Learning From a 9-Year-Old

Bob Wilkie and I were having one of our regular New Hampshire practice sessions and I was hitting overheads, when he commented, “I don’t think I have ever seen you hit a better series of solid overheads than just now!”  And it was thanks to my 9-year-old grandson Jayson.

Remembering The Basics

The day before, I had set up our ball machine to feed overheads to my young, budding tennis player.  I watched as he swung TOTALLY LOOSE and without any “fear of missing.”

It was that image I had in my mind as I hit my practice overheads with Bob.  I had not realized how STIFF my motion had become, with the goal of “be sure not to miss.”

It is the sense of freedom of motion that kids bring to the court that we all can remember in our own games.  I will try to keep it in my mind (until I forget and slip back to my “old” ways.).

How about you… are you loose like kids or stiff like seniors?

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4 thoughts on “Learning From a 9-Year-Old

  1. George, this was one of your best ever. Its obviously the same principle in the serve. When I teach the serve I always ask people the most important cause of power in the serve. And NO ONE ever gets it, even good players. Its the looseness of the arm which is what increases racquet head speed. You know you have it when you hear the “pop”. When the sound is muffled it is ALWAYS because of tightness in the arm. I am not where I want to be on overheads because I work on the looseness in warm up but often I don’t use my feet enough to get behind the ball and makes it harder to relax. I’m working on it though and when you get it , the pleasure doubles, effortlessness. Thank you for reminding me. I will work on it today. Just watch Paul Williamson or Rick Parker with their overheads.

    Dave, i think it impacts (positively or negatively) every stroke. See the picture of him hitting his forehand. See you soon, george.

  2. Freddy Couples on golf: ” Relax, swing easy, and learn to enjoy the extra distance.”

    Scoot, i guess it is true in just about every sport. thanks, george

  3. Hi George. This lesson made me laugh out loud, for the reason that there was a nine-year old Czeck boy, Yuri, who was practicing on an adjacent court as our group (mainly guys). His mother (a coach) was working with him & his two younger siblings. Anyway, he ended up playing with us! He’s amazing! His father was a coach at the Bottlitari Academy …and helped train Serena Williams. Our age group is 50 years to 80 … now we can say, 9 to 80!!! However, now, school is back in session.

    Caroline, we are never to old to learn (from 9 year olds)! thanks, george

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