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February 25, 2012

Weak & Strong Volley Grips






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Lee Couillard, USPTA, Head Tennis Professional, Punahou School, explains the differences between weak and strong volley grips.

August 16, 2011

Allen Fox - Learning the Volley, Part 2






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About Allen Fox - Author, Speaker, Consultant:

Allen Fox, Ph.D. earned a B.A. degree in physics and a Ph.D. in psychology from UCLA where he won the NCAA Singles and Doubles titles and where he was named UCLA Athlete of the Year and All University of California Athlete of the Year. With the same competitive zeal that propelled him to the number four ranking in the United States, to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and a 3-time member of the US Davis Cup Team, he coached and built the Pepperdine University tennis team into a national power, mentoring, among others, renowned coach, Brad Gilbert. Dr Fox's Pepperdine teams were ranked among the nation's Top 5 for 10 consecutive years and reached 2 NCAA Team Finals.

Dr. Fox wrote the tennis best sellers, "If I'm the Better Player, Why Can't I Win?" and "Think to Win," and most recently, "Tennis: Winning the Mental Match." He is an editor of and contributor to Tennis Magazine, writes for various web sites, and is well-known for his 1-Minute Clinics on the Tennis Channel. These have been showing for the last three years. He also lectures around the world on tennis psychology, including at the national conferences of the USTA, USPTA, and the PTR. In addition, Dr. Fox consults on the mental issues of tennis with players of all levels, from recreational players to pros and is the Mental Fitness Director at the Weil Tennis Academy in Ojai, CA.

A regular on the Tennis Channel, Dr. Allen Fox is the author of three previous books, "IF I'M THE BETTER PLAYER, WHY CAN'T I WIN?", "THINK TO WIN," and "THE WINNER'S MIND, a Competitor's Guide to Sports and Business Success." Dr. Fox is an editor and writer for Tennis Magazine and for his web site, allenfoxtennis.net.

WHAT'S IN HIS NEW BOOK, Tennis: Winning the Mental Match?

CHAPTER 1: WHY DO WE WANT TO WIN? Winning a tennis match feels more important than it is because players are genetically wired to compete for position on the social hierarchy. The emotions of a tennis match resemble those of a fight. Players may realize that winning a match doesn't really matter, but they will always want to win anyway.

CHAPTER 2: THE EMOTIONAL ISSUES OF COMPETITION: Tennis is inherently an emotional game. Because match outcomes feel important but are ultimately uncontrollable, matches can become stressful. There is often an unconscious urge to escape this stress, which leads to counterproductive behaviors, among which are anger, tanking, and excuse-making. These can be overpowered by the conscious mind, but it requires understanding, high motivation, and constant effort.

CHAPTER 3: USING EMOTION TO HELP YOU WIN: Your emotions will dramatically affect your tennis performance. We discuss how to keep counterproductive emotions in check and how to create productive ones that will help you win. Topics include the use of adrenalin, profiting from the time between points, and maintaining an optimal excitation level.

CHAPTER 4: REDUCING THE STRESS: Matches can become overly stressful, and this hinders performance. Stress can be reduced by developing a more realistic perspective of the game. Included are accepting outcomes that can't be controlled; resisting a narrow focus on winning; avoiding excessive perfectionism; getting over losses quickly; and using goals for hope and motivation rather than allowing them to become expectations and cause stress.

CHAPTER 5: THE PROBLEMS OF FINISHING: Most players become nervous and stressed when they are ahead and face the hurdle of finishing the match against a dangerous opponent. The unique tennis scoring system intensifies this problem. The closer players get to winning, the greater the stress. Trying to reduce it gives rise to counterproductive behaviors such as procrastinating the finish or becoming "overconfident" and easing up with a lead.

CHAPTER 6: CHOKING - ITS CAUSES AND HOW TO MINIMIZE ITS EFFECTS: Choking is most frequent at the finish of games, sets, and matches due to the uncertainty of outcome. You can limit choking damage by immediate acceptance of this uncertainty. Avoid stressful thoughts of winning by using rituals, focusing, and relaxation techniques. Rid yourself of the idea that choking will make you lose, and recognize that there are usually multiple opportunities to win, not just one.

CHAPTER 7: CONFIDENCE AND HOW TO GET IT IF YOU DON'T HAVE IT: Confidence, aka self-belief, comes mostly from winning. Though it's more difficult, you can win without it by replacing it with sufficient emotional discipline. Slumps and hot streaks occur in cycles and both end naturally with time. Stressing over a slump prolongs it. You can speed its ending by several methods which we discuss.

CHAPTER 8: GAME PLANS: Game plans give your efforts direction and structure. They can rely primarily on offence or defense but should be consistent with your personality. With Plan A you are looking for a match-up where you have a relative advantage, most commonly pitting your strengths against your opponent's weaknesses. With Plan B, which you always employ simultaneously with Plan A, you attempt to tire your opponent mentally.

CHAPTER 9: BREAKING DOWN YOUR OPPONENT MENTALLY: You can weaken your opponent mentally by using dominance techniques. Be aware of momentum development - maintain it when you're winning and break it when you aren't. Take advantage of the let-downs that occur in transitional situations: at the end of sets, after long points, after service breaks, and after long games. Learn to resist becoming psyched out by opponents.

CHAPTER 10: MAINTAINING MENTAL EFFECTIVENESS IN THE HEAT OF BATTLE: Remember the Golden Rule of tennis: Never do anything on court that doesn't help you win. Decide beforehand how you will handle the frustrations and errors that are likely to occur during match play. Understand the value of intensity and its role in playing percentage tennis. Players who have beaten you too frequently get into your head. Beating them requires exceptional emotional discipline and focus. Learn to deal with injuries, both yours and those of your opponents.

CHAPTER 11: THE VALUE OF OPTIMISM: Being optimistic is always helpful during competition. If it does not occur naturally you can become more optimistic by deliberately focusing on the real positives that exist in every situation. Monitor your thoughts and be alert to negative ones. When one occurs replace it immediately with a positive one. A bad attitude is difficult to change in mid-match, so make sure to start out with a good one. When you are behind, hope is your most crucial asset, and it is always realistic.

CHAPTER 12: DEVELOPING YOUR GAME AND THE ROLE OF PARENTS: Tennis is a difficult game and not enjoyable until you can control the ball with some level of consistency. The "middle game" is the heart of any player's game, and is learned by intelligent, repetitious practice, Tennis should generally be made fun for beginning youngsters, but some little push may occasionally be necessary. Tournaments can be motivating for kids, but they are stressful for parents and can impel even a good parent to act improperly.

CHAPTER 13: COURAGE AND HIGHER VALUES: Competing successfully in tennis is helped by focusing on character development rather than on winning. Everybody wants to win anyway. Working to develop higher values such as courage, unselfishness, consideration for others, appreciation, and morality is good for your character and will, as a by-product, reduce your stress and help you win.

CHAPTER 14: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF DOUBLES: An important doubles skill is the ability to make your partner play better. You affect your partner's emotional state and level of play with your gestures and words. Champions are not concerned with parceling out blame for a loss; rather they are focused on doing what it takes to win. You can also disrupt the opposing team by attacking the weaker player and by intimidation.


August 15, 2011

Allen Fox - Learning the Volley







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About Allen Fox - Author, Speaker, Consultant:

Allen Fox, Ph.D. earned a B.A. degree in physics and a Ph.D. in psychology from UCLA where he won the NCAA Singles and Doubles titles and where he was named UCLA Athlete of the Year and All University of California Athlete of the Year. With the same competitive zeal that propelled him to the number four ranking in the United States, to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and a 3-time member of the US Davis Cup Team, he coached and built the Pepperdine University tennis team into a national power, mentoring, among others, renowned coach, Brad Gilbert. Dr Fox's Pepperdine teams were ranked among the nation's Top 5 for 10 consecutive years and reached 2 NCAA Team Finals.

Dr. Fox wrote the tennis best sellers, "If I'm the Better Player, Why Can't I Win?" and "Think to Win," and most recently, "Tennis: Winning the Mental Match." He is an editor of and contributor to Tennis Magazine, writes for various web sites, and is well-known for his 1-Minute Clinics on the Tennis Channel. These have been showing for the last three years. He also lectures around the world on tennis psychology, including at the national conferences of the USTA, USPTA, and the PTR. In addition, Dr. Fox consults on the mental issues of tennis with players of all levels, from recreational players to pros and is the Mental Fitness Director at the Weil Tennis Academy in Ojai, CA.

A regular on the Tennis Channel, Dr. Allen Fox is the author of three previous books, "IF I'M THE BETTER PLAYER, WHY CAN'T I WIN?", "THINK TO WIN," and "THE WINNER'S MIND, a Competitor's Guide to Sports and Business Success." Dr. Fox is an editor and writer for Tennis Magazine and for his web site, allenfoxtennis.net.

WHAT'S IN HIS NEW BOOK, Tennis: Winning the Mental Match?

CHAPTER 1: WHY DO WE WANT TO WIN? Winning a tennis match feels more important than it is because players are genetically wired to compete for position on the social hierarchy. The emotions of a tennis match resemble those of a fight. Players may realize that winning a match doesn't really matter, but they will always want to win anyway.

CHAPTER 2: THE EMOTIONAL ISSUES OF COMPETITION: Tennis is inherently an emotional game. Because match outcomes feel important but are ultimately uncontrollable, matches can become stressful. There is often an unconscious urge to escape this stress, which leads to counterproductive behaviors, among which are anger, tanking, and excuse-making. These can be overpowered by the conscious mind, but it requires understanding, high motivation, and constant effort.

CHAPTER 3: USING EMOTION TO HELP YOU WIN: Your emotions will dramatically affect your tennis performance. We discuss how to keep counterproductive emotions in check and how to create productive ones that will help you win. Topics include the use of adrenalin, profiting from the time between points, and maintaining an optimal excitation level.

CHAPTER 4: REDUCING THE STRESS: Matches can become overly stressful, and this hinders performance. Stress can be reduced by developing a more realistic perspective of the game. Included are accepting outcomes that can't be controlled; resisting a narrow focus on winning; avoiding excessive perfectionism; getting over losses quickly; and using goals for hope and motivation rather than allowing them to become expectations and cause stress.

CHAPTER 5: THE PROBLEMS OF FINISHING: Most players become nervous and stressed when they are ahead and face the hurdle of finishing the match against a dangerous opponent. The unique tennis scoring system intensifies this problem. The closer players get to winning, the greater the stress. Trying to reduce it gives rise to counterproductive behaviors such as procrastinating the finish or becoming "overconfident" and easing up with a lead.

CHAPTER 6: CHOKING - ITS CAUSES AND HOW TO MINIMIZE ITS EFFECTS: Choking is most frequent at the finish of games, sets, and matches due to the uncertainty of outcome. You can limit choking damage by immediate acceptance of this uncertainty. Avoid stressful thoughts of winning by using rituals, focusing, and relaxation techniques. Rid yourself of the idea that choking will make you lose, and recognize that there are usually multiple opportunities to win, not just one.

CHAPTER 7: CONFIDENCE AND HOW TO GET IT IF YOU DON'T HAVE IT: Confidence, aka self-belief, comes mostly from winning. Though it's more difficult, you can win without it by replacing it with sufficient emotional discipline. Slumps and hot streaks occur in cycles and both end naturally with time. Stressing over a slump prolongs it. You can speed its ending by several methods which we discuss.

CHAPTER 8: GAME PLANS: Game plans give your efforts direction and structure. They can rely primarily on offence or defense but should be consistent with your personality. With Plan A you are looking for a match-up where you have a relative advantage, most commonly pitting your strengths against your opponent's weaknesses. With Plan B, which you always employ simultaneously with Plan A, you attempt to tire your opponent mentally.

CHAPTER 9: BREAKING DOWN YOUR OPPONENT MENTALLY: You can weaken your opponent mentally by using dominance techniques. Be aware of momentum development - maintain it when you're winning and break it when you aren't. Take advantage of the let-downs that occur in transitional situations: at the end of sets, after long points, after service breaks, and after long games. Learn to resist becoming psyched out by opponents.

CHAPTER 10: MAINTAINING MENTAL EFFECTIVENESS IN THE HEAT OF BATTLE: Remember the Golden Rule of tennis: Never do anything on court that doesn't help you win. Decide beforehand how you will handle the frustrations and errors that are likely to occur during match play. Understand the value of intensity and its role in playing percentage tennis. Players who have beaten you too frequently get into your head. Beating them requires exceptional emotional discipline and focus. Learn to deal with injuries, both yours and those of your opponents.

CHAPTER 11: THE VALUE OF OPTIMISM: Being optimistic is always helpful during competition. If it does not occur naturally you can become more optimistic by deliberately focusing on the real positives that exist in every situation. Monitor your thoughts and be alert to negative ones. When one occurs replace it immediately with a positive one. A bad attitude is difficult to change in mid-match, so make sure to start out with a good one. When you are behind, hope is your most crucial asset, and it is always realistic.

CHAPTER 12: DEVELOPING YOUR GAME AND THE ROLE OF PARENTS: Tennis is a difficult game and not enjoyable until you can control the ball with some level of consistency. The "middle game" is the heart of any player's game, and is learned by intelligent, repetitious practice, Tennis should generally be made fun for beginning youngsters, but some little push may occasionally be necessary. Tournaments can be motivating for kids, but they are stressful for parents and can impel even a good parent to act improperly.

CHAPTER 13: COURAGE AND HIGHER VALUES: Competing successfully in tennis is helped by focusing on character development rather than on winning. Everybody wants to win anyway. Working to develop higher values such as courage, unselfishness, consideration for others, appreciation, and morality is good for your character and will, as a by-product, reduce your stress and help you win.

CHAPTER 14: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF DOUBLES: An important doubles skill is the ability to make your partner play better. You affect your partner's emotional state and level of play with your gestures and words. Champions are not concerned with parceling out blame for a loss; rather they are focused on doing what it takes to win. You can also disrupt the opposing team by attacking the weaker player and by intimidation.


December 3, 2010

Volley Shoulder Turn Tip






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Joe Curcio, USPTA/USPTR, Head Tennis Professional, Oahu Club, shows a tip on getting your students to turn their shoulders on the volley.

May 25, 2010

Hank's Volley Tips






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Hank Pfister - Bio

Bakersfield-born Hank Pfister was a fixture on the pro tennis circuit with achievements as both a singles and doubles player.

Born in 1953, Pfister was heavily influenced by his tennis coach father. At five years old he was hitting tennis balls and by age seven he had played in his first local tournament.

While attending Bakersfield High School his talent led him to club tournaments in Los Angeles. Pfister later attended Bakersfield College before receiving a full scholarship to San Jose State University, where he was an NCAA Division I First Team All-American in 1976.

In 1977 he began a pro career that included French Open doubles championships in 1978 and 1980, and Association of Tennis Professional singles titles in Maui in 1981 and Rhode Island in 1982.

At his peak, Pfister was rated in the ATP top 10 among doubles players and the top 20 in singles.

Pfister is currently the Director of Tennis and Fitness at Stockdale Country Club in Bakersfield. He has twice been selected as the U.S. Professional Tennis Association California Division Pro of the Year.


December 26, 2008

Strong back posture







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Lee Couillard, USPTA, Head Tennis Professional, Punahou School shows a simple device you can make to get your students to stay in a straight back or strong back body posture position. By lowering your Center of Gravity (COG) your body produces stored elastic energy. Your feet should have a wide base to support dynamic balance.


February 23, 2008

Proprioception







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Lee Couillard, USPTA, Head Tennis Professional, Punahou School explains proprioception to the tennis class. A lost art in the game of tennis is the ability to volley, however, there are proprioceptive exercises that can help heighten volley awareness at the net.

There are five common senses that are discussed and learned from an early age: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. One overlooked sense, known as proprioception, is as important, if not more important as the other senses, for normal functioning. Proprioception is "the process by which the body can vary muscle contraction in immediate response to incoming information regarding external forces," by utilizing stretch receptors in the muscles to keep track of the joint position in the body.

Proprioception, also often referred to as the sixth sense, was developed by the nervous system as a means to keep track of and control the different parts of the body. An example that enables one to best understand this sensory system is one showing what happens if this sensory system is no longer there. Ian Waterman lost his sixth sense along with the ability to feel light touch when a virus killed the necessary nerves. The man still had all the nerves to control muscle movement but had no feedback from the outside world about where his limbs were except that obtained by sight. A normal person is able to move a finger, knowing where and what the finger is doing, with little effort. The normal person could just volunteer the finger to move back and forth and proprioception would make this an easy task. Without proprioception, the brain cannot feel what the finger is doing, and the process must be carried out in more conscious and calculated steps. The person must use vision to compensate for the lost feedback on the progress of the finger. Then the I-function must voluntarily and consciously tell the finger what to do while watching the feedback.

The eyes have to also be trained to judge weights and lengths of objects. As Waterman attempts to lift objects there is no feedback on how hard to flex the muscles except from what clues vision gives. Studies of Waterman support that through feedback from proprioception the brain is able to calculate angles of movement and command the limb to move exact distances. If vision is taken away, the lights are cut out, then Waterman will fall in a heap on the floor, with no ability to make successful voluntary movements. The examples of Waterman illustrate the type of information obtained because of proprioception and the great importance of this information. Without this sense humans would be forced to spend a great amount of their conscious energy moving around or would not be mobile at all.
The proprioception sensory system is carried out utilizing proprioceptors in the muscles that monitor length, tension, pressure, and noxious stimuli. The muscle spindles, the most complex and studied of the proprioceptors, informs other neurons of the length of the muscle and the velocity of the stretch. The density of muscle spindles within a muscle increases for muscles involved in fine movements, as opposed to those involved in larger course movements. The brain needs input from many of these spindles in order to register changes in angle and position that the muscle has accomplished. There is also more spindles found in the arms and legs, muscles that must maintain posture against gravity.

April 11, 2007

Angle of Deflection






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John Nelson, University of Hawaii Men's Head Tennis Coach explains the "Angle of Deflection"

January 13, 2007

Recoil Exercise

Bernard Gusman, USPTA, Director of Tennis, Punahou School shows a volley tip using a "Recoil" technique.


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October 25, 2006

Backpack Volley

Diedre Senders, Wailea Tennis Club, USPTA, Wilson TEAM Member gives a quick tip on the volley using a backpack.

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October 22, 2006

Volley using Bands

Scott DiSalvo, USPTA, PRINCE Team member gives a quick tip on the volley.

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August 20, 2006

Federer's Volley

Lee Couillard, USPTA, Wilson TEAM Member shows 3 grips changes on Federer's volley. First the continental or eastern backhand grip on a "Stretch Volley", next the eastern forehand grip on a "High Volley" and lastly, the eastern backhand grip on a "Half Volley."

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May 7, 2006

Volley Grip

Lee Couillard, Wilson TEAM Member, USPTA breaks down two points played by Courier and Kricktstein. Courier does not grip change on his volley when transitioning from the baseline to the net.

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May 1, 2006

Grip check

Bernard Gusman, USPTA Honolulu, HI. Bernard gives a test to the student to see if they have the continental grip on their volley.


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April 16, 2006

"Swinging Volley"

Lee Couillard, Wilson TEAM Member, USPTA Honolulu, HI. Volley tip using a stick placed under the arms to stop students from swinging on their volleys.

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April 13, 2006

"Sit in the Chair"

Gary Sakuma, USPTA Honolulu, Hawaii - Volley tip, have students sit in a chair and volley. Progress to bumping the ball off their racket and volleying it back to their partner.

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