Capture Yourself on Camera: Why You Should Film Your Tennis Practice

tennis racket and ballsNowadays, it’s normal for athletes to film themselves while training.
While it may make you feel self-conscious, it’s a good way to observe one’s performance and spot areas of improvement.
You just need to get over the possible uneasiness of watching yourself in action.
That being said, here are some ways filming yourself helps you become a better tennis player.


Why You Should Film Your Tennis Training

See your form in action
When you’re training by yourself, it’s hard to check your form to see if you’re doing things right. For a more accurate view, videos can definitely help. This way, you can see yourself from different angles and examine your shots and court placement. You get to avoid injuries from improper form too.

Spot areas of improvement
Videos allow you to see where you can do better — whether it’s how you serve or how you receive the ball. Of course, you can always ask someone to watch one of your games, but it may not be consistent since you don’t always play the same way. Having footage is a much better reference, and you can keep going back to it as needed.

Track your progress
The players we’re used to seeing on TV are professionals, and that is our main reference point. This means that you might end up disappointed when you see yourself play on the video for the first time. Don’t be discouraged and instead remind yourself that you’ll also be able to watch your improvement over time. Recording yourself broadens your experience for learning, and it’s definitely a boost of self-confidence and motivation when you see tangible progress.


What You Need

A good quality camera
You can opt to use your smartphone to record, but it may not be able to catch all the important details and provide you with the best resolution. Fortunately, there are cameras that can take high-definition videos with multiple filming settings. GoPro camcorders, in particular, are great since they’re compact enough to easily be set up anywhere on the court to get the best shots of your game. They shoot in 240FPS, making them perfect for super slow-motion shots if you want to study in detail your forehand and backhand form.

Tripod
You can always ask someone to take your videos for you, but a sturdy tripod ensures that you get stable footage all the time. A high viewpoint is preferred to make it possible to see the action from both sides of the court. The 3 Legged Thing Bucky has a maximum height of 191cm — and with a solid construction, you don’t have to worry about it being knocked off-balance during outdoor matches.

Editing apps or software
If you’re planning on sharing your videos, it’s good to equip yourself with editing apps or software. These will allow you to adjust brightness, sharpness, color, and more. Basic video editing apps such as Lightworks and PowerDirector are free but are still good for editing basic videos. At the end of the day, you’re shooting for yourself so don’t stress about it so much and focus more on your training.

Serve problem – this is how I fixed it..

how i fixed a tennis serve problem

Here’s how I fixed the Serve problem of one of my students.

This particular lady used to take lessons with me a couple of years ago.
She called me on a Wednesday afternoon saying that she was lacking consistency and did not know what was the problem with her Serve.

We met the next morning after my usual 8:30-9:30 am class, and after she warmed up, I made a few steps away and looked at her while she was delivering most of her serves long, just a foot beyond the service line. Over and over…

I soon noticed the problem:
She was releasing the ball very early and then lowering the tossing arm right away.
This caused a loss in balance and low contact with the ball.

So here’s what I did to fix her Serve consistency within a few minutes…

I asked her to continue serving focusing on one thing only: keeping the tossing arm up extended towards the sky after releasing the ball until she sees the ball coming down.
She got her balance back and made contact a lot higher.
The result: more power and… more serves landing inside the service box.

There are a few technical elements that players need to be aware of in order to deliver the Serve with consistency and power. These elements can make a big difference in someone’s game.

If you want more information about tennis technique, or drills for consistency and accuracy, as well as tactics and strategies for winning against different tennis opponents, you’ll find all this in the WebTennis24 Training section.

If you are a tennis coach or a parent of a child who wants to learn how to play tennis, you should definitely check out the WebTennis24 Kids and the new 10 Lesson Plans program.

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Teaching Professional

Visit the Training, Coaching and Kids Tennis sections at WebTennis24 – lessons, tips and drills for players, coaches and tennis parents.

The No.1 Reason Children *Quit* Tennis

(This message is intended for professionals who teach tennis to children or beginning players. If you are not interested in this topic, please share it with a coach or tennis parent who might find it useful – thank you!)
——————-
children having fun playing tennis
The year was 2004 when I got a job working as an assistant tennis coach for a city program.
The pay was just awful but I considered it an opportunity for me to learn and grow as a coach.
At that time I was in my twenties, barely spoke English, and was trying to learn as much as I could to improve my teaching skills.

The “city” was organizing beginner classes and my boss and I were greeting these big crowds of enthusiastic kids who were coming with their parents to learn how to play tennis.
My boss, at that time, was an elderly lady who was kind to kids but did not have too much knowledge about helping beginning players fall in love with the sport.
She would stress the discipline and technique way too much, to the point where most of the players were staying in lines waiting for their turn to hit a ball once in awhile…

As a result, we could see that even though those parents were paying for the lessons 6 weeks in advance, many children started to quit their classes after the first couple of lessons.
By the end of the 6-week session, we were left with barely 30% of the kids who signed up for the classes.

Those 2 years that I’d been working for the “city” taught me a VALUABLE lesson:

PEOPLE PLAY TENNIS BECAUSE THEY ENJOY IT.

And they quit if they don’t.

It’s just that simple…

Now, I have to say that during those 2 years working for the “city” I did not let things continue as they initially were. Here’s what I did:

  1. I talked to my “boss” and convinced her to “rotate” the children so that they learn from both of us (with respect to the other’s methodology). In this way, the kids would get to learn and improve with tips from both of us.
  2. We agreed that we should find ways to limit waiting in line by introducing fast-paced drills.
  3. The technical aspects were discussed and practiced at the beginning and reminded throughout the lessons making sure that while we were teaching those who struggled, we kept the others busy so that nobody was left wandering on the court.
  4. Every lesson should have at least two periods of fun activities that kids would enjoy:
    – one in the middle of the class to take their minds away from the technical and repetitive tasks, and also to bring some excitement after all previous work;
    – another one at the end of the class (last 10 minutes) to allow the kids to leave their classes happy and “loud” so that they have something to look forward to after all the work they put in during the class; and their parents would see that kids were having fun at tennis practice, before picking them up.

This statement has been my motto for the rest of my tennis teaching career:
MAKE TENNIS LESSONS FUN AND THEY WILL KEEP COMING TO PRACTICE.

You might be wondering how can you find drills and games that keep kids interested and excited about practicing their skills?
Well, there are two main ways:

  1. You can search YouTube or the internet and eventually you’ll make a list of drills and games that you can apply with your students.
    But that takes time which you probably would be the best spending with your family or working on more exciting projects.
  2. You can sign up for programs such as Best Tennis Drills and Games for Kids which is a collection of drills and games that I’ve applied with my students during my many years of teaching thousands of beginning tennis players, kids and adults.

I’ve learned what works and what not, what gets beginning players excited, what kind of drills improve their speed, body control, shot accuracy, and consistency.

You can do your own research or just keep things simple and take what others have worked for and know it works.

This is why I created this program for you – to take my proven drills and games that are guaranteed to be loved by your beginning players.

Get access to Best Tennis Drills and Games for KIDS today and make tennis lessons fun for your beginning students.

Be Inspired,

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Teaching Professional

Visit the Training, Coaching and Kids Tennis sections at WebTennis24 – lessons, tips and drills for players, coaches and tennis parents.

Tennis Balls and Court Size for Kids

balls and court size for kids tennis

This is a subject that tennis parents ask me sometimes: what type of tennis balls should their child play with and whether he/she should play on a full size court or smaller one.
I personally encourage the idea of children progression from slower to faster balls for the following reasons:
– slower balls let them swing harder without being afraid of missing deep (biggest fear)
– they have more time to prepare for the shot (good technique)
– promotes longer rallies.

tennis ball for red level kids play1. Red Balls – these are the slowest and largest of the balls and are recommended for little children age 4-7. Along with the red balls, players can also use sponge balls which are both oversized, about 75% slower than a regular adult tennis ball, that give beginning players time to prepare for the shot and add a big swing without being afraid to missing deep.
The court size that the red balls should be used is a small one (36 feet long). Beginning palyers using red balls or playing red ball tournaments have the net placed along the center service line or between service line and baseline and the points are played between the doubles lines.

orange ball for kids tennis2. Orange Balls – are about 50% slower than a regular tennis ball and they are recommended for children between the age of 7-9. Used on 60×21 feet tennis court (show how the lines are positioned: baseline is 9 feet / 3 meters inside the regular baseline; singles side lines are 3 feet / 1 meter inside the regular side line)

ball for green level kids tennis3. Green Dot Balls – are about 25% slower than regular tennis balls and are recommended for kids who are 9 or 10 years old.
Those who play green ball tournaments use a full court, are fast enough to cover a larger ares and are almost ready to move up to a regular yellow tennis ball which bounces higher and moves faster.
They are also called transition tennis balls.

adult tennis ball4. Yellow (Adult) Tennis Balls – should be used by children who are at least 11 years old and my recommandation is that the transition should be done gradually using practice balls that are slower and lower bounce than tournament balls.

It is important to not start the beginning players with balls that the child finds difficult to control in regard to speed and height because they can develop bad habits in order to adjust to the new ball, such as: western grip (to hit high bouncing balls), tight arm (being afraid to not lose control of the ball), poor footwork.
Transitioning from one ball type and court size should be done under careful supervision and the before mentioned technical aspects should be monitored so that the child’s technique and footwork is not affected.

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Teaching Professional

Visit the Training, Coaching and Kids Tennis sections at WebTennis24 – lessons, tips and drills for players, coaches and tennis parents.

10 Tips to Be a Better Tennis Coach

how to become a better tennis coach

The following tips are for tennis coaches to connect with their students, gain their respect and, as a result, get more clients:

1) Do not wear sunglasses when meeting your students for the first time or you greet them as they come to your classes. They should be able to see your eyes. You’ll make a good connection with them.
IF you wear sunglasses, as they approach you, taking them off, shows that you care for them.

2) Have a positive attitude.
Your students should not have to know that your new-born baby (like it happened to me) was keeping you up all night and you did not close an eye the night before. Even if you had a tough previous lesson with another client, you should reset and put on a smilling face for the next student or class.

Keep it positive and show that you are excited to see them every time.

3) You should always remember your students’ names and say it a few times during their lessons. Everybody enjoys to hear their name mentioned; it is a form of respect from your part.

4) Never pick up or talk on the phone during your tennis lessons. Imagine you are a parent who is paying for their child’s lesson but you see the coach talking on the phone when he should be in fact interracting and giving instructions to your child. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients; they want your undivided attention during the time they employ your services.

5) You should never be late for your lessons, otherwise it should be free for your client. If you know you will be late, definitely find a way to let your student know ahead of time. My advice for you is to always get on the court at least 15 minutes before your lesson so you have enough time to get the court and any teaching aids, that you will be using for the class, ready.

6) Do not gossip!
Don’t talk negative aspects about your other clients, fellow coaches or competing tennis clubs/organizations. If you don’t have anything positive to say, better not say anything at all. The negative talking will reflect on you and your clients will associate what you say with the feeling they have towards you. So keep your actions and words as positive as possible.

7) Show respect for your tennis students and especially for those who have stopped taking lessons with you. Even if they are not your clients anymore, your former students can be great ambassadors to promote your services to their friends and families.

8) Once in awhile you should offer free lessons to those who cannot afford them. In addition to that, you could organize weekly get-togethers where your students and their friends can play together. It is a great way not only to offer your players a chance to get extra practice but it is also an excellent way to meet their families and spread the word about you and your services.
(I used to organise a 1 hour games-and-play session every Thursday evening inviting all my students to come and play. I would match them up according to their skills and parents would be participating in feeding balls to start the games or picking up balls, etc. It was fun!)

9) Look clean and smell nice.
We, coaches, sometimes have to rally with our students therefore it is important that we have spare clothes and a way to take care of our appearance before and after each lessson.

10) Find ways to constantly improve your knowledge about the latest teaching techniques, and share what you know with the younger fellow coaches. Be available to share your experience not only with your students, but with their parents or anybody who is willing to learn. Knowleadge should not be kept as a secret. It should be shared so that others benefit from it.

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Teaching Professional

Visit the Training, Coaching and Kids Tennis sections at WebTennis24 – lessons, tips and drills for players, coaches and tennis parents.