Tennis is good for your eyesight!


Sorry it’s been a while since my last post.  It’s been busy!!!! 🙂 Paphos tennis Coaching takes up a lot of time.

So, what’s this about eyesight?  I’d never really thought about it, but one of my parents came to me to tell me how happy she was that tennis had helped her child’s eyesight.  Apparently in just 4-5 months of tennis her eyesight improved significantly.  Some of this was down to the exercises she did, but according to the optician if he compared it to others with the same condition doing the same exercises, tennis accounted for an extra 20% improvement in her eyesight. Wow!!!

Why was this? Well as a beginner, we did loads of exercises to improve hand to eye co-ordination for both the right and left hand and then having to focus on the ball to be able to hit it helped more.  She can now play tennis and has a great time.  You can’t say fairer than that.

So, if you know children who have a lazy eye, or maybe other conditions, then just maybe tennis could help along with the exercises given by the optician.  I’ve always believed that anyone can play tennis and this is just one example.

See you on court!!!

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Speed not power!


Almost anyone you ask who plays tennis will say they try to hit with power, but in my Tennis Lessons in Paphos, I try to change this perception.

Why? If you listen to tennis commentators, you often hear them talking about players tightening up, especially on the big points.  Think about it.  What’s happening?  They get stressed, they hold the racquet tighter and they try to force the shot.  So, what happens to the flow and shape of the stroke?  It changes. The relaxed, consistent stroke disappears, there’s less spin and bam! The shot goes out or in the net.  This is exactly what happens when you try to add more “power” to a shot and to “muscle” it.  You straighten your arm, grip the racquet tighter and lose the shape of your stroke.

So what can you do?  Change your mindset.  When you want to add power, what do you want the ball to do?  Come on, think for a sec.  Yup.  Make the ball go faster.  So, if you want the ball to go faster, what does it make sense to do?  Make the racquet go faster – accelerate the racquet head speed.

So next time you want to add power to the ball, just think that you want to add speed.  Power can come from the legs.

Let me know how it works for you!

Win a free tennis lesson!


So, I said to keep your eyes out after the video for more developments with this Paphos Tennis Coach.  Now, finally, my new look car is here.  Check out the decals on my car.  IMG_0117

If you go to my Facebook page you can see that I am offering a free tennis lesson to the first person to send in a photo of my car out and about with its decals.  You have 2 weeks – up to 14th March, so get car spotting and make sure you have a camera handy 🙂  Either post the photo on the Tennis Academy Facebook page or email it to http://www.paphostenniscoach.com.  If you can like and share the offer as well, that would be great.IMG_0116

The free lesson will be at one of the venues I teach at in Kato Pafos or Coral Bay.

Good luck!!!

2015 Here we go!


Happy New Year from your local Paphos Tennis Coach!  Hope it brings you everything you wish!2015

This year has started out washing away all of last year, with record rainfall.  So, everything is new and fresh.  That hasn’t stopped our tennis though.  We have been doing most of our lessons indoors out of the cold and rain.  Brrrr!!

Last year I did the Spanish Coaching exams to add to my skillset and qualifications and I will be looking to add to that in 2015.  This year, I will be improving and adding to the lessons.  Some of this is already underway and  I hope you will love it.  Any feedback from you is always welcome so that I can continue to make your experience even better.  Onwards and upwards!

I aslo want to say a big thank you to all my pupils who have worked so hard this year and made huge progress.  Well done!

Please keep your eyes out for more announcements on this site and the Facebook page.

 

Bringing it on!


group 2Group 1So, the Summer Tennis Academy is finished and I’m now on my summer break.  I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who took part and helped to make the summer tennis academy and the mini tournament such a success!  This is one satisfied Pafos Tennis Coach 🙂

So what were the results?

In the 3-4 year olds category, Eleesha won on the assault course and Phanis on the supersonic targets.

In the 5-7 year olds, Sophia won the forehand competition, Harry the rally and Ines tennis game.

The orange ball team was very competitive, with Sophia winning the assault course, Dimitris the Big Ball, Andreas the doubles, Maria the best smash and Vera the best serve.

In the Green ball competition, Vasily won the singles, Olivia taking best serve, Abby best lob, James the best dropshot, Jack the most consistent.  Joel took best backhand and most improved player.

I’d like to congratulate everyone – not just on playing really well and trying really hard, but also for their sportsmanship.  It was a pleasure to see players congratulating each other, cheering each other on and creating an amazing atmosphere.  Thanks guys!

You can see more photos on my Facebook page – follow me on http://www.facebook.com/SachaAppletonTennisAcademy.

See you in September!

Serving it up Spanish Style


No, I’m not talking about Paella! Or Chorizo, although they are both delicious.  I’m talking about Spanish tennis, of which this Pafos Tennis Coach is a huge fan.

Spain is arguably the top Tennis nation in the world, with more players in the Men’s top 10, 50, 100 and 200 than any other country.  This is not a new phenomenon, for years, it has been the same, so they must be doing something right? I knew they used a different system of coaching so, a couple of years ago this Paphos Tennis Coach went to the Juan Carlos Ferrero Tennis Academy in Spain to check this out and I was very impressed (as welll as having a great time being coached individually for 4 hours a day 🙂 ).  I decided I needed to learn this system, so finally this year I did it!rpt logo

I now have my first  RPT (Registro Profesional de Tenis) qualification and intend to continue with all the others.

So now, I will be applying this to my coaching so you can enjoy lessons that utilise the system and skills of the top tennis nation in the world – that can’t be bad 🙂

David beats Goliath every time!


Uh? What’s David and Goliath got to do with Tennis and more importantly Tennis Coaching in Paphos? If you remember it’s a story about a normal guy taking on a giant, a great lesson, but for the purposes of this article, I’m more interested in the weapon he used – a sling.

Whenever you’re coaching, you have to choose carefully the words you use to describe how to hit a ball. You don’t push it, but you also don’t just slap it.  You stay with it for a distance and then it flies off and your racquet continues its arc or follow though.  It’s important for the pupil to be able to visualise what they are aiming for and the closest analogy I can think of is a sling.

With a sling, there are two ends held together and the stone, or other projectile, is held in the centre. It is swung in an arc and at some point the other end is released with the stone being flung out at a target. The sling continues on its arc for a distance afterwards. It is a flowing movement (no pauses in the racquets trajectory and always moving in arc, no linear movement). You certainly don’t push or slap the stone.

If you imagine you’re racquet as the sling and feel your racquet as if it is part of your hand, you can watch the ball coming towards you.  You can imagine the ball pushing your racquet back and then, using the racquet to gather up the ball, fling the ball off in the direction you wish it to go, like a sling, and allow the racquet to continue its path.  By visualising the path of your shot and feeling your racquet make the trajectory, you will hit the ball in a similar way to a sling.  The result?  A smooth stroke that is pretty good.

It’s not something you will read in a book (at least not one I’ve read), but I’ve tried it out and my opponents have commented on how good my swing was and, most importantly, my consistency improve.  So, try it out and let me know what you think 🙂

Ever had a YouTube moment?


Ever wished you’d had your camera on and filming? Well this Paphos Tennis Coach did on Friday night. As I’m sure you are aware, tennis courts in Cyprus are always added with little or no thought.  Losing tennis balls is a perpetual problem because the courts are surrounded by a forest or the surrounding area is inaccessible.  And don’t begin to talk about noisy generators, or the flowery aroma of grey water used in irriagation.

So, back to Friday. I was coaching a beginner at the Alexander the Great Hotel, which is a great court, just in the middle of town.  The court faces out to the sea one way and in the other is the fence, a bus stop and a busy tourist road. So, my pupil hit a wonderful ball that went sailing over the fence. I just had time to shout out “watch out!” before the ball landed in the middle of a pile of tourists getting on a bus. The ball bounced once and flew into the bus straight into the hands of a passenger. he froze for a second, the doors started to close and then just as I thought there was not enough of a gap for a ball to get through, the passenger threw it back perfectly, out of the doors of the bus and straight over the fence on the court to me!

If that wasn’t a YouTube moment then I don’t know what is! If only I had been filming 😉

Finding your Zen


Not the right word for you? Ok, but don’t underestimate the importance of relaxation on the tennis court.  This Paphos Tennis Coach is not good at meditation, but has learned the value of relaxing when playing tennis.  Doing it 100% of the time is a work in progress.

Why do you need to relax?  Well if you’re going to get into “the zone” and flow then you need to be relaxed.  Believe me, if you have ever played in “the zone” you’ll be desperate to do so again. To do so, y

English: Tennis ball

English: Tennis ball (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

our world needs to narrow down to the tennis ball, everything else, apart from the feel of your racquet, needs to disappear.  Then it doesn’t matter what noises are around you, whether you are playing in a match, or whether there is wind.  Your body will automatically adjust.  Am I a master at this?  No, but I am getting better at it and by having done it myself, I’m better able to teach others to do it as well.

Also, as I have demonstrated to many of my pupils, if you relax your whole playing arm, your stroke is smoother.  As soon as you tighten up and try to force it, the whole shape of your hitting action changes and your shots get worse.  Ever hear a commentator say,  that a professional tennis player has tightened up at a crucial point? They’ve done exactly that and spoilt their shots.

So how do you find your zen? Everyone is slightly different, but it’s all about being focused and breathing.  You might want to read the Inner Game of Tennis which I have found invaluable. I use a blend of various techniques. If you find it very hard to switch off, then and you may want to consider learning to meditate 😉

Are Professional Tennis Players Pushing Their Bodies Too Far?


Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it just me (a Paphos Tennis Coach) or are there more injuries this year on the professional tennis tour?  The latest, Andy Murray, is just recovering from back surgery.  Nadal has just returned from injury with a phenomenal impact.  But, this year in grand slams and tour events for men and women alike it seems like there are more withdrawals than ever due to injury.

Some may preventative because the tennis calendar is brutal, but some could be that professional players are reaching their limits.  When Djokovic had his phenomenal year, he broke new boundaries in fitness, speed and results.  He was the man to beat.  Since then it seems that all the players have worked phenomenally hard to bring themselves up to that standard.  Some have tried the famous gluten free diet, but all have improved their fitness.  Just look at the players next time you watch a match.  They have lost weight, they have more defined muscles and performance is amazing.  But, all of this comes at cost.  If you push your body like that through all the gruelling rounds of a tournament where the competition is fierce whoever you’re playing and if you do this almost 50 weeks of the year without many pauses then your body may just fail.  Of course, players do everything to try to prevent injuries, but it is inevitable.  The only player who has been virtually injury free is Roger Federer.

So what do you think?  Have players reached their limits in terms of what their body can do?  Should the tennis year be shorter?

The lesson though for us amateur players though is that we do need to be careful with our own bodies as well.  We’re not pushing them to the limits of the pros, but at the same time, we should warm up properly and do training specifically to minimise risk of injury.