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Luca Mandalino

The Theory of push lines.

The four unescapable push lines and the five fundamental principles of modern tennis playing technique.

A biographical outline of Luca Mandalino.

How I realized the “Theory of push lines” and the “4T Method”.

“The theory of push lines” , the “Five fundamental principles” and the “4T method”  represent the essence of my conclusions in over thirty years of research, study and testing of the technique in carrying out strokes, teaching methods and training.

In all these years, the passion for tennis and the persistence in  adopting the comparative and check method of the observance of the laws of physics and biomechanics have gradually persuaded me to publish this work.

It all started in the summer of 1971. My family and I were spending our holidays in a beautiful mountain resort; my brother Paolo and I started hitting our first tennis shots on a splendid tennis court of red clay with our father Piero  teaching us the first principles of this wonderful sport, and our mother Roberta always ready to prepare her culinary delicacies to refresh us.

From that time until  the age of eleven we didn’t play much, then they started transmitting a lot of tennis on TV from Telecapodistria and the captivating running commentaries of Gianni Clerici and Rino Tommasi represented an important stimulus.

This is how my brother and I together with some friends became tireless tennis court-goers; we enjoyed challenging one another to imitate the particular postures of professionals such as Connors, Vilas, Borg and Mc Enroe.

At times it happened that, when drawing sorts for the names of the professionals to imitate, when the name of Mc Enroe popped up, one had to play left-handed and take on the particular and characteristic behaviour of that player.

I realized quickly that there were countless playing styles with different techniques according to the nations of origin of the players and I started studying them, thanks to my father, who circulated a great number of magazines and some books on tennis at home.

Later on, I was lucky enough to receive as a gift from my parents the enrolment on a super course held by italian davismen such as Paolo Bertolucci, Antonio Zugarelli and, without minimizing the merits of these, also by Jan Kodes, the ex-number five in the world results of the seventies, who succeeded in passing on to me a lot of his professional competence and game technique.

Milan, 1978. Luca Mandalino with Jan Kodes.

At the age of sixteen I started the activityof tennis instructor at the side of a great italian master,  Paolo Bertuccelli. This traineeship brought me a lot of experience and made me develop a keener interest in the world of teaching.

When I was twenty, I moved with my parents to Monza where I continued to teach tennis at the side of another great italian master, Ugo Forti, quickly becoming his right hand.

With this last experience I acquired an optimal outlook of the tennis technical scenario, which allowed me to set up my own business by managing a sports centre in the town of Besana in Brianza.

Success arrived immediately with a hundred and fifty youngsters enroled on the courses for beginners and about a hundred adults enroled on the morning and evening courses  with the tennis ball machine running full time.

First tennis course for youngsters at Besana in Brianza, 1988.

Tennis course for youngsters at Besana in Brianza.

Milan, 1990. Luca Mandalino with Tim Mayotte.

Milan, 1990. LM with the students of the school of Besana in Brianza, with Tim Mayotte,
who,during that week, played the Milan International Tournament final against Ivan Lendl.

The technique and teaching method which I was constructing worked so much so that after only two years I managed to create a competitive course free for about eighty boys and girls, who grew technically at my school, with three tennis training sessions and two athletic training sessions per week.

LM with the Italia Cup for women team, who qualified for the Final National Phases.

Prize-giving ceremony of the Regional Final of the Italia Cup for women,
regional vice-champions of Lombardy.

Gazzetta dello Sport 26.01.1989

Tournament prize-giving with the representatives of the municipal administration
of Besana in Brianzaand the owner of Brico Sport, main sponsor of the tournament.

LM with the instructors and competitive players of Besana in Brianza.

LM - Agonistic results of the students.

LM - Agonistic results of the students.

Inevitably, our agonistic results attracted also the envy and spite of those who - ... “old rumour in the world proclaims  them blind” ... (Dante, Inferno, Canto XV) - indulge in  certain  bad practices  which in Italy are still very popular.

A few years later I was able to get rid of these practices thanks to an experience which gave me a lot, both as a player and as a teacher: a transfer to Sydney in Australia   which made me discover,  from the human, technical and social standpoint, a way to live this sport which would be difficult to achieve in our “Sunny Italy”.

This persuaded me to add  these further experiences to the studies of push lines and the use of the tennis ball machines which I had drawn up in Besana in Brianza.

The continuous updating and study in search of a perfect execution of strokes and of the loose and linear movements suggested by mother nature, improved my method of training with techniques and methods aimed at optimizing learning which lead to forming the “4T Method”.

The rapid evolution of tennis thanks to the scientific progress in the fields of equipment, nutrition and athletic and mental training techniques is improving, among other things, the playing technique of professionals by modifying their strategies and tactics.

Next Article Chapter one.
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