26/01/2021 | Matthew
The World has changed. Our commute is often done in our slippers; the 10:30 cappuccino meeting is now in the kitchen over a jar of freeze-dried Nescafe; the daily yoga/fitness session sees special guest stars in your living room promising a new dawn of fitness - Jo Wicks or even Bez from the Happy Mondays are regular visitors to our sofa; the Friday pub session has turned into a virtual headache as Zoom teases you into tears and you have never been more like a pro-tennis player – quarantined, writing slightly inappropriate messages on social media and spending way too much time trying to balance a tennis racket on a can of beans (or whatever the new challenge is).
And then, there is home schooling. Even if you are not a parent you might have been drawn in as a supply teacher for a friend or relative. I have never been in more regular contact with family. Mum – you are doing the Egyptians this week; Aunty - you are on 2D shapes and vertices; Mother-in-law - it’s adverbs for you! Despite all this amazing help, it has been essential to embrace the new role as a teaching assistant as millions of parents have been finding out around the world. There has simply been no choice but to step up and take responsibility.
The world has changed. It is not going to return to the way it was before the pandemic. We have all learnt too much. What have I learnt?
- Commuting is expensive; I can actually save money and get more done from sofa
- Coffee is really expensive! I can make better coffee at home (now I have my trusty Moka pot)
- I can work-out in the lounge/garden/shed just as effectively as the gym
- Some of my friends are really funny if I just sit back and listen to them. The ones who aren’t funny / slightly boring – I can mute
- I don’t enjoy social media – I tolerate it, but it doesn’t own me, and I don’t owe it anything
- My family are amazing
- I am really lucky
- I enjoy the small things more
- I really like going for walks (!)
- I would love to go for a beer on a Friday night with my mates
Hopefully, you have your own list. If not, try and write one. Keep to the positives.
This isn’t a self-help article. This is a tennis article so let’s get to it (finally :)
Taking Control | Taking Responsibility
Despite a seeming lack of control over our own lives, we are actually taking more control over them. We are thinking for ourselves. We are living day to day rather than for the future. We are taking responsibility.
As the Director of a tennis company, I have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of tennis coaches in the last 10 years. In that time, a common theme has cropped up. Players who are ready to take responsibility for their game improve. Simple.
You can see it on the court. A player who is ready to listen, try, fail, reflect and try again is the one that improves. This might sound obvious (I hope it does) but let’s start with looking at ourselves.
When did you last practise your serve? I don’t mean a few warm-up shots. I mean a basket of balls on a court by yourself. Have you ever said……
‘I wish I had a better backhand’ - but you never practise it;
‘I wish I could volley’ - but you never go to the net;
‘I would love to kick serve’ - but you never try as you are scared of failing;
‘I am not fit enough to run around the court’ - so you play doubles.
You get the idea! In this new era of taking control let’s do this with your tennis. Take control of your game. Make the changes. Practise, try, fail, repeat, and succeed!
Perfect practise makes perfect
Of course, it is not as simple as that as you need to practise the right things, but by taking responsibility for your own development you are making one giant first step.
So, what is the next step and how can Jonathan Markson Tennis help? We have designed a tennis course where you take responsibility for your own development. We give you the power to improve.
We believe that a player needs to understand the fundamental elements of their shot to improve. By understanding these elements, they can identify the areas they need to develop and so they know what to practise. An example to illustrate this point:
When you serve, how do you hold your racket? Is it in a chopper grip? If not, then it is extremely difficult to complete the correct action. It is nearly impossible to do different effects (i.e top-spin) and you may find it difficult to progress. The grip is one element – we have 19 more which our coaches use every day with their players. The elements cover everything from the stance, take back, elbow extension, follow through and preparation for the next shot. Each element is clearly explained and supported by easy-to-understand videos and photos.
To help you identify the areas of the game you need to work on we show you how to capture video of your shot and then take you step-by-step through the analysis. You can do all this yourself! However, don’t worry, if you need help we have a team of Head Coaches available for a 1-hour Zoom call (they won’t mute you!) to help you through the analysis and to ensure you work on the best areas for your game.
At the end of the course, you will understand more about your chosen shot and what you need to do to improve. Knowledge is power as they say. You will finally be able to take responsibility for your game. Then, of course, it is time to practise, try, fail, repeat and hopefully, finally … succeed.
To find out more, please visit our new online courses website. We are offering a £10 discount on our online courses to get you started. Single-shot courses (i.e. Serve) typically take 4 hours to complete, including on-court video time and your analysis. Normal price £29. Use the code JMTLOYAL10 to claim your discount (Offer Price £19!). Offer limited to first 10 sign ups.
Good luck with everything.