What is it that LifeTime Pro Tennis Programs do?
Why are they designed the way they are?
Who are our programs best suited to?
Nearly everybody looks at our programs and sees them as being training programs.
I look at Lifetime as being significantly different than this. LifeTime is really a competition program.
How I explain this is by asking the following questions.
Why do most players prefer training with us.
The answer is often to get better.
Next Question then is, to get better for what.
The answer is often to get better results.
My next question is in what events and for what reasons.
The answer is always in one of these 3 areas. Either to play in the 1st team at school, to go to US college or to become a tennis professional.
Once we have established why players come to us we can then set a program around those objectives.
For athletes to ascend to any high standard in any sport, competition drives their outcomes. It gives them a place, a selection and in tennis’ case a ranking.
Competition is also the MAJOR driver of developing the experiences, the mental skills and the competitive tactical skills required to master any sport.
So in tennis’ situation the only way to get the high end experiences required to ascend to a level of representing your school 1st team, or higher, college or pro tennis is through tournaments.
“Competition drives training not training drives competition” is a phrase I have been using now for 2 decades around our sport.
While I acknowledge that the tournament systems that have given us success in the past have been eroded away there currently is still no alternative option for players to get the experiences required to play the game at a high level.
So, what we try and encourage is for our players to play:
a/ In age groups below 11 between 60 and 80 competition matches per year.
b/ players from 11 – 13 between 80 and 100 competition matches per year.
c/ players 13 + between 100 – 125 competition matches.
As many of those matches as possible need to be competitive matches. I class a competitive match as 6-3 6-3 or closer one way or the other.
Players should also be looking to have a win / loss ratio of between 2:1 and 3:1 over about a 3 month period. If the win loss ratio is worse than that the standard of events they are playing are too high. If it’s better than 2 or 3 :1 then those players need to play higher level events.
Although, the tournament pathway has become somewhat blurred in recent years however, players will generally begin in JDS events – move on to Bronze level Junior Tour (JT)Events – on to Silver and Gold level JT events – on to Nationals in 12’s and 14’s – on to ITF Juniors for 14/15 + players – on to AMT events – and finally ITF Futures events or the lowest form of professional tournaments.
Now, we see it all the time players and parents trying to skip one of the processes, however those players often come unstuck and miss a vital area of their development in some way. I urge parents to stick to the above win / loss ratio figures and tournament level frameworks and you are much more likely to have long term success.
The types of matches I call valuable are COMPETITIVE – school tennis, tournament matches, representative matches etc. This does not include 1 or 2 set fixture matches. If players wish to play in those competitions, by all means do so, but do not include those in their competitive match numbers.
Players should also watch a number large of tournament full sets matches say (100-200) / (not look at / but properly watch and analysis what is happening tactically). This includes professional matches on TV, youtube and live matches and the strongest players in tournaments. I encourage our players to look at TACTICAL plays that these players are using then the technic they have developed to play that way. Technic is driven by the tactical plays a player wants to use and not the other way around.
Ok, so players are playing and watching the right amount of matches. They are giving themselves an opportunity to play at a very top end school level or be able to get a US college scholarship or even have a go at the pro circuit.
Let’s look at those levels of play or standards scouts/ coaches are looking for:
Most 1st level school players are at least highly ranked state if not nationally ranked players.
Most US College Scholarship are capable of earning a high ATP or WTA ranking.
This changes from:
NCAA Div 1 – player has potential to be top 400 ATP or better
NAIA – player has potential to be ATP ranked or better
Junior College – player is a fairly high nationally ranked player
Most Pro players have been highly ranked nationally in there junior years and have either worked their way through the Junior ITF circuit or have had high end success at College in the US.
Please keep in mind there are exceptions to the above, but those exceptions are few and far between.
With this in mind, this is where LifeTime comes in and can make a real difference. Our training programs are developed and delivered off the back of those competitive experiences and with the above mentioned, options at the forefront of our thinking. LifeTime is simply not for everyone. We are here to assist players to achieve one of the 3 key objectives mentioned above.
What I suggest is that players and parents ask themselves.
In terms of our tennis.
What is the outcome we are looking for?
Why are we doing what we are doing?
Are the outcomes I am looking for matching the above outlined information?
Do I have the commitment and resources to do what is required to achieve one of these objectives?
Look out for my next blog on the types of and requirements in training to meet the above objectives.
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