Monday, May 16, 2011

A Helpful Nudge

OK, I've been pretty harsh on the value of coaches and coaching lately on this blog.  It's only fair that I toss up an example of where coaching helped.  In this example, I think nearly all the credit should go to the player.  I've given this sort of advice to countless players without any effect.  Same message.  Same messenger.  Different recipient.  I say the recipient matters more than the messenger and the message.  In any case, some coaching did help.

Below is an image of a player at a critical moment in his service motion.  He is just about to lose contact with the ground.

You can see that at his final push off the ground the force vector from his foot through his mass center angles toward the back fence.  Not good.

I took a video (from which the drawing was made) and showed him his serve.  I told him to let his weight flow forward more as he was pushing against the ground.  Here is a similar picture of his very next serve:
With one video and one sentence of instruction, this player improved his service motion dramatically.

Let's insert the before and after videos.  Before:
And here is the better (after) video:

Look at how much better his weight flows into his serve on the second video.   Look at both his hip motion as he pushes off and where his left foot lands relative to where it started (the baseline is a nice reference).

As I said, the lion's share of the credit goes to the student.  He is a great athlete who possesses more body awareness than most people.  But I have to admit that this little bit of coaching helped improve his service motion.

Total elapsed time of the lesson?  Between one and two minutes.

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