A Chance Meeting? Now a Book.

 

I believe in the magic of books. I believe that during certain periods in our lives we are drawn to particular books–whether it’s strolling down the aisles of a bookshop with no idea whatsoever of what it is that we want to read and suddenly finding the most perfect, most wonderfully suitable book staring us right in the face. Unblinking. Or a chance meeting with a stranger or friend who recommends a book we would never ordinarily reach for. Books have the ability to find their own way into our lives. ~ Cecelia Ahern

The Preface to 7 On Court Strategies

The writing of any book usually has a great story about how it was created. As for my part in helping with this book, it began innocently in what seemed like a passing meeting with someone I thought I would probably never see again.

Styrling and I met at a backyard barbecue, at the end of the summer 2013, one in which I worked many hours to execute a career change away from full time tennis. He had traveled from North Carolina to come observe Master Tennis Professional Ken DeHart who is located nearby. It was coincidence, fate, destiny or a hidden hand that brought us together. We hit it off with a very intense discussion of how to address cheating in junior tennis and, by the end of the conversation, Styrling said, “I think there is going to be a collaboration, a meeting of the minds, east coast meets west coast!” I was not thinking the same way mostly because I did not know if I would continue to be involved in tennis much longer. Now look where we are!

All Things Become New

After taking a different approach to tennis, I began working on my first book. Styrling was very encouraging about that project and was one of the early readers. We furthered our friendship and understanding as like-minded coaches through various Tennis Coach discussion groups. By 2015 we independently developed a similar idea to create a new organization featuring a new training method and certification. It was Styrling who created the brand USATennisCoach. Once we put this together, it was as Styrling prophesied at the barbecue. It didn’t take long for us to come up with a clear vision, mission, and objectives for what we want to do. Styrling’s book fits perfectly into that vision.

The Birth and Blossom

USATennisCoach, LLC was formed in December 2015, and has certified its first tennis coaches beginning in April 2017.

I have used the principals in this book. Initially I did not know what to expect from using the strategy of ‘ball/player’, but I thought it would be important to expose my students to it because I believe in getting out of my comfort zone. It’s important for me to model myself as a conduit of information, and facilitator of decision making by the player rather than a dogmatic automation that teaches a cookie cutter system. I was amazed at the strong positive feedback that players gave in response to taking the challenge of tracking movement that way. I had already been using ‘one ball’, but ‘1-2 Reset’ was new to me. Again, my players were helped by managing their shots and more empowered to think in two shot combinations. ‘1-2 Reset’ can be a great way to open the door to tactical play. I was amazed at how excited some of my low intermediate players were as they learned to run, cage and reverse their opponents. When they realized they could intentionally capitalize on a shot that they hadn’t intentionally hit, their understanding of what was happening on the court improved dramatically. How many players are able to spontaneously plan the next shot immediately after they have accidentally hit a shot that creates an opportunity? What is most refreshing is Styrling’s new frame on nuanced information that is a great contribution to the art of coaching tennis.

Bill Patton
Author The Art of Coaching High School Tennis
Executive Director – USATennisCoach, LLC
USATenniscoach@gmail.com

 

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