In the history of tennis instruction, researched by John Carpenter, 2 champion brothers from England, R.F. Doherty and his younger sibling, 1897 Wimbledon Champion H.L. Doherty, described in a 1903 book how they played, recommending the open stance. In 1904, a self-appointed “expert”, an attorney by the name P.A. Vaile, wrote a book called “Modern Lawn Tennis” in which he contended that tennis was played closed-stance, as in cricket and golf. This notion was then exported to the USA, and cricket replaced by baseball, which fortified also the theory that a tennis groundstroke is a linear, forward effort. To this day, these two erroneous concepts, closed-stance and hit forward through the ball are still thought to be the most acceptable way of starting a child in tennis. Compound this with the idea that you have to prepare early, and you have three immediate barriers to the ease and naturalness of your game.

Because the USA has been regarded as the leader and model in many facets in life, celebrated American coaches and associations who promoted the linear follow-through concept, early preparation and closed stance made a wide impact, which was, in effect, exported back to Europe and spread throughout the world. This was regardless of the fact that most major champions played the forehand topspin across the body and mostly from an open stance, including Bill Tilden, Fred Perry, Jack Kramer, Rod Laver and almost everyone else who has made a mark in the game.

In sports most players copy the best performers in the field. Why was tennis the only sport in which the amateur player should not?

I successfully argued in working with Pancho Segura at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club in 1968 and 1969, after my retirement from the international tour, that we should teach everyone to play like the pros. Pancho saw the results I was achieving and let me experiment with his student body, which included the likes of Charlton Heston, Dinah Shore, the Kirk Douglas family, Ava Gardner, the Robert Taylor kids, and other stars, including the charming Dean Martin Jr., who looked outstanding in his Wimbledon final against Guillermo Vilas in the movie “Players”.

In the span of a decade I had the chance to compete against and practice with players spanning 3 generations, including Rod Laver, Pancho Gonzales, Lew Hoad, Pancho Segura, John Newcombe, Tony Roche, Manuel Santana, Martin Mulligan, Roger Taylor, the Flying Dutchman Tom Okker, Niki Pilic, Boro Jovanovic, Ronnie Barnes, etc, etc. It was then when I was able to observe the huge difference between the way the top pros play and the way tennis was being taught.

Unable to convince USA coaches, I then went to Spain. In 1973 the Spanish Tennis Federation appointed me Junior Davis Cup Captain and one of 3 national coaches in charge of the Federation’s Spanish Tennis School in Barcelona. We had the 28 best Spanish Juniors assembled in Barcelona and I put my ideas to the test. I immediately noticed that these kids were the best in the country because they played like the pros. First opposed by the 2 other coaches, who wanted to enforce the universal linear concept and closed stance on these marvelous “exceptions” to the rule, I insisted that their open-stance forehands and topspin should be maximized. The youngsters loved it, helped me convince the associated coaches, and the results within 2 months were spectacular: our trip to the 1973 Monte Carlo Open resulted in 4 Spanish juniors (and the winner, of course) in the semi-finals of one of the major tournaments in Europe, eliminating from the competition the representatives from the rest of the world. Spain, which had had just a handful of top players, including Manuel Santana (one of my favorite players and a model for the modern forehand) and at the time the buddying Manuel Orantes, would within decades become a major tennis force within the world.

It was at the Orange Bowl in 1973 that I first caught the attention of Bud Collins, the famous tennis historian who would notice the marvels of the Spanish team juniors hitting with such pronounced topspin and open stance. He would later document this in my second book.

I returned to the USA and Florida in 1974 determined to convince the USTA and USPTA to adopt these outstanding techniques. I coached, supported by great results, at Aventura Country Club, The Tennis Club International and Laver’s Racquet Club, but my attempts to reform coaching from the grassroots to the upper level were being scorned by the major US entities in the game. But a former #10 player in the world player I met at Laver’s Racquet Club, Jurgen Fassbender from Germany, invited me for the spring/summer season to Weiden (Cologme) to coach both the juniors and to help him with the main team. My juniors went undefeated that year and I helped Jorgen get the main team up to the Bundesliga.

An invitation to Brazil in 1982 gave me new testing grounds. Working with a small 4-hard-court club owned by the local telephone company, and backed up by a great coach and supporter, Carlos Alves, we created, out of 60 kids, 40 nationally-ranked Juniors, some of them top-10 ranked in the world. Two of them, Gustavo Kuerten and Marcio Carlsson, went on to win the Sunshine Cup for Brazil (the Davis Cup for Juniors). Gustavo, “Guga” Kuerten, by then in the hands of another coach, won 3 French Opens and was #1 in the world in 2000, in a campaign culminating with wins over Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in winning the World Cup.

What happened in Russia and Eastern Europe?  My donation of my first book,Tennis in 2 Hours, to the Russian Tennis Federation in December 1989 was enthusiastically received. Moscow coaches became immediately aware that their classical coaching style needed to be revamped. Bud Collins, the famous media dean and tennis historian, coming to his Florida winter retreat after his 1990 December first visit to Moscow’s Kremlin Cup, told me local Russian coaches had approached him asking if he knew me and for more of my books. Bud asked me to show proof of my techniques that winter with his family and I obliged, leading to his agreement to write the foreword to my 1992 sequel and on the front cover picture with me. Bud arranged, as well, a wonderful dinner event presentation to the international press in March 1992 at the Miami Lipton tournament, in which he was the MC, where my new book was formally introduced.

Interestingly, Manuel Santana was present at that venue and I presented him with a copy of the book in which I acknowledged, with a personal note and my signature, that he had been an extraordinary influence and inspiration in my coaching in years past.

Kids at Spartak, Moscow’s renown tennis factory of champions and other Russian venues were started, as verified years later by participants, hitting forehands up and across the body and with an open stance from day one. The Real History of Tennis Instruction has pictures of the kids at Spartak in an open stance and translations of Russian coaches emphasizing more feel and more finish, basic tenets I had in my first book. Four and five year olds are seen with Western grips. Daniel Coyle visited Spartak as part of his best seller book  The Talent Code and documented that this academy, with one indoor court in a cold Moscow climate, produced more tennis champions and top tennis players by the first decade of this century from that local area than the entire United States. Furthermore, some of my teachings regarding stalking the ball and accelerating from close to the contact point to the finish over the shoulder were aptly applied and became precept and the norm.

The results were outstanding. Having the combined influence of my techniques and the dedication and focus for which Soviet athletes were famous, it was no wonder that 5 Russian women were in the top 10 in the world by 2004, conquering the French, Wimbledon and US Open titles that year.

In the USA an American father got hold of my techniques via a weekly tennis television show (first called The New Tennis Magazine Show and then The Tennis Television Show, hosted by Brad Holbrook, in which Brad included me exclusively as the Instruction Editor for close to 4 years, and broadcast on Prime Network (now Fox Sports). Richard Williams, using my techniques, built two champions – Serena Williams, with over a dozen Grand Slam titles, and Venus Williams, with 7 more. A big hug and acknowledgement from Richard Williams in 1999 was one of the biggest emotional thrills of my life.

Tennis In 2 Hours” and its 1992 sequel spread across the globe, with 10,000 copies sold by 1993.  Belgrade coaches have reported having the first book in 1991.  Chan Srichaphan, father/coach of Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan, had my 1992 book and videos in the late 1990’s and a group of Chinese coaches had asked for my permission to translate the book in 1999.

The influence of these materials, coupled with the 1997-1999 broadcast of the 40 Play Like the Pros, with Oscar Wegner tennis tips on ESPN International, viewed in more than 150 countries and with over 10 billion impressions* (including 2 billion impressions between the 1997, 1998 and 1999 NBA finals with Michael Jordan) stripped conventional tennis lore from its authoritarian grip overseas. Unfortunately, these tips were never seen in the USA .
(*an impression is each time a viewer sees a tip)

The balance of power in tennis would shift. How much of that was due to the adoption of  my techniques by the old world, and how much is due to equipment changes is subject to debate.  Technical advances in rackets and strings would mandate a technical change of course.  Graphite and other materials made tennis rackets much more powerful. The new equipment required more control, which amateur players could not handle with conventional techniques. The way to control this new power was not understood, as illustrated by an initial plan from the industry to introduce stiffer rackets, tighter strings and heavier balls. On the contrary, balls are now slightly bigger and on the lighter side, meaning more air resistance and, as the noted 60% baseline to baseline researched figure indicates, more loss of speed.

Racquet manufacturing is now tending to make rackets more flexible than ever, most likely by demand of top professional players who already thrive on spin and precision with the newer techniques and usually choose rackets with smaller grips, which altogether adds to their ability to maximize the feel of the contact with the ball without losing ball speed nor control. Modern racquets are also lighter, to which professional players respond by adding lead tape where needed, according to their preference of balance, power and control. Racquet custom design is also another custom for top pros.

Racquet strings have developed brilliantly as well, developing additional spin capabilities and response.

More technical discoveries are now at hand. Great players, freer than ever from the chains of conventional misconceptions, are instinctively experimenting with techniques that make tennis more of an art, a powerful but delicate art, emphasizing, within the speed of the game, ease, feel, naturalness and simplicity of movement and operation. The next changes in tennis will not only be in the technical arena but in the mental and spiritual realms as well.

Oscar Wegner

TO LEARN REAL MODERN TENNIS GO TO:

www.TennisTeacher.com

Finding the ball

One of the most common things to forget is to find the ball really when playing competitively. A good way to reinforce it is of thinking of touching the ball and then hitting it.
It seems like a very simple technique, but it works like a charm even for pros.
Oscar Wegner, Modern Tennis Methodology
I am in New York (Cypress Hills, Queens) through next Monday July 14th giving private clinics and private lessons. I will be available for lessons here in Queens this Friday, Saturday  after 12 noon, Sunday and Monday all day.
You can reach me at 727 735 3293
With my best regards,
Oscar

For a huge article on the evolution of tennis instruction, click on: http://oscarwegner.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/evolution-in-tennis-instruction/

By Oscar Wegner, tennisteacher.com

Tennis has changed and is bound to change even further.

I was the leader of these changes in Barcelona (1973), Florianopolis (1980s), Moscow (1989), Belgrade (1991), South America (ESPN Latin America, 1990s), Beijing (1999) and more. The USA was exposed to these techniques in the early 1990s (Prime Network, now Fox Sports) but rejected them, fought by the USPTA and PTR.

The conventional, mostly forward concept of a tennis stroke is rapidly disappearing overseas, taking the top tennis rankings by storm. Not in the USA, where coaches still love the conventional, mostly forward way.

Today’s top tennis has components of Martial Arts. Top Martial Arts artists are keenly aware that the instantaneous change of force direction has some powerful and devastating effects on the object so contacted.

In tennis, this discovery has application in very definite ways, paralleling the effects of a whip, where the tip cracks by exceeding the speed of sound.

Roger Federer’s forehand, at its best, is a parallel of a master of Martial Arts.  So are Djokovic, Nadal, Serena and other top stars in many aspects of their game. When they are on, they are magnificent.

So pronounced is the racket-head acceleration that to control the stroke’s power it needs to be deflected opposite the ball’s path, creating spins. Many top players have felt this aspect for years, but very few coaches allow to exert it purely offensively, thus an exaggerated windshield-wiper swing, taming the ball’s velocity, was born instead. One of the most talented players of all time, Lew Hoad, in the 1950s, whom I got to play by chance in a Bilbao, Spain, tournament after his career had waned, had devastating groundstroke ball speed accompanied by direction control.

You approach the ball slowly and suddenly you pull your hand towards you, withdrawing that forward momentum, your body rotating and your hand ending backwards and across your body. The racquet head may accelerate to speeds above 75 MPH. An open stance enhances this move, as it facilitates the body’s rotation.

The ball rotation achieved therein is also a weapon that impairs the facility and accuracy of an opponent’s stroke. Rafael Nadal’s forehand is an example of extreme whip and extreme topspin combined. In shot percentages, Roger Federer’s is the most pure example of achieving ball speed. Nadal’s is oriented to attaining damaging topspin. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are geared towards a conservative combination of both until the opportunity to be lethal presents itself.

There is another aspect in tennis that can also be borrowed from the masters of Martial Arts.  It is the ability to slow down time. Although innate to the human spirit, this ability has been buried. The constant pounding of material sciences leads in a different direction than the delicate, ethereal abilities and perceptions of the soul.

Conventional tennis teaching focuses on thinking of not being late, on hurrying to prepare.

Martial Arts demonstrates that not-thinking and waiting, delaying action, actually slows down time. This state of awareness, which tennis players of all levels experience at times and in different degrees and pros call “The Zone”, befits our innate simplicity and makes the game feel like in slow-motion or at least in slower motion, increasing perception, feel and control.

Moreover, intending to use parts of the string bed other than the center helps stabilize the racquet angle, allows you to play loose, and furthers your control. The lower half of the racquet is optimum for groundstrokes, and Serena Williams is an extreme proponent of such in her best performing days.

I played with these innate abilities in 1956. I had a world-class forehand, my own, and embarked on a breakthrough path in no time. My one-handed backhand, which I had copied from Tony Trabert, was a beauty to behold. My backhand slice, copied from Ken Rosewall, one of the best ever in this department, had uncanny accuracy and effect. My serve and overhead smash, both copied from Pancho Gonzalez, were trusted weapons of choice. My volleys, hit across and copied from Lew Hoad and other best examples, were clean and effective.

There is no limit if you copy success in a way that blends with your own nature. I seemed primed for a high future. Then I was offered “help” from “experts”. I listened to conventional lore and changed my forehand, my best stroke. It became erratic. The supreme, unconstrained confidence I had in that stroke was lost. I played the world’s best players in the 1960s in 38 countries, with limited results.

It took me nearly a quarter of a century to come full circle. The result is MTM (Modern Tennis Methodology), a system that rebels against conventional tenets and where all the natural wisdom, feel and instinct of a player falls into place. These techniques, since my first publication in 1989 and consequent TV exposure starting in 1991, have influenced a good part of planet Earth. The latest DVDs, published circa 2009/2010, are very clear in what the future of tennis will be.

Even the William sisters learned, with their father, these techniques.

You owe it to yourself to inspect such far reaching intimacy with the best in this world!

Oscar Wegner – Go to: tennisteacher.com

At tennisteacher.com we address tennis biggest problem.

That is that the first lessons you have taken or the first lesson you have given affect the individual very deeply.

A human being is a wonderful composite of spirit, mind and body.

The mind is not only a communication system, but it also records every experience in life. When you have an experience in a whole new field the mind lodges it into a new compartment.

You may relate this new area to a bigger compartment, like sports, or game, or physical activity. But if you (the real you, the spirit) are really interested, you may have decided the “tip” could be of benefit for your survival, and so you approach it with more care, more importance.

This is where conventional tennis teaching, the “norm” for tennis starters, is at fault in the US. It instals, as first thing, an unnatural closed stance that makes tennis easier “linear” than pulling across.

No matter how much you fight this in later sessions, the earlier teaching weighs somewhat heavier in your future. The same could happen if you are taught this misconception at some point during you tennis career, and you really believed it at that time perhaps out of respect to the “pro” who delivered it.

It can affect even the performance of the best players in the world.

Not to make this tip here too long, if you want to know more about this phenomena go to one of my older books (1992), to read for FREE this and several more misconceptions:

www.tennisteacher.com/eBook.html

With my best wishes,

Oscar Wegner    www.tennisteacher.com

Most tennis players would love to play like the top pros.

Some copy Federer, others Nadal or Serena, or Sharapova, or Djokovic, and many more.

It can be hard to sort out, isn’t it? Or perhaps you have more than one favorite to copy from.

In order to decide what the best for your own game would be, it is recommendable to make a full list of the differences and similarities between those players you like, including your own tendencies.

With this in mind we arrived at Modern Tennis Methodology.

We discovered not only the simplicity of the basics that benefit the top pros, but also the basics that would apply and benefit any athletically inclined human being.

To increase the ease and simplicity we put special care in removing from teaching all the misconceptions, all the “weird” ideas that have been considered as “musts” in conventional tennis teaching which don’t help your better game. We actually found out that they impede it.

You can read all these misconceptions for FREE in this online book:

www.tennisteacher.com/eBook.html

Please let me know your “wins” with it.

Oscar Wegner    www.tennisteacher.com

I just read an “expert” stating that the quality of your tennis depends on what is inside your head.

I disagree. It’s outside of your head!

Style is muscle memory. If you learned the mechanics correctly you’ll do the same most of the time, adjusted by your instinct. So this first part is physical, simple, easy, especially if you learned tennis the modern way.

Who controls your disposition? Again, you, yourself. You are you, not your brains or your head.

Timing is spiritual as well. You are playing a game, you have the tools, you take your time, you perform the usual way.

Feel is even more spiritual. The mind does not feel. It may record it.

Instinct is even higher. It is a computation that uses all of the above.

It may be necessary here to say that tennis is easy to perform, provided the tenets contained within our teachings are followed in full, which those who find it difficult would gain to learn.

www.tennisteacher.com/eBook.html

Oscar Wegner    www.tennisteacher.com

Our greatest concern at tennisteacher.com is not only nipping in the bud poor instruction that compromises progress, but also respecting a player’s natural tendencies and endowments.

We copied, for decades, the top pros, while paying careful attention to teaching in a precise scale of simplicity and ease.

Two super examples, both #1 in the world some years ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdDzhENhMXs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6BOvniDWsc

Moreover, we help create an observant mindset, where the student allows into his own world the feeling of timelessness that is so prevalent in the Zone.

It may be necessary here to say that tennis is easy to perform, provided the tenets contained within our teachings are followed in full, which those who find it difficult would gain to learn.

www.tennisteacher.com/eBook.html

Oscar Wegner    www.tennisteacher.com

In analyzing a player’s or your own performance in tennis, what areas should you inspect?

Most TV commentators pay attention to the visible part, the mechanics. You stroke one way, the ball goes a certain way. Simply, they are stating the relationship between cause and affect. It may help you to copy those strokes you admire, unless there is a deeper level you have to address. 

What is behind the cause? What is the player equipment and what determines success from his viewpoint?

Now we have gotten in deeper territory. Both intention and confidence are necessary to execute. Both can be strengthened with correct data or botched with false data (tennisteacher.com/eBook.html) FREE!

There are so many misconceptions on tennis, including corruption of natural law, and it is so prevalent, that you ought to learn what can stand in your “natural”way. Take it one step at the time. Timing, mechanics, footwork, intention, confidence, improve them, bit by bit.

It is easy, if you know “the way”.

Go to www.tennisteacher.com

Oscar Wegner

What kind of coaching turns out the greatest players today?

First of all, correct, simple, MTM modern technique. That is a must.

Second, addressing the person within, the soul, the spirit, the creator, the player himself.

There may be some confusion distinguishing the spirit from the mind and body. They should all work in accord.

Correct mechanics help execution. But who is the creator, the mastermind of intention behind every shot?

The coach better know the difference. At MTM we are keenly aware.

The soul wants to do something specific with the ball. The mind usually complicates the equation thinking of too many details.

Get the MTM DVDs. Great both for coaches and players. Easy and low cost. Streamed for instant viewing as well.

Go to www.tennisteacher.com

Oscar Wegner

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