Variation Part 3 When to teach it

This question I feel is always a hard one for a tennis coach, because if you teach a young player how to win by using variation, they will quickly realise that when they try to hit correct technique and drive the ball they make unforced errors, while they learn to master their technique ,but they can win all their matches by lobbing and slicing, as their opponents in the lower age groups don’t yet have the game to beat a consistent lobby player.

So when your player, who is trying to develop a proper game loses to a young hacker, the parents who don’t understand the process of how to develop a top tennis player can put a lot of pressure on the coach to get results. To stop this happening, the coach has to explain the process, it takes to become a top player, very early in in the child’s development.

The process

1. The first thing a coach has to to do is get his player to be able to co-ordinate hitting a ball.
2. Secondly, reading the flight of the ball so they know where to run to hit the ball
3. Finally, getting in a good position and balance so they can hit a good ball.
(without theses 3 stages its impossible to hit a good ball)

Once these skills are developed it’s all technique until the swing patterns are entrenched in their muscle memory.Next, we need to drill the shots so they can be hit accurately. When they can do this, we can teach them about tactics and variation and how to play these shots.

So simply put variation is great to have, but don’t teach it too early or you may harm your player’s development as they try to win and not develop their games. All top professionals have great technique, you can’t make it without it, so get it right first then teach them how to play the game.