|MATCH POINT NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2011|
David Ferrer Jumps Off to Hot Start in 2011
iTUSA's David Ferrer jumped off to a blazing start in 2011, winning the ATP Heineken Open hosted in Auckland, New Zealand. Beating top German player Philipp Kohlschreiber in the quarters, Ferrer went on to beat #21 ranked David Nalbandian, in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.
Ferrer followed up his tournament win in New Zealand with a great run at the Australian Open. In the quarterfinals, he beat world's number one and fellow countryman Rafael Nadal in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. Ferrer's run came to an end in the semifinals against the #5 world-ranked player, Andy Murray, where he lost two tie-breaks in 4 hard-fought sets, 6-4, 6-7, 1-6, 6-7.
Through the first month of the season, Ferrer has won more matches (9) than any other ATP player. Now ranked #6 in the world, Ferrer aims to improve on his career-high ranking of #4. David's brother, Javier Ferrer, will be joining iTUSA founder Rafael Font de Mora and Mariano Peinado in hosting the iTUSA Summer Player Development program (see details below).
iTUSA Summer Player Development Program
iTUSA is announcing a new Summer Player Development Program, accelerating the iTUSA mission to turn "Players into Champions."
The program will be overseen and directed by iTUSA founder and president Rafael Font de Mora, as well as Javier Ferrer, brother of ATP world's number six player David Ferrer and Director of the David Ferrer Academy in Spain.
Players will benefit in a number of ways:
• Experience of training with Mariano Peinado (David Ferrer’s development coach from ages 5-12).
• Advanced player development in every area of the game, from fitness, to stroke mechanics, to mental toughness.
• Learn the championship Spanish game, particularly on how this is executed on clay courts.
• Learn something of the Spanish language and culture (no, you don't need to speak Spanish to participate).
• Direct supervision and training by Javier Ferrer and Rafael Font de Mora.
The program is open to all intermediate and advanced players. There are a number of options available to participants, from half and full day training, as well as tournament play.
The program will get underway during the summer months at the iTUSA world-class training facility in Scottsdale, Arizona and at the David Ferrer Academy in Spain in July. The costs are $1,000 to $2,000 per week, depending on the service and program.
Reservation deadline is May 1, 2011. Click here for more details and to sign-up.
More iTUSA Player Success
Another group of iTUSA members is enjoying success through the iTUSA program. Barb Meyer has been a USPTA certified teaching pro for 18 years. She is currently the Head Tennis Professional at Oak Ridge Country Club and the Head Coach of Orono High School’s girls tennis team. Barb has also started the Meyer Tennis Academy which focuses on developing top-level players.
After meeting Rafael (Rafa) Font de Mora 4 years ago during a trip to Scottsdale, Barb was amazed at the method of coaching and the rapid advancement of the iTUSA players. Since then she has begun to bring her players from Minnesota down to work with Rafael and the iTUSA coaches. "Our players are transformed by his coaching. Rafa can instantly tell what a player needs to do to improve,” said Meyer. "I get to watch Rafa and his staff work with my players firsthand so when we return home we can continue improving their game."
Now with iTUSA's Level 2 Coaches Program, Meyer can upload videos of her players, use the iTUSA platform and methodology, and present the finished videos with her personalized logo with no reference to iTUSA.
Click here to view one of Barb's completed lessons.
18s Star Myiesha Simmons Training with iTUSA
Based in Dublin, California, 18 year old Myiesha Simmons is already gathering media attention as the "next Venus Williams." She won her first tournament at age 5, and has now won 10 18's single titles. Her tall, athletic frame, her two-handed backhand, and her fierce competitiveness have all contributed to her achievements and the comparisons to a young Venus Williams. After her initial training with Rafael (Rafa) Font de Mora at the iTUSA World-Class Player Development center in Scottsdale, Arizona, Myiesha's parents sent the following commendation to iTUSA: "Hi, Rafa. Since we have adapted to the iTUSA values, Myiesha has proven to be a formidable opponent. Thank you so much! We can't wait until she trains there full time." Myiesha's stated goal is to play on the WTA tour.
iTUSA congratulates Myiesha on her success and welcomes her to the iTUSA family.
Click here to see a television news report about Myiesha on YouTube.
iTUSA Upgrades Its Computer Systems
iTUSA is going through the process of upgrading its web servers. As the company's reach grows around the world, it has become necessary to build a more robust system to handle the additional load. This upgrade could cause intermittent loss of service during the transition, as we experienced last week. We appreciate your patience during this exciting period of growth. This upgrade will allow iTUSA to continue bringing you the valuable tennis training tools and services you've grown to love in the quickest and most efficient way possible.
iTUSA Africa Tennis Foundation Update - Dreaming With Arnaud Sewanou
The African Tennis Foundation is providing a bright future for a talented young African tennis player. His name is Arnaud Sewanou from the tiny West African nation of Benin. Arnaud witnessed his first professional athlete up close and personal this month, when he attended a Phoenix Suns basketball game. Though he has never seen a pro athlete up close, it didn't stop him from relating to these great athletes. As Arnaud watched the likes of Steve Nash and Vince Carter run up and down the court in front of thousands of people, he dreams of one day being the one standing on the court rather than sitting in his stadium seat. This is a dream that many young African athletes have, but unfortunately do not have the opportunity to pursue.
Read the background of Arnaud’s story from our October newsletter here.
Through the African Tennis Foundation, Arnaud has been given an opportunity that thousands like him have been dreaming to have. So while he smiles and laughs as the Suns gorilla mascot leaps off a trampoline into the air, he knows there is a long road ahead and tomorrow he will be back on the tennis court working on his skills and craft. The hopes and dreams of many are placed on this young African tennis player's shoulders. He is one young athlete with great potential, attempting to bring to light the talent and potential of the entire continent of Africa.
Click here to view a special video and to learn how you can help the Foundation.
Forehand Volley Control and Put-Away
Objective: Master the forehand volley.
Description: This is a two person drill, with the pro (or hitting partner) standing at the baseline on one side of the court and the player standing just inside the service line on the opposite side of the net, and located in the middle or the same side of the court as the pro. The objective is for the player to master the mid-court or set-up volley, which is usually hit around or inside the service line and directed into one corner of the opposite court. Once the player hits the set-up volley and "corners" his opponent (pinning him deep to one side of the court), his goal should be to close to the net and put away the volley into the open court.
The drill begins with the pro driving the ball low to the player on the opposite side of the net, simulating a match play ball that the player would have to handle at the service line. In this drill, the player volleys deep back to the pro, practicing the deep, set-up volley. This deep volley requires some good extension to achieve good depth, so it's not a block or chop volley. The shot is hit with underspin, but it's a controlled drive deep into the opponent's court. After two or three volleys, the player moves closer to the net. The pro then drives a passing shot, and the player moves forward and puts away the volley into the open court. The put-away shot is hit closer to the net which allows the player to truly drive the ball down and through the court, while still maintaining a margin of safety.
This drill is excellent for honing the volley stroke path on the set-up drive volley and acquiring the movement and aggressiveness to make the put-away volley. These are the type of drills and expertise developed in iTUSA's advanced player development program.
Click here to see the video of iTUSA player Guillermo Garcia-Lopez practicing this drill.
More Drills in iTUSA's Training Drills Database
In the coming week, the iTUSA Training Drills Database will be expanded with 9 new drills.
Please visit this link to view iTUSA's Training Drills Database with over 1,000 training drills:
Watch Instructional Drill Now
The Transition from Junior to Professional Tennis Player, by Dr. Robert Soloway
About Dr. Soloway
Dr. Robert Soloway has a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Emory University with a specialty in motor skill behavior. He is author of Tennis in the New Age and producer of the video, Seeing the Ball. He currently lives in the Atlanta area where he trains tennis players in focus and concentration. Click here to contact Dr. Soloway.
The Transition from Junior to Professional Tennis Player
The transition from Junior player to top Professional player involves several factors, some physical and some mental. Of course, physical size becomes an issue, as does fitness. However, I believe there are several “mental” transitions that need to be made to move from a top Junior to a top Professional. Unfortunately, few players make all of them.
Most juniors won’t get through this set of transitions. Many will grow frustrated as they become gradually worse with age. If they have bad ball-watching habits, or decision-making patterns, no one will know until it shows up and causes problems. Unfortunately, for some, no one will ever notice.
Younger players who have been winning as juniors by repetition and the ability to run down every ball and hit the same swing back repeatedly will begin to fail as they are asked to hit more off-balanced and rushed strokes with less than ideal swings.
A reactive mindset is common in young people. They aren’t allowed to make decisions about much in their lives, like when to go to bed or what to have for dinner. So when they get to the tennis court, they tend to wait for things to just happen. Adults MAKE things happen. That is being proactive.
If you are the coach or parent of a rising junior, make sure your player is developing psychologically as well as physically. If you find yourself saying, “I don’t know what’s happened to him/her,” check to see if they have made the necessary transitions in order to move up to higher levels. Some of these transitions will not come naturally to many players, but if discovered, can be taught. Only then will the player be able to move up to the next level, and save everyone from great frustration.
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