Fernando Velasco, USPTA Master Professional

When my children were playing junior competitive tennis in the 1980s, whenever we would travel in Texas, most of the time they were playing in three different tournament sites. There was only one me to be able to watch them and coach them. So, I developed a very simple charting system that my wife would be able to track. When we would meet in a central location for lunch/dinner, she would share the results with me. It was not as sophisticated as the technology available today, but it was an incredible tool to see the things they did right and the items that needed to be adjusted.
The following items were important to track:
First Serves
Second Serves
Double Faults
Return errors (FH or BH)
Drop Shots
Good shots got a “+”
Errors got a “- “
Winning shots got a “W”
The most important part for me to analyze was the sequence of the points won/lost: such as, did they win the game when down 0-30? 0-40? 15-40? 40-40? Or, did they take advantage of being ahead 30-0? 40-0? 40-15? Ad ins? etc.

That was a huge help for their next match or practice session. My children were taught and coached by my associate pros and I would share that information with them so they could come up with a game plan for them.

My academy players thought that it was a great tool. We trained all the players to do the charts. Whenever they were together in a group, the winner of a match would chart the next player on her/his division. The one that lost, needed to regroup. They found this to be of great value.

I have shared my chart with hundreds of players and parents. Some parents even took pictures and sent them to me to evaluate between sets and/or matches.
Some of the positive things about charting are:
Keeps parents and coaches focused on the match and not distracted
Keep the emotions down
Forces them to look for positive items and constructive data
Helps when reviewing a match with the coach
Keeps history of the match in case they play against each other again
Gives tools to the pro for things to work on the next session
Some of the negatives are:
Shows mistakes (that is part of the game)
Takes a disciplined person to sit there for two/three hours writing stats

After my children grew up, it became a tool for them to watch their own children and use the charts. My wife of 50 plus years still charts every one of my matches. I appreciate the time she spends doing it, giving me a chance to review my match afterward. This gives me the tools to continue striving to improve my game.

In my last tournament in Austin, which was a USTA Super Category II Tournament, my wife charted me. The final match vs the Number 2 seed took two hours and forty-five minutes. 

Reviewing the match, I was able to see that:
I served 88 percent of my firsts serves in the first set, 82 percent on the second, and 75 percent on the third set.
I had no double faults
I lost the first set 5-7 and won 36 points vs 39
I won the second set 6-1 and won 31 points vs 22
I won the third set 6-1 and won 31 vs 20 points
Overall, I won 98 points vs 81
At the net, I won 20 points and missed three volleys
I was successful with winning 18 drop shots (a big asset on the 75 and over players…)

Items that need to be improved are:
Service returns from the ad court
Top spin backhands to get more depth
Inside out forehands to the opponent’s backhand
Since we get to play each other often in local, state and national tournaments, I usually keep these charts for about a year. It helps me when and if playing against the same player again. Try it!! You may be surprised of the things you may learn as a parent, coach and/or player.
About Fernando Velasco
Fernando Velasco was born in La Paz, Bolivia, in 1943. Most of his young life, he lived in Cochabamba where he excelled in swimming, diving, soccer, track and field and tennis. He is one of ten Tennis Professionals who as of 2016 has achieved a Master Category on both PTR and USPTA. Fernando has been a guest speaker at local, regional and national conventions of the PTR, USPTA, CMMA, USTA, and IHRSA. He has written several articles published in local, national, and regional newsletters and publications.