Love What You Do

Jun 7, 2017
ELITE sits down with Inaki Balzola, PTR International Director, for a candid conversation on what he sees in the game today.

How has tennis teaching evolved in the last few years?

INAKI BALZOLA: It has changed a lot. Especially with the Tennis 10s program. Red ball, orange and green balls have made a big difference in how you teach tennis today. Also, because of the incredible amount of knowledge that is available on the Interne,t tennis teaching professionals know a lot more today. Their expertise is better and they have deeper questions than ever before. So much technology means that there are a lot things coming out. However, at the end of the day the basic components are a tennis court, a teacher with a racquet and balls.

What do you consider makes a successful tennis teacher?

IB: Number one is passion, you need to like what you do. You can tell when a teacher is really in love with his/her job. Having good people skills is critical. But also being up to date with what is going on in the tennis world. When I first started teaching tennis, the definition of a successful tennis teacher was good looks, good skills, make people have fun and throw in some pointers. Today’s tennis teacher has become very professional in forms of education, ability to adapt to the student’s personality types, possessing multiple teaching methods that will increase the rate of learning.

What advice would you give to a teacher about grips? IB: Obviously, the semi-western is the grip of choice today. Having said that, you cannot neglect the other grips. At the top of tennis, you see the pros using a lot more slice backhand and even forehands now. And the block chip on the first serve returns. So, we need to make sure that we not only teach the continental and eastern grips, but also teach the students when to use them. The full western grip is in decline because of the red, orange and green balls that are being…
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