It's a little work on the serve today....

Hi folks,

Stay as active and positive as you can and enjoy what you can of this lovely weather! (whilst not ignoring school work!)

A couple of little exercises on the serve today - kneeling down so not gonna burn too many calories but a couple of key aspects to developing a great serve.  Pronation - the outward turning of forearm and wrist to present the racket face to the ball (assuming continental grip and you are approaching the ball with the edge of the racket), and internal rotation of the hitting shoulder/upper-arm which can contribute to up to 70% of your power on the serve within a shoulder over shoulder action.

Have fun with it 

Today's DIY at home drill on the half-volley

Hi everyone,

No better time to be living out our Everyball 4 R's:

Respect government advice and take Responsibility for social distancing.

Respect each other in the home and take responsibility for your own behaviours and emotions.

Be ready to 'bounce forward' with Resilience into a new future and Reflect on how we can do things just a little differently.

Show your own P.R.I.D.E (personal responsibility in developing excellence) by devising your own training sessions at home and keeping up with your skills and fitness so you're ready for action when we can get back to the court, and....TRY THIS LITTLE DRILL to work on your legs and half-volley!

Improve your backhand slice at home with these simple tips

Hello all and a happy mother's day to you in these trying times...

Here's a few tips on improving your backhand slice at home.   Racket, ball, wall an a bit of will and patience and you'll have it down soon enough! 


Everyball Tennis at Halton Tennis Centre - Corona update Thursday 19th March

Dear Parents/Everyball Tennis @ Halton Tennis Centre customers,

In light of yesterday's news and upcoming school closures I would like to update you on our short-term plans for our coaching programme at Halton.

After careful consideration and gathering of feedback from many parents of children on the Everyball Coaching programme we have decided to continue with the utmost caution and care - and this on a day to day basis.  We will be rigorously pursuing all protocols as set out in previous communications.  All children should come prepared for both indoor* and outdoor tennis as we will be using all our court facilities to spread out and maintain appropriate distancing between all.  We count ourselves fortunate at Halton to have a very nimble leadership and management model where we can continually respond and adapt to changing circumstances, and a sport and facilities that lend themselves very well to social distancing and maintaining the utmost cleanliness.  Whilst we fully understand and respect the needs of those who must or prefer to stay at home, we very much welcome those of you who would still like to get out on a tennis court with an 'exercise not socialise' agenda, one currently supported by the LTA and Sport England.

While the LTA has suspended its organised activity, the Government have currently indicated that recreational exercise that takes place at a safe distance from others and in safe exercise environments is something that can continue during this period (LTA website)

The coronavirus crisis is unprecedented in modern times and it could have a significantly negative impact on the nation’s physical activity levels.  We don’t want that to happen, so we'll do everything we can to support people to get and stay active – provided they are well enough.  That’s because physical activity matters during this period and, actually, we think it’s more important than ever right now.  Being active in a way that is right for you, can improve your physical health, help manage stress and anxiety and just generally make you feel better.  You can also still go outside for a walk, run, cycle - or any other way you normally get active outside - provided you are doing so in a way that meets the latest guidance on social distancing and advice on unnecessary social contact (Sport England website)

For Saturday morning customers please note that our bar and catering service has been very much trimmed down and we will be only offering takeaway tea, coffee, soft drinks, and snacks during this time.  There will be no kitchen service.

*Indoor tennis - whilst we will look to get outside as much as possible some sessions will continue in our indoor air domes.  Do please remember that fresh air is constantly being circulated within these facilities.

Finally, there may well be a possibility of putting on some extra daytime tennis activities for kids out of school next week.  We are currently assessing the practicality and nature of this in line with maintaining a responsible attitude and position to the war on the corona virus which we are taking very seriously indeed.  Any feedback you might have on this as parents would be much appreciated, and of course if you have any questions at all please do get in touch.

With our kindest regards and wishes of wellbeing for all,

Mike James
Director of Tennis, 07958 008312

Keeping calm and carrying on with Everyball Tennis at Halton Tennis Centre with your health and safety a priority

Dear parents, players and friends of Everyball,

At the start of another week, I just wanted to touch base to say that all coaching sessions at Halton Tennis Centre will carry on as scheduled.  The latest advice from the LTA can be found on their website via this link which is regularly being updated and of course as an organisation at Halton we are taking heed of all government advice.

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, we will be taking some further precautions to ensure children and parents' safety at lessons and during drop-off and pickup and would very much appreciate your help in this.

  1.  Coaches will request all children wash their hands as soon as they arrive on site/directly before their sessions and immediately after.
  2.  Coaches will be encouraging (but perhaps not always able to enforce) a level of social distancing during sessions - a 'two racket length distance' between each other when and where possible.  We are strongly recommending no physical contact between players and players and players and coaches such as high fives and handshakes.
  3. We request players bring in minimal equipment as and where possible - rackets plus water bottle (leaving big bags etc at home).
  4. Use of cones/markers/throw down lines will be minimised and handled by coaches only.  Extra ball tubes have been ordered to help gather balls.
  5. Any coach showing any sign of being unwell will stand down from coaching for a period of time until fully fit.
  6. Likewise any child showing signs of being unwell will be stood down from a session - parents please don't bring a poorly child to training, particularly if they have a cough/temperature.
  7. All left water-bottles will be thrown away immediately after sessions so take them home!
  8. Halton Tennis Centre will be disinfecting all door handles, table surfaces etc in the clubhouse/changing and toilet areas on a frequent basis throughout the day.
  9. As the weather improves and where/when possible sessions will be taken outdoors to be in the fresh air, although we are lucky that in our domes there is a constant renewal of fresh air.
  10. In the midst of what is a very difficult time lets continue to use our sport to keep our health and spirits up!

Many thanks indeed,

Mike James, Director of Tennis


proV3 'meet/greet/coffee/hit' morning - 9th March 2019 10.30 am onwards

Hello friend of Everyball,

You might have heard a little bit about proV3, one of our charitable projects at Halton Tennis Centre/Everyball Tennis that aims to support aspiring, yet vulnerable tennis players develop sustainable professional careers on the tour.  As it happens all our proV3 players are back at base next week due to international events being cancelled due to the coronavirus so we thought it would be a good opportunity (if not last minute!) to hold a meet and greet coffee morning and talk about the project and how our players are getting on.

Read on for a little more info:

If you happen to be free at this late notice, I'd love to invite you down to join us for an hour and then stay on for a while and hit some balls with our players from 11.30 or failing that just watch the action!

Perhaps see you Monday!

Beth Grey below at Wimbledon in 2019

Using the demands of sport to build strong, healthy, principle centred people

Renowned sports psychologist Dr. Jim Loehr breaks 'character' down into what he calls 'performance character' and 'moral character'.  He suggests that sport in of itself does not build character, but that character can be built through sport only with a strong intent to do so, followed by a highly structured plan of implementation.  Coaches and parents are critical in this process.

He distinguishes two types of character that can be intentionally built through sport.

Performance character:

  • effort, diligence, confidence, attitude, focus, resiliency, hard-work, perseverance, courage, self-discipline, commitment, teamwork

Moral character:

  • Respect, just, trustworthy, values based decisions, ethical, integrity, humble, strong moral people

Especially at the top level, the 'seduction' in sport is unbelievable....the temptation to cut corners, cheat, take drugs, etc.   The relationship between sports development and character development is an inverse relationship (the longer you stay in it there is more chance of sport having a negative impact on character) but we (particularly coaches and parents) can intentionally use the demands of sport to build strong, healthy, principle centred people.

And, finally, you can 'win' with good character.  The two are not mutually exclusive as some would like to say. Building strong performance and moral character helps you to handle better the high demands of performance sport, particularly if you reach the very top.

(Taken from a talk by Dr. Jim Loehr to USTA coaches)

Fighting for everyball is a mentaliy as well as a technical, tactical and physical skill!

Fighting for everyball is a mentality as well as a technical, tactical and physical skill.

  • I am in a constant state of athletic readiness to move and compete (athletic height and width of base)
  • I never slow down until the ball has bounced twice!
  • I believe that 'If I touch it, I'll make it!'
  • I'm relentless in 'beating the bounce' - getting behind the ball before it lands and being on balance to hit at hip high
  • I 'beat the hit' by recovering my position before my opponent contacts ball
  • I'll play with courageous purpose, respecting percentage tennis and understanding phase of play and when to rally, attack and defend, not being too aggressive or too passive but just right whilst using my strengths versus my opponent's weaknesses

The best players do the basics brilliantly rather than brilliant flashes!  

Shot makers cause upsets but rarely win tournaments.

Les Petits As 2020

So, for my first blog of 2020 - had a little sabbatical in January!  I hope you are all well and have made a great start to the new year!  

In the early hours of Monday morning I returned back from a fantastic 4 days in Tarbes (Les Petits As, 14&U tournament) where alongside co-tutors Kris Soutar and Simon Wheatley, we delivered Module 4 of the current LTA Senior Performance Coach Level 4 qualification to 13 candidates from across Great Britain.

The vision of this module was to enable coaches to have a clear understanding of the demands of international tennis at 14&U and to motivate coaches to raise the level of British players and performance programmes creating an over-supply of top 14&U international junior players.  

During the trip coaches created enhanced profiles of top players across all performance factors linked to the LTA's 'What it Takes to Win' Player Development Philosophy.  They identified personal blind spots and gaps in their knowledge, observation and analysis skills, through watching a multitude of matches and participating in facilitated discussions.  Charting matches and interpreting data for clear coaching recommendations alongside a hugely insightful question and answer session with USTA coach Jon Glover added to the curriculum of the module.

It was my third year in a row running this trip and each year I come away inspired.  For me personally I gained a number of take-aways - here are just a few:

  • Talking tennis - I was reminded how valuable it is simply to 'talk tennis', to put yourself in a different environment with different people and wrestle with ideas and concepts with a healthy level of disagreement!
  • Non-judgemental observation - we can be so quick to judge a player.  It's so important to spend good time (several matches in fact) in 'non-judgemental observation' before drawing conclusions about strengths/weaknesses/areas of work etc.
  • Best way to improve your players is to improve yourself!  Vital that as coaches we are constantly bringing 'fuel' to the relationship
  • Creative adaption rather than slavish adoption - at the same time, we don't have to slavishly adopt new/different ideas but would be foolish not to creatively adapt according to our own programme and player needs
  • The best players do the basics brilliantly as opposed to having brilliant flashes! The are constantly in a state of 'athletic readiness' to move and compete.  They relentlessly 'beat the bounce' by getting behind the ball on balance and then 'beat the hit' by efficient recovery to the appropriate position before opponent has hit the ball.  They fight like hell, never slow down until the ball has bounced twice and live out the belief that 'if I touch it I make it!'  
  • Resilience can mean to keep putting your game out there, no matter what.  If things are going badly raise your game by 5%.  If your opponent drops theirs by 5% that's a 10% shift and often enough to turn the tide.  Your 'B' game is your 'B' game because it's not as good as your 'A' game!  This doesn't mean sticking stubbornly to one thing - bringing in the use of the drop shot for example changed the course of the girls final from a 2 set drubbing to a nail-biting 3 setter.
  • In the big moments, the best players will more often than not go for it.  They are more positive, more aggressive, more committed to their shots and game-plan than their opponents

There's a whole heap more besides, but for any coach out there looking to develop young players, I would highly recommend getting yourself to Les Petits As 2021!  I'm sure I'll see you there as there's nothing quite like year on year seeing some of the very best in the world come through.  Linda Fruhvirtova who won it last year at 13 years old is now 14 in the world in the ITF junior rankings.  Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva who lost in the second round last year just won the Australian Open junior title and is now ranked 2 in the world.  Tennis moves so fast - particularly on the girls side.

Enjoy the rest of your week!