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Old 11-05-2007, 10:49 AM   #1
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Default Self learning vs Coaching

Hey guys, I am a beginner just starting out. Unfortunately, I don't have the money at the moment to afford a private coach. I am holding out for a tennis class at the local recreation centre. So at the moment I am pretty much just playing with my friend who is also a beginner.

I know that self learning tennis is pretty tough but I realise plenty of people on this board taught themselves how to learn tennis. I'm just wondering if you guys have any tips to offer on the self learning tennis front?
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Old 11-05-2007, 11:31 AM   #2
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Default Re: Self learning vs Coaching

Just play a lot with someone equal or slightly better than you.
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Old 11-12-2007, 10:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Self learning vs Coaching

Somehow I think you can improve by yourself but if you don't even have the basics right, this improvement is going to take a very long time. One way around the problem is to take cheap group lessons with a good tennis coach. I grew up in Singapore too and when I was about 14 took group (of 4 people) lessons from a tennis coach for 12 lessons (1.5 hrs weekly). He split the 12 lessons into 4 sets of (3 forehand/3 backhand/3 serve/2 volleys/2 game play). It was a good introduction as he worked through the grips and the proper arm mechanics of each swing. He broke down the footwork involved and the timing of the entire motion. And when you're actually deploying the swing motion, he can at least observe over time and comment on what you're doing wrong. Most of the time, beginners have problems with 2 things: footwork (getting yourself positioned right to take the ball) and swing (mechanics of the swing ). You need a trained observer to help you work through these things. Once you have the basics, you can do the rest yourself and from alot of playing.

After that, you should go off and practice yourself for the rest of the year with friends or a ball machine. In that time also, watch alot of tennis and you'll at least understand what the players are trying to do and observe their mechanics.

I hate to say it but you can't self-learn and self-actualize. If your friend is better than you, in turn, he's teaching you how to play and no matter how unprofessional it is, you are getting trained by him. 2 people who can't play cannot stroke together and learn together. One of them must have at least had some formal coaching.
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Old 11-13-2007, 12:24 AM   #4
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Default Re: Self learning vs Coaching

Agree 100% with the post above. Too hard to learn by yourself and you may end up learning some weird strokes, making you prone to injuries.
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Old 11-13-2007, 09:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: Self learning vs Coaching

Watching tapes of matches of professionals with good technique is an excellent way to learn. I used this method myself and look at me now, GOAT.
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Self learning vs Coaching

I took lessons for several months when I first started playing, then quit because I got bored of it, then picked up on recreational tennis with my friends.

I have a friend who I play with, and we are almost exactly the same in terms of overall playing. It took me nearly 4 years of playing by myself to be on the same level as my friend who took lessons for a single year. So...its your choice.
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: Self learning vs Coaching

Cannot underestimate the value of coaching!! If you can afford to shell out for lessons...

I'm 100% self-taught. I was very good as a junior and could beat most other kids who'd been coached for years, but now I'm older it's levelled out, and my poor technique shows through on some shots. Whereas their good technique they've been practicing for years has helped them kick on and become better players. So yeah, if you want to improve, speak to someone who knows what they're doing.
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Old 02-03-2008, 05:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Self learning vs Coaching

Watching other players, especially pros on tv or the internet is a great way to learn tennis by yourself.

Playing against EVERYONE you possibly can is also very beneficial.
1. You get more time hitting.
2. You learn about other people's strengths and weaknesses.
3. You can translate their strengths into yours (like copying technique)
4. You can improve your weaknesses by seeing theirs (like if you guys have similar weaknesses)

One thing that helps a lot when you are learning, is to be extremely in shape. What I have noticed is that the ones that are the most fit succeed. Plus you can win matches without ever having to hit one proper shot by just out-enduring your opponent.

Coaching is extremely beneficial however if you can afford. What I have done, and what I recommend for all players, is to get just enough coaching in order for you to learn all the proper techniques for all the strokes and thats it. A lot of players continue to get coaching from the same instructor even after they have learned the techniques. So after you learn the techniques, you continue to try to master those by hitting with other players. And then every few weeks or so you can get a coach for a very short time just to make sure you are hitting correctly.


Oh, one last thing: Consistency IS THE KEY! You might be playing against not so great players for now, but when you start going up the ladder, consistency is a requirement basically. If you cannot stay in rallies, good players will see this and just get the ball back waiting for you to make mistakes.
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Old 02-03-2008, 06:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: Self learning vs Coaching

Quote:
Originally Posted by HKz View Post
Watching other players, especially pros on tv or the internet is a great way to learn tennis by yourself.

Playing against EVERYONE you possibly can is also very beneficial.
1. You get more time hitting.
2. You learn about other people's strengths and weaknesses.
3. You can translate their strengths into yours (like copying technique)
4. You can improve your weaknesses by seeing theirs (like if you guys have similar weaknesses)

One thing that helps a lot when you are learning, is to be extremely in shape. What I have noticed is that the ones that are the most fit succeed. Plus you can win matches without ever having to hit one proper shot by just out-enduring your opponent.

Coaching is extremely beneficial however if you can afford. What I have done, and what I recommend for all players, is to get just enough coaching in order for you to learn all the proper techniques for all the strokes and thats it. A lot of players continue to get coaching from the same instructor even after they have learned the techniques. So after you learn the techniques, you continue to try to master those by hitting with other players. And then every few weeks or so you can get a coach for a very short time just to make sure you are hitting correctly.


Oh, one last thing: Consistency IS THE KEY! You might be playing against not so great players for now, but when you start going up the ladder, consistency is a requirement basically. If you cannot stay in rallies, good players will see this and just get the ball back waiting for you to make mistakes.
I'm sorry, but you're wrong about the whole "being in shape will make you win without having to use proper technique". Being in shape and having endurance is vital in tennis, but that will not make you win. If you **** around thinking your stamina alone will make you succeed, the other player will pull some nasty shots on you. Proper/Focused technique and gameplay at ALL times. On the other hand, if you mean the fittest player can MENTALLY tire out the other player, that is 100% correct. Devastate your opponent mentally, and the game is yours.

Another word advice to Topic Creator, practice at least 30 minutes hitting against a wall on a daily basis. That you never get "rusty" and are consistent with your form. If thats not possible, at the very least practice your technique in front of the mirror.
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Old 02-03-2008, 06:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Self learning vs Coaching

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogruskie View Post
I'm sorry, but you're wrong about the whole "being in shape will make you win without having to use proper technique". Being in shape and having endurance is vital in tennis, but that will not make you win. If you **** around thinking your stamina alone will make you succeed, the other player will pull some nasty shots on you. Proper/Focused technique and gameplay at ALL times. On the other hand, if you mean the fittest player can MENTALLY tire out the other player, that is 100% correct. Devastate your opponent mentally, and the game is yours.

Another word advice to Topic Creator, practice at least 30 minutes hitting against a wall on a daily basis. That you never get "rusty" and are consistent with your form. If thats not possible, at the very least practice your technique in front of the mirror.
You completely misquote me. First I said "Plus you CAN (not WILL) win matches without ever having to hit one proper shot by just out-enduring your opponent." I'm pretty sure CAN and WILL are different words with different meanings.

Now you are talking as if you have never seen a player lose because of physical status. Back when you were a horrible player playing against other horrible players, you have never won a 2-3 hour match from fatigue? Or win a match after your opponent has virtually lost contact with the sane world after he becomes insane from your ball retrieving skills that forces 50 ball rallies? I see things like this happen all the time still and I play in top level junior tennis! I mean I even pull these things off a lot and I'm number one in my high school playing against top USTA players in my division. After a couple 20-30 stroke rallies my opponent is suddenly taking 20 seconds in between service points and then when I serve I give him no time in between my points and then I throw in a couple lob/dropshots. Few games later he stops chasing for certain balls, and then next set later he is virtually a broken man.
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:55 AM   #11
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Default Re: Self learning vs Coaching

Like I said, mental devastation is the key factor in losing, in addition to physical tiredness. If you think: "I'm tired", your brain will increase the feeling of fatigue. You can mentally push yourself through the fatigue, though.
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Old 03-20-2008, 04:21 PM   #12
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Default Re: Self learning vs Coaching

There are 2 keys 2 self learning tennis. 1) play someone that you know you can beat. 2) play someone that you know will beat you. Use the first to work on new shots, and use the second to improve your reaction time and defense. Personally i beleive that paying for lessons are a waste of money, but i am a hardcore fan of the game and i will play for 2-3 hrs a day to cope without having a tennis pro. I believe that it gives you a mental upperhand on your opponents
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