I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving break. We had a quiet week with many of our players having a well-earned break, spending time with family and friends. I think it's important for everyone to take a break and use the downtime to recharge and reflect. These rest times are not only good for your body to recover, but more so for your mind.
During the lessons we did have this past week, I spoke with some of the kids about where they were this time 12 months ago. Last year, one student had just been diagnosed with double stress fractures in her shins, and was just starting a 6-month stint of recovery and rehab. She wasn't able to run or do any exercise for months, and was was quite distraught about it. Now, 12 months on, she is absolutely tearing up the court with amazing tennis. What a transformation...what a year!
It's these times and these situations that we can all reflect on.
Something I have always wrestled with as a coach has been how to start lessons. Early in my career, I would have the kids do a quick couple of laps around the court and then a light stretch before starting to hit. Only when I stopped and questioned myself about what I was teaching my students during this time did I start to become more creative with how I begin my lessons.
My goal now is to make my players start thinking and moving as soon as they step foot on the court. They need to think and move with a purpose, from the word "go!" It's all about establishing good habits. They need to develop the routine they will use for tournaments during practice!
Below is a video of a student I worked with over the weekend. The drill was the first racquet skill exercise of the lesson. My goal during this exercise is to simulate movement and stroke patterns that will occur during every point. Students are challenged both physically and mentally during this exercise. Please DO attempt these exercises at home!
Please send me any questions or comments you have. Have a sensational week on the court.
Matt's Point (get it? Match Point!) is Matt's blog covering all the goings-on at IJP Tennis.