Make your way around the immaculate hard and clay courts at KDV Sport and you will hear three words ringing out again and again from coaches – “Base Balance Posture”. These 3 words encapsulate the philosophy of Ben Pyne, KDV’s Head Coach of Tennis.
“During my time coaching in the Tennis Australia program, I saw the same 3 traits across all of the best players. They had a wide stance with weight on the balls of their feet, always seemed to stay in balance and had great upright posture. You can see that demonstrated at the highest level; Federer is the ultimate example of a player that has perfected Base, Balance and Posture. Roger has had a phenomenal career, consistently performing at the highest level with so few injuries or physical issues. I think that his mastery of Base Balance Posture is one of the main reasons for that.”
Ben, having developed 49 National Champions, many of whom are now making their way on both the ATP and WTA tours, knows a thing or two about working with emerging tennis athletes. For him, Base Balance Posture is about much more than just winning points:
“Once players get the concept and really ingrain it as an automatic part of their game, you see their hitting technique clean up, they become more mobile around the court and dramatically reduce their risk of injury.”
“Our main objective as a tennis academy is obviously to get the best possible tournament performances from our athletes. However we do not have an ‘at all costs’ approach to this; just as important is the goal of developing tennis players that are injury free, move well and possess great technique. This will help ensure a lifetime of enjoyment in the game, whether or not they end up playing for a living.”
Below is Ben’s breakdown of the three components:
“This is very simple, essentially we look to establish a wide stance, around 2 shoulders width apart. This forms an athletic stance from which we can move in either direction. Two of the key physical attributes that contribute to the ability to do this are leg / hip strength and ankle stability. To help develop these we work closely with our onsite gym staff, headed up by Ryan Gambin.”
“Again we look for a simple yet effective strategy; weight on the balls of the feet along with staying low, ideally maintaining even angles at the ankle, knee and hip in order to achieve this. This means the athlete can move to the ball in the most efficient way and be prepared and in position for the next shot. When base and balance are properly established we see the head staying between the feet and the athlete rarely over balancing or finding themselves out of position.”
“We have recently started working with GravityFit, an Australian company that specialise in the training of posture, spine and joint stability. They have invented several pieces of equipment, 2 of which we use on a regular basis; the TPro and TSensa. These devices give awareness of upper back posture and shoulder blade position whilst providing light resistance to help strengthen the muscles around the shoulder. I find this absolutely key in achieving a solid technique that doesn’t place too much strain on the shoulder, elbow and wrist.
It’s a very effective way of ensuring the athletes are in good posture, which is actually very tricky to coach. So using devices that take care of that feedback is so valuable”.
In summary, Base Balance Posture is absolutely fundamental to the teaching philosophy of the coaches at KDV because once mastered, it helps the athletes to achieve better technique and movement whilst preventing injury.
For more information on KDV Tennis check out www.kdvsport.com/tennis/tennis-academy/
To see how GravityFit are working with tennis coaches and players, take a look at http://gravityfit.com/tennisdrills1/