Messy and loving it

Enjoyed observing and being part of some messy practice today during our Mini Red sessions at Everyball Tennis /Halton. Coaches overcoming the fear of their sessions having to look controlled and ordered (with children having "success") for watching-on parents. Learning to 'play a game' never controlled and ordered - need to allow for experimentation, mistakes, fun and creativity!

Blocked practice v more open/random practice

The ultimate criteria of the success of these activities is the extent to which those skills transfer into the fluid, unpredictable environment of games. The more limited, static and prescribed a practice situation is, the less effective any transfer will be. The more open ended and dynamic the practice, the more chance there will be of skill transfer. However, the practice will look less neat and tidy, and there will be a greater level of error and failure. The irony here is that the practice that looks less effective, and messier, may well turn out to be developing a higher level of transferable skill.
- From Neil Rollings article 'Is Coaching overrated?'

Does this have implications on how you'll coach today?

Making a change with the goal of improving your game...

Consider this: players make 'change' when the dissatisfaction of the current situation x the vision for the new + 1st steps toward the new and away from the dissatisfaction is greater than the resistance to change.

We resist change because we are fearful of the emotional discomfort that it often entails, but if we can help athletes paint the picture of a vision or future state 'over the fence' sparking a curiosity of 'how good can I become at this?', we're tackling perhaps the toughest part of coaching.

Everyballers Beth and Scarlett march on in Edgbaston and Nairobi

A significant win for Beth Grey yesterday as she took out top seed Melanie Stokke (NOR, world ranking 351) in the Edgbaston 15K 6-3 6-4. Beth goes on to play Klaartje Liebens (BEL, 572) in the 2nd round today. 

Beth also team up with partner Olivia Nicholls to win their first round doubles over Claudia Cianci (POR) and Sabastiani Leon (MEX) 6-3 3-6 (10-6).

Scarlett Hutchinson also backed up her first round win in Nairobi at the ITF G5 taking out Lana Brezanin (CRO) and moves into the quarter finals today against Lola Marandel (FRA).

Great job girls and all the best for today.  Backing you here back at base! Back yourselves and believe.

The foot-work informs the body-work, the body-work informs the racket-work...see this by Murray

Having recovered off the serve and now facing a good return back deep down middle to his forehand, see Murray's movement and use of his feet during the shot.  He loads in a semi-open stance, though his linear momentum is still at work taking him backwards.  He therefore uses a backwards hop step (take off on right foot, land on right foot), which enables him to maintain dynamic balance and in this case (determined by his choice of shot), limit upper body rotation which allows him a steeper racket path and closer contact point to play a heavier/higher neutralising ball.

Had he selected a more aggressive shot intention, he might have used a backward pivot or backward jump (ie: landing on his left foot) which would have distanced his contact point, increased shoulder rotation and body speed and flattened his swing path.

A nice example of how footwork provides the right environment for body work, and how body work creates the right environment for racket work.