Learning Styles – Tactile-Kinesthetic (Learn by feel)
As Tennis Coaches it’s important that we realise that every student learns differently. Where one student will prefer a long detailed instruction, others have short attention spans and want more on the job type of learning.
I have always been a big believer in making sure all students are assisted by Tactile/Kineasthetic methods as I believe that once they feel something then this can save many, many lessons of verbal instruction.
There are some great ways to get the feel of a shot. At Scarborough Tennis Academy, we start students from very young to get the chance to feel the shot. There are multiple ways including towel pulling medicine ball throws and other coaching aids.
Two of the main ways we help are as follows:
Controlling their arm
We sometimes will call it ‘getting their license’ as a way to convince them of the benefits. Ironically the kids who have the Tactile/Kinesthetic learning style are the ones who will be most resistant to help and just want to do it themselves.
Method – Use a drop feed or the assistance of another trained coach/feeder. Hold the upper handle or throat of the racquet to guide your players arm to play the shot. As the coach you are in control and need to tell you student to hold on to the handle but only lightly and to let the coach control the arm. This can help them feel the low to high swing of a groundstroke, drive up and internal rotation of the serve and the crispness of a volley.
There are a couple of brilliant coaching aids which teach tennis players what the wrist position should be in. The wrist position is often a part of the stroke that doesn’t come naturally. An easy and excellent way to help is to strap on a Racket Bracket and play your groundstroke’s and volleys.
Method- Follow the easy instructions to put on the wrist brace and bracket. Off a self feed, drop feed or coach feed or hit, practice the feeling of your wrist being laid back during the shot. The slapping which is so prevalent starts to disappear and also a topspin swing on the groundstroke is something that starts to develop better once the wrist is in the correct position.
How to use the racket bracket? see the video from their website below:
Below is the guy from www.OnlineTennisInstruction.com with a review of the racket bracket. Although his ball machine is a little unreliable, his review is sound and demonstrates how to use this little device.
In my own private lessons, this type of device is very important in the technical development of my players. Around May/June/July each year in the technical phase of the coaching year, I will use this device on my players until their muscles have memorised the swing pattern. As the coach mentioned above, it is a great way to get your strokes crisp but to generate further power you need to take it off and practice different aspects of the stroke.
At Scarborough Tennis Academy we have 8 racket brackets that our coaches can access for use in our private lessons. If you learn best by feel, this type of device is essential. If you learn better by auditory or visual, this should still be a part of a strategy to enable you to also feel the desired result.
If you live in Perth, Western Australia, come down to Scarborough Tennis Academy for kids and adults lessons, talent development programs and holiday camps and tournaments.
Thanks for reading
Director of Tennis
Scarborough Tennis Academy