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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Fear Factor: Girls vs. Volleys




Fear Factor: Girls vs. Volleys~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005


Rick Macci has watched and taught and coached enough tennis players to have gained insights and wisdom not available to the rest of us.

When Mark Bey brought Macci and several other coaches together as a panel for Technique Talk Friday evening, I was struck at how flexible his approach was. Many times when asked whether he prefers this way or that to hit a ball, or to grip a racquet, his answer was "it depends." It depends if the player can do it. It depends on what the result is. It depends on where the shot goes. It depends on whether there is a problem. In short, those seeking dogma aren't finding it with Rick Macci.

He talked about enhancing strengths and looking at each player as someone who can teach him, a better way, a different way to hit a ball, win a point, earn a victory. It was all the more startling then, when he adamantly advocated that net play and volleying become a much greater part of development than they are now.

Deeming it particularly neglected among junior girls, Macci made a plea for drills that emphasize hands, touch and "small" shots, saying that it is crucial to eliminate the anxiety issues that keep the game baseliner-dominated. He was certainly preaching to the choir with Wayne Bryan and Mark Bey (and me), but if one coach attending the discussion adds 15 minutes of net-based learning to his group lessons every day, the lecture will have been worthwhile. The game needs variety to stay fresh and fear shouldn't be the reason the women's version doesn't have it anymore.

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