re just happy playing. Some people, some media, unfortunately, don’t understand that it’s okay just to play tennis and enjoy it. They always think you have to win everything, it always needs to be a success story, and it’s not, obviously, what is the point? Maybe you have to go back and think why have I started playing tennis? Because I just like it. It’s actually sort of a dream hobby that became somewhat of a job. Some people just don’t get that, ever.

Everyball, everyday, for everybody. Come on and join us!