tag:everyball.net,2013:/posts Coaching, the never-ending discussion.... 2018-01-16T10:09:11Z Everyball with Mike James tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1232668 2018-01-16T08:28:11Z 2018-01-16T10:09:11Z Doubles Mondays launched this week in our Aspire to Excel programme
In preparation for the summer season where doubles really kicks in, whether it's club, county, or in tournament play, we launched Doubles Mondays in the Aspire to Excel Academy programme this week.

Both Jemima King and myself were recently involved in a 2-day course with world doubles guru Louis Cayer (coach to Jamie Murray) on the British Doubles system that has generated a huge amount of success over the last few years and we are bringing this learning back to the programme every Monday night.

The importance of doubles:
  • Doubles makes up 25% of singles ranking on the ITF tour, but also influences singles rankings at junior domestic level
  • Being successful in doubles keeps you in tournament play longer
  • Doubles often decides the tie, whether Fed Cup/Davis Cup, County, Club or University tennis (both US and GB)
  • At pro level the money is increasing - a viable option to singles
  • Its a destination we all share - majority of competitive tennis in adult life is doubles
  • Social aspect - it's fun playing as a team and with friends
  • Skill development - confidence and competence in net-play especially increases as only 1/2 court to cover.  Development of lobs, passing shots, reactions
  • Nice variation from singles

As an overview the British Doubles system is about making players lose because they:

  1. Attempt low % shots due to our positioning
  2. Feel pressured through our movement
  3. Feel uncertain because of our variation

This week we are looking at 'When serving and staying back'.  Currently on the WTA tour 10% of players serve and volley in doubles and 66% of men serve and volley, so you if you serve and stay back, you are playing proper doubles!! Don't be made to feel inferior!

Key points:

  • Serving position that gives you access to both wide and T serves
  • Repositioning after serving based on servers territory to cover and use of the forehand on ball 3
  • Engaging the cross-court battle (breaking doubles sideline)
  • 3/10 times go down-line to create uncertainty

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1232031 2018-01-14T19:36:29Z 2018-01-14T19:36:29Z Keeping their dreams alive! (KTDA)

Fun times and smiles had by all at our KTDA (Keeping their dreams alive!) session with members and performance players fun doubles afternoon at HaltonUK on Saturday.

At least 50+ club members invest a monthly sum into a fund that we use to support our Everyball performance players, effectively keeping their dreams alive, whether that's competing on the lawns of SW19, going to the U.S to play college tennis, or simply performing as well as possible at their next event! Thanks members for your support and for Izzy Marshall, Beth Grey, Oliver McCay-Brown, Erika Dodridge and coach Ed Taylor for playing!

Pictured below are Izzy Marshall and Beth Grey having just trounced Mike James and Rob Pain!! 

For further involvement in KTDA and how to contribute, please contact Mike James on mikejames@everyball.net

Soon to come, our PRO AM with our club members and performance players - watch this space!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1230150 2018-01-11T08:32:18Z 2018-01-11T08:32:18Z Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world if full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

- Calvin Coolidge (US President 1923-1929)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1229610 2018-01-10T10:22:42Z 2018-01-10T10:22:42Z The glory has got be in 'getting there'

Yep, the old cliche is true: 'you find when you arrive that the journey was the prize.'

It's happened to me and I'm sure its happened to you.  There's a thrill when you achieve the goal, win the tournament, get into the top 10, win promotion.  But that thrill, that moment, is fleeting and then you realise that the real joy, the real glory was in the journey to get there.

So revel in the 'glory' of today.  It may be just another practice, another meeting, another email, phone call.  But when you get there, wherever there is for you, it's days like today that got you there.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1227397 2018-01-06T08:32:44Z 2018-01-06T09:42:18Z Responsibility keeps you in the 'cause' side of life

Staying in the 'cause' side of life is an incredibly powerful mental tool.  Both on and off the sports field.

It promotes autonomy, the idea that you and you alone are the captain of your ship.  Slipping into 'effect' means leaving yourself open to be blown around by the vagaries of life and it's easy to slip into 'victim' behaviours and attitudes.

That why we hold 'responsibility' up as such a key life-skill at everyball, and one we can continue to develop through our unique sport, it's scoring system and structures.

Take these two statements;

'I lost the match because my opponent hooked me (cheated) on a line call at that key moment in the third set'

'I lost my concentration when I thought my opponent made a mistake on a call in that key moment in the third set.'

Practice staying in 'cause' today - there will be plenty of opportunities I can promise.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1226585 2018-01-04T18:43:49Z 2018-01-04T18:43:49Z The push-you, pull-me battle.....

The push-you, pull-me battle.  

As parents, how much do we push/nudge/shove our children toward sporting involvement and achievement.  Can this be measured against how much the child pulls the parents towards what they want to be involved in and the goals they want to pursue?

I was once told by a very wise man, 'pay attention to what your kids are passionate about'.

Ok, but this begs a few questions among many others I'm sure:

Does passion come as some lightning bolt out of the blue, or is a parental push towards things part of the 'developing passion' equation?

Is there some sort of sequential order that moves a child from interest to passion?

Is the mark of true passion an intrinsic motivation that is demonstrated by what an athlete is prepared to do alone in pursuit of developing their skills - an excellence happens when no-one is watching phenomenon?

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1224355 2017-12-31T11:56:58Z 2018-01-01T16:53:37Z A very happy New Year! Nine Promises to Yourself for 2018!

Here's wishing all friends of 'Everyball' a very happy New Year and all the best for 2018!

Here are John Wooden's (Former Head Coach of UCLA Basketball winning 10 NCAA Championships in a 12-year period) nine promises to yourself as we think about the year ahead.  Imagine your family, workplace, club, team and organisational culture if we lived this out consistently through the coming year...

1.  Promise yourself that you will talk health, happiness and prosperity as often as possible

2.  Promise yourself to make all your friends know there is something in them special and you value

3.  Promise to think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best in yourself and others

4.  Promise to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own

5.  Promise to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind

6.  Promise to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future

7.  Promise to wear a cheerful appearance at all times and give every person you meet a smile

8.  Promise to give so much to improving yourself that you have no time to criticise others

9.  Promise to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit trouble to press on you

Enjoy your celebrations tonight and look forward to working with you all in 2018.


Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1223562 2017-12-29T12:56:41Z 2017-12-29T12:56:41Z Everyballers Oakley, Good and Groom all progress into 1/4 finals of G2 Winter National Tour (Bolton & Notts)

Super job by Everyball players Joshua Oakley, Joel Good and Miles Groom as they progress into the quarter-finals later today of their respective G2 Winter National Tour Events (Josh 12&U in Bolton and Joel and Miles 14&U in Notts) after strong second round performances this morning.

Their quarter-final match-ups this afternoon are as follows:

Joel Good (6) v Toby Bloomfield

Miles Groom (7) v Lui Maxted (4)

Joshua Oakley (7) v Jethro Dela Vega (1)

All the best boys and keep up the great work!!

(Video: Miles in action yesterday in his first round win)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1222517 2017-12-27T10:54:58Z 2017-12-27T10:54:58Z Being a great player does not automatically qualify you to become a great coach

There is a dominant consciousness within my sport, that being a great player automatically means you're going to be a great coach.  This is often twinned with the more general perception that coaching is easy.  If you can swing a racket this qualifies you to teach how to swing a racket. I believe we need to stand up for our profession, and this is one of the key motivators behind my role as an LTA Coach Education Tutor in which I co-tutor the Level 4 Senior Performance Coach Award.  The opportunity to help shape our workforce in this country is one I value greatly as I believe our profession should be seen as an occupation that requires prolonged training, experience and a formal qualification to even begin to be called an expert coach.

What follows are some excerpts from an excellent piece in The Times today by Matthew Syed on Ryan Giggs thinking he is too good to start at the bottom of the managerial ladder.  

'The problem is not limited to football, of course.  There is a pervasive delusion that if you performed at a high level, you can teach or manage at that level, too....The putative link from possessing a skill to being able to teach it is too engrained.  Let us call this the 'great player, great coach' fallacy.

'The truth, however, is that world class players face specific barriers when it comes to coaching.  Take Giggs, whose ability to pass and dribble is second nature.  Thousands of hours of practice mean that he does not need to think, he can simply do.  This is what psychologists call 'expert-induced amnesia'.  It is why Roger Federer struggles to explain how he can hit such beautiful forehands and why chess grandmasters struggle to explain their match-winning situations.

To teach, then, requires the expert to step beyond his own competence.  It requires him to put himself in the shoes of his student, breaking down the skill into learnable parts.  This takes empathy, imagination, insight and other qualities we might bracket under the term 'teaching craft'.  This is not to say that being a top player is wholly negative.  There are many unique insights that experts possess.  It is merely to say that these are insufficient, on their own, to become a great coach.

Syed expands:

'When John Hattie, a leading researcher, analysed educational performance around the world, he discovered that class size is not as significant as parents tend to think.  Neither is streaming by ability or school uniform.  Indeed, he found that only one factor made a major difference: teacher quality.  

...Academics found something else, too.  Great teachers have a number of attributes, such as deep subject knowledge and emotional intelligence, but one is more important than any other: they are voracious students.  They do not fall for what Elizabeth Green, author of 'Building a better teacher', calls the 'myth of the natural-born teacher.'  Instead, they are always looking to extend their knowledge of pedagogy, improve their skills, and develop fresh insights.

This tallies with my experience of great sports coaches, too.  I have often bumped into Eddie Jones, but never at rugby matches.  The first time I met him was at Southhampton's youth academy, one of the most prestigious in the game.  He was there to learn more about developing young players and periodisation (getting players to peak at the right time).  The next time I met him was at a conference hosted by the SAS.  He was gleaning fresh knowledge about performing under pressure.  "You are never too old to learn,' he said.

The 'great player, great coach' fallacy is not unique to football. Top scholars are expected to lecture to university students with virtually no training (they often fail miserably) while star financial traders are often automatically promoted into executive roles with disastrous results.  These industries are slowly realising that managing and performing are distinct skills  It is why so many world-coaches, such as Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Herbert Chapman and Arsene Wenger, were not world-class players.'

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1220246 2017-12-22T09:13:55Z 2017-12-25T09:54:27Z Don't worry if you don't serve and volley in doubles!

66% of ATP players serve and volley in doubles.

10% of WTA players serve and volley in doubles.

(figures supplied from a presentation with Louis Cayer, LTA British Doubles Lead and world renown coach and coach educator)

So if you're not crashing into the net behind your serve, it's ok - you're not rubbish, inferior, or playing poor doubles.  Question is, do you know where to recover to after your serve when staying back?  If not, why not book an 'Everyball' coach in the New Year and take some small steps to make a big difference in your doubles play in 2018!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1219319 2017-12-20T10:37:50Z 2017-12-25T09:54:27Z Ladies Christmas tourney today! What a point!! (and outfits!)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1219296 2017-12-20T08:15:26Z 2017-12-25T09:54:27Z 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.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1218760 2017-12-19T07:31:39Z 2017-12-25T09:54:27Z Everyballers competing Tuesday 19th December

All the best to (and at risk of leaving someone out due to not all info available) the following Everyballers competing today!

Joel Good, Oscar Glenister, James Weller (Chiswick)

Miles Groom, Joshua Oakley (Ipswich)

Aston Taank, Joseph McCay-Brown - Raynes Park

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1217818 2017-12-17T09:46:33Z 2017-12-25T09:54:27Z 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.'

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1215925 2017-12-13T07:25:54Z 2017-12-25T09:54:27Z Authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza tonight at Halton!

Hi all,

For those with a hunger tonight Chris Makepeace and his team will be down at Halton from approximately 6 pm with his fantastic authentic Neapolitan wood-fired pizza oven in action!

Before rushing home after tennis/gym/whatever you're doing with us, why not treat yourself and save cooking at home this evening!


Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1215677 2017-12-12T19:56:57Z 2017-12-25T09:54:27Z An interesting post on 'developing champions' (or not be it the case!) https://www.tennisconsult.com/does-anyone-really-know-how-to-produce-a-champion-part-ii/http://

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1211564 2017-12-05T11:41:43Z 2017-12-25T09:54:27Z ITF Junior World rankings top 10 - a truly global sport



13 different nations represented above.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1209707 2017-12-01T10:00:58Z 2017-12-25T09:54:27Z 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.
Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1209388 2017-11-30T08:16:35Z 2017-12-25T09:54:27Z The art of reflection
‘Because things are so fast moving in the tennis world, it’s almost an art to reflect well’ - Jo Konta

Everyball’s 4R’s: respect, responsibility, resilience and reflection
Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1208977 2017-11-28T13:46:14Z 2017-12-18T11:37:56Z Beth Grey breaks into worlds top 600!

Big congratulations to Everyball's Beth Grey who breaks the 600 barrier at a WTA ranking of 587 yesterday, a rise in 400 places since June of this year!  

Below, Beth in training for upcoming trip to India before Christmas.  Keep up the great work Beth!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1207606 2017-11-24T14:16:43Z 2018-01-15T18:44:52Z Seeking a new coach to join the Everyball Team at Halton Tennis Centre (HaltonUK)

A superb opportunity for early 2018 for a level 3 or 4 coach looking for a new role, principally within Mini Tennis, outreach and club development.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1207195 2017-11-23T07:42:13Z 2017-12-18T11:37:56Z Well that's not true/possible/do-able.....

What's your criteria for establishing the truth?  Laboratory proof, empirical evidence?  Because it just 'makes sense'?

Are we closed to everything we can't explain?  Rejecting all inexplicable elements of 'things' because we've made up our minds that such things aren't possible, we run the risk of shrinking the world and the possibilities around us to only what we can comprehend. (Rob Bell)

I think that's a sad place to be, fundamentally because it takes away our imagination, our creativity, our ability to dream.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1205422 2017-11-15T07:21:25Z 2017-12-18T11:37:56Z Academy afternoon warm-up!

[Thanks Andy Higham for this one!]

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1205143 2017-11-14T07:25:45Z 2017-12-07T07:54:16Z Poise and purpose
 Everyball Touring Pro and Ambassador Beth Grey shows poise and purpose as she hit through this forehand in yesterday’s first round victory of 25k in Poland. All the best for today Beth!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1204946 2017-11-13T12:03:57Z 2017-12-07T07:54:16Z Two choices - tear each other apart or build each other up

It's what it really boils down to isn't it?  We can either tear each other apart or build each other up.  On a personal level but also on a wider cultural one.

As tennis clubs/centres/coaches/parents/players/volunteers, our ultimate success depends on the overall health of our industry

The stronger the industry, the more jobs, the more resources, the more knowledge gained and shared, the greater the improvement both on and off the court.

A culture of back-biting, where players hope their mates/rivals lose, where coaches talk down other programmes or colleagues, where parents are less than complimentary towards each other.....we've all been there at some point, all played a part in this....  

Don't get me wrong - healthy and respectful competition is good, it drives up standards, but competitive collaboration, recognising the strengths in each other, the great contributions made at all levels of the sport, the victories no matter how great or small - well, that kind of culture is just better for all of us. 

It's quite hard though, goes against the grain and our human instinct.

Requires some real intentional behaviour and change in attitude.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1204733 2017-11-12T09:47:05Z 2017-12-07T07:54:16Z Coaching interventions

Better to make NO intervention than an unnecessary one or an inaccurate one! 

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1204411 2017-11-10T09:38:33Z 2017-12-05T09:39:06Z A lesson in crushing your child....

Child walks in the door having just been dropped off after playing a football match.

Dad: 'Did you win son?'

Son: 'No Dad.'

Dad: 'Did you score son?

Son: 'No dad.'

Dad drops his head.  Son drops his, now having lost the excitement he had to show his Dad the 'man of the match' trophy in his bag, awarded for the best team performer that day.

(Thanks to Julie Blackwood [Chartered Exercise and Sport Psychologist, Loughborough University] for sharing this today on the LTA SPC L4 Course)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1204186 2017-11-09T10:48:21Z 2017-12-01T07:48:08Z This week Everyball Tennis boast 3 boys in GB top 10 (12&U, 14&U)

A superb reflection of Everyball's Aspire to Excel Academy Programme.  This week's GB national rankings show 3 Everyball boys inside their respective age-group's top 10.

Joel Good - 14&U No.8

Miles Groom - 14&U No.10

Joshua Oakley - 12&U No. 8

Superb work and progress boys.  You're not arriving at a destination, but continuing your journey into constant and never-ending improvement, where becoming is better than being, improving better than proving.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1203603 2017-11-07T07:14:48Z 2017-11-07T07:14:48Z Teachable moments

I heard a youth worker from Redthread  (a charity aiming to support and enable young people in South London to lead healthy, safe lives) talking on the radio about 'teachable moments.'   She mentioned that often the most 'teachable moments' come in the darkest of times when a youth is in hospital A&E having been stabbed (via gang invovlement) with no family, no friends and life in the balance. This can be the impact moment for the youth worker to seize upon to get that young person to consider making a change in their lives - if indeed, they survive.

As coaches, our teachable moments hopefully don't come in life/death situations, but they may well come in the low moments and tougher times that all athletes/performers experience.  These are moments when dissatisfaction may well be at it's highest and the 'need' to improve/change is at it's greatest.  These are the moments of revelation in and around the well used saying 'if I continue to do what I've always done, I'm gonna get what I've always got.' 

As coaches and leaders, do we wait for the teachable moments to arrive, or are there ways in which we can orchestrate and create them, the creation of mini crises (the plural of crisis google reliably informs me!) if you will?

As players, do we come with curious and teachable attitudes, inquisitive, prepared to overcome fear of failure and the fear of the emotional/physical discomfort associated with learning.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1203594 2017-11-06T11:15:00Z 2018-01-15T18:41:26Z Dom King of Everyball Tennis, HaltonUK presents at the iTPA (International Tennis Performance Association)

Our very own Dom King, Head of EBT (Everyball Tennis) Athlete Development at Halton Tennis Centre, presented at the prestigious World Tennis Fitness Conference in Atlanta in July.  Here is his write-up of the event.  Great work Dom!

Everyball with Mike James