I often hear certain people referred to by others as being “natural tennis players”. It is as if anyone who plays well was just born to play tennis.
Associated with these concepts is the common belief that good players were born good or at least at some stage they automatically became good.
Firstly noone is a “natural tennis player”. Highly skilled players are invariably naturally talented athletes who if brought up in a different sporting environment would almost certainly enjoy a high level of success in that particular sport. Naturally talented athletes would logically have the potential to excel in a wide range of physical activities. I have a strong belief that if even the very best players eg Lleyton Hewitt were not introduced to tennis, then of course they would not even play the game let alone excel at it.
In Lleyton’s case I am sure he would be capable of achieving a high degree of success in a number of other sports eg football & golf.
With reference to the “natural tennis player” there is no such person – anyone who plays the game well has achieved that situation by endeavour – thousands of hours of hard work. The combination of natural athletic ability, opportunity & a passion for the game leads to success. Some people have similar theories related to certain sections of the game. For example, some players are described as “natural volleyers” – again a misconception – there is no such player, only those that don’t volley well & those that do (very few I might add) & all of these develop skills in the area by sheer hard work.
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South Australian Peter Smith has 40 years experience as a Teaching Professional. Twice voted Australian Tennis Coach of the year, Peter is most widely known as the long term coach of Lleyton Hewitt. He has, however, worked with a long list of other players including former World Number 1 Doubles player and current Australian Davis Cup Captain John Fitzgerald who says, “There is a great argument to say that Peter Smith has had more influence than any coach in Australia in the past two decades in terms of producing world class players”.
Peter is the Head Coach of the Peter Smith Tennis Academy in Adelaide, South Australia
Peter has recently released an instructional DVD “The Development Stage” (also available to download in individual sections or as a complete set) – details can be found at www.virtualtenniscoach.com. This website also contains FREE 10 day coaching course and interviews with a selection of Peter’s former pupils.