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10 Minutes of Tennis: Know the Athletic Base
Episode 47 β€’ 9th July 2024 β€’ Atlanta Tennis Podcast β€’ Shaun Boyce and Bobby Schindler
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Episode #47 Season 24: Shaun Boyce & Justin Yeo

In this episode of the Atlanta Tennis Podcast, hosts Shaun Boyce and Justin Yeo discuss the "Athletic Base" and how important it is to your ready position, your shot preparation, and your overall ability to be a better athlete playing any sport especially tennis.

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Shaun Boyce USPTA: shaun@tennisforchildren.com

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Welcome to the Atlanta Tennis Podcast.

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Every episode is titled, "It starts with tennis" and goes from there.

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We talk with coaches, club managers, industry business professionals,

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technology experts, and anyone else we find interesting.

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We want to have a conversation as long as it starts with tennis.

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[Music]

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Hey, hey, this is Shaun with the Atlanta Tennis Podcast,

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powered by GoTennis. While you're here, please hit that follow button.

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And after you listen, please share with your friends and teammates.

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Also, let us know if you have questions or topics you would like us to discuss,

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and we will add them to our schedule.

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With that said, let's get started with 10 minutes of tennis.

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Good morning.

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Good morning.

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Justin Yeo, World renowned tennis pro, Australian in Puerto Rico.

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We have our 10 minutes of tennis.

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And today, our 10 minutes live starts a few minutes late,

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but that's all right. We will get over it.

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And we're not on island time. We're on Michigan time this morning.

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So the extra few minutes is all right.

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Justin Yeo, the athletic base is what we're talking about today.

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It's interesting to me that it just happens to follow up from last week's conversation,

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which says, hey, if you're going to get one fundamental right,

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I'm pretty sure you said, let's make it the athletic base.

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The ready stance.

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Yeah, so the athletic base, talk to me.

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What are we talking about?

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Well, I mean, it's absolutely critical.

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You can't move in multiple directions.

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You can't read,

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perception wise.

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You require the athletic base to even strike the ball correctly and control the ball.

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People don't realize, but the athletic base is the major muscle groups,

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and the striking the ball is the little muscle groups.

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I try to break it down as easy as that to help people understand it.

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You look at the little muscle groups in your forearm and in your arm,

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compared to the athletic base, which is your glutes and major leg muscles and your core.

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It's just so critical that the athletic base is always active in the life.

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And you'll be surprised how many people don't know what the athletic base is,

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like how to correctly stance.

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And then the other thing that's surprisingly is how unfit they are to be able to hold the athletic base.

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And that's why a lot of people get tired on the tennis court,

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or swing away and have shoulder problems,

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or wrist problems, or elbow problems, because they don't use their athletic base.

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The amount of people that have had tennis elbow and just by showing them the athletic base,

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understanding how to go in the gym and strengthen all those muscles,

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it can help automatically take away the pressure off the elbow.

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And next thing you know, you got no tennis elbow.

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So it is the position for the whole game.

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You only have to watch the players, everyone says,

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"Well, look how easy they hit the ball, look how smooth they hit the ball."

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And look how great their athletic base is.

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It is like held in position, comfortably, balanced, still, every time.

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So it's basically the base, the core of everything.

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Okay, you've sold me.

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Can you describe it?

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So forget my fitness and whether or not I can get down into it.

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I'll work on that this year, right?

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We've already decided.

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Everybody's working on their fitness.

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Everybody's going to be ready for what Justin teaches us in the 10 minutes of tennis.

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Can you describe the athletic base as their generic version for everyone?

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Yeah, I mean, quite commonly where people struggle is,

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I tell them, look, if you arch your back and stick your bum out,

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they will find it hard to get into that position.

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But when you do that position, it actually starts to force the

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grant like everything going down into the ground and getting ready to explode.

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Obviously, you go into your heels there and we've got to explain to everybody,

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you've got to be in the balls of your feet.

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Otherwise, you're not going to be able to move.

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So probably the two things I would focus on is I always say,

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look, just let's stick your bum out and let's get your way in the balls of your feet.

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That's at least the start.

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The next step obviously is to try to make your back straight versus curls because

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that, you know, we don't have people with back pain.

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But at least they understand where the weight goes and what where it gets distributed, you know.

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A very, very good point that is across the globe right now and they've done a big study on this

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with junior development and why players get in their 20s and, you know, end up not being able to

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play tennis or not be able to be professional every more is because of hips.

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Hips at the moment, for a long time, there were a lot of juniors and a lot of younger players

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trying to do what Jacović does with big wide stance and because their hips are quite agile,

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they would be able to probably do that.

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But what they were doing is pushing against the developed hip that they're overextending

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the ligaments and tendons so that when they finally get to adulthood,

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if they're still doing the same thing, they're all they're doing is harming their hips and making their hips.

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A lot of injuries happen in the hips.

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If you can look this up, but there are a lot of players that go on the hips because

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of the wide stance in an early age and what they've identified too is that you really don't need to

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be that wide. If you just need to be wide enough that you can respond and use your body now,

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then you get more flexible. Can you get stronger? Yes, you can. But commonly, that's not a thing that

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most players focus on and I've seen way too many players with their trying to make the stance wide

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enough and they can't react. Athletic base was can't react if the feet are too wide.

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That's a similar thing where we talk about volleys or we talk about a lot of things where we say,

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"Okay, look, you're not Roger, right? You're not Novak." So don't go out and just assume that you're

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going to be able to do what these superheroes can do. Let's find a starting point.

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My starting point that I've always been told is hips width apart because that's going to keep my

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balance. Now, as I get stronger and better, are you telling me that widens?

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It can, but the easiest way to know where your spot is is to put your feet together,

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move them a little bit, jump in the air and then as you jump in the air and land,

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you will commonly land where your hips and your body feels the most comfortable. You will never land

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like this and you'll never land like this. So it's where you land is where you absorb the ground.

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And that's the kind of athletic base we want to be in to be able to move in every direction.

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So that's a really critical point to making athletic bases, to making sure that your feet

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are the right width because I've even seen people get to this position. And then,

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soon as they go to play, they start to widen. But as they widen, their feet aren't going to be

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explosive anymore because they haven't got the absorption and the power. The power comes from being

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in the prime position. And that, if there was any kind of big element that I can help development

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coaches and amateur coaches that are working with USDA people, you could get a massive tip at the

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end of a lesson just by someone coming on the court and saying, I'm just too slow. I just, I don't have

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good footwork and I keep getting told that I've got horrible footwork. And once you find their hip

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position, tell them to read the ball or watch the rack and read the ball. All of a sudden, they're not only

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fast, but they're actually moving better and they're positioning better and striking the ball better.

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All from just getting the proper foot position with their hips lining them up. So, hip, you know,

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if you have them right under your hips, I'd say it's probably too narrow, but you will never

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commonly jump there. When you jump in the air, you'll tend to move you a little bit wider.

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And some people are just a little more flexible or stronger and they go a little wider and then some

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a little more narrow, but the key factor is you want to be effective in your athletic base.

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And the only way to do this is to find that a happy spot. And that's going to get me whatever my

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fitness level, that's going to get me to the best of my ability now. And then I can consider I'm

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going to get fitter, I'm going to get stronger, I'm going to get faster. But that gives me that

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point of saying, okay, this is as fast as I can be now. It reminds me of a conversation I had with

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an NFL player and he was a cornerback. So, he was a defensive guy and I asked him one time what he

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does for a living. He says, I backpedal. Basically, I run backwards for a living. And tennis players don't

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just run one direction and obviously neither did he, but that was a majority of his kind of movement

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to be where he needed to be. My guess is he didn't spend a lot of time on his heels running backwards.

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Because that's where you can't, once you lean back, you can't move. You can't, you can't change

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direction. And that's where that, where that split step, that little bounce on the toes with,

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you say, stick your butt out, you say, bum, stick your stick your bum out. And in that case,

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find that happy, happy medium in your feet because you're not Novak. You're not going to be

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out wide like that. You're also, you're also not Gail Malfiece with that kind of strange feet

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together. That guy's a super athlete anyway. Don't worry about mimicking him. Find that comfort

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zone for yourself is what you're saying. Right. And it's very minimal people, a jokovic.

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Jokovic was already very flexible. Like some people are just born with very, very flexible joints.

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And if you actually spoke to him, he works at his flexibility, but he actually works at his

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strength in range of motion more than he's, it works on his flexibility. When we see him lift his

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leg up and he does all these things, that's very natural, easy for him. For most of us, that's

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actually really difficult to be able to stretch that far. But what he has to be conscious of is

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the strength in that range of motion at the, at the, at the width, at the length that he can go.

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If he doesn't, that's where the injuries happen. So, you know, we're all a little bit different,

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and then athletic basewise just find those comfort zones, know that that's where your boundaries are

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and you'll be effective. So, strength, range of motion, sounds like Novak secretly does a lot of

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Pilates, it's basically what I'm hearing. Well, there you have it. We want to thank reGeovinate.com

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for use to the studio. And be sure to hit that follow button. For more tennis-related content,

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you can go to AtlantaTennisPodcast.com. And while you're there, check out our calendar of tennis

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events, the best deals on TechnoFiber products, tennis apparel, and more. If you're a coach,

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director of any racket sports, or just someone who wants to utilize our online shop, contact us

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And with that, we're out. See you next time.

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