What happens when there's no more low hanging fruit? Kazi!

Low hanging fruit.  It's easily picked, but at some point it disappears unless you're a giraffe and can reach the higher branches that others can't.  But even then, that's low hanging to a giraffe.

What happens next?  What happens when the more obvious gains we can make as coaches diminish as a player improves, what happens when the customer base dries up?

That's when the hunter gatherer really has to forage.  Forage means to 'search widely' because the food isn't going to fall into your lap.  It's when the real kazi (work in Swahili) begins.

Sean Dyche on 'earthiness'

Excellent article written by Oliver Kay on Burnley manager Sean Dyche in The Times yesterday.  A few quotes:

'We're good at the truth,' he says.  'We're good at being honest with players in the work we do.  They get honesty about themselves, about the team, about the good and bad of what might be happening to them and about reinforcing that environment, building and maintaining a culture where people want to play, want to work and want to enjoy what goes on.'

'A strong work ethic, passion, pride, care, attention, honesty, respect,' she says.  These are the bedrock and then, on top of that, you apply all the modern thinking - the sports science, the analysis, the data, the GPS and so on.  We try and do as many modern-thinking things as we can while not losing sight of the values - the old-fashioned values, as I call them, but nowadays, in a society where the fabric is sometimes at full-stretch, on and off the pitch, those values are more important than ever.'

'It feels like the demand for glossiness is higher than the demand for earthiness - and the earthiness, if we all cast our minds back, is about going to see your local team, wishing you were out there, seeing those lads giving everything for the badge.'

The 'Everyball' 80 ball drill

See here the 'Everyball' 80 ball drill with Mike and Miles.

Player initiates each set of 8 balls with a serve.  Coach then feeds a 'neutral' (no spin, slow-medium speed) ball side to side into outside third of player's court.  Player has to play cross-court into outside third with a rising ball over baseline or deep side-line.  Player aims to recover in 20 seconds ready for next set.

10 sets of  8 balls. 

Miles scores 51/80 or 63% rising balls, 30 on FH, 21 on BH.  Serving percentage 40%, average time between points 26.44 seconds.   A great drill for establishing a baseline competency/current position and setting some improvement goals for the future. 

Video shows set 5 of 10 for Miles.  8/8 rising balls, great job!

Key factors for the coach:

  1. Neutral ball feed encourages player to generate own pace with full body mechanics, work hard with feet behind ball and find appropriate trajectory (speed, spin, height) to achieve aim of rising ball over baseline/deep side-line
  2. Timing of feed to replicate that of opponent's contact point
  3. Tough to gain all information above so either video and chart later or have a buddy to help 
  4.  Drill can be easily adapted to squad situation - hit 8, pick up 8 and ready to go again.  Total rising balls achieved by a squad in 5 minutes (roughly 300 balls fed).  Our Academy record this week was 190, achieved by 12 players over 3 courts.