TopCourt Tennis - the new paradigm for online learning in 2020

Distance Learning - it's here to stay...

  1. Colleges, schools, parents - they all know the simple yet inconvenient truth.

For all students - rich or poor, young or old, rural or urban - Education is now largely self-driven.

The new classroom format is at home...for better or worse.

Digital media will force more screen-time.

In turn, we will seek more un-plugged time outdoors.

Quality education must now be both engaging and entertaining.


Who will have that magic spoonful of sugar?


This Autumn, our new Zoom reality returns at every school in America.

We must adapt or risk failing our children's future.

Not one semester or one year, but one generation.


10 Truths of Education in the Post 2020 world:

  1. Learn Anywhere - Social Distance is baked-in. Crowded lecture halls become obsolete.
  2. Dynamic Pacing -  smarter kids accel at a rapid pace, not held back; slower students are not discouraged for not keeping up. Lack of comparison and peer judgment.
  3. Asymmetric Scale - One Master can deliver a 1on1 lecture to each student in the World. 
  4. Better Visuals - Classic topics are constantly updated and modernized for new viewers and younger audiences.
  5. Multi-lingual Support - Smarter AI translations and automated international closed captioning.
  6. Freedom to Learn (or Escape) - Kids everywhere had so much free time this past summer.

    It is how we fill these "idle time" habits which will count much more. Both off-court and outside the school, alternative education plays a much larger factor in their success today.

  7. Tempo control - Whether for skimming through chapters at 1.5x speed in the background or studying a freeze-frame moment carefully in a loop.
  8. Unlimited replays - For both clarity and re-enforcement. Like reading a great book. You may get something new on the 2nd look or even the 5th time around.
  9. Knowledge Webs - Gen Z uses YouTube the way I learned how to use the internet or a public library. They can intelligently filter content, scrub forward scenes, and preview playlists. It is so easy to transition into related sub-topics fluidly, a balance of concentration with exploration.
  10. Breaking inertia to Grow - Know it, Be it, Do it. Not just a Nike slogan anymore.

    Procrastination is very easy now; parents should be careful it's not their kids new default.
    The War on Art by Steven Pressfield puts it beautifully about moving past internal resistance.


Learn and Watch - Tennis Classes at Home

TopCourt Tennis
5 Best Practices for TopCourt

These tips also apply for viewing any online education. Some other MOOC's I would also recommend: (Udemy, Khan Academy, Lynda.com)

1) Feel free to jump around!

It's Not compulsory to go from Chapter 1 to Chapter 10 in order. Explore all topics briefly at least once. Skip it if you know it.

2) Don't Binge!

Yes, this is not like trying to blast through 5 seasons of a sitcom in one weekend. It's not a race.

The goal is to remember this stuff and retain it.
This is a sipping tea - go slow to enjoy, savor it.

  • Watch a few videos, then take a break to think about it.
  • Explain what you learned to a parent or peer.
  • Sleep on it - letting your subconscious review the lessons and ideas overnight.

3) Follow a 50:50 (Learning to Practice) Ratio

How to Study Smart is a great youtube video to watch for any student.

  • Take one or two drills max at a time.
  • Write down in your own words the keys points.
  • Go out with a parent, friend, or coach. Demonstrate what you learned.
  • When you teach someone else, you reinforce it. Always be a student of the game.

4) Maximize Screen Time Efficiency - 3 views for every 1 clip

1st time viewing any video - Skim through and get the overall idea

2nd replay of the video - Write on paper the key points (in your own words

3rd / final or later replay - answer these questions in your head:

  • What are the basic mechanics?
  • When do I use it in a match? When should I avoid it?
  • Identify one good habit to focus on. List one bad habit to avoid with this drill.
  • Why is it used? Explain its usefulness.
  • Where should you hit the ball? How close to the lines do I need to hit?
5) Have Fun! Make it a Game or Contest
Finally, set some progression goals to level up.

Make 3/10 - level 1, then 6/10 in a target area - level 2, etc.
Keep it interesting and yet challenging enough.

Mastery will always require trial and error

Sorry - the last I checked Elon Musk has not gotten all the Neural Link bugs worked out yet.

So we are not jacking into the Matrix anytime soon. You have to get your hands and feet dirty.

Remember those words:
Don't just tell me - show me, Neo.

You have to go out to the real world and test it out. It may not need to be on a tennis court.
But learning without shadowing and rehearsing won't stick.

In all likelihood, you may not get it the first time.
Most people are the same way and should go back to review the video (or take it with you on an iPad or Tablet). Go back and replay it while practicing to get the steps right.

As a pro tennis instructor, I find it takes several sessions for each lesson to get comfortable for a student. It takes another few to get competent. With continued practice, it may require months to gain true mastery. But it has to be incorporated into your regular cycle of drills.

Get comfortable repeating it a few more times before moving onto the next topic.

Don't Over-Train; Overlap the Practices with Match Play

I recommend 10-20 minutes max per set of drills. It can be repeated after a break or a different drill.

Do not simply repeat to a point of exhaustion because your body will not want to repeat it the next day.
The mind must be fresh in order to avoid making sloppy bad habits and one should isolate each step.
Put it all together once all the pieces are in place.

Generally, it is wise to stop *before* you start making too many mistakes. Repeat later.

Amateurs practice until they get it right, and the professionals practice until they can't get it wrong. 
Watch the pros on TopCourt - each one practices their craft as their job. 
They understand to bring that one skill into a pro match, they must be able to reliably compete for a living with it on the Pro Tour.


New tennis exercises need to be combined with old ones.
Just like interval training, moving to a different station, and always returning later.
Over enough time, it will blend in with the rest of the routine and workout circuit.

Each short video only gives you a small nugget of knowledge.

The viewer should decide what to watch first, last, or skip altogether.
Not all video clips are created equal.
Not all teachers are created equal.


3 Successful Tips for Distance Learning

Watch selectively.

Practice religiously.

Learn passionately.


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