Avoid THIS if You Want to Teach Tennis to Your Child

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 coach, 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 into teaching our daughters as much as I would 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 playing 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 another 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 will they be more open to learning and working hard… just like they saw other kids doing.

If you want to learn a step-by-step method and see how I taught my two daughters to play tennis from the ages 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 Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.

6 Steps to Become a Consistent Player… Under Pressure

playing tennis

Groundstroke consistency, which you can rely on in a pressure situation (match, competition, tournament), is not something you develop through repetition. There is more to it…

When I decided to switch from a two-handed backhand to one-handed I knew that the first thing to learn was the technique.
That was the easy part…
A few hundreds of shots against the wall, then a few hours of rallying with my practice partner, made me confident that from there on I should be able to apply my newly learned one-handed backhand in matches.

This is where things got interesting… in not a good way.

My new one-handed backhand was actually not a reliable shot when nerves took over. The fear of missing my backhand made my muscles tight and my strokes became a “push”, the depth being a matter of barely getting the ball over the net.

What happened, you might say…?

Having confidence in our tennis strokes is a process that should be understood and built through smart progressions and repetitions.

It is one thing to be able to hit a tennis shot technically well, which is different than the ability to execute your shot under pressure, consistently.

So let’s go back to the main idea of this article: how to improve your groundstroke consistency… under pressure.

There is a progression that I would like to suggest to you. Following it, you might be able after all to hit your one-handed backhand, volley, or forehand groundstroke with the consistency that you desire.
So here we go!

1. Learn the Technique.
Spend some time studying the pros but don’t expect to hit like them anytime soon. Perhaps if you spend as many hours on the court as they do, then yes, you might expect to play like them.
Learn the proper progression drills or step-by-step technical elements of the strokes. I taught myself how to hit a one-handed backhand in a few days only because I followed a simple progression beginning with the point of contact and adding the follow-through.
Once you understand the importance of the main elements, the rest comes easy.

2. Practice the Technique.
My favorite way of practicing the technique is with a ball machine. There is no pressure from a tennis partner or a coach to perform in a certain way.
Of course, having a certified tennis coach has a lot of advantages because they will give you the feedback you need to improve a lot faster. But if you know what you need to do and follow a progression process, using a ball machine is one of the best ways to learn and improve your tennis strokes.
And the third way would be to find a “patient” practice partner who is willing to toss some balls for you and give you feedback.
Tip: Filming yourself playing/practicing is a great way to get feedback and analyze the aspects you need to improve.

3. Drills, Drills, Drills.
Once you become comfortable with the technical part and add in some low-pressure practice, the next step would be to move on to drills in which you rally with a practice partner.
The purpose of these drills can vary. Here, too, I suggest you follow a progressive method:
1) Consistency – rally with a partner trying to achieve a certain number of balls you hit in a row (no mistake) over the net; eg. 25 shots in a row and if a mistake is made start it all over.
2) Placement – the next step is the ability to place/direct the ball to a certain area of the court (e.g. 20 backhands cross-court; 20 forehands down-the-line; then aim for more).
Again, you can do this consistency and do a placement practice with a partner, or use a ball machine.

4. Practice Your Strokes Under Pressure.
This is the next level of learning and improving your groundstrokes before applying them in a match.
Here I will tell you a short story:
Once I had a tennis student, an older gentleman who was a well-educated and accomplished professional in the medical field. He hired me to teach him how to play his forehand using a “modern” grip, the semi-western. Up to that point, he was hitting his forehand ground-stroke using a continental grip (also called “hammer”).
It took me a couple of lessons to teach him the concept of hitting with a semi-western grip (new stance, point of contact, swing). And then he was eager to show his doubles buddies his new and improved forehand.
That was a mistake…
Although I cautioned him about not being ready to apply it in a pressure situation, he was confident that he was ready.
What followed was a lesson for him and for you too:
Under the excitement of showing his friends his new forehand, he put too much pressure on himself and got tense. He was playing in a different environment than the one he learned his new stroke: in front of his buddies, he was not as relaxed as he was on his private court and under my positive encouragement.
So what should have he done?
He should have followed the steps highlighted above and once he got to step 4 (this one), he needed to play some drills and games to introduce his new groundstroke to friendly, no pressure competitions. Only then could he increase the pressure by playing more games and drills with friends or his tennis coach.

5. Play Low-Pressure Matches Using Your New Stroke.
After you followed the previous steps, invite your tennis practice partner to play a few sets where you use the groundstroke technique you just improved. You might still feel too nervous to relax your arm and go for your shots… You might still be afraid to hit at full speed out of fear of missing long or into the net.
What you need to do is tell your partner that you won’t be chasing a win out of this match; instead, your focus will be to see how you can handle the scoring pressure and how your shots will fair in different situations (being pulled wide, short balls, deep balls, etc.).
It is important to communicate the above to your partner so that they understand that you have a higher purpose than just winning a match. Your goal is to improve a stroke that still needs to get better. Take your time and feel your stroke, take mental notes where you make mistakes and where you feel more comfortable playing your shots. You might have a hard time with the high-bouncing balls, or the low-bouncing ones…
These are mental notes that you can use to improve your stroke at your next practice session. Be patient and take your time to analyze your shots under a low-pressure match. Then go back to more practice on the areas that need extra work.

6. After all that analysis you are now ready to apply your new stroke in a competitive and high-pressure situation: local tennis tournaments and even further.

As you can see, there is no shortcut to playing your best tennis. Patience and lots of work are necessary to reach your true potential.
It can be done – have a progressive system and you will learn or improve how to play your groundstrokes consistently, even under pressure.

Useful links and additional information:
– “Tennis Technique Lessons (videos)”
Strokes Progression Lessons (videos)
Ball Machine Tennis Drills (videos)
Drills for Two Players
Mental Strength Tennis Drills

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.

Lessons and Tips to Improve the Serve Return

playing tennis

In order to improve the return of serve, there are certain aspects that a tennis player should consider:

the kind of grips to wait for the serve with: eastern, semi-western (forehand grips), continental/hammer, or backhand grip; either one has a role according to the player’s strengths;
court position for the first and second serves;
– the best footwork to return the serve;
– the technique (to control a fast incoming ball);

– what type of serve the player usually has problems with: flat and fast, kick, or slice?

The serve return, even though a player has less time to react to it, can be trained and improved at any level.

Players must learn the proper grips, footwork, how to read the opponent’s serve, and where to tactically place the return.

For a thorough analysis, here are some WebTennis24 lessons and tips to improve your Serve Return:
Best Grips for Returning Serve
How to Return a Fast Serve
How to Read the Serve
Drills to Improve the Serve Return
Return of Serve Tactics for Singles
Return of Serve Tactics for Doubles

Additional helpful tips:
Why and How to Shorten Your Backswing
How to Make a Clean Contact With the Ball

Enjoy playing your best tennis!

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.

6 Differences – Average vs Top Players

playing tennis

Tennis is a fun sport and great for meeting people.

In the beginning, players discover the game, then fall in love with the idea of hitting the ball over the net, exercising, winning points, and competing.

But after a while, we all want to take it to the next level: better technique, more consistency, more power, win matches and tournaments…

I have this friend who, after playing tennis for 3 years, has made a lot of progress. He can rally with an advanced player but when it comes to playing actual matches, you can obviously see his struggles.
So what does it take for my friend and any player, whose level has been stalling, to move up in ranking?
Below, I’ll highlight a few differences between the average and top players:

1. Top players create opportunities.
While average players wait for things to happen, the top players are proactive in controlling the point and looking for opportunities to win. They have a good knowledge of tactics and strategies that they can implement according to their opponent’s style of play.

2. Top players are mentally tough.
Average players let everyone know when they miss a shot: they get angry and loud as if the “gods of tennis” are against them.
Top players stay calm and in control of their behavior on the court; they understand that showing negative emotions fuels their opponent’s confidence, so they avoid that.

3. Top players are aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
One of the aspects that I’ve constantly seen from average players is their lack of patience to develop their game from the ground up. They want to compete but do not take the time to develop a solid foundation.
Top players constantly assess their strengths and weaknesses and build their game around that. They understand that any technical flaw must be corrected…and they do it.
Average players tend to ignore their weaknesses and rely on one or two strokes they feel comfortable with.

4. Top players practice to improve.
Most of the average players just want to play matches. Their satisfaction lies in winning matches even if that means competing against less gifted players.
Top players want to practice their tactics, consistency, and strategic placement more than they want to play actual matches. You can see top players spending a lot of time working on one single shot until they get it right.

5. Top players prepare for their matches.
Proper food before, during, and after a match is one of the aspects top players are aware of in order to perform at their best. They pay attention to a proper warm-up before the match, stretching, and recovery exercises after it.

6. Top players respect their opponents.
Once a player reaches a certain level of excellence, they will develop compassion for their fellow tennis players knowing the dedication and effort that it takes to perform at high levels. That’s why the top players have respect for their opponents, compassion for the ones who lose matches, and share the excitement of their wins with the ones who helped them get there.

Knowing the above qualities of top players, would you say you are among them? If not, would you be willing to work towards achieving that level?

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.

7 Steps for Making a Great Connection with Your (New) Students

tennis coach with kids

The following pieces of advice address mostly to coaches but players can also find some applicable uses:

As a tennis coach at WebTennis24, I often get emails in which players or coaches ask for my opinion on certain subjects. One of them was how to make a good impression as a coach in front of your new students.


In this regard, I made a video that will show you the first 10-15 minutes of what you can do with a new tennis student (beginner or even intermediate). In this video, you’ll find my “magic” formula on how to interact with new students and how to make them feel welcome and excited to learn tennis. It has worked great for me throughout my over 15 years of teaching tennis, and it will guarantee to help you too.


Besides that… in preparation for the upcoming lesson (or a match if you are a tennis player) it is good to develop some “rituals” that prepare you mentally for what comes. 
I used to get quite nervous especially when meeting new students and/or their parents.

So don’t worry: you are not the only one getting nervous; a lot of coaches are too… the students also. If it helps, you can only imagine that your students are more nervous to meet you than you are to meet them. Or, if you are a player before a tennis match, your opponent might be more nervous to play against you than you are.

Here are some of my “rituals” that I do on the way to my lessons in order to ensure that I would be properly prepared and my students will find a true professional in me as their coach:


1. In the car, as I drive to the tennis court, I practice some breathing exercises: take a slow deep breath in – hold it for 4 seconds – release slowly; do this about 5 – 7 times.

2. Say positive things to yourself such as: “I can’t wait to meet my students”, “I love what I do”, “This is going to be fun!”, etc.

3. Get on the tennis court at least 10 minutes before your students arrive; prepare all your teaching gear and be ready early.

4. As soon as you see your students coming towards the court, put a smile on your face and walk to them looking happy to see/meet them. Stretch your hand out and introduce yourself first, then ask for their names (memorize it).

5. As you can see in the video I mentioned above, it is important to ask your students questions, find out about them; that would make them feel welcome and important.

6. If you get nervous, smile; smiling is a great way to help you relax; also, ask your student questions during the lesson: “what do you feel about what I just taught you? does it make sense? does if feel natural?” etc.

7. And last… actually this should have been first: make sure you have lesson plans ready (a general plan of drills and things you want to teach before you get on the court). I sometimes carry little pieces of paper with notes that I find important to say or do during the lessons. This helps me to know that I do not leave things out and takes some of the pressure off considering that I don’t have to remember everything.

I hope all these tips are of help to you. Write in the comments box below and let me know your thoughts.

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.

Advice for Coaches Who Teach Group Classes

tennis coach
In my years of teaching tennis in Southern California, the mornings were dedicated to teaching mostly groups of adult players and occasionally some homeschooled children.

The adult group classes were mostly formed of players looking for a good work-out, fun, and learning how to play and win in tennis.

Years after I moved from California, I still get emails from my former students who tell me how much they miss my classes. That’s because I always considered the following…

1. Players like to have fun alongside friends or people they connect with.
In this regard, I tried to pair them up based on their personality and kept the atmosphere of the class a cheerful one by introducing fun games, occasional jokes, and constant encouragement.

2. Players like to get a good workout.
If they all look sweaty and out of breath at the end of the class, I know they will feel good about themselves for the rest of the day. A good workout means a better mood for the day ahead.

3. Players want to learn something new every time.
Players should be reminded of the proper stroke mechanics, strategies, and footwork. Try to bring a new piece of tennis information every time your students come to your class. They will appreciate you and the value they get out of your lessons.

Have fun on the court!

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.

How to Minimize Waiting in Line When Teaching Tennis Classes

tennis coach
I am extremely grateful to see more and more tennis parents and coaches reaching out to me for advice based on my playing and teaching experience.

This time I’d like to bring to your attention a question a tennis coach recently asked: how to run your tennis classes so that the students do not have to wait in line for too long?…

Waiting in line is not only boring but also disruptive to the rest of the players, especially when those who wait begin chatting and the coach’s instructions are not being heard by the other players.

The following are some tips that I have used in my classes to keep all my students happy and get the best of my instruction:

1. A coach should never accept more than 6 players on the court (unless you are conducting a cardio tennis class where the coach feeds more and teaches less).

2. While some players (first in line) hit the balls that the coach feeds, the others in line should shadow the first player or do some tennis related exercises (ladder, cones etc.) – make sure your students are aware of proper spacing so that no one gets hurt.

3. A coach should line up the players (if there are more than three) in two lines and learn to double-feed (two balls in the air at the same time) so that two players (one from each line) practice their strokes at the same time.

4. Choose games that involve as many players as possible: 2-3 points before rotating and bringing new players on the court. Those waiting can be put through some drills (cones, ladders, etc.) or have them act as ball boys/girls for the ones who play.

Feel free to send me your suggestions if you have more tips in regard to keeping the class going and getting everyone involved.

Have fun on the tennis court!

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.