Pro Stringer Issue 3 - 2017 rt 3 2017 | Page 19

Gabe Jaramillo day how to move with the proper technique. Starting by learning how to slide properly, placing the emphasis on how to stop using the inside leg and foot as an anchor, where the ankle has to rotate inwards, with flexibility, the emphasis was on having the entire side of the shoe and his socks full of clay to make sure he was getting very low and with wide base to control the upper body. That inside foot was the anchor, he had to keep it touching the ground so he could use the inside leg to recover quickly and with enough power to maximize the first recovery step. The key to move on Clay is to stop with balance and to recover with power. The more the players practice not only technique, tactically and movement on clay the more fa- miliarize they become. The physical conditioning program should also be tennis specific on that surface. Today players move very well on every surface, their movement technique is a clay court mentality, most top players today slide on hard courts to hit a wide ball, in the nineties players like Michael Chang used the muggle step to hit that shot. 3) How to become a succesfull player on clay court? My philosophy from the beginning of my career has been that players have to play on every sur- face to be able to become not only Champions but Stars. In the seventies and eighties there were players that only played or were good on one surface, the Spanish Armada of the eighties were top in the world ranking, but were not seated at Wimbledon because they were not good on that surface. All the juniors that I trained starting with Jimmy Arias, Aaron Krickstein that were hard court players became very good clay court players. I am a developmental coach, that means that I start working with the students an early age, usu- ally girls at nine years of age and boys at 12 maximum 13. I believe in working with talented play- ers with high volume and with a very clear plan that I put on writing, I call it periodization plan, it is done starting way in the future, at 18 years of age they have to be main draw of Grand Slams or they will most probably will continue playing college tennis. Then from that point I walk backwards one year at the time, writing specific goals, like tournament results, results donĀ“t lie and they show us the way, what are we doing right and what areas do we need to improve in all aspects of the game. Having a clear plan in writing to build a player is as essential as having a plan to build a house. When the talented players come to me, our first short time goal is to play the French Open Juniors, girls need to be playing at 15 boys at 16, that is the goal to make sure they are tracking correctly. The way the ITF junior calendar is scheduled makes that tournament our first priority, making the clay circuit in South America very important, so all juniors know from an early age that they have to play well on clay. All the players that I have made followed the same road with the exception of Monica Seles, she was a genius, with out a doubt the most talented player I ever coached. The most important part of their work out since they were very young was to play on clay as much as possible, strokes, drills, points matches and even more importantly was the physical condition- ing tennis specific so they will consider clay their bread and butter. Players that were not used to move on clay we started slowly teaching them first to stop by sliding, I tell the players to take advantage of the surface by sliding and recovering with out taking an extra step. The best exercise for this is throwing balls side to side where the ball that the coach roll has to pass between the players legs, only open stances are allowed, we use from eight to twelve balls. 19