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What 2 weeks! On Friday 17th March 2023 we started with a great adventure. The goal: My first own tennis course – tennis singles training video! “Tennis Singles Training – 160 exercises for coaches and players” – that’s what our first release will be called. We, that is Timo Goebel and me, Martin Kares, former Tennis Bundesliga men 30 players. Timo has been a frequent guest on my Youtube videos, for example in the videos “Tennis Team Training without a Coach”, “Tennis Doubles Training” or “Tennis Core Performance”. With Timo I do not only have an expert for tennis training at my side, but also a very good friend, colleague and simply a great person with whom every video production is a lot of fun.

Martin Kares & Timo Goebel on Youtube
Martin Kares & Timo Goebel on Youtube

First contact and preliminary consideration of the video

In January I decided to try out something new and make an independent video production. While on vacation, I contacted Timo and my former teammate Christopher Amend, who had started his own photography business. I asked Timo if he would like to do another video production, and I presented Chris the idea of demonstrating his skills in video as well. In January we met for the first time and I told them both about my plans. Timo liked the idea, but he asked for some time to think about it because of his many tasks in everyday life (job, family father). Chris also liked the idea of a first tennis video of his own. “That’s a challenge!”, he said and we set March 24/25 as the production date. But what topic should it be?

The idea of tennis singles training video was born

Timo also agreed with me after a few days. He got the go ahead from his (future) wife. So we thought about what content the production should have. I was already dreaming of the “really big” video. “How about 500 tennis drills? That would be insane! Something for everyone! Forehand, backhand, volley, kids training – training with talent!”. In hindsight, I’m quite glad we started a little smaller. More about that later…

We agreed – also in consultation with Chris, for whom it was also the first video production of this kind – to start smaller. We agreed on “tennis singles training”. For us, this seemed to be the easiest topic, not because of the tennis-specific content, but rather from an organizational point of view. In times of the GDPR / DSGVO, you have to get consent forms for every video production, which would turn out to be “not easy” especially for group or children’s training. Also the challenge of getting 6 players together at the same time on two days seemed difficult at first.

Singles tennis training video – the content and scope

So Timo and I started brainstorming: What should be the content of our tennis singles training video? I quickly developed a concept. We decided to define several categories / topics and each of us should come up with exercises on these topics. The topics were to be:

  1. warm-up running drills
  2. warm-up coordination drills
  3. warm-up with the coach – service court
  4. warm-up with the coach – baseline
  5. rhythm exercises
  6. feeding – ground strokes
  7. feeding – net approach
  8. feeding – volley /smash
  9. feeding – slice & drop shot
  10. feeding – winning stroke
  11. hand feeding – ground strokes
  12. hand feeding – stroke frequency
  13. hand feeding – reaction drills
  14. serve & return training – serve
  15. serve & return training – return
  16. tactics training – angle balls
  17. tactics training – offensive play after serve
  18. tactics training – defensive play after serve
  19. singles training with children – kindergarten
  20. singles training with children – running ABC
  21. singles training with children – technique acquisition
  22. singles training with children – technique application
  23. match training with coach – exercises
  24. fitness – stabilization drills
  25. fitness – speed drills
  26. fitness – coordination training
  27. fitness – strength and endurance training

Phew, what a big program we had planned. Timo and I thought about 4-7 drills for each category and we ended up with the impressive number of 160 drills. And all that in 2 days? That had to be planned well – that was clear to me. In addition to the practical part, we also wanted to include a theoretical part. Here, too, I gave it some thought. It should not be too detailed – it must be to the point – that was clear to me. So we developed a system which we wanted to apply to selected categories. These should include:

1. What is it about?
Brief explanation of the topic.

2. Goals of the drills
What should be achieved with the drills?

3. Task of the trainer
What role should the trainer play in the drills?

4. Task of the player
What role should the student play in the drills?

5. Important no-gos
What are stumbling blocks when performing the drills?

Here, too, we shared the work. In the meantime we found a name for our video: “Tennis Individual Training – 160 Exercises for Coaches and Players” was born and developed step by step.

The countdown to the first day

Time was flying. For me it was an incredibly intensive time. If I hadn’t already created enough work for myself with the video project, the website was created almost “on the side”. The work for it ran parallel to the video production. Besides organization, setting up a video plan (which drills should be shot from which perspective, time management, court booking and so on) and many other things, I produced one video after the other for the new platform. Because both, as well as the video production should merge into each other. Ultimately, our video should also be offered and sold on this portal.

The first day of shooting – recording of the theory on 17/03/2023 & cover shooting

So then the time had come: I must confess: I am a perfectionist! I try to get all stumbling blocks out of the way in advance. So I planned everything down to the last detail.

  • Who speaks which text passage?
  • How much time do we need?
  • Which camera settings?
  • Which sound (oh that should become another topic)?

All this and much more was organized by me. On the morning of the shooting day I remembered that we needed an “opener” for the video. Crap! We hadn’t even thought about that yet. So I tried to memorize a few sentences for the opening of the video. A bad mistake as it should turn out later =)

Covershooting for Tennis Singles Video
Covershooting for Tennis Singles Video

At 9:30 am I met Timo in front of the tennis hall in Korbach. The plan was to do a cover shoot with my photographer, who I also work with for my web design company, before the video shoot. Felix Koschar is an expert especially in portraits and was the perfect choice for me for this job. The shooting started and Timo first brought me the extra organized shirts. The shirts were to be printed in Kassel and were ordered by us as a backup to the actual outfit. When we feared that the originally planned outfits would not be delivered in time, we ordered the Nike shirts via Amazon. Here, unfortunately, I went a big wrong with the size. Fit me at Head the shirts in S still like a glove is unfortunately different with Nike. Nevertheless, I risked S, which then turned out to be a bit “tight”. The result you can see on the cover photos. I take it meanwhile with humor, but ordered already on the theory day another shirt in M for the practice part a week later.

One slip of the tongue after the next – never learn by heart

And then we were in front of the camera. My girlfriend with the Go-Pro on a tripod behind the camera and Timo and I in front of it. And then I should speak the intro. The intro which I had rehearsed dozens of times in my office 1.5 hours before. And it became a disaster. “Tennis singles training – 160 drills for coaches and players. You are a tennis coach…..ABORT”, “Tennis Singles Training – 160 drills for coaches and players. You are a tennis coach looking for them…..ABORT”.

Talking to the camera is not always easy
Talking to the camera is not always easy

And so the whole thing dragged on for half an hour. Little Martin stammered one abort sentence after the next into the camera and Timo was getting cold – no wonder at 10 degrees hall temperature (we had asked the hall to turn off the heating, because you would have heard the fan noise in the background).
Well, after 30 minutes I had managed to speak four consecutive sentences in a row. On it it should go then more briskly. Timo did that “from the cold pants” – he is clearly more confident in speaking than I am. After we had recorded the first 4 chapters, we decided to take a little break and also look at the previous recordings on the laptop – a wise decision…

Rule 1: Check the sound before you start

Full of expectations, the image built up on the laptop. But wait, what was that? Why are the lips moving but there is no sound? Damn it! Something went wrong. I checked the connected microphone and realized that I had connected the transmission cable the wrong way around. NO! NO! NO! All that work for nothing! But as much as one is annoyed by mistakes: I understand mistakes as a great opportunity by now! If you make serious mistakes, they usually don’t happen again. So I tried to be happy about the mistake and we started again from the beginning. And suddenly the intro was right on the second or third try.

Theory in the can – so cut? Think again!

Concentrated, we worked our way through the drills. Step by step. We were really a good team. At 12 o’clock everything was recorded and because we were completely frozen by now, we played tennis for another half hour – we tennis maniacs!
Timo joined us for lunch and after some refreshments I transferred the video files to my PC. We looked at the material and it looked very good at first sight. Strong image quality – everything done right. But think! Something is wrong with the sound….While you could hear my voice perfectly through both speakers, Timo’s voice only came through the left speaker. OH NO! Not all over again. For the shooting I had borrowed the Rode Wireless GO 2 from a friend – a microphone system that allows you to talk with two microphones at the same time. I myself use only the one version in my videos, I thought you can not do much wrong here. But a search query later at Google for “Rode Wireless Go 2 – mono only” taught me otherwise. Google spit out a “sound only on one channel – don’t make these rookie mistakes!”. Congratulations! End of story: I should have set up the system differently.

And so there I sat – with a bunch of videos where one protagonist speaks only in mono. But Google – your friend and helper – again helped me out of a jam. Using my video editing program, it was possible to equalize the audio tracks. So I finished editing the theory blocks on the same day. I was lucky!

Tennis singles training video – The practice: First day of shooting on 24/03/23

And then the day came closer and closer: The first day of the shooting practice. The week flew by. After some coordination with the operators of Tennishalle Korbach, whom I would like to thank for their cooperation, and with cameraman Chris, the day could finally come. And again, nothing should be left to chance.

  • Have we thought of everything? Who brings which training equipment?
  • What do we need? Table, cable drum, ladder, tripod, etc.
  • What food for the days?
  • Will my shirt in M arrive in time? (I have been anxious until the end not to look like a pressed sausage again =))
  • Is the memory card capacity enough?
  • Will the batteries last long enough (CHRIS!)

Yes, all this was well planned – I’ll give myself a pat on the back now. So we met on Friday at 2 pm in the tennis center. Set up on court 4: table, electricity, catering – everything was there. And then also Timo and Chris. We could start! Excitement!

The producers of "Tennis Singles Training - 160 Drills For Coaches & Players" - Timo Goebel, Christopher Amend, Martin Kares
The producers of “Tennis Singles Training – 160 Drills For Coaches & Players” – Timo Goebel, Christopher Amend, Martin Kares

I am not 16 anymore

After a little camera check, we started the first drills: Warm-up running drills! Timo was the first to go. Pendulum run. Timo is a fit guy, plays almost every match even in the winter season and takes good care of himself and his body. Bein as fit as he is at the age of 46 would be a dream come true. He ran the pendulum run without any problems and also the next 3 running drills were no problem for him. Then it was my turn:

Warm-up coordination training – drills with ball: running from A to B. Martin can do that! So this part was also done quickly. But what we realized now: 160 drills are a hell of a lot. Again and again we reshot one or the other drills, because here and there the perspectives just didn’t fit. And so at 7 p.m. we were only at drill 32. We had to get at least 80 done today, otherwise it would be a long day tomorrow. And so we really reved up, not only in speed, but also in the drills.

Feeding with the coach: “Splitstep, turn around, stroke, sidesteps, crossover run. Quick, quick, quick – go for another one!”, Timo cheered me on in the coach role and I tried to do the drill the way I had done them as a 16-year-old. I always give it my all – even here. But already after the first exercises my body showed me that I am not 16 anymore. Knee pain, ankle pain – everything came up. How am I supposed to keep this up for another 110 exercises?

The feeling after doing tennis drills like I`m 16 years old
The feeling after doing tennis drills like I`m 16 years old

The last one turns off the light!

At 10 p.m. not only our battery was empty, but also that of the camera. We had made it up to the return training, drill 81, but then it was enough. At 10:05 p.m., the lights went out in the tennis hall. ” I’m looking forward to a cool beer,” Timo said. I agreed. And Chris’ legs were aching too, having stood on a ladder for half the day with a fear of heights and taking in the perspective from a long shot. Closing time! What time do we go on tomorrow? “8 o’clock,” I suggested. Well, off to bed. But before that, we treated ourselves with some pasta and 2 wheat beers at my place.

After a hard day we finished with a beer and noodles
After a hard day we finished with a beer and noodles

“Struff is playing against Dimitrov in Miami, we’ll watch that”, Timo said while sipping his wheat. I just said to myself “what a crazy guy”. Playing tennis for 8 hours and still up for it. Yes, it’s just a great sport! And so we watched the second set which Struffi lost and then went to bed.

The second day of shooting: 25/03/23

At 6:45 the alarm clock rang. Breakfast! Every morning a soft-boiled egg. My girlfriend is a pro at it by now. And when I poked into the egg with my spoon and the semi-liquid core was visible, I knew: “Today is our day”.

At 8 o’clock on the dot, all three were back on the air. In the truest sense of the word. We continued with serve and return training – drill 81. At 9 o’clock it became a bit more crowded in the tennis hall. The district tennis championships for the youth were also held in the hall today. My fear that they could influence the video shooting was not true. The kids were all very calm – good for the shoot!

Our Working Place on the Set
Our working place at the set

But the body…the body said after what felt like 150 serves from Timo: “No more now”. I had Timo do all the serve drills because I have problems in my cervical spine. A herniated disc has been causing me severe problems for a year now, which means I won’t be playing a match for a team this year either. I’m happy if I can continue to do my job as a trainer and shoot my videos, because when you get older you have to cut back and do without things. But for the video we gave everything again. The other drills were also completed without incident. Afterwards we made a few fun shots with the Go-Pro. It should be a special video.

We took some takes with the go pro
We took some takes with the Go-Pro

Drill 160 at 3:31 p.m

At 3:31 p.m., the time had come: Drill 160: Pendulum run with stroke movement. It was Timo’s turn. How happy he was: “Finally running again” – not only he had enough. But of course he also mastered the last exercise. Shut up! We’re done!. Dismantling, a shower and 2-3 cool beers followed. We had earned that. Afterwards we went to eat a really good kebab and we said goodbye to each other. Tennis singles training – 160 drills for coaches and players was in the can!

Kebap time after video shooting
Kebap time after done work

Cut it! Now comes the freestyle of the tennis singles training video

While the other two can lean back now, the work really starts for me. My job is to make the video a real experience for you. Every day I am working to make sure that the video lives up to its promise and that it fulfills the expectations. At 15th May 2023, “Tennis Singles Training – 160 Drills for Coaches and Players” should be released. So far everything is going according to plan. For the release there will be another update here. Be curious – it’s worth it!