This is the first of the lifetime tennis blogs which will come out once a month, we will be looking at number of different topics and will hope to get special guests to also blog about different topics. Each of us coaches will be having input on our experiences and thoughts in what it takes to produce a professional tennis player.
We hope you enjoy the blogs!
What is involved in my development?
Each child has different requirements that will need to be fulfilled in order to maximize their potential, these requirements will change over time as they develop but understanding the big picture is really important for you and your child. We often say that it’s long term athletic development and many different stages and hurdles to work through over a period of years of dedication. There are no short cuts and no hidden secret to what it takes to be the best, it’s hard work and time.
It’s important that you have a group of professionals who are the best at what they do to get the best possible outcome for your child.
The weekly work load of your child will be different depending on their age and development stage but the following boxes need to be ticked on a regular basis:
- Fitness work off court
Again, time is so important we need to spend regular time on each of these things.
The technical element is making sure that your child is continually growing into their game not growing out of it. We can all make improvements within our technique and for me it’s an ever evolving thing, it amazes me still how players will without even knowing it create bad habits within their technique so it’s important your coach is able to spend time on this so the kids are reinforcing good habits with there technique. This is where their private lessons come in. We do find that the kids need to take responsibility for those changes outside of there private lessons to make those changes stick. As your child gets older private lessons won’t need to be as regular as a lot of their technique should be pretty good and they should be doing more squads as this will give them more time on court. (this is again depending on where your child is at).
Growing into my technique: Making adjustments in swing shapes and movement techniques so that as you hit the ball harder and your opponent hits the ball hard your shot quality is still high.
Growing out of my technique: Not addressing fundamental issues in your swing shapes and movement techniques. I see this a lot, kids are not willing to address fundamental issues in the way they hit or their movement to and from the ball because “It’s too hard”. Players will often find that at some point they cannot improve and struggle in taking their game and playing against other games that are at the next level.
I personally work off a check list in this area which is made up of four key areas:
C: Counter Attacking
Within each of these situations there is multiple situations that can occur with minimal time to execute them, we want to train these situations to a point that the kids almost make those decisions without having to think about them. It’s from working through these that we can start to build a plan of what your child is good at and what they would like to work on as their ideal outcome within the points (which is often referred to as a signature play) as well as what to do in certain situations against a certain player. This process takes so much time and this is where squads are so so important. We can spend more time with the kids in squads and us coaches can really spend time on these tactical scenarios and get the kids to understand how to play. We often say that it’s important the kids train with a purpose it’s not just hitting tennis balls. The more time we can spend with them the better they will get!
I really like Graeme Brimblecombe’s thoughts on this:
Training for what?
Competition will fuel your training!
We will in the coming weeks be putting out a blog on tournament selection, how many matches you should be looking at playing per year and what kind of tournaments they should be.
This area is so important and there is just so many things to work through I personally like to think of this as tennis insurance to stay injury free, as your child grows and gets older they will need to spend more and more time in this space. I will be going into what the roles of your tennis team should be in the coming months as the fitness person needs to be in contact with your physio regularly as your child grows. We all have imbalances in our bodies especially for kids as they start to go into their growth spurts, if these things are not addressed then the kids will get injured. This is all about addressing those imbalances, getting stronger, getting fitter and staying injury free, It is unrealistic to think that the kids won’t get hurt doing a repetitive sport like tennis without proper fitness training. We coaches often see limitations in some of the things that we ask of the kids because they are too tight in certain areas of their body or not strong enough. This is something that must be done every week even on holidays. When your child has a holiday from tennis we call this active rest as they should still be doing regular gym work so that they come back fitter and stronger.
Future Blog Topics
What tournaments should I choose and how many should I play?
Who should be in your tennis team?
Please feel free to request any topics for our blog that you might be interested in us talking or writing about.
We want this to be as useful as possible for everyone.