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Updated: 32 min 35 sec ago

Quote of the day

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 15:32

'Never make perfect the enemy of good' -  Environment Secretary Michael Gove was recently heard using this expression.

A lot of things we do are 'good'.  Striving to be perfect in the things we do should not be at the cost of already being 'good' in those areas.

A little akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Yes, let's strive for CANI (constant and never-ending improvement) but searching for or comparing everything to a utopia can can carry a cost.

P.S - This is a non-political post.   A friend advised me of the quote (thank you for this!) and it was one I appreciated beyond the realms of Brexit!

Technique? It depends....

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 12:41

As we know, the technique we employ on any given shot depends


 on a range of factors such as:

- Opponent's court positon

- Our court position

- Ball we are receiving (level of difficulty - easy, medium, tough)

- Our shot intention (defend, rally, attack), and how to choose to do so.

Score, environment and court surface may even come into it.

See here a great example of Everyballer Amelie Brooks transitioning onto an 'easy' slower ball from a mid-court court position to play an attacking forehand volley into space.  Great example of good footwork, loading on right foot then then transferring through onto left foot through contact (note left foot lands after contact) to ensure weight has been transferred and Amelie is now in a great net position should ball come back.  This volley would be in contrast to her receiving pace, when already at net and defending.

Nice skills in this situation Amelie.

Does your environment speak to girls and boys equally?

Sat, 09/15/2018 - 11:22

So asked Jo Ward, former British number 1 in a presentation at Loughborough University to LTA Senior Performance Coach candidates (our own Ed Taylor being one!) earlier this week.

A great question which I've been reflecting on back at base as I walk around the club, browse our websites/social media etc.  This morning was delighted to answer this with an emphatic 'yes' within our Saturday morning mini tennis programme where we have a fantastic crew of 5-6 teenage girls faithfully helping with our coaching each week.  Great role models for our mini tennis girls showing how being feminine and being athletic go hand in hand as much as being masculine and athletic.

Thanks to all our coaches and helpers for a great start to term this week!  Club was buzzing this morning!

Levels of 'predictability' - how are your patterns of play?

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 07:26

1.  Your patterns of play, especially in setting up, executing and following up strengths, are predictable but you execute so well that you maintain control over your opponent (and/or your opponent is weaker so it doesn't matter)

2.  Your patterns are predictable and you execute poorly giving up control to your opponent

3.  Your patterns are so unpredictable you make a high count of un-forced errors, lack basic discipline but revel in 'shot making' even if it doesn't win you the match!

4.  You vary your patterns (up to 30% of the time), maintaining discipline in your shot selection but doing enough to ensure opponent has a degree of uncertainty making your 'go to's' even more effective.

Quote of the day

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 08:56

'On any long journey, detours can be expected' - unknown.

Especially when the destination is not a physical place but a dream of a moment in time, an idea/concept or vision of what could be.

Once you're 'there' it's so easy to look back to see how you got there, but the journey itself is full or stops, detours, and re-routes in which the learning takes place to inform us of our next steps.  (This, by the way, is called 'generative learning' meaning that the learner is generating the answer rather than recalling it.  Generation is another name for old-fashioned trial and error - 'Make it Stick' - Brown, Roediger, McDaniel).

Leap before you look because if you look first your probably won't like what you see

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 07:27

Does the risk of knowing what you're getting into sometimes become an overwhelming obstacle to getting started?

"Ah, no, I can't do that because......' and list all your reasons, some real and some made up.

Sometimes, you just gotta leap.

Decision making hierarchy of needs

Sat, 09/08/2018 - 09:05

1.  Player makes the same decision too often (in a particular game situation) which leads them to become predictable.

2.  Player makes low percentage decisions too often which leads to developing a 'shot making' mentality and many errors.

3.  Player is slow at making decisions or even has indecision which leads them to being rushed.

What would be your greatest decision making development need as a player, bearing in mind that it's been said we make 700+ decisions a match!

Real Madrid seem to be doing very well without super-chicken Ronaldo

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 07:35

Real Madrid have got off to a great start this season, and listening to a Gabriele Marcotti interview on the radio yesterday, I couldn't help but think that the constant need to feed super-chicken Ronaldo took away from the performance of the potentially highly productive and capable normal chickens (well, bit more than normal but you get my drift) - Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema as examples who now appear to be flying in a very non-normal chicken way.

Anyway, for a great TED talk on chickens by Margaret Heffernen, 'Why it's time to forget the pecking order at work' visit

Everyballers make waves at County Closed Championships 2018 (Bucks, Beds, Middlesex, Herts)

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 18:26

Congrats to the following Everyballers (and their individual coaches at home clubs where shown as such) who finished their respective County Closed 2018 events as either Champions or Runners-up on Saturday 1st September, 2018!

Superb job all and a pretty impressive list! (I think I've got everybody - apologies in advance if not!!)


8U Girls Singles - Myah Chang Harper (RU)

9U Girls Singles - Maisie Seedel (W, current access player to Everyball & coached at Gerrards Cross) and Taylor Cooper (RU)

10U Boys Singles - Ashton Taank (W) and Charlie Harvey (RU, current access player to Everyball & coached at Milton Keynes Tennis Club)

10U Girls Singles - Robyn Went (W, current access player to Everyball & coached at Beaconsfield)

12U Boys Singles - Joshua Oakley (W) and Ethan Taank (RU)

14U Boys Singles - Joshua Oakley (W) and Calum Fairey (RU)

14U Girls Singles  - Millie Day (W) and Bethan Miles (RU)

16U Boys Singles - Calum Fairey (W) and Oliver Mccay-Brown (RU)

16&U Girls Singles - Millie Day (W) and Sofia Wise (RU)

18&U Boys Singles - Joel Good (W) and Miles Groom (RU)

Open Mens Singles - Oscar Glenister (W) and Miles Groom (RU)

10U Boys Doubles - Joseph Mccay-Brown and Ashton Taank (W) - pictured below

12U Boys Doubles - Ashton Taank and Ethan Taank (RU)

14U Boys Doubles - DJ Mentiply & Joshua Oakley (W) and Calum Fairey & Thomas Creighton (RU)

14&U Girls Doubles - Natalie Bell & Bethan Miles (W) and Millie Day & Helena Ullyatt (RU)

18U Boys Doubles - Joel Good & Dylan Smith (W) and Daniel Mccay-Brown & Aidan Varela (RU)

18U Girls Doubles - Millie Day & Sofia Wise (W) and Natalie Bell & Bethan Miles (RU)


14U Boys Singles - Finn Lester (RU)

14U Boys Doubles - Finn Lester & Ezra Annafi (RU)


12U Girls Singles - Amelie Brooks (W)

12U Girls Doubles - Amelie Brooks & Anjali Kotecha (W)

Open Mixed Doubles - Scarlett Hutchinson & Aarron Lee (W)


18U Girls Singles - Emily Ineson (RU)

Passion a key ingredient to 'grit'

Wed, 08/29/2018 - 16:48

Angela Duckworth in her book 'Grit' defines grit as a combination of passion and perseverance. 

On reading this, I initially thought passion seems like a rather strange partner in this equation.  Just because you are passionate about something doesn't automatically make you 'gritty'. 

But reflecting more on my own coaching experience, what I do see again and again is this: athletes with a real passion for their sport tend to invest more of themselves in their development.  They might practice more on their own, they might research youtube for more information/coaching tips, they might actually watch their sport on TV (believe it or not so many young tennis players don't actually watch the sport!!), they might learn about the history of the sport, they might organise their own competitive schedules, pester for more training time, etc. etc.  

In short, through this investment and 'ownership' (becoming the captains of their own ship) they are far more likely to fight for things when the going gets tough (grit) because they have built up a much greater 'cause' to fight for, and therefore their 'will' often exceeds that of their less passionate peers. 

Britain's Katy Dunne shows her 'grit' on Centre Court at Wimbledon this year.

Learning from defeat. Do you really?

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 16:42

Sloane Stevens was recently quoted as saying: 'You win or you learn, but you never lose.'  I like that statement and the message it conveys... but, and I know I'm just playing with words here, we do lose!

Today, Simona Halep was quoted as saying: 'If you learn from defeat, you haven't really lost.'  I like that even more because it's more accurate, in that the 'if' creates a set of conditions that suggest we might not always learn from a defeat.

How do we know if we've learned from defeat?  For me, the proof is in the pudding, meaning that the next time you are in the same situation (and you might have to wait a period of time for this) you do things better, or at least differently.

Learning is exhibited in the 'doing'.  Too many athletes come off a defeat saying they've learned from it and then go and do exactly the same thing next time!  There's a big difference between awareness of what you might have done wrong, and actually going out there and changing habits and/or developing new skills and behaviours and putting those into action in a competitive situation.

Last week, I watched a player compete and lose and our post-match discussion involved some pretty honest feedback that was tough to deliver as the coach and no doubt hard to hear as the athlete.

I watched the same player compete again today and there was no question that things were done differently which led, in this instance and in my own humble opinion, to a comprehensive victory.  That is 'learning'.  Well done that athlete.

Bank holiday Monday quote of the day!

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 09:10

Just heard this on the radio whilst eating my cornflakes:

'Never let any man or woman be the deciding factor in your creativity' - Barry White


Sun, 08/26/2018 - 15:30

'In sum, no matter the domain, the highly successful had a kind of ferocious determination that played out in two ways.  First, these exemplars were unusually resilient and hardworking.  Second, they knew, in a very, very deep way what it was they wanted.  They not only had determination, they had direction.

It was this combination of passion and perseverance that made high achievers special.  In a word, they had grit.'

- Angela Duckworth, GRIT, Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success

As I relate this to my experience of coaching athletes for the past 27 years, the key sentence in this quote is: 'they knew, in a very, very deep way what it was they wanted.'

The key word in this sentence: 'they'.

As in, 'they knew, in a very, very deep way what it was they wanted'.

Personal ownership, personal ambition, personal drive to fuel the energy required to get the work done, to fight hard when things are not going our way, to face challenges that exceed current skills.

Big congratulations to Miles Groom and his partner Louis Maxted - 14&U Doubles National Champions

Fri, 08/24/2018 - 07:17

A huge well done to Everyballer Miles Groom and his partner Louis Maxted who yesterday were crowned 14&U National Doubles Champions.

A super effort by them, and whist receiving a walkover in the final due to injury, the hard work and potentially toughest teams had been beaten in the earlier rounds.

Well done Miles on this, and for your journey to the 1/4 finals in singles.

Good and Groom progress in GB National Championships Main Draws

Wed, 08/22/2018 - 06:49

Miles Groom, seeded 8, has reached the 1/4 finals of the 14&U Boys event at the GB National Championships being held in Nottingham this week with wins over Gregor Webster 5-7 6-2 6-0 and Jack Deveney 6-2 6-3.  He plays fourth seed Oliver Tarvet today.

Joel Good won his first round match in the 16&U Boys event yesterday over Samuel Macleod 6-3 6-4 and plays 5th seed Alex Solonenko today in round of 16.

Great effort boys.

Meanwhile, down in Bournemouth, Milly Day has come through 2 rounds of the consolation event after a first round loss on Monday and faces top seed Tailia Nelson-Gatenby in the semis today who also has come through after losing first round in the main draw.

Best of luck all three in flyiing the Everyball flag today!

Final call - Performance Training Camp this Thursday and Friday at HaltonUK with Mike James & Beth Grey

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 10:11

We have had a great response to the Performance Training Camp for this Thursday and Friday (details below) and are looking forward to a great couple of days!  This is a final call for a few remaining places so do get in touch as soon as possible if you would like to attend!

Download PerformanceTrainingCampAugust2018.docx

Strengths and weapons

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 09:39

Using your strengths is a 3 part process:

1.  Set up your strengths

2.  Execute your strengths

3.  Follow up your strengths

Rarely, if ever, is using your strengths a one shot deal.

Everyball players at GB Junior National Championships this week

Sun, 08/19/2018 - 20:01

Big congratulations on qualification for this years Junior National Championships and the very best of luck to the following competing tomorrow:

12&U Girls - Bournemouth

Millie Day v Skye Bentum-Siripi - Monday 9.30 am

14&U Boys - Nottingham

Miles Groom (8) v Gregor Webster - Monday 10.30 am 

16&U Girls - Nottingham

Sophia Mezzone v Holly Staff (6) 1pm

Boys 16&U - Nottingham

Joel Good v Samuel Macleod - Tuesday 10.00 am

Girls 18&U - Nottingham

Isabelle Marshall (2)  v Camilla Gretchel - Monday 1.30 pm

Sophia Mezzone v Annabel Davis - Tuesday 8.30 am