MATCH POINT NEWSLETTER WINTER 2013/2014
 
 
Ching-Wen's Victories

For more than a year Ching-Wen Hsu and her coach Wen-Lung Chang from Taiwan have been working with Rafael Font de Mora at the iTUSA Academy. After achieving a world ranking of #6 in 2013, Ching-Wen won her first pro tournament January 19, 2014 in Saint Martin (Guadeloupe), defeating the 2 top seeds in the semis and final – S. Benamar (FRA) [1] and S. Molnar (CAN) [2].

Click here to visit the ITF webpage containing the Drawsheet.

Ching-Wen also partnered with Wendy Qi-Wen Zhang in doubles to reach the semifinals, losing to the eventual champions Blajkevitch (CAN) and Mina (FRA) in a very tight 3rd set tiebreaker 12-10.

In the next tournament of the season held in Petit Bourg (Guadeloupe), the two paired up again to win the doubles championship 7-5, 6-0 over Albie (FRA) and Peral (FRA)! Wendy reached the quarterfinals in singles by defeating the #2 seed Molnar (CAN).

Click here to see the Drawsheet.

At iTUSA it’s not only about working with the players, but also their coaches. Ching-Wen’s coach Wen Lung and her hitting partner/intern coach “Tommy” Yu Ju Chung came to iTUSA with her. Here is what Wen Lung had to say about the academy:

“First, I like the environment there. It is simple…not as complicated as other academies. When I have troubles, I can go directly to Rafa for help. He focuses on each player individually and is open to hearing my advice. I believe in the well-organized training at iTUSA, with players and coaches working very hard. I think that Ching Wen has more of a sense of independence and responsibility now, and I also think Tommy has grown very much from the experience.”


Ching Wen is sponsored by the three largest companies in Taiwan:

First is Eva Air, a sponsor since 2012. Eva Air is a Taiwan-based airline owned by Evergreen Group which is one of the largest privately owned corporations in Taiwan and one of the largest sea freight companies in the world.
Eva Air
Evergreen Group

The second sponsor is Fubon Bank, the largest bank not owned by the government in Taiwan. It has branch offices in Taiwan, China, HK and Vietnam.
Fubon Bank

The last one is Formosa Plastics Group which is the largest plastics company in the world.
Formosa Plastics Group


Coaches Academy

Mariano Peinado recently visited the iTUSA Academy to help with the completion of Level 2 of the iTUSA Coaches Certification Program. His expert input was invaluable. Mariano coached David Ferrer from age 5 through age 12 and was responsible for his development and giving him the values, foundation and skills that have made him the player he is today.

The iTUSA System is designed for all ages and all levels of play. It is an alternative to traditional coaching methods which is a step-by-step practical approach on how to master the game. It will allow you to find out how to coach or to be coached correctly to get maximum results.

The Coaches Program is for:

  • Coaches that work with players of all ages and levels
  • Parents of junior players
  • Players who want to maximize their games

iTUSA’s Coaches Certification Program is made up of 3 levels. The first 2 levels are available online, while the third level is hands-on training and is completed at an iTUSA facility. Level 1 has been available online for several months, and Level 2 will be available mid to late February. We also plan to have the first 2 levels available in Spanish by sometime in March.

Click here to see an outline of the entire program.

Soon we will be offering a free orientation course with certification upon completion. The topics covered in the free course are:

  • The iTUSA System
  • The iTUSA Story
  • Meghann Shaughnessy's Development
  • Adidas Player Development Program
  • Spanish Davis Cup Match Analysis
  • Agenda of Next Three Levels
  • Quiz

    Watch for an email arriving soon explaining how you can get started with the course!
     
 
 
New Correction Drills in the Video Library

We have just completed improving our video library by adding more than 100 new correction drills from Mariano Peinado that you can use to develop your online training sessions. Anyone with a subscription to our video library will see 9 of these drills released weekly over the next 3 months.

We have two different databases to help you with your daily work in your tennis school or academy: Correction Drills and Training Drills. In the correction drills database you can find drills that can help your players to understand much better the fundamentals of strokes, so their technical game is improved in an easy and fast way. There are correction drills for all the tennis strokes basic errors, for example in the serve: toss, backswing/coiling, extension to contact, legs, pronation, balance, using of the non-hitting arm, etc.

In the training drills database we now have more than 3000 drills, and you can find drills for all aspects of a player’s tactical game. Training drills are designed for ongoing daily training rather than just fixing a specific problem like the correction drills.

In the “Drill of the Month” section below, you can see an example of one of the new drills from Mariano.



"Your Future is What You Make of It" - June Lee

After a very successful start at Harvard, June Lee spent her holiday break visiting the iTUSA Academy. We have dedicated one of the new hard courts to June Lee due to the extraordinary transformation she made during her 4 years training at the academy.

Click here to view the banner that will soon be hanging on her court telling her story.

June has been chosen Harvard Athlete of the Week for the week of January 27, 2014. Congratulations to June!!!

Click here to see the story on the Harvard website.

At iTUSA we believe in fulfilling the maximum potential of our players so they become the very best they can be. Education and personal achievement on and off the court goes hand-in-hand. The skills you learn through hard work, motivation and discipline will lead our students to excellence, no matter what they decide to do after they graduate from iTUSA.



Anzhelika Isaeva and Sangeet Shridar Lead the iTUSA ITF Traveling Team

We are very excited about the future of our youngsters who will start traveling to Mexico and Central America in the upcoming weeks. Although they are just 13 years of age, they will start competing at the u-18 international level.

We believe in challenging our young players to get the most of their talents and abilities. Playing at the highest international junior level at a young age gives them the opportunity to realize their professional dreams before they graduate high school and to make a sound decision for their future.

We would also like to welcome Lou Shaofan, a very promising young player from Taiwan ranked as one of the top ITF boys in the world who just arrived at the academy to fill out our last available spot.

Every year younger and better players are coming to iTUSA to reach their dreams. We are very excited about what is ahead in 2014!

 
 
 
Anzhelika and Sangeet

 
Name: Serve - Keeping Your Balance on One Leg, by Mariano Peinado

Objective: Learn proper balance on the serve by hitting the ball and stopping at the contact point while maintaining balance on the front leg.

Description: Proper balance on the serve is critical. It is the first step in creating consistency in your serves. To add more power to your serves, you must use proper weight transfer, which relies on proper balance.

In this month’s drill, keeping your balance on one leg after the serve can help your student to improve several aspects of the serve. For example:

1. Tossing the ball in front of the body. This allows a player to properly transfer their body weight into the shot.
2. Stopping at the contact point reinforces the upward movement to maintain a consistent contact point.
3. It serves as a checkpoint to balance your body. Staying on one leg shows whether or not your weight transfer is in the same direction as where you are trying to hit the ball. Weight transfer in any other direction will force the player to lose balance.

When your players can manage this drill successfully stopping at the contact point, you can add more difficulty by adding the follow through. An even more advanced drill would be to add the jump to the serve while maintaining balance afterward on the front leg.

Click here to watch the drill.

 


Watch Instructional Drill Now
 
Increase Control with Flexibility, 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 www.allenfoxtennis.net.  

 
INCREASE CONTROL WITH FLEXIBILITY
BOOK EXCERPT FROM “TENNIS: WINNING THE MENTAL MATCH”
By Allen Fox, Ph.D. © 2012, all rights reserved


Some time ago I was watching a show on ESPN about famed pro football coach, Bill Walsh, who was known for his success in producing great quarterbacks (Joe Montana, San Francisco 49er Hall of Famer, amongst others). In describing Walsh’s techniques, one young quarterback told of how Walsh stood directly behind him in an early practice session and kept telling him to throw the ball “easier.” As he mastered the ability, under pressure, to throw the ball “easier,” the young man commented that it made his passes more accurate in addition to making the ball easier for his receivers to catch. What, you may ask, does this have to do with tennis? A great deal, it turns out.

Walsh was really suggesting that the quarterback be more relaxed and smooth when he threw – that forcing the toss, “muscling” the ball by trying to throw it too hard – made it more difficult to control. When one’s muscles are tense and stiff, coordination is adversely effected. And it is smooth coordination, rather than sheer muscle power, that allows athletes in various sports to generate great power with little effort and to control that power. The same factors are at work when one hits a baseball, throws a javelin, swims, sprints, or, most importantly for our purposes, hits a tennis ball. In all of these activities, relaxation and smooth coordination produce the best results. Trying too hard, becoming stiff and forcing one’s muscles is invariably counter-productive.

Most knowledgeable tennis professionals accept the idea that groundstroke racket velocity is largely generated by rotating your upper body forward. This whips your arm forward to power the stroke. But a crucial additional factor is to keep your arm and racket hand relaxed and flexible during the stroke. This improves control and “feel.” It allows you to smoothly adjust to awkward positions, bad bounces, or misjudged ball velocities or trajectories. In contrast, when you use your arm muscles to power the stroke or if these muscles become tense and stiff because you are trying to hit the ball too hard you will sacrifice control, flexibility, and ultimately power as well. (A rigid arm cannot be muscled forward with as much velocity as a loose arm can be whipped forward by body rotation.)

The same factors are equally important when serving. Maximum racket velocity comes from rotating the shoulders while straightening the bent torso and legs. Keeping loose and relaxed during this process is essential. Stiff arm muscles and an inflexible wrist inhibit the whipping arm motion that gives the serve its power. Great servers deliberately relax their arms and hands just before they serve and rely, for high racket velocity, on a well-coordinated, smooth service action. (Think Pete Sampras) Overtly trying to hit the ball too hard, rushing, or muscling the serve results only in reduced velocity, inaccuracy, and a sore shoulder.

Looseness, flexibility, and smoothness are equally valuable when it comes to movement on the court. You can move fastest and change directions best when you are relaxed. Moving any limb requires that when one muscle contracts its opposing muscle must be simultaneously relaxed. Otherwise the limb cannot move. Becoming overly tense causes all muscles to contract, and when muscles fight each other like this movement slows down.

Roger Federer is a beautiful example of how relaxation promotes smooth, graceful, and incredibly rapid movement. Because he is so loose and well-balanced, Federer can change directions in an instant. This makes it exceptionally difficult to catch him moving in the wrong direction. He runs easily - so easily, in fact, that his speed is not at all apparent. Lleyton Hewitt’s speed, by contrast, is often noted as a key to his success. Speed is obvious in his case because he runs hard. Although Federer is even faster, and it is more difficult to get the ball away from him, it happens so unobtrusively that it elicits little or no comment from observers. The great movers of the past were equally relaxed, smooth, and unobtrusively fast. Players like John McEnroe, Ken Rosewall, Bjorn Borg, and Pancho Gonzales, like Federer, tended to draw comments on their spectacular shot-making, but their speed around the court was the glue that held it all together.

Since many of us are not naturally relaxed, smooth, and graceful on the court we must make a conscious effort to improve in this area. This is an important addition to developing proper stroking technique. When you are working on your strokes make relaxation, smoothness, and good balance part of your agenda. On all strokes, watch the ball while deliberately keeping your arms and hands loose and flexible. As for movement, relax and stay loose as you lower your center of gravity in preparation for initiating movement. Then try to run gracefully and light, gliding to the ball rather than straining and forcing movement.

Since most of us have been taught the virtues of effort and hard work, there is a tendency, when we really want to win, to push ourselves over the top, both physically and emotionally. On a big point we may simply want it too much and stiffen up with determination. Recognizing this danger, it is useful, at such times, to pull back slightly. Instead, keep your eyes wide open and alert to the whole court situation, while you remain, above all, loose and flexible.

 

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