C.P.P. is something I firmly believe in.
- 1) Consistency
- 2) Placement
- 3) Power
I also believe in:
- 4) Repetition, repetition
- 5) Muscle memory
If you have to miss one of the top three miss the power. You can become somewhere around 80 in the women’s and 200 in the men. Never number 1 and that is if you’re very quick and have a decent service! This doesn’t mean that you can’t be very consistent hitting the ball hard and power over the net. You first have to do it. If you can’t do it then you have to go to the next level and hit the Academy ball. Lots higher over the net with topspin. If you can’t do that then go to USTA ball- that is a lob with a great deal of spin.
Both the Academy and USTA ball are fine at certain times but you always do that and don’t practice ripping the ball you will never become great. Believe me. A great college player perhaps and that’s it.
Start hitting the ball harder and flatter at a young age so you get confidence. It will work if you have talent and good timing. Practice the Academy ball and the USTA ball but don’t make it your regular shot, however.
Placement is another big part. You never make it hitting the ball short. However don’t think that you have to hit the ball high over the net to get depth. That is one way deep driving more through the ball gets you a deep very penetrating shot. Practice it. You probably already experience it. When you hit your two-handed backhand it goes harder and deep. So if you do it with the backhand, do it with the forehand. In future articles I will discuss the Landsdorp drive- Davenport, Sharapova, Williams sisters, Sampras, Austin, and just about any great player on the tour.
Thank God nobody taught John Isner to hit a lot of topspin on his drives or Roddick or any great player. You get power by driving through the ball, not pulling off the ball and hitting topspin. You know I am right if you look at the players I have developed. Even Nadal worked on hitting his forehand flatter and we all know his backhand is as flat as can be. It has a little to do with the grip, and that’s why he hits so many reversed forehands. So does Sharapova but the reason is different. I will talk about the reversed forehand later. I am going to try to find a tape of Sampras’ lesson where he hits the first reversed forehand. Interesting.
Repetition is crucial. Hitting the same ball over and over. It does not happen much in this country. It is all groups, to make more money and that is the only reason and playing points. Does not do it. Besides getting one on one coaching, kids should play matches. Two out of three. But they need the one on one coaching and repetition. When you have a lot of repetition you will need to develop muscle memory. It becomes automatic. You don’t have to think about it. It will be the same every time. discipline You need discipline. Either discipline yourself, which is difficult when you are young, or have someone like me discipline you. It is more difficult for the parents and it many times ends up in a separation when the kids get older and don’t take it anymore. I don’t have that problem and never had it with my students. Without discipline you will never make it. Not in tennis and not in the regular work force.
All champions have discipline and are very coachable. That’s why they can become great at a young age. Tracy Austin winning the US Open at 16 – yes 16 years old – Sampras winning the Open at 19. Sharapova winning Wimbledon at 17 and Davenport winning the Swiss Open at 16. It took Lindsay a little longer because of conditioning- With discipline you can improve your concentration and your focus. We have an expression in Holland: “If you don’t want to listen, you have to feel.” Very simple, if you don’t do what you’re told, you get a spanking. Worked for me. I will not spank the kids, however I will give them 20, 30, or 100 at the baseline. They will listen quickly, cause they don’t want to feel like puking. But to me its simple – Just do what I tell you!! One more thing.
A very important part of becoming a champion is timing. If your timing is off it will always be off and has to do with your eyes. And I mean the tracking of the ball with your eyes. If that is off it will take a lot of work – like with Maria Sharapova on her forehand. I will talk about this at a later date if you like me to. So timing is crucial. The last thing is: The desire of the kid – Winning is everything and the love to compete. To play without FEAR. Know that your shots will work, because you have done it a thousand times while I put the pressure on you constantly. Like I said, play without fear. Failing does not enter your mind. Never!