Here at MyTennisLessons headquarters all of us have varying degrees of tennis playing experience. Some of us have played at the highest level of collegiate tennis while others, such as myself, have played only recreationally. Well I figured it was about time I took advantage of this service that I take for granted now and take my first private tennis lesson. Well technically, it was a semi-private tennis lessons because Janet, of MTL Blog fame, decided to come along with me.
Janet formerly played competitively in Germany for a club team and has some serious ball striking skills. Though I’m a self taught player I’ve always had the ability to hold a rally even if my technique was never the most fundamentally sound. For me it was interesting to be on the other side of things and enjoyed the process of choosing an instructor and taking my first lessons. Janet and I thought it would be important to talk through our tennis lesson experience, but to also share how this experience was unique to us.
John: It seems such a long time ago that we made the decision to take lessons huh Janet. It was odd to go through the process exactly as a customer would. Just like any MTL customer I typed “Austin” into the search bar on the homepage and perused through the instructors. I think Wyatt jumped out right away because he’d played in college, was close in age, and the fact that he highlighted “Cardiovascular conditioning, footwork”. Even if I wasn’t too thrilled thinking about sucking wind during “cardiovascular conditioning” drills, I knew it would be for the best. Do you recall what your mindset was Janet as we went through the process?
Janet: So looong ago, but – honestly – I am glad we made it happen and are takíng some tennis lessons now. I was all over it when we actually sat down to choose an instructor who would be responsible for our future performances, haha. I haven’t taken lessons in a while, and I have never chosen an instructor through a service like ours (back at home I have a constant coach), what made it even more exciting for me. But looking back at our first lesson with Wyatt, I think, we made a pretty good choice in who we chose as our instructor, don’t you think, John?
John: For sure. I think for us it was key that we worked with an instructor that was going to work us on the court but was super personable and approachable. I think we definitely found that with Wyatt. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the last 6 hours if our instructor was 100% serious. Besides the fact that he “gets us” he certainly was able to make some simple, but decidedly key tweaks to my technique that made a big impact. You do remember my backhand 2 months ago, right? Yikes.
Janet: I certainly do, and I have to say it really got a lot better. It’s your secret weapon now! 😉 Seriously, I really need a coach that pushes me sometimes, you know? You might have noticed a few times that I need a last kick to get me going. The lessons definitely have been what I wanted them to be. I am always open to improve my technique and I can’t have enough advice concerning my technique, but also I am looking to get more consistent and be able to play a 20 or more hit long rally. The last lessons we really worked on this, and I am quite surprised how well we performed those drills, especially after a couple of tries. 🙂
John: I’d say you’re right, in that an aspect of the game easily overlooked is stamina. Not just the ability to play for eight hours but to bounce back the next point after a 20 shot rally. I think a key for me has been to focus on keeping my strokes solid and consistent even after an hour of intense drills. I think, especially recently, Wyatt has done a great job incorporating more live ball drills that help refine my stroke but do so even after running down 30 straight balls. Since we agree that we have enjoyed the live ball constant action of the lessons is there anything you’d like to do differently for lessons going forward?
Janet: I think, since we’ve been doing those live ball drills for a while now, I really want to go back and focus a little bit more on my backhand. I definitely feel better about it now playing rallies and games, but it’s still not 100% and I’d like it to be (who doesn’t want to have a solid backhand?! 😉 ). How do you feel about the fitness aspect? E.g. do you want to have more drills that actually improve your footwork or endurance included in future lessons?
John: Do I want to? No. Should we? Yup. That’s another reason I need a coach because I’m not going to say no to him. We’re literally paying Wyatt to kick our butts for 20 mins of our lesson and I’m okay with that. Interesting thought here. Do you think footwork naturally comes with better fitness or does it have to be thoroughly explained during each lesson by the instructor?
Janet: Well, overall fitness definitely has an impact on your footwork, how you move on the court and flexible you are. But I believe that there are certain drills that directly work on your footwork, because you are constantly moving on a high level. Since I really need to improve my movements on court, I am very excited for the upcoming lessons. Can’t wait to see you joining me on those drills :-).
John: Now that we’ve talked our lessons through, it’s just a matter of articulating this to our instructor going forward. In many instances the instructor knows best but I like that we have a large say in what we work on. Hopefully the next few weeks are as successful as the first few.