John Eagleton and Ellis Ferreira have had a personal relationship stretching over 22 years that started with John coaching Ellis when he was 19. John helped Ellis emerge out of College tennis and into the Professional ranks at the 1992 US Open. Ellis went on to have a 12 year professional career highlighted by 2 Grand Slam titles in doubles.
Fast – Forward to 2011
John and Ellis are the owners of the new Eagleton/Ferreira junior tennis academy in Florida and draw on their experiences as Professional players themselves to develop young players.
Their vision was to produce the most physically demanding elite junior program in the USA . Taking 15 young players and over a year period, 7 hours a day, grinding them into an aspiring professional with the tools necessary to compete on the Pro Tour. Any junior players not willing to make this level of commitment and sacrifice would simply not survive the program.
In forming their academy and selecting a site they were aware that the USA used to produce top players on a regular basis (link to 1990 end of year rankings) but currently the USA has 1 man in the top 10 (Mardy Fish) and zero Women in the top 30. So what happened?
The current rankings on both the ATP and WTA tours paint a picture of exactly how tennis has changed. The rankings are being dominated by players that grew up playing tennis in Europe. In these European countries they play predominantly on clay-courts, using either during the summer or all year round.
**Gray shows players that developed their games spending the majority of their time on a clay court**
If you are currently training on a HARD COURT be aware of the following;
On the Men’s side 44 of the TOP 50 grew up on CLAY COURT and on the Women’s side 41 of the TOP 50 grew up on CLAY COURT.
There has been a massive shift in how to develop professional players; clearly the time spent on a clay court is proving to be critical. Even Roger Federer, who is an all – court player grew up in Switzerland playing on clay in the summers and on hard courts in the winter when he had to go indoors. Learning the CLAY COURT game is critical if you want to compete with these players
The CLAY-COURT game is fast, physical and loaded with power.
Due to the speed of the game, the CLAY COURT style is technique driven and the emphasis is on movement. Movement is all about work rate and being able to keep up that pace. The need for physical core strength and agility is crucial. Power is NOT solely generated through talent. The old LINEAR system taught in HARD COURT SCHOOLS is finished and players coming from those academies are clearly not being able to compete with European players that are using the new ROTATIONAL system being taught on CLAY COURTS.
The ROTATIONAL system allows the player to utilize the kinetic energy stored in their body to effortlessly generate great power. It is repeatable; it allows the player to hit a huge ball with a greatly reduced margin of error due to spin production.
Players LOAD (create a power base) before contact, explode upward and shift their weight from the outside leg to the inner leg by engaging their hips. This rotation is lastly followed by the racket (almost like the last car on a rollercoaster going over). The finishing touch is the player uses his wrist to violently whip the racket across his body.
The result is the MOST racket head speed with the lowest rate of errors we have ever seen in the game of tennis.
ROTATIONAL tennis is always taught on Clay, as clay is a surface that does not help the player to create power. Traditionally on a fast surface, like a hard court, the player can use the speed of the ball coming off the surface to redirect the ball back across the net. On a clay court, due to its consistency, the ball will slow down NOT SPEED UP when it lands. The player MUST create his OWN power and this forces the player to have a much stronger center of balance and core strength which in most cases is almost double required on hard courts. The end result is a superior physical athlete that even when switched to hard courts is able to play at a very high speed. At the 2010 US Open, which was played on a quick surface, there were 6 Spaniards in the last 16 and all 8 quarterfinalists were from Europe.
This is the modern tennis game of 2011 and it’s what we teach and it is why we chose a clay court facility at the Cedars Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, Florida
EFT has one mission and that is to develop winners at the highest levels.
Most coaches, and the major tennis school here in the States are still coaching the way they played in the 90,s and it just does NOT produce professional tennis players anymore.
At EFT we will teach you the CLAY COURT ROTATIONAL game and give you the tools and techniques to have a successful professional career. When choosing an Academy make sure that they are teaching the correct style of game that is currently producing players at the Professional level.