Halton welcomes Nick Weal

Great to have Nick Weale (GB Davis Cup Coach and Head of NTC age-group Camps) with us yesterday at Halton. Some great sessions integrating Bob Brett’s philosophy/drills. Sessions were designed to challenge head, heart and legs via some demanding quality volume training with very specific outcomes and targets. Well done to all players who worked very hard and represented yourselves well. These type of sessions need to be balanced with skill acquisition for younger players as well as concepts such as interleaving and varied practice that making learning stick. Important also that there is room for more situation specific tactical/technical development. So as ever at Everyball it’s ‘creative adaption over slavish adoption’.

Thanks Nick for a great visit.

Josh reaps benefit of his hard work

Friday night 6.45 pm.  I was in watching our Performance Team squad playing some points towards the end of their session.  Turned by eyes to see Josh Bright finding himself stranded at net whilst his opponent lifted a lob over his head.  It looked like a lost cause but Josh turned on his heels, sprinted back after the ball and played a flicked reply over his shoulder before crashing into the back of the dome!  He picked himself up to then chase the drop shot reply getting to the ball just in time to scrape it back and force an error out of his opponent.  

Significant?  Yes!  The improvement in attitude (determination to run down every ball) and the physicality (speed and agility to do so) has been immense and it's not surprise that Josh went on this weekend to win his linked Grade 3 event at Shrewsbury (only losing 6 games in 3 matches) and qualifying for the National Tour Grade 2 on 6th/7th December at Loughborough.  

Great work Joshua and keep up the great work.  You are a great example of our motto 'becoming is better than being, improving better than proving.'  Proving critics wrong is a great source of motivation but even greater is a deep love of the game coupled with the desire and passion to get better each and every day.  Looking forward to seeing that attitude on every court throughout the programme this week!


Djokovic - what makes him tick and what can we learn from him?

Superb article in The Times Magazine by Matthew Syed (author of ‘Bounce’) yesterday on Novak Djokovic which is well worth a read to any tennis fan, coach, player, or parent. Where does his resilience, his hunger, his ability to suspend emotion at the critical moment in a match come from? What about enjoyment? What sacrifices does he make?

‘During the 78-day bombardment, he practiced tennis whenever Nato had bombed the day before, reasoning that they wouldn’t hit the same place twice.’ Before the bombing a trade embargo was in place. ‘I had the experience of queuing for bread and milk. Looking back, it was a horrific experience. But it gave us hope and strength, too.’

‘His discipline is legendary. After beating Rafael Nadal in an epic six-hour battle in the final of the 2012 Australian Open, he craved chocolate. He hadn’t tasted it for more than two years. His coach was dispatched to find him a chocolate bar. Djokovic broke off one, small corner and let it melt slowly on his tongue. He then cast the rest of the bar aside. “That is what it has taken to get to No 1,” he once said.’

‘I wonder if, after all the years of sacrifice, he still enjoys his tennis. “That is such an important question,” he says. “I worry about the young children starting the game. They are being pushed so hard by their parents. My advice to them is to smile. This is also true of professional players. The competitiveness of the modern game has created great anxiety. Players are so focused on winning and making money that they have forgotten the reason they started to play in the first place. It should be about joy. I’m not saying that losing should not hurt you. If you want to be a champion, losing should be painful. But you should not keep the feeling inside you for too long. That is the key point. That is the difference between the top players, who are able to recharge quickly, and those who dwell on it. Passion must always be the real source of why you play the game.”’

The two Swiss men put on a real show last night. Whilst my heart is in Federer’s corner in the final, Djokovic will be the deserving winner come 10pm or so tonight and I’ll admire and respect him even more for it.

Great example of coordinating arms in serve

See how Djokovic delays racket arm to help build up momentum and racket speed. Also enables slight tilt of shoulders to aid explosive drive up to the ball and eventual shoulder over shoulder action. Finally, notice ball is placed out in front of baseline. Pic courtesy of Mark Hunter from the O2 today. Thanks Mark!