Most coaches have expressions, sayings or opinions. Some are unique, some are taken from other coaches and some are read. Here are some of my more common refrains.
1. "Tennis is a movement game" - I guess it's also a mental game too...but everyone knows that. So many under-the-radar things that happen on the tennis court are due to great or lack of movement. Quickness is important of course but so is footwork technique. Is there any top-100 player on the mens or womens' side who doesn't move at a world class level? if there is, I bet he/she has one of the biggest serves in the world or else he/she wouldn't be top-100.
2. "Make an athletic adjustment!" - Too many times, students wait to hear from a coach what they are doing wrong. Guess what, if you hit 4 balls in a row into the net, tell yourself that no matter what you will not hit the next one in the net (even if it goes long.) Im sure, you are good enough to make that adjustment..then try to figure it out from there because when you are playing a match, you will need to self-correct.
3. "Quick feet to the ball. Heavy feet at the ball!" We always hear move quickly to the ball, but when you are setting up two steps away from the shot, you want to anchor your feet so you are balanced at the shot. If you are moving quickly as you swing, you will probably run through the shot, not be balanced and lack power. For an example of this saying, watch Mr. Roger Federer.
4. "Stop smiling at your shot!" - No, my players don't actually smile at the ball they just hit, but I sometimes do catch them watching it for too long before recovering to the baseline.
5. "What are you thinking about right now, rainbows?" - When I catch one of my students not fully focusing during a lesson,
6. "Let's practice leftyism!" - What I'll say to a lefty to give them the maximum advantage against a righty. I believe the biggest advantage of being a lefty is you could regularly practice combinations that would work against righties while righties will rarely if ever practice combinations that work against lefties since about 1 in 10 players are lefties.
Ricky Becker is the Director of Tennis at Pine Hollow Country Club. He independently coaches high-performance juniors and adults of all-levels year-round at Bethpage Park Tennis Center. He has coached hundreds of ranked junior players. As a player, Becker was awarded Most Valuable Player for the 1996 NCAA Championship Stanford Tennis Team and 1989-1992 Roslyn High School Tennis Teams, and was ranked number four in the United States in the 18 & Under Division.