Spain Wins Davis Cup Title & Continues To Be the World's #1 Tennis Power

iTUSA has been working with the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation and its regional affiliates to support their players and coaches with iTUSA's advanced video and instructional technology. Everyone who has played tennis knows that losing is part of the development process, but very few know how to learn from their losses. While no competitive tennis player enjoys losing, it's what the best players take away from their losses that makes them great. iTUSA's technology helps correct deficiencies as you can see from Spain's Match Analysis of last year's Davis Cup defeat versus France:

David Ferrer vs. Gael Monfils

Fernando Verdasco vs. Michael Llodra

Technology allows good coaches to guide their players to perform at their highest levels. The facts are indisputable:

1. Spain's top 2 players, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer are ranked in the top 5 players in the world with a combined record of 135 wins and only 34 losses.

2. Spain has dominated the Davis Cup over the past decade winning four titles (2000, 2004, 2008, & 2009). And starting the new decade with another title (2011), Spain has won an impressive 3 of the last 4 years.

3. Spain currently has 9 players in the top 50 and 13 players in the top 100, both of which lead all countries. The next closest is France with 5 players in the top 50 and 11 players in the top 100.

iTUSA specializes in guiding junior players and their coaches to achieve their full potential by developing customized game plans, which are based on maximizing their strengths, while continually improving and minimizing their weaknesses. iTUSA's staff works with the Spanish National Federation and its national coaches to lead their players to success, as well as to scout for new talent for their elite developmental program. You can see a detailed analysis of each age group’s top Spanish junior players in 2010 by clicking here.

iTUSA's systems and technology can be the competitive edge not only for top National Federations and professional players, but also for clubs, academies and players who want to stay ahead of their competition.

The reason top coaching programs have the reputation of being the best is because they turn out great competitive players year after year. These coaches programs have built a tradition on success. With the iTUSA advantage your players will experience more success, building your program’s tradition and allowing it to grow in both size and reputation. Tennis is a game, and the more you win the more fun you will have!  
David Ferrer Beats Murray and Djokovic to Reach the Semifinals of the Masters Cup End of the Year Event.

iTUSA would like to take a moment to congratulate David Ferrer on his great season. Ferrer started off this season extremely well as he won his 10th ATP World Tour title and his second Auckland title beating Nalbandian 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Then as a seventh seed at the Australian Open, he beat World No. 1 Nadal in a three-set quarterfinal, before contesting for his second Grand Slam semi-final where he lost to No. 5 seed Murray.

Ferrer then went on to win the Acapulco title with a 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-2 victory over Almagro and improved to a 14-2 match record on the season.

On European clay, Ferrer reached his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final (reaching the final without losing a set) in Monte-Carlo, eventually losing to World No. 1 Nadal. It was the seventh all-Spanish final at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event.

In Barcelona he did not drop a set in the first four matches, before finishing runner-up, again to Nadal, in the final.

He beat Roddick and Fish in singles rubbers to help Spain reach Davis Cup SFs with a 3-1 win over United States. Then a week later he reached his fifth ATP World Tour final of the season as the No. 2 seed on clay in Bastad.

In Cordoba he helped Spain reach the Davis Cup final with a 4-1 win over France, beating Simon 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 in singles rubber.

Ferrer recorded his 400th career ATP World Tour Match win over Stepanek in the quarterfinals in Tokyo, before falling to Murray in the semifinals. He then reached the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai final, losing to Murray in the final.

Making his third appearance at the Barclays ATP World Tour Final, he defeated Murray 6-4, 7-5 and World No. 1 Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 to qualify for semifinals, before losing the final round-robin match to Berdych 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 to finish in second place.

Great year David! We are proud of you!

The Ferrer Academy launches a new website:

iTUSA would also like to take note of the great development and success of our younger players at the Ferrer Academy in Spain, and iTUSA Academy in Scottsdale, Arizona. Due to the tremendous success of these players, Rafael Font de Mora and Javier Ferrer will be launching and personally directing their ITF traveling team in 2012.

Kinsale Country Club's 3.5 Ladies Team Visits Scottsdale, Arizona

Kinsale Country Club's 3.5 Ladies Team from Powell, Ohio visited the iTUSA Adult Academy at the Hyatt at Gainey Ranch, in Scottsdale, AZ. Arnaud wasted no time in welcoming the ladies to the courts, challenging them to matches and defending his iTUSA home court.

The ladies team won the 3.0 Division in the 2007 and 2008 seasons and last year moved in to the 3.5 level finishing in the top 4. This season (2011) they finished in second place and pretty soon they will be competing at the 4.0 level.

"Tennis is fun, but when you mix fabulous ladies, great tennis, and lots of laughs you get the best mix of all - the Ladies of Joy!!!" - Team captain Jennifer Fullam explains.

Back Row (Left to Right): Heidi Bailey, K'Anne Cox, Courtney Insana, Amber Lea Merl, Lorrie Smith, Linda LePage
Front Row: Alison Russell, Arnaud Sewanou
Not Pictured: Captain - Jennifer Fullam

June Lee Continues Her Success on the ITF Junior and Challenger Tour

June Lee's recent victory over world number 57, Abbie Myers of Australia, at the Yucatan Cup Grade 1 Event has helped her achieve her year-end goal of being one of the top 250 junior players in the world. With the help of the iTUSA staff and career developmental plan, June Lee has specific, measurable, and achievable goals set for her on a monthly and yearly basis. She is now focusing on her 2012 goal of becoming one of the top 100 junior players in the world. June will be competing in Grade 1 and Grand Slam Events.

Not only is she achieving success at the junior tour level, but her goals have set her up to succeed at the Pro-Challenger ITF Tour level, where she recently qualified for the main draw of the $75,000 Goldwater Classic Challenge.


The Drop Volley, by Rafael Font de Mora

Part 1 - Basics

Description: Hitting a drop volley is a lot easier than it looks; the problem becomes when the player or coach complicates things that are natural and easy. This is a great example of where "less is more."

In the first part of the drill you will see that all is required to hit the drop volley is absolutely NOTHING!Stay relaxed and loose and as you make contact with the ball drop the racquet and let the simple impact of the ball show you how easy it is. YOU WILL HIT A PERFECT DROP VOLLEY EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Click here to watch the drill (Part 1).

Part 2- Adding Movement and Strategy

As you get the feel and simplicity of the first drill you can advance to a movement drill at the net where hitting a drop volley becomes very useful. Keep the racquet in front of you and keep the same simple motion. The key for this drill is to stand as close as possible to the net. Take small quick steps so you are balanced. By hitting the ball down the line you avoid opening the court in case your opponent anticipates and gets to the ball.

Click here to watch the drill (Part 2).

More Drills in iTUSA's Training Drills Database

Each week 9 new drills are added to the database!

Please visit this link to view iTUSA's Training Drills Database with over 1,000 training drills:


Watch Instructional Drill Now
(Part 1)

Watch Instructional Drill Now
(Part 2)
Training Fundamentals - (part 2) Working on the Technique of Your Second Serve (Kick/Top Spin Serve), by Mariano Peinado

Last newsletter we started with the progressions of different strokes, teaching you the fundamentals so you can learn the different stroke mechanics in a simple and concise way. When you simplify the techniques and mechanics you will quickly see your progression taking place.

Objective: Once that you start feeling the feel with the topspin (kick) and you are familiar with the movement of the racquet to cover the ball, you must then coordinate and synchronize both arms with the racquet, as well as the tossing motion. In today's modern game most of the players use the same ball toss to hit all types of serves (flat, slice and kick) to avoid the opponent reading and anticipating their serve selection. The trick is to use efficiently the wrist and the racquet head to disguise the serve.

Description: Stand on the service line from the normal service ready position. As soon as you feel the spin and the motion, move to the baseline and start serving from there. Start moving the racquet as soon as you start the tossing motion. Make sure the strings are facing down as you are moving the racquet back and up toward your head while keeping the arm nice and relaxed. The racquet needs to drop behind your head and then start the upward swing with your entire body.

Remember what all the pros have in common:

1 - Coil with the shoulder turn at the beginning of the motion.

2 - Bend your knees.

3 - Start uncoiling with the upward motion as the racquet reaches to the ball on edge.

4 - Pronate by turning the forearm.

5 - Move the face of the racquet upward, forward and toward the right to hit the ball.

When you contact the ball, the face of the racquet is still slightly open and you must feel it. Once you make impact with the ball, you must freeze holding the hand up. Remember, you must use a continental grip to execute this drill properly.

You must start the stroke very slowly, focusing on the fundamentals we have covered above and controlling the coordination with the toss and upper body rotation (coiling motion). You can first do this drill against the fence to avoid having to pick up the balls, and this will also help you to focus solely on the fundamentals and technique, rather than where the ball is going. Once you become comfortable with the technique, start with the same drill from the service line.

In the next issue, I will demonstrate the last drill that I personally recommend to develop a great kick 2nd serve.

Click here to watch the drill.


Watch Instructional Drill Now
Backhand in the Air & Forehand Ground Stroke with Resistance Cord, by Jofre Porta

Objective: This month we have progressed to use the resistance cord combining stroke mechanics and movement all in the same drill.

Description: This drill will help your leg strength hitting balls at different heights. Notice how the forehand is struck below knee level, while the backhand in the air striking zone is above the waist. The cord will provide the resistance necessary to work your entire body, especially when you start adding movement. Make sure the resistance cord does not pull you backward after you contact the ball. Hit the ball down the line away from the feeder.

You can change the heights and patterns of both ground strokes using the same concept.

Jofre Porta has already had a remarkably successful coaching career. He is the man who coached Carlos Moya from the juniors to becoming the French Open Champion in 1998, all the way to helping Moya become the #1 player in the world in 1999. Jofre also played a critical role in coaching Rafael Nadal in his formative years (between the ages 8 to 17). Jofre was in charge of helping Nadal getting established on the right foot as a professional.

Click here to watch the drill.


Watch Instructional Drill Now
Starting this month iTUSA will be launching monthly doubles drills with Meghann Shaughnessy, an ITUSA player since age 13. Every month she will be demonstrating the fundamentals of a successful doubles game. Meghann enjoyed a very successful singles career winning 12 professional titles including victories over world number ones Venus and Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic and Monica Seles. Meghann's doubles career includes achieving the number 4 doubles world ranking after winning the World Championships at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, one of her 19 career doubles titles.

This month we will be focusing on intercepting the balls in the middle of the court when you are standing at the net. It is important to differentiate between poaching and intercepting. Poaching is crossing to your partner’s side to take the ball. We will cover poaching in later issues. Intermediate and even advanced players often make the mistake of being too passive at the net by letting their partners hit too many balls that they should be taking. It is a matter of ATTITUDE and willingness to take a chance and make a mistake. By doing so frequently, you will realize how the dynamics of a match can change. You will destroy your opponents’ comfort zone and will make your partner's life much easier. The moment your opponents know that you are going to intercept the balls in the middle, their pressure to aim their shots to the corners will start increasing which will translate into many more errors, question marks and shyness in their baseline rallies.

This drill teaches you the basics of intercepting when your partner rallies from the baseline or serves. The key to remember is to always keep moving forward toward the net (bisecting the angle towards the net strap) and not sideways. The higher you can contact the ball above the net, the more options you will have with your volley. Keep in mind you will find a big gap between your opponents, so down the middle of the court is a very good and safe option. If you want to get a bit fancier, try hitting to the feet of your opponent standing at the net, but have your racquet ready as the ball may come right back at you.

Click here to watch the drill.


Watch Instructional Drill Now
Baseline to Net - Deuce Side, by Jesse Adarme

Objective: Half court forward and backward movement bisecting the angle.

Description: This is a 6-ball drill that involves conditioning and footwork. Players will start at the middle of the baseline and zig-zag their way toward the net. You will move all the way to the alley to hit an open stance forehand, zig towards the center service line, bisecting the angle so you can successfully zag all the way on top of the net to hit a winning volley. Reverse the movement following the same sequence but moving backward. Keep your feet moving at all times while facing your hops forward and keeping your eyes in front. This drill will help you improve your entire court coverage all the way from the baseline to the net (not only side to side, but also forward and backward).

Jesse Adarme is a fitness conditioning coach at the ITUSA academy and has his degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition and trains athletes of all levels at his Sports Performance Academy in Arizona. He has found his passion in working with dedicated athletes, helping them achieve their athletic goals through proper nutrition and exercise. Each month he will be providing and explaining a tennis-specific fitness drill.

Click here to watch the drill.


Watch Instructional Drill Now
Mentally Dominate Opponents to Break Their Will, by Allen Fox, Ph.D.

About Dr. Allen Fox

Dr. Allen Fox earned a Ph.D. in psychology at UCLA and is a former NCAA champion, Wimbledon quarterfinalist, a three-time member of the U.S. Davis Cup team, and coached the Pepperdine tennis team to two NCAA finals. He currently consults with tennis players on mental issues, appears in his popular 1-Minute Clinics on the Tennis Channel, and lectures world-wide on sports psychology. He is also an editor and writer for Tennis Magazine.

Dr. Fox is the author of four books: “IF I’M THE BETTER PLAYER, WHY CAN’T I WIN?”, “THINK TO WIN,” “THE WINNER’S MIND, a Competitor’s Guide to Sports and Business Success,” and “TENNIS: WINNING THE MENTAL MATCH.”

His books can be purchased on his website at  

By Allen Fox, Ph.D. © 2010, all rights reserved

A closely fought tennis match is more than a physical battle. It is a struggle of wills, mental strength, and character. It is a pervasive personal and emotional contest in which you use every means you have, both physical and mental, to break down your opponent’s mind (while keeping your own intact and functional).

Establishing dominance is one way to help break down an opponent. What is meant by “dominance”? It is the inferior feeling that lesser players get when they face better players, and it makes them play worse. It is not limited to tennis. In chess, for example, Bobby Fischer, who was arguably the best of all time, had a debilitating effect on his opponents known as “Fischer fear.” It hurt their play and even manifested itself physically in debilitating headaches, weakness, and increased blood pressure. One of his great rivals, Boris Spassky, was once quoted as saying, “When you play Bobby, it is not a question of whether you win or lose. It is a question of whether you survive.” WOW!

This “superstar effect” was identified by Jennifer Brown at Northwestern University in a study on Tiger Woods, who was far and away the dominant golfer on the tour at the time of the study. She looked at golf because, unlike tennis, it is a sport where one player can not physically influence another’s performance directly. The effects can only be mental. In analyzing scores from all the other golfers in PGA events from 1999 to 2006, she found that when Tiger Woods was in a tournament, the other golfers scored an average of .8 strokes higher than when he wasn’t. This is highly significant since the average margin between first and second place in these tournaments was about one stroke. Interestingly, the magnitude of performance drop of the “superstar effect” varied with the other player’s position on the leader board. It was greater the closer the other player was to the lead, in which case he may have felt he was closer to facing Tiger directly and choked or overplayed accordingly.

In tennis one player can affect another’s performance both physically and mentally. In addition to their games, high ranking or successful players have a mental way of making their opponents feel weak and ineffectual. For example, in his prime Roger Federer’s simple presence across the net was intimidating. Federer did not just overpower opponents physically. He dominated them mentally, and as a consequence, they missed shots against him that they routinely made against other people. They were more likely than normal to become nervous against him or to become discouraged when they got behind. This psychological weaponry was a handy addition to his arsenal of shots when it came to conserving energy while winning lots of tournaments. It just made his job easier, as it can yours in competitive matches.

Your body language affects your opponent’s mind. How does one establish this dominance? You start by recognizing that all of your actions, not just your forehands and backhands, have a profound effect on your opponent’s mental state. Since human beings are a social species, they instinctively react emotionally to the way other people treat them.

For example, your own self-image is formed partially by the subtle messages other people give you. Consider the following devilish thought experiment. What if all your friends and associates got together to play a nasty trick on you? Suppose they all agreed that whenever they were with you they would ignore or quickly disagree with everything you said and cut you out of conversations by talking only among themselves? After a day or two of this what do you think would happen to your self-confidence? It would undoubtedly take a substantial hit, no matter how high it had been beforehand and would provide a graphic demonstration of the power other people have to control the way you feel about yourself.

The same factors operate on the tennis court with the way you treat your opponents. If you fear them, they feel brave; if you show they are hurting you, they feel strong; if you appear certain, they will feel uncertain; if you dismiss their efforts, they will feel weak. And you communicate much of this with body language. So if you appear strong, confident, and impervious to their efforts your opponents will tend to feel weak and ineffectual. Along this line, much of Federer’s psychological dominance came from the way he carried himself on court – erect, confident, and, to all appearances, unresponsive to his opponent’s winners or his own errors.

Never show weakness. You can behave like Federer. If your opponent hits a great shot, appear to take no notice. Simply walk back into position as you always do – head up, steady stride, under control, and looking like you are confident, have a plan, and know exactly what you are doing. This is a dominant attitude. If you make an error, no matter how egregious, act as if nothing at all happened. Just go about your business and ready yourself to play the next point. Realize that displays of frustration, anger, or discouragement are signs of weakness that serve only to strengthen your opponents – the emotional equivalent of giving them backrubs on changeovers. If you are moaning and groaning when things are going against you, expect your opponents to fight you to the bitter end. These are submissive gestures, not actions of a dominant competitor, so lose them.

Another method of establishing dominance is to control the pace of the match. Even if you are behind in the score, you can still dominate the match pace. Between points you deliberately walk into position at your own pace, taking no notice of your opponent. If it is slower than your opponents wish, make them wait; if it is faster, make them feel rushed. You don’t do this outside of any written or unwritten rules. You are not trying to be irritating. You are merely determined to play at your own, dominant pace.

You can even dominate with your match strategy. Having a clear game plan and purpose rather than opportunistically hitting balls into whatever opening appears to be at hand is intimidating. It indicates that you think you have found a weakness and intend to exploit it. Thoughtful, purposeful people frighten uncertain people (which are most people), and even an opponent’s better side can break down if you put purposeful pressure on it.

Never, if you can help it, let your opponents think that you fear any part of their game. For example, if you serve into your opponent’s forehand and he hits a great return, don’t be hesitant about immediately serving to it again, indicating that you were not impressed. (Later, after he misses one, you may decide that the shot is indeed dangerous and choose to serve elsewhere more often, but don’t let him feel like he has bullied you.) If you play a long baseline point, and he outsteadies you, don’t immediately begin to hit harder or rush the net. Go right back at him and force him to do it again (and, maybe, again). After you win one of these long points you can then decide to adjust your strategy, but you don’t want him to feel that you have conceded this part of the field to him. Dominant players move because they choose to move, not because their opponents make them.

Acting in these ways imposes your will and force of personality upon your opponents. It is an unpleasant and heavy burden, and your opponents, even though they may be technically better than you, will often falter under it.


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