How do you introduce a man with a distinguished, 40-year career in tennis? Rather than posting a short summary here, we decided to show you David Smith's entire Bio at the end of his article. We reviewed two of David's books in September of 2018 and posted his article "An Objective Perspective of Tennis in the U.S." in August of that year.

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High School Coaching Mastery

The most comprehensive resource for tennis coaches wanting to develop

perennial championship teams and triumphant players

By David W. Smith

(on Amazon)

Reviewed by Rich Neher

 

On the Amazon page, David writes, "The MOST comprehensive coaching resource by one of the most successful high school tennis coaches in the United States. 340 pages, 460 pictures, 100's of programming ideas, the most prolific drills to develop players from raw beginners to world-class players. Learn how to attract, grow, and develop highly successful high school tennis teams. In addition, learn how to do all this with MINIMAL resources!"

Before I started reading HIGH SCHOOL COACHING MASTERY I noticed how Scott Enge, two-time USPTA National Coach of the Year, and writer of this book's Foreword, summarized it all: "I do believe, this is by far the most comprehensive book on high school tennis in print today. Never has anyone spelled out so many protocols, insightful ideas, unique and productive drills, and at the same time, provided a proven progression to train players of all ages to reach highly skilled levels of competitive play. Get ready to be enlightened."

Wow! That is truly an exceptional recommendation from someone who knows what he's talking about. Also from someone who has personally witnessed Coach Smith conducting large group practices. In his Foreword, Scott Enge points out that David Smith "...comes from great coaching stock. His father, the late Bruce Smith, was recently posthumously inducted into the California Interscholastic Federation's Sports Hall of Fame."

HIGH SCHOOL COACHING MASTERY is divided into four sections:

1. Creating a culture of success

2. Training the masses: The development of successful players and teams

3. The advanced foundation: Developing the key foundations in strokes, footwork, and strategies

4. Strategic play: Manufacturing points, developing strategies and mental toughness

In his introduction, David explains why he calls his book a "comprehensive resource" for high school tennis coaches. He provides both the on-court and off-court resources, procedures, and programming to not only produce championship teams but to also enjoy the experience exponentially. I analyze this and other statements as a proclamation that if a coach really enjoys the process, they will also produce successful teams. (a testimony of what I've been saying for 20 years: If I have fun on the tennis court, I play better. And if I play better I have more fun!)

 

KNOW you can achieve anything you want to achieve

David's premise for enjoying coaching is a deep passion and a true understanding of the job. He sums up the contents of his book in just a few words: "KNOW you can achieve anything you want to achieve." His admonition for coaches who blame the lack of success on not having enough good players on their team: As long as a coach believes that, he will never create success. "If you're just throwing out balls, letting your boys or girls hit or giggle a lot, just offer tennis as a way to spend a couple of hours a few days a week, then don't complain when your kids get beaten by kids whos coaches believe just the opposite. If you treat your players with the belief they can't... they won't."

Off-Court Team Development

Section 1 is all about creating a culture that ultimately enables a coach and their team to be successful. David describes methods that establish a high school program, help build an existing program, and help initiate - and sustain - the success a program can generate in a short period of time. From initiating that culture through preparing for a great season during the off-season to making sure you're starting the season off right, the reader learns how to create passion and love for tennis by developing this team culture. Scott Enge says it "certainly lends itself to creating players who discover how to win as a team and as individuals."

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Developing Successful Players

Section 2 is focused on how to run practices effectively, efficiently, and in ways that produce championship teams and players. David begins this section describing his ideas of the nuts and bolts of team practice because it's obvious that the majority of time spent during any season of sport should be practice. The picture caption on the first page reads, "Training 36 players hitting over 10,000 balls every 12-15 minutes on three courts: Understanding that player development is a combination of proper skill training and the opportunity to develop competence using those skilled techniques in multiple avenues."

David elaborates on something he had alluded to in his previous books, the Advanced Foundation. It basically means proper instruction, tools, progression, and explanation why someone is learning what they're learning will result in highly skilled players most of the time. He continues with his four phases of practice utilizing a myriad of drills and goes into the details of bridging the gap between intermediate and advanced players.

The Advanced Foundation

Section 3 is all about developing the foundation in strokes, footwork, and strategies. From ideal grips, swing path, footwork patterns, position, stance, and contact points for every shot in tennis, David goes deep into developing Advanced Foundation strokes. He points out that players learning the Advanced Foundation strokes resemble pros in almost every stroke. In his progression philosophy, he explains why he starts every player out with volleys before going (in that sequence) slice backhands, serves, two-handed backhands, topspin forehand, and then overheads. 

After teaching the foundation, he goes into 54 detailed pages about stroke development. [Always on the lookout for being able to apply some of what I'm reading to my large group of Southern California intermediate adult players, I found David's AUTHOR'S NOTE on page 199 particularly interesting: Many 3.0 and 3.5 players who use a one-handed backhand use such unorthodox form that they have to resort to unorthodox strategies when hitting it. If these strategies prevent the player from improving, I usually recommend "overhauling" their backhand. That is, start from scratch and develop the two-handed form described in this chapter. Even though this will take time and effort, it will eventually result in the player hitting a backhand that will provide sustained improvement, in both the stroke and in the strategy they will be able to employ, once they begin hitting a more formidable backhand. Keep in mind, that typically, players who simply try to make adjustments to their flawed one-handed technique, because the change is too close to their old form the player usually reverts back. So true! I've seen it so many times. No wonder Scott Enge writes, "Annually, his teams are among the very best in each state he has coached in."

Manufacturing points, developing strategies and mental toughness

 

In Section 4 (Strategic Play) Dave discusses the ways players take their Advanced Foundation strokes and put them together in patterns that set up points and avoid being behind in a rally. He also looks at different singles and doubles strategies and how to develop mental toughness as it applies to competition.  Under Dealing with the ego he writes he's using this general statement to developing better mental tennis:

"When we play and practice not to satisfy our ego but to satisfy our goals, we allow the best tennis to emerge."

My conclusion

Every high school coach asking questions like "How can I attract players to my team?" or "How can I create successful teams year after year ?" or "How can I train so many kids effectively on so few courts?" will find all the answers (and so much more) in David Smith's book. He is giving them tools to move forward and produce champions and championship teams. He helps them understand that discovering a level of fun, passion, connection, and a true chance of giving their students a chance to grow will show them that ANYTHING is possible. And teaching their students lifelong skills through this process is not only a side effect of learning from David's experience and success, but it also gives the teacher a rich field of personal growth.

David W. Smith

 

Diverse and successful, David W. Smith has been involved in the tennis industry for over 40 years. He has been a USPTA Elite P-1 teaching professionally for over 15 years and has spoken at numerous USPTA divisional and world conventions. He has been awarded “Speaker of the Year” for both Southern California and Intermountain USPTA divisions. He has also been a Keynote speaker for The National Honor Society, The National Dentist Tennis Player’s Association, and numerous tennis clubs, book clubs and schools.

As a writer, Smith has penned two highly acclaimed tennis books, “Coaching Mastery” and “Tennis Mastery”. In addition, he served as the Senior Editor for the long-time highly-rated web site, TennisOne.com and has written over 300 articles that have appeared in ADDvantage Magazine, Tennis & Coach, (Belgium), and a host of tennis web sites including TennisPlayer.net.

As a writer, Smith has penned two highly acclaimed tennis books, “Coaching Mastery” and “Tennis Mastery”. In addition, he served as the Senior Editor for the long-time highly-rated web site, TennisOne.com and has written over 300 articles that have appeared in ADDvantage Magazine, Tennis & Coach, (Belgium), and a host of tennis web sites including TennisPlayer.net.

In addition to written publications, David as produced many DVD’s and on-line teaching programs including, “Building a World-Class Volley”, “The Ultimate Serve DVD”, “Coaching Unlimited”, and “Building a World-Class Tennis Program.”

Dave has been one of the most successful high school tennis coaches in the US, developing top teams and highly-ranked individuals in California, Arizona, and Utah. He has a team win-loss record of over 1000 wins against fewer than 25 losses. His teams have won numerous state and region titles; over 25 Region championships and 6 state championships or runner-up finishes. In 2019, after two consecutive state runner-up finishes in Utah, his girls took home the top honors, winning the state by the largest margin in the last six years.

Dave has been a tennis club head professional, director, academy owner, and general manager of several nationally recognized resorts and clubs including TennisLand in Anaheim, California, the Wigwam Resort in Arizona, the Green Valley Spa and Tennis Resort in Utah, and the Summit Athletic Club in Utah.

Growing tennis has been a passion for Smith. He has conducted group lessons with over 70 players in one clinic, directed large tennis events such as the Green Valley Marathon Tennis Tournament, the “Celebrity Classic” tennis camp, the Huntington Beach Open tennis tournament, and the Stephen Wade Invitational events in Utah. His no-cut tennis program attracts on average over 45 players to his high school girls and boys teams, and he has built tennis dynasties in all three states he has coached in.

In 2019, Dave was inducted into the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame.

David Smith is also the creator and author of the popular Disney Mysteries, “Hidden Mickey” as well as 7 other published books including “The Power of Passion” and “The Midnight Zone”. He owns Synergy Books Publishing and represents over 40 authors and 60 different titles.

In addition to tennis and writing, Smith is a professional musician who plays bass and guitar in various bands. He also is a professional magician and has used magic to teach, entertain, and inspire both players and those who train or teach tennis. He is the three-time defending World Senior Games Doubles champion in the 50 – 60 age groups, and ranked number one in Utah the last two years in doubles.

Dave’s wife is Dr. Kerri Smith, a Pediatrician. He has a daughter, Kyla, who is one of the top-ranked female golfers in Utah and plays for the Division 1 college, Southern Utah University. Kyla reached a world-ranking in 2019 in Golf She is also a skilled tennis player and has been featured in many tennis articles and videos. Dave also has a 17-year-old son who is into exotic cars and racing.

He can be reached at acrpres1@msn.com or (435) 680-3250

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