Why am in this group? How we select players into classes

Many players and parents often ask why players are put into the groups they are designated by us to train in.
We hear it all the time. Why isn’t my son or daughter training in a stronger group.

I guess the best way to describe it is that we train players where we think it is in their best interest to play in based on where they sit in their development, also the skills we feel they need to or are capable of working on at that point in time. We are NOT in the habit of disadvantaging someone unless they are not working within standards Lifetime expects of players.

We are also mindful of the maturity players show in training. What I mean by this is that if a player is physically able to train against stronger players, they also must be mentally capable of training against them. Some players simply cannot handle being at the bottom of a group or getting beaten up by stronger players from an emotional perspective.

So in essence the things we look for when positioning players into groups include.

  1. Emotional resilience – The ability of players to handle being beaten in drills and exercises or the ability for a player who is at the top of the group to train with intensity and energy at all times.
  2. Physical Capability – The ability of a player to handle the speed of ball and intensity of a training session when they are training with stronger players. Their racquet head speed or ability to steal pace off their opponent allows them to play in different modes of play.
  3. Work ethic and effort at all times – (not just when a player feels like it.) Players consistently give really good energy and effort in training at all times. They pay attention to the coaches and are focussed on working on their games. Players are self- motivated and don’t rely on the energy of a coach for motivation.
  4. Movement – ability and desire to chase down balls. Players work exceptionally hard on their movement. They run for everything. Balls that are in and out. They consistently try to keep the ball in play. They are attempting to anticipate the length and direction of an oncoming ball and not waiting to see if it goes in or not.
  5. Rally speed and consistency – They can rally at a similar speed to the other players they are training with. Their rally speed is 75% or more of their aggressive ball.
  6. What ENTHUSIASM, URGENCY and ENERGY they bring to the rest of the squad they train in. Players are positive and motivating to other players around them. They ask relevant questions and are keen to share their learning experiences with other players in their group or squad.There is an urgency and preparedness when:
    • Coming into their sessions
    • Picking up balls.
    • Getting out on court.
    • Getting prepared for next drill etc.

SUMMARY – At the end of the day it’s in our and a player’s best interest to improve as much and as quickly as possible. As a coach or a program, we do not try and hold players back, so players and parents when asking the question why am I or is my child training in the group they are training in, put a coaches cap on and look through the above points and ask am I or my child ticking most or all of the above boxes or can they be giving a lot more of themselves.