One more very successful idea came through to me lately. It goes along with previous concepts of “Clean Responses” and “The Laws of Tennis.” I finally, and it’s funny, came to realization that the time between “The Beginning of the Swing” and “The End of the Swing” is a fraction of the second. And when we analyze what’s happening during that time via slow motion videos or shot by shot photo diagrams, we dissect it perfectly and it helps greatly to understand what exactly happens then when it is impossible to see and catch the details with bare eye. But it is just as much distracting to tell the players excessively to do something during that period, since verbal instructions are just too slow to work for that.
I am guilty myself of using cliches like “Loop,” “Nike Swoosh Swing,” “Low to High,” “Brush Up the Ball,” “Finish Over the Shoulder,” and many others. They can be used on individual basis and very carefully, so carefully that I’d rather not use them at all, especially at the developmental stage.
Bottom line we cannot expect students to verbally or cognitively instruct themselves what to do, when they have less than a second of a time to do something on the unstructured run to randomly moving ball. Especially, in cases with younger kids. Therefore, I strongly suggest to explain to the students the benefits of
A. “Racing to the ball with The Beginning of the Swing”
B. “Stopping/relating to the ball sideways in balance bending knees before the stroke to start The Swing Finish.”
Most of the energy I channel into developing and conditioning the athletically coordinated comfort of simultaneous relaxation (!!) in hands carrying the “tool” of the racquet in the proper positions and intensity (!!) of running that needs high degree of finesse for stopping in balance in the randomly right places.
Please, note that racquet head stays somewhat upward in “The Beginning of the Swing Position” when knees are getting bent. Pushing off with legs creates wonders without player’s direct involvement and helps to arrive to “The Finish” with the job well done. Gravity helps the racquet to gain initial momentum going into the contact with the ball.
Arriving to the ball with “The Beginning of the Swing” in the right place with knees bent in balance to initiate “The Swing Finish” in the right time does a lot of good things during the swing.
Photos from the following website sere used: