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.

Avoid THIS If You Want to Teach Tennis to Your Child

tips for teaching kids tennis

When I decided to teach my (then) 4, respectively 5 year old two daughters how to play tennis I was both excited and terrified in the same time.

I had already enough experience playing and teaching tennis for almost 30 years but putting all my knowledge on the line to help my two daughters fall in love with the sport was a major job for me.

As a tennis teaching professional you can encounter a lot of pressure when it comes to teaching your own children.

Despite that, after a serious discussion with my wife, we have decided that nobody would ever put more passion in teaching our daughters as much as I would do it as a parent and tennis coach.

BUT… there was one step that had to be carefully planned:

How to make my kids take me seriously as a coach and change their perception toward me from the “fun daddy” to… “coach daddy”?

Up to that point, I was the daddy who was coming home and they would jump on his back, go for bike rides, go to the beach, read with them, and have fun.

That was all good in the beginning when we began to transfer those fun activities onto the tennis court, but at some point we had to ease into the technical aspects of the tennis strokes and learn that tennis requires some serious moments when repetition and certain focused activities are not as entertaining as the games my daughters were used to play with me.

Something had to be done. Something that would get my daughters to ask me to teach them how to play tennis and allow me to introduce them to the mechanical aspects of tennis strokes and footwork.

After careful analysis and long discussions with my wife, we both agreed that the best solution to have our daughters be willing to learn tennis from me would be to enroll them into group classes under the guidance of a(nother) tennis coach.

Why?​

We figured that by being enrolled in group classes, our two daughters will see other children playing and enjoying tennis.
They will see other children learning, executing the strokes technique and paying attention to a coach’s instructions.

My daughters, in this way, got introduced to tennis by joining other children of their age and observing how others behave in a tennis class.

That was a turning point! ​

My daughters, soon, decided to allow me to teach them not only the technical aspects, but they wanted to excel by practicing more only to get better and eventually participate in competitions.

Conclusion:​

If you are a tennis parent, don’t try to teach your children yourself… in the beginning!
Allow them to learn by participating and observing other kids of their age, first.
Only after they get introduced to tennis together with other children, they will be more open to learning and working hard… just like they saw other kids doing it.

If you want to learn my step-by-step method and see how I taught my two daughters to play tennis, from the age of 5 respectively 6, up to junior years, visit the WebTennis24 Kids section to follow the “My Daddy / My Coach” video series.
You’ll see live and full tennis lessons (each about 45-65 minutes) in which I share all my tennis knowledge in teaching my daughters how to play and fall in love with the sport.

Have fun teaching tennis to your children!

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.

Easy Way to Teach the Volley [Video]

The Volley is my favourite tennis stroke to teach, and that’s because I follow a progression that is both educational and fun for my students to learn.

It all begins by presenting the Volley as a “catch” and imagining that the racquet is an extension of the player’s hand.

Here are the steps that I follow (see the video below for visual demonstration):

1. I toss a few balls towards my student’s dominant side and ask her to catch them. While she does that, I emphasise the fact that she does not take the hand back before catching the ball, nor does she follow-through after catching it. So the volley should not have a backswing or a follow-through.
It is a catch and a push. The pushing should come from stepping forward towards the ball, or getting the body weight into it.

2. After getting comfortable catching the ball (by the way, to take some pressure away you can use soft balls such as kids’ balls for the student to not be afraid of being hit in the face), proceed to catching the ball using the racquet.
Help the player imagine that the racquet is a bigger hand and she should attempt to once again catch the balls, this time on the strings. Tell her that she should not be swinging, just tapping the ball so that it goes over the net (by the way, the player should be no more than 6 feet away from the net, at this stage; later on, we’ll show her where to position and how to cover the court).

3. Continue the same drill while the player slides, gradually, the hand lower towards the bottom of the grip. At all this time, the student is taught to hold the racquet with a “hammer” grip (like she would be hammering a nail with the edge of it).

4. Once the player feels more comfortable catching and tapping the ball with the strings holding the racquet with a hammer grip, the next step would be to learn the basic footwork. Explain to her that power, when volleying, comes from catching the ball out in front and moving the body weight into it.
For that, as she prepares to catch the ball on the strings, she has to make a step in the direction of the ball.
(Note: Keep in mind that we are at the beginning stages of learning the volley therefore the footwork that the player learns is a basic one, keeping it simple and not overwhelming her with too much information. Later on we’ll add the more complex movement that requires covering the court and getting to the ball in balance).

Some of the technical aspects, that a coach should pay attention to, are:

  • not letting the racquet head drop below the hand level; keep the racquet cocked so that there is a 90 degrees angle between the forearm and handle;
  • no backswing – racquet stays in front of the line of shoulders;
  • no follow-through – after catching the ball, the racquet comes to a stop and is being brought back in the ready position;
  • remind the player that power comes from catching the ball early and stepping into the shot;
  • the racquet head is slightly open (facing up) so that later on, combined with a high to low push (or punch) will create under-spin which is essential to control the ball. 

For a visual presentation of this lesson, see the video below.

To learn how to teach tennis to children or any beginning player, visit the Kids section or 10 Lesson Plans for Teaching Beginning Tennis Players from WebTennis24.

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.