Tip of the Week
Use It or Lose It!
This past Sunday and next Sunday we are running our season-ending practice tournament for our junior program. The kids are divided into three divisions by level/rating, with about ten in each, and play a complete round robin, all best of five to 11. I spent the sessions split between watching and taking coaching notes, and umpiring some of the matches (so they could get more of a tournament-like feel for the matches). In the lowest group (with the youngest kids), I taught them how to read the playing schedule and how it is created. After watching them, I realize that a lot of them need more work both on their serves, and on understanding the purpose of the serve, which is primarily to set up their attack. The really good news - I spent some time just watching their feet, and came away pretty happy - with one exception, all of them had "active feet." The only exception tended to lean to the ball instead of moving, so we'll work on that. Most had pretty good stroking technique.
In the other two divisions, the main takeaway was, "Wow!" Many haven't played a tournament in nearly a year, and they have dramatically improved. Their ratings are way behind - beware everyone when tournaments start up again!!! I knew they had improved, but it's a lot more obvious when they play real matches. You can basically add 100 or more rating points to each of their ratings. The ten in the top group ranged (in mostly old ratings) from 1984 to 2286, with all but two of them ages 11 to 13.