Learn from Rafa - shoulder high FH contact point

Lots to learn here from Rafa.

Notice how far out in front of his body he makes contact with this shoulder high ball. This allows for the correct racket path (slightly flatter) and rhythm (slower to faster at and just after impact) through the shot as well as presenting the opportunity for him to rotate his shoulders/upper body - see his left hitting shoulder slightly in front of his right, thus allowing for his superb extension out towards the target. His head remains perfectly still and over his centre of gravity minimising any postural sway giving him perfect balance as he executes his vicious forehand.

The fight to enter your opponent's head

When two evenly matched players take to the court/field of play, the fight is all about how you can enter your opponent's head and prevent them from entering yours, all with the view of taking the psychological edge on the day.

Fascinating to see this at the Australian Open.  Did Serena beat Konta on this alone, or did 'tennis' play it's part?  Fascinating now to see the run in to the finals.  The likely winners will be those who manage to get into their opponent's heads!!

How do you do this?

Body language, body language, body language!!  You've got to 'show' your fight, your resilience, your determination on the day not to falter or give in by coming back again and again with your very best effort.  The top players are experts at reading their opponent's body language - like chess players, studying each other for little signs of weakness, fatigue and self-doubt.

Your opponent's disposition is not a mystery without any clues.  Study them hard whilst giving nothing away yourself!

Martial arts and tennis

Martial arts experts practice things super slow before they have any hope of carrying out the movement fast. Do we do this enough in tennis - shadowing/hitting slow to feel every nuance of the stroke, getting to know it inside and out?!

Praise, feedback, criticism.....

'Some teachers (coaches) rebel so far away from being authoritarian that they praise all their little player's decisions, good or bad.  Their intention is to build confidence, but instead they discourage objectivity, encourage self-indulgence, and perhaps most destructively, they create a dishonest relationship between instructor and pupil that any bright child can sense.'  (Josh Waitzkin, from The Art of learning)

Creating a learning culture around the idea that there is no failure, only feedback allows us as coaches to deliver constructive, objective feedback that our athletes can take on-board to help them progress with a mastery orientated response to challenging situations.

A wonderful coaching opportunity with us at Everyball Tennis, Halton UK

Everyball Tennis, Halton Tennis Centre (Halton UK) – Coaching position

Halton Tennis Centre is one of the most dynamic and forward thinking tennis organisations in Great Britain with LTA president Cathie Sabin recently commenting:

'My second visit to Halton was just as inspirational as my first. Your vision and leadership is keeping the club one step ahead....and it's so good to see all your team buying into all the new initiatives.'

Everyball Tennis (EBT) is our coaching brand and provider, serving not only Halton but Tring and Wendover tennis clubs, and a number of outreach centres and schools in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

A snapshot over the last 15 years shows that EBT/Halton UK has produced exactly 100 junior County champions across 7 counties (10&U-18&U); we have consistently been within the top 3 centres in the East Region for RCJ's, won a number of Team Aegon Junior National titles as well as both our senior teams reaching the Team Aegon finals in 2016, and we have led the way in inclusive tennis in our region. During this time we have also had 3 players compete at Junior Wimbledon whilst running a vibrant traditional tennis club for people of all ages and ability. A recent comment by a parent summs it up: 'It's a true tennis club.'

We are seeking to appoint a further coach to our team and you could just be the that person with the special combination of attitude, energy, and competency that we're looking for (and very much in that order!).

The successful candidate(s) will:

  • Be a Level 3 or 4 self-employed LTA licensed coach (or equivalent)

  • Demonstrate an ability to be an 'all-rounder', equally comfortable and willing to work in both club development (mini tennis, junior and adults) and junior performance. The coach will support our promise to customers to 'educate, motivate and inspire through the power of sport to help you become the best you can be' and will have a coaching philosophy that is compatible with our 'everyball way'

  • Understand the nature of the tennis coaching industry in that our customers leisure time is our work time.

  • Show enthusiasm, professionalism, a desire to learn and be part of a dynamic, supportive coaching TEAM – this includes understanding the interdependent relationship between the coach's individual business and the Everyball coaching/club programme

  • Have a full drivers license

Through this role there is a significant opportunity to build a strong individual coaching business through teaming up with a leadership process designed to support your growth and development with the parallel goal of continuing to build on our reputation for excellence, innovation and service.

Start date: February – May 2017 depending on current contract obligations of successful candidate

For further information please contact Mike James, Director of Tennis, Everyball Tennis, Halton UK on mikejames@everyball.net, 07958 008312

- see our websites www.everyball.uk, www.everyball.net (MJ blog), www.haltontennis.co.uk

An application should be submitted to Mike via email above with CV and the names and contact details of two referees, one from inside tennis and one from outside tennis.

Closing date for applications: End of January 2017

Interviews to follow shortly after by arrangement

Halton Tennis Centre, Chestnut End, Halton Village, Bucks HP22 5PD

Sustainability in Sport - could 2017 be the year we make a real difference to the environment in our sports clubs/organisations and governing bodies?

Dear friends,

Through CHILDS (The Chiltern Institute of Learning, Development and Sport - one of our sister organisations at Halton UK) we are working alongside Karl Walker and Tom Old at Clean Energy UK on developing Sustainability in Sport and hope that this is something you'd be very interested in!

To raise awareness on the subject and what organisations can do to 'make a real difference' CHILDS is hosting a talk with Karl and Tom on Wednesday 1st February, 2017 at Halton and we would be delighted to invite you to attend.  

The link for more information and to register for the talk is here: http://curiouscows.uk/content/sustainability-sport

and I add some further information for you below as well as a couple of slide decks.

My kindest regards and best wishes to you all for a fantastic sporting year, and one in which we might just be able to make that 'extra' difference to our communities and world.


Clean Energy UK (CEUK) 
is a purpose driven business started by a team of people who are passionate about safeguarding our future.

CEUK’s mission is to help drive change in the UK energy markets by encouraging the uptake of clean, renewable energy and by providing businesses and organisations with the education, support and expertise, to become more energy efficient. Our aim is to demonstrate to businesses they can save money while lowering their carbon footprint at the same time. 

Our domestic renewable energy switching platform, The Big Clean Switch went live recently and is a national campaign, working in partnership with Here Now, who are funded by the IKEA Foundation. The Big Clean Switch platform is tailored specifically for each project partner including Unilever, Aviva, Deloitte, Tearfund, Greenpeace and other NGOs and corporates. 

Each of our partners generate a revenue share from the process of either employees, members or customers switching their households to renewable energy.

Example partner site in beta testing stage: 

Live site: 

Attached is a CEUK slide deck which sets out our offering in the commercial sector:
  • Our Mission & Purpose
  • The Process of Switching
  • Why use CEUK
  • The Benefits for Business
  • Our Services
  • The Team
  • Case Studies.
For CEUK our services are predominantly twofold:

1. Energy Brokering & Procurement
2. Energy Consultancy & Advisory Services

Drive out fear in your organisation

Fear is a powerful management tool often linked to dictatorial coaching styles.  Both can offer speedy, short-term results.

Far better though to develop self-regulation and autonomy as hall-marks of your organisational culture.  Takes more time and effort over a 'do this or else' approach where control by those in power is the dominant leadership strategy, but where relationships break-down, trust is never built and individuals don't grow.

See this interesting link on British cycling.

How many of these winners are 1 in 10 no option 's**t or bust'???

Worth studying how all these points end.  How many of these winners are hit because there is no option of recovery to suffer a little more to regain a neutral or better position in the point?  Fun to watch anyway!

Do our juniors in GB pull the trigger too soon??  How can we teach the ability to suffer in defence a little longer to eventually gain parity in the point once more?