Let data drive your practice court.
In just under two weeks, GAMEPLAN will be released, providing big data for little players.
Well, we are also looking at big players too! The focus is on the player development pathway, with the analysis including specific metrics for the the following 10 levels for men and women:
- College: lines 5&6
- College: lines 3&4
- College: lines 1&2
- Top 100
- Top 10
Yesterday I sent an email out to everyone who subscribes to my Blog. We identified that MEN through 4 Grand Slams averaged making 61% of their first serves. The question was about boys and girls in Under 14’s. What percentage did they average making?
The secret sauce of GAMEPLAN is two-fold.
- It provides big data to levels of play that have never been analyzed like this before.
- The research identifies just how dynamic data can be. Sometimes it moves around a lot between levels. Very reactive. And sometimes it hardly changes as you move from juniors to college to pro.
Sometimes, tennis is simply tennis. It does not matter if two professional players are competing, or two 14 year olds, or two llamas. The way our sport is structured with a serve, return, and then a rally (if we get that far) sometimes yields very similar results right across the board.
WHAT YOU SAID…
Thanks to the dozens of people who responded to my email yesterday, answering the question about what percentage the Under 14 boys and girls averaged making with their first serve compared to the 61% for professional men.
Here’s a cross section of the replies.
- Rodney – Much higher as they do not take as many risks.
- Stephen – My guess it’s 65 percent. Can’t wait to see.
- Olivia – I think it’s a lot less than 61%. I see it especially with the 16’s and 18’s juniors too.
- Barbara – I think it will be the same.
- David – My guess 43% boys and 46% girls.
- Kris – I’m going to say boys lower, girls higher.
- PB – Boys 58%. Girls 52%.
- Allan – I think the average drops to around 50% for boys and girls.
- Michael – I think it should be pretty much the same, mate.
- Thiago – Just guessing… but I would say the boys is lower, because of technique, and the girls higher, because they don’t go for too much.
- Mitchell – My initial reaction is the girls percentages may be higher. My rationale is the boys may be trying for more and therefore may be taking more chances. I suspect the boys will be lower than the ATP and the girls higher than ATP.
- Paul – Our son (11yo in 2 weeks) is currently playing in an Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) B14s event in Bangkok (ATF is Asia’s version of TennisEurope regional tournaments). He won his R1 match yesterday 3 & 2. I charted his match as usual. After seeing your email I checked his first serve stats – the numbers were: Points on Serve 57. 1st serves in 35 (61.4%). 1st serves won 26 (74.3%). These numbers are pretty much typical for him across his match-play at this level.
- Boys 14’s data = 22,165 points
- Girls 14’s data = 23,175 points
First serve percentage is a big deal in our sport. If you make too little (around 50%) you are not maximizing one of the biggest weapons you have. If you make too many (around 70%), you surely are not hitting it big enough. The pros are at 61% for a reason. Here’s the answer for the 14’s.
- Professional MEN = 61%
- Under 14 BOYS = 61%
- Under 14 GIRLS = 61%
They. Are. All. The. Same… Pretty amazing.
So here are three take-aways.
- Professional data can be a benchmark, can be a guide, can be insightful and useful for junior tennis. The pro game is relevant to the junior game, although the speed at which things happen is different.
- Some aspects of our game get “cemented” early on. It is critical to make sure young players are fundamentally sound with their technique and with tactics. If not, they will struggle right through the pathway.
- Look at the email responses above. The guesses were all over the map. That’s about to change. Baseball doesn’t guess. Football doesn’t guess. Tennis is not going to guess anymore either. Once we replace guesswork with facts, we can optimize the practice court, and guide young players along a more productive pathway.
Congratulations to Barbara and Michael for nailing it!
GAMEPLAN will be available for purchase on Monday, August 28. It is $149.95, but will be discounted 20% during the first week (so, $119.96) along with the other seven Brain Game Tennis strategy products.