Archive of what has been published so far under TuPA Tips on our WhatsApp group –
TuPA Tip # 8
How Deep is Your Child’s FH?
How deep is your child’s FH (Forehand)? Today during practice sessions when you are standing next to the court or even if you are in a match or tournament do look out for FH depth. Count it. It needs your focus. You need to keep an eye on your child’s next stroke in a rally and then see how deep is their forehand is landing. Categorize them as yellow, orange and red. So at the end of the day, you can have some number like this with you.
20 – yellow
Yellow, Orange and Red zones are shown above.
In today’s tennis, a good FH depth % is mandatory. It’s not an option. Anything in red is what we call as an opportunity for the opponent to take gain an upper hand in the rally. In U-12 to U-16 the rally changes here. More the red dots your child produces less the chances of them controlling the rally. However, they might still win this type of rally because of opponent’s unforced error. That is depending on pure luck which does not last when it comes to better tournaments which bring skilled opponents who don’t miss to gain control of the rally and set up a point when they see a red ball produced by your child.
Record your child’s FH depth and watch for next article from us which will go into details around FH depth but for today, please do record the FH depth.
Depth matters when it comes to building a great FH.
Have a great day ahead!
TuPA Tip # 7
Planning for Improvement?
When is the Right Time to Work on a Low Skill Area? Today? Right now. No, it’s not that easy, isn’t it? Particularly for tournament playing children.
We have been talking about measuring your child’s tennis for a few weeks now. So far we have asked you to estimate at least six things in your child’s game, to be precise. Mostly these six things are being around their serves. Assuming that you have measured a few of these things, when is the right time to fill the gap if any?
Note: if you have not measured your child’s skills wrt their serves specifically, please do now.
First a quick look at these six tips published so far.
Tip#1: First Serve Percentage
Tip#2: First Serve Direction
Tip#3: Ad Court Serve Confidence
Tip#4: First Serve Ball Toss Consistency
Tip#5: Return of Serves
Tip#6: Volley Game Percentage
Assume that while measuring your child’s game around these tips mentioned above you find out that your child serves are not all that great from the Ad court as explained in Tip#3.
Read Tip # 3 if not read already.
How much time do you think your team would need to improve the same? In our experience, every tip listed above can take anything between four to six weeks of focused effort to show some signs of improvement. This improvement is on top of your child’s daily practice schedule that needs to be maintained. Never easy to balance. What about tournaments? While your child is making an adjustment to an essential skill is it wise to play a tournament? The obvious answer is No.
You can’t afford to take a long break from tournaments especially when you are on a point defending mode and preparing for upcoming critical competitions. So how do we work on all this?
One way of doing this is to draw a schedule for your child. You can use our TuPA Drive # 8 first to understand how to build a schedule.
It’s an important drive to read. Click to read TuPA Drive # 8.
It is based on how your kid performs in a particular type of tournament and what are your tournament goals. If your child is stuck at a low winning percentage, that would mean holding to that level of tournaments where the winning percentage is low.
Remember – apart from other things like fitness, injuries, etc. your child is stuck because of certain spots in their game (for example Ad court serve confidence being low being one of them), and that needs to be improved. What we believe is that by playing only tournaments your child will not grow in all aspects of the game and hence a low winning percentage is produced when it comes to particular types of tournaments.
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
There is some element of truth in what Sun Tzu said. However, we are not at war here but on a journey which feels like one. A war of a different kind which needs continuous improvement. That’s for sure.
So how do you help your child to win first before they go for a tournament where their winning percentage is low?
1) measure their weakness – our TuPA Tips and Drives sections are written for you for the very same reason – to measure.
2) make a plan with your team to improve their weakness based on their tournament schedule
3) If they are in an important tournament week or so to defend those points then don’t touch anything
4) If they are in a losing zone (40-60% – see our TuPA Drive # 8) then plan a few weeks off and get to the most important skill that they need to build which is causing them trouble
5) In our experience, it takes four to six weeks of very focused and skilled effort for a part-time child (who goes to school and plays tennis) and his team to make some changes. Afterall, this won’t be the only thing they would be doing. A child has to keep all his good things wrt their tennis and learn something new or change something old. Not easy.
Needs loads of careful planning.
Remember to get your child to a zone where they win 75%-100% of their matches (which they were losing earlier – Read TuPA Drive # 8 to understand this better) they have to spend some quality time for that improvement which will help them to move towards that goal.
TuPA Tip # 6
Volley in Your Child’s Game
Good Morning Parents!
If you have time today and you want to measure something in your chid’s game let it be the volley. Yes. You read it right.
Volley is one short which takes a backseat in coaching and is taught late or not taught at all. It is so valuable when executed at the right time with the correct technique that it can’t be ignored.
How can you record it? Just send a mail to yourself by subject ‘Volley Today’ and then write – NIL, 0/2 (tried twice but did not make it) OR 1/4, etc. If possible you can make it more detailed by writing something like 0(1FH,1BH)/2 – this would mean both the time volley did not work one from FH side and other from BH side.
Now don’t get disappointed if you are already thinking “my child does not volley.” More than often it is never given importance.
We came across Roger Federer talking about the lack of it in one interview this year. He stated, “but if you can’t volley you aren’t going to go to the net.” He also pointed out that today’s coaching is such that baseline takes the priority. He also mentioned that if a young player needs to make an impact and finally defeat the top players regularly, they must try to come to the net.
Now, coming to our kids.
How many times have you seen your child losing from the baseline and being completely helpless? Another side of the court we have a player who runs down every single ball and will do it for next four hours, without getting much tired.We are talking U-12, U-14 & U-16 categories here.
Our practice court does not give importance to volleys, and therefore, our kids don’t go to the net as they don’t have confidence in executing that shot. They mostly volley when they are dragged to the net – after picking a drop shot is one such scenario, in fact, it is a no choice scenario.
Volley is an essential weapon in your child’s arsenal, and that has to be there. It gives them confidence if they learn how to execute it well. It plays an important part in breaking opponents confidence too.
However, volleys are not easy to learn and takes time to master. Ask your team what they are waiting for? It is a hard skill to pick later. If the teams start working on it from U-12 days by U-14, you will see some confidence, and during U-16 it should be a weapon to be used at the right time.
During practice matches and match play watch out for points your child constructs with the help of volleys. If there are none or only a few forced volleys (next shot after drop shot pick) in your child’s game you need to know why. It is a void that needs attention.
Work with your team and understand why.
Note: We have some amazing data which shows closing points at the net is equally effective as winning from the baseline, sometimes it has an added advantage. We will publish that soon.
Cheers / Team TuPA
TuPA Tip # 5
ROS – Return of Serves
When was the last time your child did return of serves(ROS) drill on the practice court? Both first and second. What is their ROS% and how effective are their ROS? What type of serve returns they usually go for when facing better servers? From both forehand and backhand side.
Parents- please make a note of ROS errors or weak ROS your child produces and how it influences their overall gameplay.Is your child training from last three years or so and plays U-12/U-14 tournaments?If yes and if you don’t have their ROS numbers with you now while reading this message, there is a possibility that ROS is playing a pivotal role in their match performances, without you recognizing much about it.
What is the best time to measure ROS effectiveness?
Today. During practice matches and match play.
How? First, see the % of ROS they make. 10/60 FSROS or 15/30 SSROS. This could just be a start. It will take care of how many ROS do go in.
How many do Pros put in? We are working on that. So watch this space for what Pros do with ROS. Do they just put it in?
However, it’s important to note – you need to make sure that your child is putting these ROS in, in an effective manner. Not just putting it back.
Just putting the ball back when there is a decent server on the other side of the net is usually not much of help. As parents, we don’t often notice the quality of ROS our child produces. If ROS is weak (mostly against good servers) it is going to be difficult for them to put up a good fight. Look for your child’s performances in higher category tournaments or matches where they have struggled and make sure that ROS is not a significant contributing factor when it comes to that performance.
Bottom line, see how your child performs against good servers. If they have to go deep into better tournaments, their ROS strategy needs to be refined and not just to keep the ball in play. Work with your team and get this done.
Coming Soon: TuPA Pattern on ROS – we try to dive deep into this subject and hopefully nail it for you
Have a great Friday ahead!
Cheers / Team TuPA
TuPA Tip # 4
First Serve Ball Toss Consistency
Good morning! time for another TuPA Tip –
TuPA Tip for Today: First Serve Ball Toss Inconsistency
Try to answer this question now – what is the first serve toss consistency of your child?
If your child is training for more than two years and you don’t know this answer while you are reading this message, it is time for some work. This check can be done in your house too.
One way to do this is to ask your child toss the ball as they would for their first serve and see where it drops.
As shown in the picture below, any drop on the racket(green dots) is a good ball toss.
Anything in red needs some work.
Write a mail to yourself with subject as FSBTC (First Serve Ball Toss Consistency) and the body of the mail could be 2/10,3/10 or 6/10
What is a good number? Close to 10 is better. If the first serve ball toss consistency for some reason is low in the range of 0/10 to 5/10, please do talk to your team and draw a plan to fix it asap.
After the fix try this exercise on daily basis at your home as the practice court time is limited. Keep checking the toss consistency score. We have no choice but to improve it as low first serve consistency can make your child first serve to get into troubled waters.
Have a great Thursday and we will back with another tip on Saturday, till then keep going.
TuPA Tip # 3
Ad Court Serve Confidence
Are you already with your child today? If yes, here is our small tip for today. We are assuming your child is right handed.
If possible check out from Ad court how many wide and T serves your child can do. Write a mail to yourself recording this. Mail topic could be ‘AdCourtServeDirection, ‘ and the body of the mail can have simple content –
1/4 T, 1/4 W, 2/4 B
T is T , W = wide serve, B = body serve.
Why is it important to work on this?
Ad court has three critical points to play. 30-40,40-30 and Ad (out or in). What do pros do in this situation?
My data team looked at what Roger did against Rafa when he was in this position in this years AUS Open Final? My team informed me that Roger was in 30-40 score position six times in the entire match. He served five serves on the T and one wide. He won 4 out of these 6 points.
Can our kids open the court or hit T serves at 30-40, 40-30 and Ad points. What is their percentage of such serves?Do you know?
We analyzed some 80,000 ATP first serves from both sides(Ad and D court), and you must see what we found out at TuPA Drive section, do read Drive # 5.
We will be back with our next tip on Thursday. Till then check out our previous tips and keep recording them.Over the period you will notice that this could become a key input for your team and will give them a scope to work more specifically on your child’s serve game.
If you reach to these numbers, remember it is for you and your team to know and work on it. Let the child play with your team’s sharp focus on them without them knowing too much about it.
TuPA Tip # 2
First Serve Direction
Good morning! Today is Saturday, and you might be with your child during a practice session, or a match play very soon. Here is our tip for you today and yes, it is still about your child’s first serve. You got believe us on this one – developing complete first serves are vital at a later stage and this does not happen in a day. A critical component of the first serve is its direction.
Today, if you have a chance, do record your child’s first serve direction. Send a mail to yourself from that fancy phone of your’s ☺
Measure it for at-least thirty first serves only, if you can do more, it would be even better.
Mail subject – ‘FS Direction Score.’ The score could be recorded as 6/30 T, 9/30 W, 7/30 M.
T is T, W – Wide, and M are the Middle (body) serves.
Do this for weeks and try to understand your child’s FS direction inducing capability. Our data shows that eventually, it is vital that our kids know how to direct their first serves at will and this does not happen in a day.
We have released quick facts on pros first serve directions percentages and how they control it by analyzing around 80000 serves (yes! about 80000). See that number at TuPA Drive section, drive # 5 and just compare that percentage with what your child can do today.
Have a great productive tennis parenting Saturday and yes, keep these numbers and tips far away from your child. Let them enjoy the game, and the numbers are for you and your team to work on without the child knowing much about it.
Cheers/ Team TuPA
TuPA Tip #1
First Serve Percentage
Today, if possible observe your child during the practice session or a match play. Focus on counting their first serve. Count ten first serves in a row and note the score by sending a mail to yourself from your mobile with a subject ‘FS Score Today’ and mail body as 5/10 or 4/10 or 7/10 (whatever is the score).
Do this exercise as much as you can on a regular basis to understand your child’s serve. Remember, only what gets measured gets improved. In all the running around you might not have this number with you today.
Also – we released a TuPA Drive yesterday – about the power of a good serve, do have a look at TuPa Drive # 4 where we had a quick at John Isner’s serve and how it helps him against top players.
Cheers/ Team TuPA