Trying to improve your tennis game these days is often complicated and frustrating. These days, the possibilities are tremendous. There’s the Internet, which makes it possible to find coaches in every corner of the globe – though quality can vary drastically. Finding remote tennis lessons can seem like an intimidating task. There are various academies, ranging from venues in your local community to facilities you can visit for short periods or live at for months at a time. There are clinics, where you hit lots of balls in a group setting. And then there’s the classic private lesson, conducted strictly on the court.
But despite there being more options than ever, the truth is that there simply aren’t enough tennis players who have good technique. That’s a big problem, one that to me suggests a strong gap in the ability to find quality instruction. Having coached tennis now for 30 years after long career as a professional player, I’ve seen this first-hand. My belief is that more than 90 percent of junior tennis players have significant technical weaknesses – and that includes juniors who have been playing and competing in tournaments for several years.
The good news here is that we have a great many dedicated, enthusiastic young men and women. The downside is that while many juniors will continue to practice frequently and fight their way through matches, their technical limitations will, in time, often lead to a roadblock. Stymied by these technical shortcomings, the player could well grow frustrated, cease to enjoy tennis and possibly even leave the game. This is sad, as players and parents are eager to pursue improvement and generate better results. But without sound fundamentals, sustainable technique, a versatile playing style and a healthy, well-informed approach to the emotional and intellectual dimensions of competition, it becomes increasingly difficult to get better.
The same problem holds true for adults. Check out your local parks and clubs and you’ll see all sorts of makeshift approaches – self-taught groundstrokes, improvised service motions, sloppy volleys. Granted, it’s all meant to be fun. But surely, tennis is more enjoyable when you’re more attuned to what works, what doesn’t, and how to make it better in a way that’s satisfying and effective.
It’s Always Possible to Improve
My strong belief is that the world of tennis instruction doesn’t have to be this way. Every tennis player – no matter what his or her age or stage – has an opportunity to improve. That can cover everything from building a faster serve, a more reliable volley, a bigger set of groundstrokes, as well as increased mental toughness and tactical awareness. I’ve seen this happen with dozens of the players I’ve coached, as well as during the 15 years I spent competing on the ATP Tour. When I was 17 years old, entering UCLA as a freshman in the fall of 1972, I was the fifth-ranked junior in the country (and number one in doubles with my partner, Steve Mott). But I was unable to hit a topspin backhand and knew that without one, I’d be unable to get to the next level. Fortunately, I found the right coach, Robert Lansdorp. Within eight months, Robert helped me develop an effective topspin backhand. This was a significant addition that made a major impact on my game. I kept improving in college, where I became a four-time All-American and turned pro in 1976. Four years later, I won 1980 Australian Open. Soon after that title run, I reached a career high ranking of seven in the world. So, take my personal word for it: effective instruction can make a difference at all levels.
Unfortunately, these days, all too many players think they can refine their technique in a group setting – a workout or clinic with four to eight people on a court. To a degree, these environments provide a certain amount of exercise and because you’re hitting lots of balls in a short amount of time, you might make a few improvements – at least in the short term.
But group instruction makes it impossible to get in-depth, personal attention. What happens instead is that the students start to get grooved hitting the ball just well enough to keep it in the court during the workout – and that is not necessarily the most effective way to hit over the long haul versus a wide variety of playing styles and competitive situations. Much as you want to think you can learn to play tennis in an environment akin to an aerobics class, the reality is that refining a particular stroke is more like learning to play the piano: an exacting, methodical process requiring thorough attention to detail. When it comes to tennis techniques, you really can’t cut corners.
Introducing Full Court Tennis – Great Instruction at Your Fingertips
So now that I’ve defined the problem, let me offer a solution: Full Court Tennis (FCT), a free app that offers instant and seamless access to the best coaches in the world – men and women who have worked with everyone from ATP and WTA pros to nationally ranked juniors, accomplished age group players, and many more. My mission is to make sure all of our coaches have first-rate expertise.
Notable coaches in our community include:
Gilles Cervara, who works with ‘21 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev
Michael Russell, coach of ’22 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Taylor Fritz
two-time Australian Open winner Johan Kriek
former top 20 ATP pro Dominik Hrbaty
Vladka Renaud Uhlirova, former coach of ‘21 Roland-Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova
Many other coaches are also joining the Full Court Tennis community. Whether you are a coach on the tour, tennis club, public facility or high school, you can work with your students in the FCT app to improve their technique. The benefit to players at any skill level is the opportunity to engage with a wide range of great minds – and swiftly find those who will be the best fit for you. That might even involve working with one coach on strokes and another on tactics. Best of all, with Full Court Tennis, you can direct your tennis education.
With Full Court Tennis, you can swiftly send a remote coach a video of your strokes and create what we call a “private tennis lesson space” – a stored record of your strokes, your lessons and other information relevant to your tennis game.
But Full Court Tennis is not limited to an instructor analyzing your stokes and sending them back to you with input. Full Court Tennis has an extensive library of pro strokes that you and the instructor can tap into as a way to compare your technique with the very best. Imagine being able to talk to a world class coach who will be able to analyze what it takes to make your service motion as smooth as Roger Federer’s.
In addition to providing technical insights, Full Court Tennis offers deep match play analysis in the form of what we call a “Live Video Consult Lesson,” where the player can seamlessly access any match they have taped, share it with his or her Full Court Tennis coach, and discuss it live, digging into tactics, body language, technical breakdowns, psychology, and all the ebbs and flows of real-life competition.
There is also the Full Court Feed – scores of tips, drills and analysis from our community of coaches, accompanied by extensive social media interaction. Everyone can follow, learn and interact with the various comments posted by players and coaches. Think of this as an ongoing course of instruction and connection.
How Coaches Can Benefit from Joining the Full Court Tennis Community
The Full Court Tennis community is inherently expansive. We’ve created an environment where coaches can grow their practice – to begin work with new students, add more insight for current students, engage in dialogue with other coaches and much more.
At the same time, we want to make sure every coach continues to build his or her own brand. During this current launch phase, coaches, facilities, clubs and academies can brand and watermark their logo and name on any content produced with the Full Court Tennis app – all for no cost.
In the bigger picture, Full Court Tennis will be an unsurpassed community for learning remote tennis – for sharing ideas, analysis, techniques, drills and all tennis topics. We want students and coaches to continue learning from one another, all in the quest to become the best tennis player possible.
Thank you and let’s all enjoy working to get better at this game we love so much.
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FullCourtTennis was founded by former '81 Australian Open Singles Champion Brian Teacher, currently an ATP coach. With today's widespread access to technology, Brian wanted to make tennis coaching available and affordable to all. And so the FullCourtTennis app was born. Now tennis players of all levels, from all around the globe can connect directly with world-class tennis coaches to improve their game.
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