tag:everyball.net,2013:/posts Coaching, the never-ending discussion.... 2019-01-16T09:45:41Z Everyball with Mike James tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1363831 2019-01-16T09:19:45Z 2019-01-16T09:45:41Z Halton LTA LPDC (Local Player Development Centre) Programme in action at Everyball Tennis, HaltonUK

Great detailed work going on here with lead Halton LPDC coach Christian Colvin putting players through their paces last night.

Great squad environment.  

Working within an integrated approach towards our Everyball vision for player development:

Players of the game (tactical), skill-full (technical), competitive (mental - 'personal best', 'you versus you'), and athletic (physical)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1363584 2019-01-15T13:35:00Z 2019-01-15T16:02:32Z When the camera is on you just at the wrong moment!

Everyball coach Seb Callcut shows his 'grace-fall' movement.

(Sorry Seb, had to be shared!)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1363509 2019-01-15T07:26:50Z 2019-01-15T07:30:54Z Challenge conditions to evoke desired behaviours...(video supported)

The human body self organises against the instability in the system to accomplish its goals.

Human movement is complex in that we cannot predict cause and effect and that it is characterised by non-linear behaviour:

- small changes can make huge differences

- large changes can make no difference

Take the simple example of helping a player reduce unhelpful swing on the volley.  Providing an old 'unforgiving' wooden racket whereby timing becomes more challenging encourages the player to keep the racket close to intended contact (thread the needle) and fiercely watch the ball.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1363154 2019-01-14T09:11:45Z 2019-01-14T09:11:46Z Want to know what fighting for everyball means?

Want to know what fighting for everyball means?

Check out Andy Murray right now.  A set and break down to Bautista Agut, first round Australian Open 2019.

Fighting his heart out as he's done all his career.

Everyball, every day.  No stone unturned. On the court, in life.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1362541 2019-01-12T08:29:01Z 2019-01-12T08:29:01Z Jordan Peterson on the fundamental ethic in sport

This was shared with me by a colleague in the week - found it thought provoking, whether parent, coach, team-member, athlete.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1362210 2019-01-11T07:43:23Z 2019-01-11T07:43:24Z Welcome to 'Open' the January 2019 Edition of the Everyball Tennis newsletter https://mailchi.mp/312eba4b98cd/open-the-everyball-tennis-newsletter-january-2019?e=85b46647eb

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1360789 2019-01-06T20:53:09Z 2019-01-06T20:53:09Z The 4 'R' High Performance Model - improve your performance in 2019!

Been playing around with a simple little 4R model to help improve 'performance' in sport, work, school and at home and therefore increase chances of success (however you define that) in these areas.

Be interested in what you think?

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1356301 2018-12-23T10:36:15Z 2018-12-23T10:36:15Z Resilience - the ability to bounce forward!

Perhaps I'm a bit slow on the take-up, but I had always defined resilience as the ability to bounce back.

Heard an even better one last week.  Resilience is the ability to bounce forward.

To come through a tough situation and be able to move forwards with your game, your life, whatever.  

We may need to do it multiple times on multiple time scales in multiple different areas of our lives.

Something about the learning only taking place when you don't make the same mistake for a third time in a row, when the learning impacts your actions and behaviours next time in a positive way.

Great time of year of course to reflect 'back' on what has been, ready to bounce forward into 2019.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1354950 2018-12-19T06:27:41Z 2018-12-19T21:22:27Z A couple great quotes for coaches/teachers on learning

'You haven't taught until they have learned' - John Wooden

'No such thing as bad pupil, just bad teacher' - Mr Miagi (Karate Kid)

Meaning, as coaches we've simply got to find a way because:

  1. Our students learn in different ways (can we tap into each individual's different learning style?)
  2. Our students require a desire to learn (can we create curiosity/need to learn/dissatisfaction?)
  3. Our students learn at different speeds (are we patient enough?)

(Credit to LTA SPC Level 4 Coach qualification course material)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1354867 2018-12-18T22:21:31Z 2018-12-19T07:01:20Z When was the last time you learned something new?

This was the question posed by my LTA Coach Education Tutor colleague Simon Wheatley today to our Level 4 Senior Performance Coach candidates, the subject matter being skill acquisition and learning.

Thought it was a good opportunity to demonstrate my new-found boxing skills.....pride comes before a fall!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1353359 2018-12-14T07:24:19Z 2018-12-14T07:24:19Z Change

We grow older, we get slower.

The next generation take over.

Competitors improve.

Funding gets withdrawn.


New school, exams, university.

Kids leave home.

First job.

Last job.

A new job.

No job.


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.'

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1352950 2018-12-13T07:32:40Z 2018-12-13T07:32:40Z 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!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1352676 2018-12-12T08:18:10Z 2018-12-12T08:23:53Z 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.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1352148 2018-12-11T06:44:44Z 2018-12-11T06:44:44Z 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!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1352065 2018-12-10T15:22:12Z 2018-12-10T15:23:09Z Everyball December 2018 newsletter 'Open' - link now working

Apologies for the inconvenience to those who could not open the link to the newsletter.

Please now try this:


Many thanks and hope you are having a great Monday!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1351829 2018-12-10T07:04:22Z 2018-12-10T07:04:22Z The compassion of a hardwood warrior - the coaching philosophy of Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson knew how to win.  In fact, he's the winningest coach in NBA history with 11 NBA Championships, 6 with the Chicago Bulls and a certain Michael Jordan, and five subsequently with the LA Lakers. He is the only coach who has won multiple championships with more than one team.

Yet, the one word that seems to underline his philosophy more than any other and flies in the face of the macho world of the NBA (and perhaps much of male professional sport) is 'compassion'.   In his book 'Sacred Hoops - spiritual lessons of a hardwood warrior' he writes:

'Compassion is not exactly the first quality one looks for in a player.  But as my practice matured, I began to appreciate the importance of playing with an open heart.  Love is the force that ignites the spirit and binds teams together.  Obviously, there's an intellectual component to playing basketball.  Strategy is important.  But once you've done the mental work, there comes a point when you have to throw yourself into the action and put your heart on the line.  That means not only being brave, but also being compassionate, toward yourself, your teammates, and your opponents.'

And whilst he was a serial winner, he was not obsessed with the winning:

'Eventually, everybody loses, ages, changes.  And small triumphs - a great play, a moment of true sportsmanship - count, even though you may not win the game.  As strange as it may seem, being able to accept change or defeat with equanimity gives you freedom to go out on the floor and give the game your all.

I used to believe that the day I could accept defeat was the day I would have to give up my job.  But losing is as integral a part of the dance as winning.  Buddhism teaches us that by accepting death, you discover life.  Similarly, only by acknowledging the possibility of defeat can you fully experience the joy of competition.  Our culture would have us believe that being able to accept loss is tantamount to setting yourself up to lose.  But not everyone can win all the time; obsessing about winning adds an unnecessary layer of pressure that constricts body and spirit and, ultimately, robs you of the freedom to do your best.'

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1351663 2018-12-09T09:38:07Z 2018-12-10T15:17:54Z "Open" - the December issue of the Everyball Tennis newsletter

Hi Friends of Everyball,

Please see the December issue of the Everyball Tennis newsletter with a rather special Christmas Greeting from the team!


Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1345719 2018-11-20T08:17:36Z 2018-11-20T08:19:37Z Improve your shoulder-high attack forehand with these super 7 tips!

1.  Contact point will be further out in front of your body, prepare early and space yourself with great footwork with this in mind

2.  Hitting shoulder will be 5-10 degrees in front of your non-hitting shoulder at contact

3.  Get your body mechanics right: 'turn and hit' rather than 'hit and turn' - body comes through first (legs > hips > torso > shoulder > arm > elbow > wrist)

4.  'Throw the elbow' at the ball - creates lag and racket speed at the right moment just prior to contact

5.  Speed up the body on contact (rather than trying to find too much racket speed from too far out)

6.  Be courageous and be prepared to miss some - go after the ball and get used to committing to the shot!

7.  What's your next move?  Never play a shot in isolation and think about how you are going to follow up

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1345511 2018-11-19T18:16:42Z 2018-11-24T07:58:10Z A cracking local pre-Christmas sale you don't want to miss at Berkhamsted Sports

To all our local friends at Everyball Tennis - one worth getting to pre-Christmas for some fantastic bargains/gifts.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1343753 2018-11-14T07:20:04Z 2018-11-14T17:34:19Z Are you a values driven performer? Roger Federer speaks of positivity and privilege

After his poor performance on Sunday against Kei Nishikori earlier in the week at the ATF Finals, Roger Federer had to reconnect with a number of his key values to move on in the event with a 6-2 6-3 win against Dominic Thiem yesterday.

Federer spoke before the match of being more positive in his mindset, and most notably he had to remind himself 'what a privilege it is to play in London.'  Although he's in theory 'earned the opportunity' to play at the end of year finals, the fact he still 'chooses' at this stage of his career to see what he does (play tennis for a living in front of huge and adoring crowds) as a privilege must be a hugely freeing concept in so much as, 'I'm privileged to be here playing, so let's give everything to it and enjoy every moment.'

What are your 'values' that drive you on as a performer?

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1341556 2018-11-08T10:31:05Z 2018-11-08T10:31:05Z Next Gen ATP Finals and the slice backhand

Plenty of evidence at this event that the slice backhand remains an integral part of a player's armoury.  Great antidote against the power forehand (keeps ball low forcing opponent to get the ball 'up and down' with reply thus taking away ball speed), an excellent 'change up' to break opponent's timing and rhythm (stroke as well as footwork) and in doing so challenging them to generate their own pace and of course a great defensive option.

Coaches, do we actively develop this stroke in our younger players or do they only develop it out of defensive necessity?

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1341124 2018-11-07T09:31:21Z 2018-11-07T09:31:22Z New edition of 'Open' the Everyball Tennis Newsletter - catch up with the latest news from Everyball Tennis https://mailchi.mp/6b99bd5bf39d/open-the-first-edition-of-the-everyball-tennis-newsletter-415457?e=85b46647ebhttp://

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1341114 2018-11-07T07:42:28Z 2018-11-07T08:00:03Z Everyball Hard Core No. 5 - Beat the bounce of your outgoing ball

Can you recover/reposition to the appropriate spot (lateral and vertical) ideally by the time your ball is landing on opponent's side of the court and certainly by time your opponent makes contact with their shot?

See Tiafoe do this at yesterday's Next Gen ATP Finals.  After hitting a down-line forehand (in a slight in/out direction to move his opponent) he repositions back beyond the middle of his baseline to bisect the angle of his opponent's two best possible replies, line or cross, to be ideally positioned to control the court and his space on his subsequent shot.

Interesting technique also on serve and forehand - high straight arm on serve leading to level shoulders in pre-throw position with abbreviated take-back and extreme inversion of racket face on the forehand preparation.  Will these be limiting factors in any way (efficiency or effectiveness) in the longer term or will his physical strength negate these possible flaws?  Always a great coaching debate.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1340722 2018-11-06T08:10:57Z 2018-11-06T08:10:57Z ATP Top 16 rankings - the arrival of the next generation?

ATP Top 16 rankings as of today.

  1.  Novak Djokovic
  2. Rafael Nadal
  3. Roger Federer
  4. Juan Martin Del Potro
  5. Alexander Zverev
  6. Kevin Anderson
  7. Marin Cilic
  8. Dominic Thiem
  9. Kei Nishikori
  10. John Isner
  11. Karen Khachanov
  12. Borna Coric
  13. Fabio Fognini
  14. Kyle Edmund
  15. Stefanos Tsitsipas
  16. Danil Medvedev

Zverev, Khachanov, Coric, Edmund, Tsitsipas, and Medvedev all under 23.

Has the next gen finally arrived?

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1337489 2018-10-29T21:47:03Z 2018-10-31T08:41:56Z Everyball welcomes new coach Tom Edis to the team for January 2019

Everyball Tennis would like to warmly welcome Tom Edis to the coaching team at Halton. He will be starting his new post with us in January 2019.

Here is a little background from Tom:

I'm Bucks born and bred, having lived and played tennis in the county all my life (save for a 3 year stint at university), although I've lived in Berkhamsted, and more recently Tring in the last few years. I attended junior county training sessions and competed at Halton many times as a young player, and have continued to visit many time since as a coach. I've been qualified since 2001, and coaching full time since 2004 - specifically at Chesham 1879, where I helped form Challenge Tennis in 2012: a coaching provider that now works at 4 other tennis clubs/venues in the region.

I've been a Bucks County team captain since 2009, working firstly with the 9u's and 10u's, and from 2017 the girls 10u's and 12u's. It's been a privilege to be on court with some of the best junior players Bucks has had to offer, and I also have great experience with players ranging from tots to regional-level mini tennis players, 'rusty rackets' to adult club team members.

I am married to Jess and my little girl Mila will l have her first birthday in January.  Hobby-wise, I support Arsenal and I also enjoy city breaks, walking and spicy food (though not all at the same time!).

Tom is an LTA level 4 Club Coach and also gained his RPT qualification at Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona in 2013.  Tom will be using his extensive experience across all areas of our programme at Everyball Tennis, (Halton Tennis Centre) and no doubt will prove to be a real asset to our team.

Welcome Tom!

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1337121 2018-10-29T08:15:50Z 2018-10-29T09:27:14Z Everyball Hard Core No. 3 - 'Beat the bounce of the incoming ball'

When you can set up feet (appropriate stance based on ball received and shot intention), body and racket (unit turn to prepare body and racket as you move into position) 'on balance' behind the incoming ball BEFORE it has landed you have a much greater chance of delivering your best shot.

See this demonstrated really well by Beth Grey in training last week, perfectly poised with weight on back foot to drive through into impact.

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1335173 2018-10-23T06:52:20Z 2018-10-23T06:53:35Z Joel & Jasmine headline at the Sunderland Winter National Tour 16&U Grade 2 plus other Everyball news

A superb job so far by both Joel Good and Jasmine Conway as both players reach the semi-finals of the Sunderland WNT 16&U Grade 2 event, both seeing off seeded players along the way.

Joel beat number 3 seed Samuel Macleod in the first round 6-4,6-4, followed by a 6-4, 6-2 win over Harry Cookson, and then took out 8 seed Kristofer Johnson seeded 8 6-4, 4-0 (retired).  He plays Oliver Tarvet in today's semis.  

Jasmine won her first round against qualifier Alice Shields 7-5 6-4 and then went on to take out the second seed Camilla Gretschel 6-2 6-2, followed by a 1/4 final win over Maisie Wood 6-1 6-1.  She plays 6th seed Megan Carmichael  in today's semis.

In other news, Beth Grey (WTA 451) beat Russia's Marina Melnikova (WTA 305) 6-3 6-4 yesterday in the main draw first round of the Oslo 25K.  And closer to home, at our own Everyball Grade 4 County Tour event at Halton, Ben Perkin and Dan Mccay-Brown have won through to the semi-finals of the boys 14&U event.

Video: Dan Mccay-Brown with partner Toma Kerac (and today's singles opponent) serves it up against fellow Everyballers Ben Mccrory and Ben Spencer-Jones.  Dan, where's that re-positioning after the serve to take ball 3 as a forehand?! ;-)  Some great doubles played by all 4 of you - well done!

Many other Everyball players are involved in events over this half-term across the Country - keep us posted with your results!

Meanwhile our half-term tennis camps (toddlers, mini Red, and juniors) are all running this week at Halton, so please contact camp Director Danny West, danny@everyball.net for more information and come out and enjoy the last of this lovely weather!! (or in case of rain, our fantastic indoor facilities at Halton)

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1331836 2018-10-13T07:26:41Z 2018-10-13T07:26:41Z Some superb thoughts on 'coaching' https://www.facebook.com/TED/videos/504451530019498/http://

Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1331463 2018-10-12T06:38:24Z 2018-10-12T06:38:24Z 'Direct the ball with your body weight'

Arrived early at the National Tennis Centre this morning for some coach education tutor training and managed to catch the beginning of a regional training session (in which Everyballer Amelie Brooks is involved in) led by Martin Weston.

Nice quote by Martin during the warm-up:

'Direct the ball with your body weight.  That's why you need to be neat with your feet and get behind the ball.  That's how you become a chamption.'

Great environment and energy!


Everyball with Mike James
tag:everyball.net,2013:Post/1329599 2018-10-06T14:23:47Z 2018-10-06T14:41:52Z 25 wins 25 losses year to date gets you into ATP top 30
Nikoloz Basilashvili, Kyle Edmund’s opponent in semi finals of China Open (500 event) will break into top 30 in world next week with a 50% win/loss record this year.

Nice point made by commentary on Sky that it’s so important for junior players to recognise that there is a fair share of ‘losing’ even at the very top level.

Everyball with Mike James