Training Principles

Written by Jim Edgar on . Posted in Tennis Philosophy

Preparation and theme

How can you be taken seriously as a professional, if your classes are not planned? Have a clear theme and tell the class what it is. Without a theme, your lesson has no impact. A theme can be very simple. For example:-

"Today boys and girls we are going to"…
  1. read the bounce of the ball/react to a moving ball/catch a falling ball
  2. learn the names of the different shots
  3. learn the rules of mini tennis/tennis
  4. learn the forehand/learn the backhand
  5. learn how to prepare to face the on-coming ball (ready position, racket back  early)
  6. learn how to use topspin
  7. read your opponent's shot (balls can come to you with POWER, WIDTH, LENGTH, HEIGHT, SPIN, etc)
  8. learn how to serve with the correct grip
  9. get mentally ready to play (rituals, performance vs outcome goals etc)
  10. learn how to split step
  11. learn how to move faster - improve shot selection and learn basic tactics (e.g. DEFEND, ATTACK, RALLY etc)
  12. learn about serve and return of serve
  13. concentrate on approach and volley (include smash)

Structure

Follow this simple plan for clarity of purpose. Be demanding of the children - they have come to learn, not to be entertained.
  1. Say hello and warm up (five minutes)
  2. Introduce the theme (two minutes) and then demonstrate!!!
  3. Assess their knowledge/ability to do it (five-six minutes)
  4. Teach them how to improve - demonstrate what you want them to do and set up an exercise to reinforce the improvement (15 minutes)
  5. Progress or regress - can they do it? If yes, show them something to progress. If no, demonstrate the teaching point again.
  6. Develop into a match situation if possible, or continue developing the theme (10-15 minutes)
  7. Finish with a fun game (10-15 minutes)
  8. Tell them what they have just learnt. Set homework for next lesson. Tell them what they are going to do next lesson.
  9. Make sure the parents hear all this! They are the ones who pay your wages!!

Personal Standards

What are your personal standards like? From now use these professional standards:-
  1. Clean and tidy appearance
  2. Tracksuit must be worn
  3. No mobile phones on court
  4. Collared shirts to be worn
  5. Shirt tucked into shorts
  6. Arrive at the arena ten minutes before your lesson
  7. Do not sit down during lessons
  8. When coaching Juniors, do not leave the court for any reason except in an emergency
  9. Take a register of classes for all group lessons

by Jim Edgar