The Road to High Performance

and the immense effort and focused practice it takes.


Letís take a close look at what it takes for a child to achieve high performance. In order to set the bar at a realistic level, I am going to consider getting your child to a point where they either turn pro by age 16 or are offered a full scholarship at a Division I university in the US by age 18. In my opinion being a top flight college recruit and being a professional player takes the same sort of preparation – choosing one or the other is merely a lifestyle and financial choice that only parents can make.

High performance is a level of play that your child attains after years of focused practice. I dedicated my entire life to helping juniors get to that state and the aim of the BIG FOREHAND FORMULA is to help parents make the kind of sustained difference in their childís game that no one esle else can provide.

Opportunities to help your childís tennis are everywhere. The problem is that they donít announce themselves or tap you on the shoulder, they drift by almost imperceptibly much like whispers in the wind. If you are not primed to seize them, they will pass you by. If you donít have your antenna hyper attuned, you are going to miss them.

Most juniors donít get any career changing opportunities. Only the lucky few who happen to have a special parent inquisitive enough to dig for a better way to help their tennis will raise out of mediocrity and reach their true potential.

As outlined on the previous pages, having the right coach and being part of the right high performance junior program is crucial in a childís development, yet in my opinion the influence that parents have on their children is of equal if not greater importance. My goal is to educate parents in administering the most effective practice methods aimed at helping their child reach the desired high performance level. As one may imagine, there are a lot of ways to skin a cat and within this guide I am going to touch on the way I see as most effective.

To get to the bottom of it – it takes years of concentrated practice to put a child in a position to turn pro at 16 or be offered a full ride at 18. How many years? At least 10 years and at least 10,000 hours of focused practice. A great book on this subject is Malcolm Gladwell's: Outliers. In order to give your child a fair chance, you must start them at age 5 or 6 and have them play once or twice a week. By the age of 8 they need to be playing about 3 times a week, by age 9 they should be playing 5 times a week 2 hours a day. Another great book is Andre Agassiís autobiography: Open that describes him hitting 2,500 balls a day. That amount of balls is not something out of the ordinary for a high performance player, however I suggest that you as a parent find another way to motivate your child other than feeding them Ďspeedí as Agassiís father did.

Charting the game plan to your childís tennis development is a tricky task. Selling your child on your vision for their game is a pretty hairy proposition as well. Read on to find out what I believe it takes to navigate these delicate topics.