What do a £1 coin, a towel and a football have in common? They are all bits of equipment which can be used to give players a quick technical fix to a problem in their game. Intrigued? Then read on! At the BCTA conference earlier this week I demonstrated some little tricks that we can use when we have to make a quick impact on our players.
Sometimes in our coaching we have to make a quick impact on our players. In some cases we just have to find the little trick which provides the solution to the problem.
Many of your players will be having regular coaching with you, and you’ll have time to make the technical adjustments and developments needed to take their game to the next level. At other times, however, a player may come to you for one lesosn wanting a quick solution to a problem in their game. This is when quick fixes are an invaluable part of the coaches toolbox. Every great coach has little tricks, a few cute ideas or some great little tips which can make the technical breakthrough needed.
Of course, the same ideas won’t work for every player. Players will each identify with different quick fixes, depending on:
- Their playing ability
- Their learning style and whether they are visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners
- The players’ concentration
- Their desire for short term fixes as opposed to longer term improvement
And when we get it right, and we make that magical breakthrough, it is the most exciting moment for the player and the coach!
There is potentially an infinite number of quick fixes, and no doubt you will have some of your own which you use on a regular basis when confronted with a typical problem such as an erratic ball toss on a serve, or a weak contact point on a groundstroke. It also helps to use different equipment in a variety of creative ways, since they add to the visual element of the quick fix. So:
- Using a £1 coin to stabilise a moving foot on the serve, or
- Draping a towel over the net band just inside the tramline to give the player a focus on a passing shot, or
- Using a large ball such as a football to get the player throwing with both hands to get the shoulders and upper body working well
are all examples of simple quick fixes to help your players imporve quickly.
Here are a few other simple quick fixes which will help your players today:
Improving a poor ball toss on the serve
- Build the relationship between ball toss and racket arm
- Squeeze fingers together on release
- Place ball on fist and place up the ball
- Improve balance by rallying with a cap on upside down and avoid the cap falling off
- Develop different spins by hitting the ball at different time on the clock face
Developing the smash
- Catch the ball with straight arm with non dominant hand to ensure you get under it
- Heading the ball to ensure you get under the ball as it drops