Showing posts with label Thai Tennis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thai Tennis. Show all posts

Sunday, April 5, 2020


Strategy is the most neglected part of a player’s development, and yet with the correct strategy any opponent can be beaten 

In my opinion, Strategy is the “next Frontier” of tennis. Most of the competitive players I see today are technically very good and are physically in great shape but few are playing their matches with any real understanding of Strategy. 

Here are three super-effective ways for you to add some basic strategy to help boost your game almost immediately.

1. Hit Crosscourt

There is a saying in boxing that “The Jab is everything, everything comes from the Jab”. Every fighter is trained to establish the Jab during the fight because once a fighter can dominate with their Jab, they dominate the fight. 

Why? Because the boxing Jab establishes the distance between the two fighters allowing one fighter to dictate whether the fight is conducted at close quarters or further apart.

The Jab is also the “stepping stone” for other punches. Fighters throw the Jab out and look to follow-up that Jab with another more telling punch such as a Hook or an Upper-cut.

In tennis, the equivalent to the boxing Jab is the Cross-court (forehand and backhand). Here are the reasons why the tennis Cross-court can be so helpful to you in matches:

– The Cross-court shot in tennis puts your opponent under more pressure because it’s always moving away from them. If you’re Cross-Court game is strong enough your opponent will eventually drop a ball through the middle of the court and short. That’s your chance to attack with a forehand or to come forward to the net!

If you are in trouble during the rally the best direction to defend is Cross-Court. There’s more court to defend to when you hit to the far corner, but even more importantly you have given your opponent the toughest option on their next ball, a down-the-line shot. Although they can still hit the ball back cross-court, you probably haven’t recovered your position yet after the previous shot, so hitting down-the-line is their best option. For your opponent, changing direction down-the-line is a tougher shot to play.

If your game can be based around a strong Cross-Court foundation you become a much more difficult opponent to beat.

2. Give Your Opponents What They Dislike

It sounds obvious but why wouldn’t you give your opponent the type of balls they don’t like, and as often as possible?

The problem with most players, however, is that they are unable to analyze their opponents well enough to really know for sure their opponents’ likes and dislikes. Here’s how to analyze at your opponent better.

If you’ve played your opponent before or have seen them play matches before then you have some idea of their preferences. If you’ve never seen your next opponent before then you will need to focus hard during the 5 minutes of the warm-up. The 5 minutes of the warm-up tend to show you everything you will need to know about their preferences and dislikes.

Of course, you should be still trying to “read” your opponent as the match is in progress and make adjustments to your plan when you see anything that may help. Here’s what you are looking for:

High or Low: Does your opponent prefer to play their strokes off a high or low bouncing ball?

Fast or Slow: What speed do they prefer the ball to come to them? Which option do they make timing errors off?

Wide or Tight: Does your opponent prefer to play their strokes while moving wide in the court or do they prefer to hit balls that are "tight” and into the body?

Up or Back: Some players prefer to play up at the net while others prefer staying back at the baseline. What does your opponent prefer?
Whether you’re scouting an opponent during an early-round match, trying to get an understanding of their game during the warm-up or analyzing them while the match is in progress , look for two things, What type of ball are the mistakes coming from and what balls do they play really well? Whatever they dislike, give them more of and whatever they like avoid giving them that ball.
“Avoid what is strong and attack what is weak”
– Tsun Tzu

3. Be Aware of Your Feet & The Height of the Ball

Making the correct decisions during the point is critical to you being successful. This is called your shot selection. The essence of good shot selection is about you deciding the best, most effective ways to play each ball. Whether you defend the point or attack the point at the correct times will make you a much better player. Whether you must go into Offensive mode or Defensive mode can be decided by becoming aware of two factors:
The position of your feet when you hit the ball. Any time you hit the ball with your feet positioned inside the baseline you’re in an Offensive situation. Attack the point! If your feet are behind the baseline when you contact the ball you’re on defense. Nothing silly!
The height of the ball when you make contact. Picture an imaginary line running parallel from the top of the net (the white band), all the way across your side of the court. Any ball struck above that imaginary line is an offensive ball, while any ball struck below the imaginary line is a defensive ball.
These two simple “rules” provide you with a shot selection template. They will ensure that you are not making shot selection mistakes and trying to hit the wrong shot at the wrong time.
With these 3 simple strategies, your games will become stronger immediately, but more importantly, you will now be dictating the rally, reading your opponent better and making all the right decisions in matches

Thursday, December 12, 2019


As a tennis coach there can be few experiences that equal sitting in the court as a Davis Cup Captain. You’re an integral part of the drama and at the core of the excitement. The fact is that you are communicating directly with your player at each changeover and therefore actively participating in the match.

The conditions we experienced in the different countries we visited varied greatly. We were drawn to play Kuwait in an early round of the 1990 Competition during the time of Ramadan, a month of fasting for Muslims around the world.  During the daylight hours you are expected to abstain from drinking and eating which would have been fine if we didn’t have to play the best of five sets in the hot desert sun.

The tie was broadcast locally live on TV and during the changeovers the camera would discreetly pan away from the players and into the crowd, allowing players from both countries to drink water!

The timing of our return home from that fixture against Kuwait was fortunately two weeks before Kuwait was invaded by neighboring Iraq, or we may have been trapped there during the hostilities.

In Iran one year the Thai Davis Cup team was jogging around the tennis complex warming-up before a practice session when a horrified groundsman came running up to us to ask us to cover our legs.  It seems it was improper for men to display their legs in public, even while playing sport.

On that same trip we were shown a far hill near the tennis complex with seating for about 6 people, This was the seating used by women to watch the tennis.  It was at least 200 meters up the hill and I guess had something to do with men’s bare legs again!

Crowds play a big part in Davis Cup ties, none more so than in our tie against Sri Lanka, also in 1990, when I was lucky to get off the court in one piece.

During the weekend of that tie there were 14 over-rules from the local umpire, all going against Thailand! On each overrule I got out of my seat to protest to the neutral ITF referee.  Sometimes my protest was brief but many times a full dispute developed.

In the middle of one particularly heated dispute, with the Sri Lankan crowd chanting obscenities at me, I happened to look up at the Thai section in the crowd and caught the eye of the President of the Thai Tennis Association, Khun Varin Pulsiriwong.  He gave me a sheepish grin and a look of “I’m glad you’re out there and not me”!

Having an input in the eventual result of some matches was thrilling; it was like captain and player competing as a duo.  I would use my tactical knowledge and the players would use their physical and technical skills.

Danai Udomchoke was playing an Iranian in Teheran during the opening singles match several years ago.  The local player was built like a bull, huge legs and incredible power in his shots.  Danai on the other-hand could have been mistaken for one of the ball boys!  (despite his small stature Danai was later to reach #77 on the ATP world rankings and was a great player).

I guess the Iranian crowd saw Danai enter the court and could smell victory, after-all their Thai opponent was so small and they were playing on home ground. The Iranian player had a large group of friends in attendance to witness what would be a comprehensive victory.

The first 2 games went by real fast with the Iranian blasting winners left and right.  Danai looked over at me wondering how to stem the flow of winners.  It also didn’t help that on every winner from the Iranian his friends would bang the tin fence surrounding the centre court in approval. The place was going nuts!

What I did next changed the match almost immediately.  At the next changeover I stood up from my courtside chair and applauded the Iranian as he came to sit down.  This guy was playing the match of his life, in Davis Cup competition and with his friends and family watching on from the stands.  He was literally playing on rocket fuel and now the opposition Captain was acknowledging his superiority! 

When the players returned to the court the Iranian began attacking the first point again, only this time his half-court forehand winner completely missed the court, hitting the back fence with a loud bang.  

On the next point he hit a backhand passing shot into the bottom of the net.  The tide had turned and Danai stormed back to win the match easily.  For the rest of the match the friends who had been so supportive in the beginning stopped banging the tin fence and fell silent.  The Iranians winners had dried up. 

Overall, I Captained Thailand 13 times in Davis Cup Competition.  I also Captained Thailand in Federation Cup, Asian Games and South East Asian Games competitions.  But it was the Davis Cup which was special to me and from where many of my best memories come from.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


LET'S BE CLEAR from the start, you need both options! Both open and closed stances have their advantages and disadvantages.
Here’s when it’s best to hit an open stance ground stroke and why…

1.  Better for higher balls because you can generate more power and maintain balance

2. Can help disguise your intentions on certain balls

3. Easier to recover from wide outside the court and return to the centre of the court

4. Helps maintain contact in front on deep and fast balls (returns)

5. Better peripheral vision 

When you select to play a closed stance ground stroke factors to consider are…

1.  Easier to play approach shots that are short and low

2. Helps to disguish mid-court forehand finish

3. Better suited to a later contact point

4. Preferred option on shorter balls through the middle

Nearly every ground stroke or return of serve you play can be hit with either an open or closed stance. It’s up to you to decide which option is appropriate for each ball.

Go ahead and experiment with both open and closed options and if you are weak on either of the two options take lessons from an experienced teaching pro so that you become more proficient. 

Monday, May 27, 2019


With the French Open starting this week there is plenty for us to pick up while watching the matches that will help us improve our own game.

One technique you will see a lot on the clay at Roland Garros over the next two weeks is “THE LONG LAST STEP”. It’s a technique used by the top  players to help with coordination, timing and balance as they move around the court to hit the ball.

1.           Momentum

When you run to hit a ball momentum is created. As you reach the ball that momentum has to be disciplined as you attempt to hit the ball

Because of the momentum of your body, this last step has to be longer than the other steps you used to reach the ball. 

2.          Balance

When you create a “Long LAST Step” you are trying to place a foot in a position that will support your momentum and balance you while you hit the shot.

This foot is called the contact foot and it needs to be wide…

3.          Line

What the best players do now is coordinate a Line from their head over top of their contact foot at the moment of contact.

This will give you perfect balance as you hit the ball which translates into consistent ground strokes.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


The top players have few weaknesses in their games, and as I have said many times to reach the top it's really important you work on eliminating any weaknesses you may have.

Weaknesses in your game eat away at your confidence and usually are worse when you are under the most pressure and occur at the most unwelcome times.

The big picture when developing players for the future should also include working on strengths. 

Young players should be well rounded and be equally skilled in dealing with defensive and offensive situations.

Here are my 4 top choices when developing the offensive game of a young player:


Owning a great serve is a huge asset in tennis. If you can hold serve or even put your opponent on the defensive at the start of each point you will win a large percentage of your service games.



Dominate the crosscourt exchange and you dominate the rally because you are constantly forcing your opponent to change out of the crosscourt exchange (to alleviate the pressure) and hit down-the-line. 



It’s not always possible to get every return back in court. But if you own a great return of serve you put a lot of pressure on the server to come up with something extra, either with their serve or during the rally. A consistent return of serve puts pressure on the server!



Having a big forehand allows you to finish the point whenever your opponent makes a mistake and allows you to step inside the baseline to attack.

Players today are involved in longer rallies and if you are given the chance to attack you must take that opportunity immediately. That’s the first step… recognizing the when you can attack.

The second step is to take advantage and use your big forehand as a weapon to finish the point.

Your opponent must fear your forehand and know that any mistake they make will be punished.


Monday, May 20, 2019


The 3 most important words a player must remember are preparation, preparation and preparation.

Thorough preparation means that you are ready for whatever your opponent throws at you. It means that you will enter the match in the knowledge that you are ready.

But what form should your preparation take? How should you structure your preparation in the days, weeks and months before your matches?

There is an amazing quote from the ancient Chinese war lord Sun Tzu…


What Sun Tzu is saying in this quote is that you as a player or even as a coach need to work on the two opposites of Offense and Defense.  All too often players work on their offense. They train to increase the speed of their ball, the power of their forehand and the effectiveness of their serve.

Sun Tzu is saying that you must have weapons with which to attack your opponent. But he's also saying that you need to have the ability to defend equally as well also,

To better structure your practice sessions around developing both your offense and defense read the article on THE DNO THEORY by clicking on the link…

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


There’s no doubt that we are experiencing a GENERATION WAR IN TENNIS AT THE MOMENT .

The old guard of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are under threat from the new guard consisting of Thiem, Zverev, Tsitsipas and Shapovalov

Recent results in the lead up to the French Open have seen the new guard matching and even beating the old guard in each tournament

Most surprising during this time has been the declining form of Rafael Nadal. The former “King of Clay” has not been able to win any of the tournaments during this early part of the European clay court season. His chances of winning the French Open this year look bleak.

Federer can be excused for not winning any of the lead up tournaments but he has shown us his game is good enough to beat anyone on the day and at this stage of his career he’s probably quietly saving his best effort for the grand slam.

Djokovic is the pick of the old guard to go all the way at the French. He’s a proven winner on clay and has this incredible ability to lift his form at the most important times. Djokovic is the ultimate competitor

Within the younger brigade I pick Dominic Thiem to do well at the French. But I really fancy Tsitsipas to do the best of the younger brigade long-term.

Tsitsipas has much more potential than the other younger brigade to development further, especially physically.  I expect to see him surge in the rankings over the next few months so long as his temperament keeps him focused throughout that time.

Zverev has been a disappointment to me. If he was going to become the next dominant force in tennis he would have done it by now. This “hesitation” in his career is not a good sign.

The New Guard have knocked the door down. They are showing no respect for reputations.It’s been a long time since the French Open has been this unpredictable. But the battle between the old and the new guard is even more interesting than who eventually wins the title.

“Cometh the hour, Cometh the Man”

Thursday, May 9, 2019



You need the ability to shift your awareness around as you play. Each shot requires a slightly different focus, no stroke is the same.

Here are some of the main areas you need to send your awareness to as you play a match. Some of the areas I mention may surprise you. Tennis is not just about awareness of the ball and your opponent… there’s much more to tennis than that!

1.   Court Awareness

Because you are playing the ball from different places within the court you need to shift your awareness to where you are standing sometimes.

This is even more important when you are in less familiar territory such as very deep off the baseline or very wide on either side of the court.

When you are made to play from these “special” positions on the court, shifting your awareness to where you are standing will help you factor in the height of the net, the distance to the baseline and the type of spin required.

2.  Ball Awareness

The ball tells you everything. It tells you when to move back (for deep balls), when to move forward (short balls) and the timing you will need to adjust to (slow or fast ball)

Therefore, an awareness of the ball is critical to playing well

3.  Opponent Awareness

Opponent awareness covers both where you should hit the ball (hopefully where your opponent is not!) and the type of ball you should hit to your opponent (tactical)

Far too many players are concerned only with what THEY are doing. Developing opponent awareness will take your game to the next level.

4.  Racquetface Awareness

If I was only allowed to give just one tip to a player it would be… develop your awareness of your racquet head.

The racquet head is the surface the ball takes its instructions from. If a player has no feel or control of  their racquet head they will never reach a higher level

Great awareness of your racquet head is more important than footwork!

5.  Self-Awareness

To play well you must be constantly monitoring yourself.

Awareness of your technique, confidence levels, fitness levels and the type of strategy you are using are all important during a match