Friday, January 09, 2009

Change and the Power of Being "Different"

Happy New Year, Everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and let me begin by thanking all of you out there who have been following the blog and I hope that you have found the ideas and perspectives presented here interesting and useful sometimes. :)

Yes, the title of this post is a hint of what’s in store from TennisSpeed and this blog in the coming year.

There are going to be some major changes at TennisSpeed including a new website and the launch of a brand new service (tentatively called BVM, we’ll talk more about this future posts) that taps into the massive amount of new information we’ve obtained in the past 6 months about how to develop maximal power and control from your stroke technique on serves and groundstrokes.

This blog will change a bit too, as I plan to post more frequently with shorter entries with more photos and videos. I will also include some commentary and analysis of select ATP and WTA players and matches from a speed training and development perspective.

I also plan to introduce some of the really intriguing new findings about stroke techniques that we’ve uncovered using super high-speed video analysis and a novel video-based biomechanical analysis technique we’ve developed with the help of a retired, physics and engineering “superman”.

Essentially, what these new discoveries have been telling us is that if you want to perform at a world-class level, you need to focus solely on how to reproduce the stroke techniques used by the top players and essentially be willing ignore (or block out) virtually all conventional tennis instruction—especially when it comes to serves and groundstrokes.

If you look carefully, the top performers, the great champions have always performed in ways that went against the grain of virtually all of the dominant instructional ideas of their playing careers. They did things in ways that were considered by the tennis experts of their respective days to be either outright “wrong” or completely idiosyncratic in that only that player could execute that stroke (during their active playing careers).

What’s also true is that there is an optimal technique—an optimal movement—to execute every stroke, yet, there is still room for the “evolution” of these “optimal” techniques by an exceptional athlete.

From Lacoste and Tilden, to Budge, Hoad, Kramer and Laver, to Borg, Lendl, Becker, Agassi, Sampras, and now Federer and Nadal, the greats of this sport have almost always done things differently than those before them. The greats of any endeavor, of any “field”, separate themselves by doing things differently, not by “following the masses” and doing what even the most respected or famous experts say they “should be doing”.

For example, if you wanted to “follow” the path that Nadal took to the top, what you will find is that Nadal developed in a way that the great majority of so-called experts in US tennis believe is flat-out wrong. Our “experts” mainly dismiss his success as being unique to his specific circumstances and impossible to reproduce in general.

Truth is, having seen, met and worked with some of Nadal’s inner circle team, I will tell you that what he did to develop into a top player is completely logical and totally reproducible, just not in America. And, if you’re wondering, it has everything to do with character and family values (Yes, they matter! Big time!) as it does with superior training knowledge and methods.

At this point in history, as far as I can tell, US tennis is really incapable of developing a player of Nadal’s (or Federer’s) caliber given the type of people involved in tennis in general, as well as given who’s “in charge” of tennis right now. And when you look at the few recent exceptions who have broken through (esp. Sam Querrey), you will find out that these players did not conform to the commonly accepted “standards and practices” of US high-performance tennis, and found their own way, often going (far) "against the grain".

So, yes, if you haven’t figured it out already (or if you’re reading this blog for the first time), I have zero confidence in US tennis, especially when it comes to its ability to develop top players. Without a complete "re-start" of the tennis establishment here, I only expect more of the same: a random trickling of successful American tour pros.

Now, to show you that I will do more than complain, I want to offer you a few potential solutions. Here’s the most practical advice I can offer you today:

1) Hire a really expert tennis coach (there are only a few around on Earth; you can email me for a list of these individuals--fair warning, only a very few individuals on this list live in the US!)
2) Spend time training and playing tournaments in either Spain or France
3) Be completely skeptical, if not outright suspicious about all “free” tennis instruction that appears in the mass media—especially on the internet.

IMHO, most, if not all “free” tennis instruction on the web is worth exactly the price you’ve paid for it—i.e. absolutely nothing.

At least the videos they post are pretty good, but often they're no better than some of the vids you can find on Y**T**e (I really like the tennis vids posted by the user named "worldted"). Many of these websites have what I would call "entertainment value" (this is why I look at them), but frankly I just don't expect them to have any valuable instructional insights.

These sites are well-intentioned by and large, but simply lack the competence and insight that you could actually use to reproduce what you see in their images of ATP and WTA tour pros.

Better yet, ignore all free tennis instruction unless you are satisfied with information that will get you to maybe NTRP 4.5 max. Then realize that the NTRP of even a decent NCAA D3 player is between 5.0 to 6.0 (yes, really). So, if you choose to rely on the info that’s presented on sites like T*****P*****r.net, H*T*** T****s, W*bT*****s.net, F**.com, T*****O*e, etc. to mold your game, you absolutely won't improve beyond NTRP 4.5. What this means is authentic "high-performance" in tennis (i.e. NTRP > 5.5) will be impossible for you to EVER achieve, even if you did have the will, interest and talent to do so.

Finally, I wanted to just tell you upfront that your feedback is always welcome here. Please feel free to comment or even email me directly with your feedback anytime.

I have been wondering lately about why I’ve received relatively little feedback about what the contents of my posts since it's been around. Then it dawns on me that many of the ideas I’ve presented so far are either completely novel or fundamentally contrary to the vast majority of tennis instructional and training concepts that are familiar to American players, coaches, parents and fans.

So to a great extent, I conclude that many of you need to take some time to consider these ideas and opinions yourself before you might consider responding.

Or, maybe, I need to tap more often into my "inner provocateur" and see where this takes us…

TTFN!

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5 Comments:

At 8:30 PM, Blogger shafiq said...

impressive details of the Following points:

1) Speed Chain
2) US Tennis why it is so Dark out here.

i am in Toronto Canada, My son is 11 Years old & very serious about competitive Tennis. We got Speed Chain, Not sure He should start training at this age. Please recommend what he should do to persue his Dream of Pro Tennis.

Thanks
Anj
Toronto

 
At 8:30 PM, Blogger shafiq said...

impressive details of the Following points:

1) Speed Chain
2) US Tennis why it is so Dark out here.

i am in Toronto Canada, My son is 11 Years old & very serious about competitive Tennis. We got Speed Chain, Not sure He should start training at this age. Please recommend what he should do to persue his Dream of Pro Tennis.

Thanks
Anj
Toronto

 
At 8:31 PM, Blogger shafiq said...

impressive details of the Following points:

1) Speed Chain
2) US Tennis why it is so Dark out here.

i am in Toronto Canada, My son is 11 Years old & very serious about competitive Tennis. We got Speed Chain, Not sure He should start training at this age. Please recommend what he should do to persue his Dream of Pro Tennis.

Thanks
Anj
Toronto

 
At 8:22 PM, Blogger Calvin said...

Anj, thanks for your kind words and feel free to email me directly with your questions: tennisspeed[at]gmail.com.

 
At 8:24 PM, Blogger Calvin said...

Anj, thanks for your kind words and feel free to email me your questions: tennisspeed@gmail.com.

 

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