John Carrizosa "The State of Tennis (Instruction)"

April 14, 2022
Written By: Jack Broudy
John Carrizosa "The State of Tennis (Instruction)"

Broudy:  Hi And welcome to another episode of living at the 45 with me, your host Jack Broudy. And I'm so happy today to be talking to a very good friend of mine I've known for over a decade. He's a great pro. He's at the Palos verdes tennis club in Palos verdes California, been there for over a decade himself and he found me here. We found each other early on. Uh, I think when we were doing nothing but wooden products and, and, and, and john Kerry Sosa, who I'm talking to today. He, um,

John Carrizosa:  me

Broudy:  and I are cut from the same cloth I guess. So I guess that's how we, uh, we got together kindred spirits. We're even the same age even though he looks a hell of a lot younger than I do. Uh, and he's staying in shape. He's still on the court and I'm always a little more virtual than he is. So he's in better shape than I am. But john, I want to welcome you and introduce you to the world, world tennis world, john Carrizosa and I'm just couldn't be happier. Very, very bright guy,

Broudy:  Has a great career. He's worked with kids that are made it to the top 10 in the nation and lots of so cal lots of so called junior stars works with a lot of adults clinics, everything you name it. And he has a beautiful club where I've done some video shots in the past and he's been very gracious to me all along. So I'm just happy to introduce you to john Kerry Sosa and Jon say hi to everybody and we'll get started.

John Carrizosa:  Um,

Broudy:  today we wanted to talk about the current state of tennis and instruction and I think this john is a perfect guy to talk to because he's in the heart of L. A. So he sees it all, he walks by clubs, he's different tennis clubs all the time. He's got a half a dozen pro's that work under him where he's the head pro and I'll let you start off john. But but basically, you know, my my question is, where do you think we are in the mainstream of tennis instruction today?

John Carrizosa:  I think we're back in the seventies. Um, that, that show the seventies show. Uh, these people give lessons right off of that show. I think um, it's there guys are still teaching, you know, turn sideways, you know, rack, rack it back, feet sideways. And to the detriment of tennis, we had the tennis boom in the 70's. I even remember that and it went right down the cliff because it was too hard to learn. And everybody picked up racquetball because all you could do, all you have to do is slap with the ball and it's the same thing here. We're getting a great tennis boom with Covid and I fear that we're going to lose the pickleball because that's so easy to learn because pros make tennis so difficult, so arbitrary, so linear that it drives me crazy.

Broudy:  See, I didn't realize, I guess I've been told that, but I didn't really feel it myself that we were in a second tennis boom because of Covid. I didn't, I didn't know people were taking lessons again. I just assumed maybe people, since they're on the other side of the court and far, you know, over six ft away from people, they might be fooling around out there. But I didn't know people actually were getting into it because I remember back in the seventies, come on. Battle of the sexes, jimmy Connors and chrissy Evert were dating and Farrah Fawcett and, and Vinnie Van Patten and you know, and, and, and, and, and of course Lacosta, I lived in san Diego. Lacosta was big, big, big and vic Braden was on tv all the time. I didn't realize we really were in a boom. It doesn't feel like it to me.

John Carrizosa:  Mm hmm.

Broudy:  But, but you say we are,

John Carrizosa:  huh? All the coaches in the area that I talked to or just were swamped with people. I mean, the junior programs are huge. I mean if, if our, if our facility was on fire parents would still drop them off for a couple of hours just to get them out of the house. The kids out of the house. I mean, it's just that and it's, and it's a safe environment. We keep everybody far enough away, but people feel comfortable. So they've taken up tennis, we've lost a few people now because they're opening up soccer and baseball and other sports but it's just I can't tell you how busy everybody is.

Broudy:  Oh I see. So it's because part of it is because the other sports had slowed down so it it opened the door for tennis. Um See it's funny you say that I guess the guys I see online, they don't talk about racket back and turn sideways. I think it's kind of like

John Carrizosa:  it's

Broudy:  almost like the news where one person says something and then everybody says it like I don't know they have these ridiculous things a couple of years ago, load

John Carrizosa:  up, load up

Broudy:  on one ft because Andy Roddick did it, you know, and and and we all know Andy Roddick, you know we all the insiders all know that really all he really had special was that serve of his so to use his groundstrokes or his volleys to show something. Not really the best idea

John Carrizosa:  true.

Broudy:  Do you find that with the tennis pros today like they'll latch on, like swing your foot around while you're hitting the ground stroke,

John Carrizosa:  get

Broudy:  your body through

John Carrizosa:  bits and pieces of that. Unfortunately. I think a lot of them listen to the commentators who absolutely well they must have a different view of things and I'll give them a bit of a break but I'm sure they have to fill airtime so they just shoot shoot things out of their mouths that you know I remember a superstar female player who I think Fernandez came into the net really cut the ball in nicely. What really felt the ball, you know, and she says, wow, she punched that bali right through the court. You know, people still use that punch, that bali thing, you know, then here again, you know, two guys down the court going, punch that bali punching, you know, that's just ridiculous.

Broudy:  I see. So, so someone takes the vernacular and then all of a sudden with a big broad brush stroke, paints it with, oh, that's all you gotta do

John Carrizosa:  right, right?

Broudy:  And so whether you punch it from the elbow or punch it from the shoulder doesn't matter as long as you punch, punch

John Carrizosa:  right.

Broudy:  I see what other idioms drive you crazy when you hear them, when you walk past somebody's court and you, you know, listening to a lesson,

John Carrizosa:  get that racquet back right or get that thing back. You know what I said, just kill your timing please. That's what I want to say. Um they'd be better off just dropping their money on the ground and leaving because it's going to cost twice as much to correct the mistake. So, you know, little stuff like that. Step across on the volley, um go through, you know, hit through the ball and finish out in front. It's mind boggling. It's embarrassing. Yeah,

Broudy:  that's yeah, that's the one that gets me is when they just are so general like use your legs or move your feet. There's so many ways, I mean if you're a fantastic natural athlete and you're told to move your feet,

John Carrizosa:  well that's

Broudy:  one thing, but if you can't, you know, you can't find your butt with both hands, you know what I mean? I mean you're not going to move your feet the same way and athletes gonna move their feet, you're not going to move from the core, you know, and like bending your knees. I mean do you bend them equally is one slightly longer than the other, which you and I both know is yes, but people just say the word bend your knees, early preparation, that's another one. What does that mean to someone who couldn't, you know,

John Carrizosa:  couldn't,

Broudy:  you couldn't hit water if they were sitting in a boat? I mean what does that mean to

John Carrizosa:  them? Yeah, it's the same stuff I mean you've heard for years and years, it's like ridiculous.

Broudy:  Yeah. Yeah. So so the most detrimental you think are the old ones, like racket back early or do you think even the new, the new buzzwords are just as bad?

John Carrizosa:  Yeah, I mean it's it's one of the same because like you said it's so generalized, what does it mean? You know um the old stuff is just ridiculous and the new stuff is just not in depth at all. Um I don't know, it's it's there's so much wrong with the tennis industry and it's up to the teaching pros to bring it down to the public and make it fun, make it simple, you know, make it safe and I just feel were so lacking. And there's no, there's no organization that's helping that. Let me put it that way. Well,

Broudy:  you know, our organization is giving it our best shot,

John Carrizosa:  right, right? Talking about, you know, national organizations.

Broudy:  No, I agree. It's even when I go on to some of these and I won't mention names, but I go on their websites and I look for Tennyson, it's, you know, they have all these videos that they have, it's all about leadership or inclusiveness. I don't see any, I don't see anything about strokes or this or that unless it's old, old

John Carrizosa:  rehash

Broudy:  stuff like, you know, early preparation and like you said, steppin on the volley, which, you know, almost no player, you know, at the top level, like

John Carrizosa:  especially stepping across and just getting that left foot across on the right hand or so you have no balance, you're further away from the ball and you're stuck there and it's it's Oh hideous.

Broudy:  Yeah, yeah, Well you're, I mean every time you and I speak, you're so busy, I know you're given about 10 hours a day, which is a lot for a man of our age, you know, But are your prose just as busy and are they teaching your same methodology for the most part,

John Carrizosa:  they're not quite as busy, but I have them doing the junior program, But they could be busier. They can only work 40 hours, you know, you can't go over time. And so that the academy takes a lot of time. But there, I mean, I've reached out to them, I've had them try and come watch you and some guys are just set in their ways. And what happens is once I've got, I've got kids out there going to tournaments. In fact, there's a tournament Seal beach where the, I have two students that are the top two seeds and so other parents see that and say, hey, why is my kid not progressing? So then I'll get their kids to start, you're gonna. And it's like I tell them it's nothing personal. I don't, I don't even have time for him. But you know, maybe if you modified what you're, what you're showing them and some people will take something, I give them credit. Others are kind of like, well I do it my way. Sounds like, hmm, it's years have been grained what their coach told them and somehow they fought out of it became pretty decent players. But it's a long road. Things can be so much quicker, you know, But somebody, I, I used the airport, I just keep it out of my court and it's just everybody says, oh, I feel that I'm big on analogies and feel, you know, if I can help them with the ball machine and I can guide their hand or put them on the eight board or the Broudy board.

Broudy:  That's what we call it now.

John Carrizosa:  Um, they get it, you know, and right away they start using their body and then you see you walk around the club and it's like, it looks like a bunch of people, a bunch of tether ball poles with the ball swinging around the pole there just all armed. And they wonder why they got braces. And how about

Broudy:  That? How about the 35 or 40 people that I worked with? Are they still at the club? Are they still feeling,

John Carrizosa:  they're

Broudy:  still feeling, they

John Carrizosa:  always are asking and they're always, they get it. You know, they want to get better.

Broudy:  They have kind

John Carrizosa:  of been awakened and they know, so that's, that's great. It helps them, they have more fun. They're still playing.

Broudy:  I'm curious, did I forget, did you get a cobra? That's the newest product? Did you Okay. Oh, you have the wand. Which was my, that was my interim product. It's a little heavy, which is why the Cobra is nicer and, and it has a different and balls fly over the fence because it's a little, it's head heavy. Its head heavy. So the ball, no, the Cobra works a little better. I'll have to entice you now that you're a charter certified pro with us. I didn't know if I told you this, but you get everything wholesale so you might as well, which is about half the price. Um

John Carrizosa:  Yeah,

Broudy:  but the Cobra is really nice. I take it you don't use the wand that much because it is heavy or do you or do you?

John Carrizosa:  But the kids like it. My better kids can I warm up with that? Everything is right on my court. So it's like I know tennis pros are can be lazy, you know, do I have to go over here and open this up or do I mean I look like I have my own court But during the academy I moved to court six I looked like a Sherpa all my

Broudy:  stuff. You know,

John Carrizosa:  so it's it's a pain but it's it pays dividends in the end.

Broudy:  You're like the gypsy tennis pro.

John Carrizosa:  Yeah.

Broudy:  No, I know what you mean. I used to have a big wagon and my friend, you know J. C. On the east coast, you met him in a zoom meeting. Oh he's the same way he's got five red wagons in his in his pro shop, one for each of his prose and himself and they each have their red wagon with everything from Broudy board to to the cobra to the lines on the court. Two medicine balls to jump ropes. They have their little red their little red wagons. It's

John Carrizosa:  probably that's what I got to do with our guys.

Broudy:  Not a bad idea.

John Carrizosa:  That's not a bad idea.

Broudy:  I was impressed when I went over there last year, I'm like, wow! Each he says, yeah, each pro has their own wagon and don't touch their whack. You know, like that's that's pretty cool.

John Carrizosa:  He's

Broudy:  pretty tough though. He's he's got the run, you know, he runs the roost over there. He's the director. You can't even be a teaching pro unless you go through the course with him.

John Carrizosa:  Yeah.

Broudy:  Yeah, he's pretty he's pretty tough about it. But I think it's good because it keeps everyone on the same page. I mean, do you ever have trouble, I guess you mentioned earlier you do have a little trouble when a student will take lessons from one of your prose, that's, you know, maybe conventional, more conventional than you. And then they go, well your students are doing so well, john so does that ever pose any kind of a problem? Having different pro, I mean, having pros teaching different methodologies.

John Carrizosa:  Well, I've got a couple of guys, I've got one guy in particular, he's just joined about a year ago, but he'll, if he's got time he'll sit and watch and, you know, try to pick up stuff which and I told him to go to your website when it comes out and yeah, so um and it's not like I know everything because I could learn something from them. I mean something the way you say something's different. So you can always learn. But I give the guy credit if I've got these many decent students. Yeah it's stuff I've learned so it's stuff he can learn to but I like that idea of J. C.

Broudy:  Yeah it's really it's really something he told me. Someone recently applied for a job there and and he literally made her um You know learn the method. You know take the method, take the course. She took an inexpensive course. And now of course with the new site coming up it's going to be $15 per person. So I mean if per month and that's something I used that's something I used to charge a grand for if you remember back in the day um So it was it was just not accessible or palatable to a lot of these pros. Right? That's a lot of money. But yeah he had her come in on just about one of my courses overall course and now she's teaching over there and

John Carrizosa:  she's killing it.

Broudy:  And I think it's nice if you have five or six pros at the club, I think his clubs about your size, he's got 16 quarts, is that what you

John Carrizosa:  Have? We've got 12 now we've got one last because of pickleball.

Broudy:  Right. Right. Right. Um but he's got yeah he's got 16 courses and when everyone it's cohesive Then you don't have members complaining or sort of irritated or confused maybe confused because maybe that's the right word going from pro to pro and if someone's sick, they have no problem taking from another pro because they're gonna hear 45 and all that stuff, right? Um

John Carrizosa:  who

Broudy:  do you think today that well, you know, I don't want to call them lazy pros because they work hard, but not open particularly prose, we'll just say that, who do you think it hurts more or do you think it's equal the kids or the ladies? I know a lot of, most men don't take a lot of lessons, We both know that it's really the ladies and and the juniors, do you think that conventional teaching hurts anyone more than anyone else?

John Carrizosa:  It's about the same, I mean the ladies league, they want to play because their friends are out there or they hate somebody and they want to beat them or you know, all kinds of reasons, so they'll go out there if, if somebody's speaking a different language, as long as they're hitting a bunch of balls, they think they're getting better, but in the long run, you know, they're the ones that are ah you know, making companies that make, you know, armbands rich because their tennis elbow is bad, you know, they just use their arms and they can just kind of deal with it and when, but when you find out when you start to hit the ball the right way and you don't need those anymore. Um I had one lady in particular came over from another club, really prestigious club in the area from somebody who used to be on on the tour and I as soon as she started hitting the ball I said are you taking from this club? And she says yeah are you taking from this pro? And she says yeah I said okay I know how to fix it and just stranger stroke out put her on Broudy board, just worked on some coiling uncoiling not using the arms so much. She said I'm a man, she's brought me Maybe 1012 people that I don't have time for but we put it in the group and you know I'll have I've got about four boards and I'll have them out there hitting balls on them first and then put the other four and just get him going the right way. And I've never had a group of seven or eight people and just a fun group ah progress so rapidly.

Broudy:  Uh huh. Yeah you know I had the same experience in Newport Beach with Carrie Olsen. Do you know her? She played # one for U. c.

John Carrizosa:  L. A.

Broudy:  And I think believe she won the N. C. Double A. S. Didn't do much on the post, didn't do anything on the pro circuit but she had a very conventional game you know she finished pointing her racket but but she was tall, six ft two or so really well built for athletes you know what I mean? And and strong and quick and she has a very bright woman and I started working with her daughter, her seven or eight year old daughter and then she would come out and use the boards a little bit and use some of the device and she said, oh my God, she said, if I had learned this way, she says, I want to learn this way now because I stopped, you know, a lot of these people, even if they're good players, they stopped playing tennis after the juniors or after college because it was really just about getting into college or it was just about using their tennis, but they never really loved hitting the ball. And I think if you don't love hitting the ball, you're going to stop if it was just, you know, if it's just for college or bragging rights or whatever. Um if it doesn't feel good when you play, if you don't just love the way you feel, love the way you look, You know, feel better when you get off the court as opposed to feeling stiff and tired and a little sore when you get off the court. I think people quit even the great players because she told me she hadn't hit a ball in 10 or 15 years and then she said, well I'm really interested in playing again, kind of similar to your situation. Um

John Carrizosa:  Yeah, so I just, I just feel like, um, it's just the whole process, kids don't get better, so they stopped playing, the ladies are hurt so much that it's not worth it to them, they'll go down and play pickleball because it's easier and it's not so much pressure. So when you get somebody and you can kind of direct them the right way using their bodies more, your arms less and and uh a little bit more, I like to say modern ah whatever you see on on tv, I don't know why our sport is one of the only sports that, you know, if you take a kid with in basketball, football, baseball, soccer, whatever they all play exactly like they do on tv in tennis, it's talk directly opposite of how they play on tv for the most part

Broudy:  and it's like is

John Carrizosa:  the disconnect there for this many years, you know, and I'm a good amount of pros, I'm sure get it, but the vast majority don't, so we have, we're having this big tennis boom and it's just going to go down downhill again because the the like, again, using your teaching aids makes it so much easier, people get it right away. They comment how relaxed they are, they're not fighting themselves, you know, they're coiling, they're uncoiling, it's just so much more natural and I'm not trying to make this an infomercial, but it puts them in a different state of mind, they want to keep playing, they actually get better, they don't have the injuries and I look at another corridor, I look at another club and I'm going like, most people are going to quit or they're just going to get injured and so it's a shame,

Broudy:  you know, that's, that's really concisely put, you know, that it really is. I mean, I think about it and a lot of the pros I talked to, they all think about it, but that's, that's exactly what it is. I mean, if you feel good on the court, it sort of changes your whole life, even off the court,

John Carrizosa:  um

Broudy:  I can tell you over here now that I'm in Colorado and I don't play every day, like I used to, I play, you know, I play when I want to, I play every couple of weeks.

John Carrizosa:  I

Broudy:  mean literally from the first ball, I don't feel any different than I did. The only difference, I can say when I was younger, I would play hard

John Carrizosa:  and I really

Broudy:  would feel sore even as a young man in my twenties and thirties, I feel sore for awhile until I played again and got loosened up

John Carrizosa:  now

Broudy:  being being, you know, this, I wake up sore, But I have to play every couple of weeks just to feel good. I actually feel better, you know, you know that nice rotation if I do that for 500 balls in an hour or so it actually makes me feel better than when I started kind of like kind of like doing kind of like doing yoga. You know I mean it's a little tough getting started but when you do it for half an hour stretching you go, huh? I feel a lot better. And I think that is a problem with tennis. You're right. People do get hurt unnecessarily because because of the way they play.

John Carrizosa:  Yeah. I mean I've been in cases where the person on the court next to me is teaching somebody and I'm just I can see it's going to be a it's going to be a bad outcome rotator cuff going elbows shot. I mean and it's just there's no need for it, Absolutely none with some education. So hopefully as your website gets out there and more people look at it, they'll they'll be more informed because consumers don't know. Somebody says she likes this guy, oh come on play with us. There's no criteria to meet. Its just oh is he friendly? Is he finding he may not be able to teach, but I enjoyed the hour, but I mean your body is going to pay for it nonetheless.

Broudy:  Yeah. You know, it's funny too, I got an email yesterday from a guy his kids play for a D. One school And they play, you know, pretty top doubles like two or 3 doubles on the team. And he sent me some video and they look pretty good and he said Hey would you train these kids? I hear you're a double specialist and I said no, you heard wrong. I would not call myself a double specialist. I said I watched your video, I said, I think if your kids hit a better ball, heavier ball, a bigger ball, a bigger serve that will elevate their doubles game. But I think too many people

John Carrizosa:  talk about

Broudy:  the nuance before the player can actually play. They talk about strategy, they talk about fitness and all that crap. And I can tell you right now, I play every other week. So there ain't much fitness going on over here. Uh you know, and I don't do sit ups and push ups and I'm not a grinder anymore, but I hit a better ball than I used to. And to me that's really what it's about is hitting a better ball. And I do think people, I don't know, I think they've been brainwashed that strategy will change their game. You know what I mean? When really just hitting a thicker, heavier, bigger, more controlled ball. You know, if you want to hit 35 miles an hour as opposed to 30 or you know, two inches from the line. I think that's what makes really a better singles player or doubles player.

John Carrizosa:  Yeah, for sure. I mean that's like like punching in las Vegas and your Gps in your car and it's great, this is modern, but you don't have a steering wheel. So it's like what a waste. You know, strategy is not going to do anything.

Broudy:  Yeah, yeah, I think it's really overplayed. I mean, I mean I could name probably all seven strategies and doubles right now, you know, hit cross court, you know, and when the guy bends down to volley, the guy at next to cut across and put the volley away. I mean we all know what it is, you know, play down the middle, right, keep everyone guessing. But Yeah, I mean, I always think boy the courts only 72 ft wide. I mean, how many strategies can there possibly be? You know, it's not like a basketball or a football field, You know, which is more like a war where you have to have strategic plans. This is tennis. You know, you could maybe be the dumbest player in the world, but if you can hit that serve 130 mph where you want it and you can have a big forehand. Let's describing most of that's describing most american

John Carrizosa:  players. That's that's the Australian open double spine. I mean look at curios and um, I forget his

Broudy:  party. Oh yeah, me too. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

John Carrizosa:  He said, hey, we're just two singles players making shots. That was basically it. Is

Broudy:  that what they said that that's, that's so true. I didn't, I didn't hear the press conference after I had my money on those two right from the first round.

John Carrizosa:  Yeah, it was awesome to watch.

Broudy:  So yeah, no, that's that's what I mean. I mean hitting a better ball is probably gonna keep more people in the game than all the strategy and fitness in the

John Carrizosa:  world, right?

Broudy:  Yeah. I mean, I'm sure your kids come to you and they'd probably rather, you know, ask you to say, hey, give me a big forehand, big backhand and big serve, they probably don't go, hey, can you run me to death? Run me to death? You know, make sure I'm in the greatest shape. So I can be the best pusher around, you know, Oh

John Carrizosa:  gosh.

Broudy:  I think that's what keeps a lot of kids out of the game. I think they get tired of being the retriever and they want to dictate the play.

John Carrizosa:  You get tired of losing. You know, parents are paying 70 bucks to the USDA for one match, they lose that, that's not gonna last long.

Broudy:  Yeah, yeah, you're in the trenches with some of these kids and you have them playing the tournaments, you're right.

John Carrizosa:  Um,

Broudy:  it can be very frustrating and after a year or two losing in the first or second round, I guess they just go and you know what, I guess this isn't for me.

John Carrizosa:  Mm Yeah, it's sad. Yeah, yeah,

Broudy:  well john, you know, unless you have a few closing remarks, I really as always enjoy talking to you. I mean we're, we're first and foremost friends, but we are confident when it comes to tennis.

John Carrizosa:  Uh, yeah, and I appreciate, uh, if I hadn't seen your stuff, I might be saying racket back or something or quick preparation. I doubt it, but

Broudy:  I doubt if something tells me you would have found, you would have found something special.

John Carrizosa:  It's, it's made me such a better pro with your system. It's uh, it's really, it's life changing. Career changing. I appreciate that.

Broudy:  I appreciate that you're saying that how about your game? I know you and I hit a couple once or twice. Do you still play or you're just trying to rest your dogs?

John Carrizosa:  I'd love to play. I have just, just a big urge to play, but I'm just, you know, I'm trying to cut down my court time and right now it's not happening. So I like to hit with some of my better kids, but I don't get a big chance to play.

Broudy:  Let me ask you real quickly when you

John Carrizosa:  do hit. Do

Broudy:  you feel like any of the stuff that you're teaching rubs off on you? I mean, has it improved your game at all?

John Carrizosa:  Oh, by far by far? I mean, I just, I just do all that we've talked about or I've seen you teach at a club and, and you've helped some of my students and I just, it just carries on from there. So you're just, it's so relaxed. I mean, somebody said, somebody came up to me and said, Hey, that's exactly how you teach to be relaxed and use your body and coil and you know, it's just like, that's the only way.

Broudy:  Well, that's a nice compliment to you. I guess that. And it always feels good when, when people recognize you can hit a good ball. I certainly like it,

John Carrizosa:  you know? Yeah. I tell him I'm wiping this guy out. He's only seven years old, but I got

Broudy:  him. Hey, john, thanks a lot. And I hope we do this again. We'll pick a different subject to talk

John Carrizosa:  about and I hope you

Broudy:  can do this again. But thank you so much for your time, your friendship, all of that. And I will be talking to you soon enough. I'm sure.

John Carrizosa:  All right. Thank you so much, Jack.

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