Coaching: Developing Juniors to become World Class Seniors - UBITENNIS
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Coaching: Developing Juniors to become World Class Seniors



TENNIS COACHING – Mike James (GPTCA International Coach) analyses what is necessary for a player to develop from a junior player to a world class senior. The player, the coach and the parents must work together in the quest for excellence.


You simply cannot predict with certainty which junior players on the Tennis Europe and ITF circuit will will or will not come through to become world class seniors.

In this article I will give you my thoughts on basic principles that are essential in helping players to attain the goal of making it to International senior Tennis. Making the future a bit more predictable rather than a lot less so.

The three most significant partners in the quest for excellence, are the Coach, the Player and last but not least the Parents. To have a relationship with an open & honest communication that all parties “buy in” to this Commitment to Excellence and work hard day in and day out is vital for the players transition. Excellence starts from the moment the player gets up in the morning and dedicates their time in preparing for the day eating the right foods with nutritional value through static stretching before training and treating the warm up as an integral part of the on court session.

Caring for the Athlete as a Person and understanding what makes them perform at their optimum level as the coach is vital for success. Other members of the team built around the player, should always consider the player first and winning second and have the unique ability to show empathy and understanding in all situations.

Allowing the player to create and hold the ownership of success and to let them aspire to be the best they can be is key through out their Tennis journey.

Key components that the player must have are:

  • Have groundstrokes that allow them to hit through the court & damage off both wings.
  • Can constantly defend with quality to turn the point around
  • Have a character that can deal with adversity week in and week out

From a psychical as point of view “any player making the transition from the junior to the senior tour is challenging. Players need great robustness to reduce the chance of injury and be able to compete at a higher intensity for longer durations. Therefore greater conditioning is likely to be required. Players need to manage their bodies to maintain longevity and understand that although missing particular tournaments may reduce the likelihood of picking up ranking points, long term planning rest and regeneration is essential” (Science in Tennis 2014)

Mentally there are “two areas that young players breaking into the senior game should look closely at are self-awareness and resilience. Regarding self-awareness, players need to understand exactly what gets them in the best frame of mind to perform at this new level. Players must be clear on their areas to improve and, more importantly, their strengths in every aspect of their game. It is also critical for the player to understand the type of preparation they have to do in order to be emotionally prepared for battle each time they step on court. To improve self-awareness players should think about their role models, goals and ambitions, values and philosophy, and the strongest areas of their personality.

In the critical early stages of their senior career players must be prepared to fail and encouraged to learn from these failures. Resilience is about accepting adversity and learning something from every setback. Resilient players will have a consistent effort level regardless of the challenges they face. They will have a positive attitude to training and competition and view negative situations as opportunities rather than obstacles. Their emotional responses to problems, while not always positive, will be controlled and directed towards finding a solution.”(Grand Slam Sport 2014)

The above thoughts and points are not exclusive for a players development though are the most important ones and would serve as a good template of self examination by any coach who really wants to help turn a Quality Junior into a World Class Senior.

By Mike James (click here for his articles on Ubitennis)

Director of Matchpoint Management

Academy Coach MyTennis



Twitter: @mikenwjames



Grand Slam Sport: Chris Bradley is currently a trainee Sport Psychologist, working towards Chartered Status with Sheffield Hallam University. He has completed both BSc and MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology. He is also Managing Director of Grand Slam Performance Ltd, a Sport Psychology Provider. Since graduating Chris has worked with varying levels of athletes in a range of sports. He is currently consultant to Middlesbrough and Sheffield United FC and works with several tennis players. He has previously worked in Motorsport and in Rugby League at Castleford Tigers RLFC.

Science in Tennis: Jonny Frasier (click here for his articles on Ubitennis) has a wealth of experience in tennis having been a strength and conditioning coach for over six years,having worked with a range of players from mini tennis to full time professionals competing at Grand Slams. Jonny is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, corrective exercise, performance enhancement specialist and certified tennis performance specialist whilst being a tennis licensed coach having worked with a host of players. He is also a certified tennis performance specialist with the International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA). Academically he has an MSc in Sport and Exercise Science from Sheffield Hallam University and has also taught at Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield College on the Sports Coaching degree.


Alexander Zverev Insists Tennis Is In Good Hands After Generational Breakthrough In Shanghai

Alexander Zverev has praised his fellow next generation stars ahead of a bright future for tennis.



Alexander Zverev (@atptour - Twitter)

Alexander Zverev has insisted that Tennis’ future looks good after a generational breakthrough in Shanghai. 


Last week saw a breakthrough in the next generation as all four semi-finalists in Shanghai were under the age of 24 years old.

It was the youngest semi-final line-up at a Masters 1000 for 12 years as both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic fell at the quarter-final stage.

Speaking after his loss to 23 year-old Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev thinks that Tennis’ future looks good without the ‘big three’, “The difference now this year than the last few years was I was the only young guy kind of up there,” Zverev admitted in his press conference in Shanghai.

“Now I see the other young guys. I see maybe still difference in, you know, how we act on court, how we behave on court, compared to the older guys. So before I didn’t pay attention to it because I was kind of the only one and the rest of it was fine.

“So I hope we, as young guys, we kind of understand that, we learn that, and, you know, then I think tennis will be just as interesting as it is now. And, you know, the Roger Federer fans or Rafa Nadal fans will fall in love with new players.

“I’m not saying it has to be me. I’m not saying it has to be anyone in particular. It may be a new superstar that we don’t even know about. But if we kind of learn the good things about those guys, I think this sport of tennis will be in very good hands.”

With the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime challenging Zverev at the top of the next generation pack, we are now in for an exciting next few years ahead at the top of the men’s game.

The next challenge though will be to see if they can translate this potential on the grand slam stage and beat Djokovic, Federer and Nadal when it really matters.

As for Zverev he looks to finish the season strong and book his place at the ATP World Tour Finals, where he won the title last year.


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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beats Lorenzo Sonego to advance to the second round in Antwerp



Jo-Wilfried Tsonga broke once in each set in his 6-3 6-4 win in his 6-3 6-4 win over Lorenzo Sonego after 1 hour and 20 minutes improving his win-loss record over the Italian player to 2-0.


Tsonga got the first break at 15 in the fourth game and never looked back to win the opening set 6-3 after 31 minutes.

Sonego earned his only break in the fourth game of the second set, but Tsonga saved it before earning the decisive break. The Frenchman held on his service games to take the second set 6-4.

Tsonga will face either Gilles Simon or Steve Darcis in the second round.

Guido Pella fought back from one set down to beat Peter Gojowczyk 5-7 6-4 7-6 (7-2) setting up a second round match against either Richard Gasquet or Soonwoon Kwon from South Korean Soonwoo Kwon.

Tipsarevic beats Moutet in Stockolm

 Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic broke serve four times in his 6-2 6-4 win over Corentin Moutet in 73 minutes. Tipsarevic, who will retire at the end of the season, will take on top seed Fabio Fognini. Tipsarevic went up a 3-0 lead with a double break. Moutet pulled back a break in the fourth game, but Tipsarevic broke for the third game to clinch the first set 6-2. Tipsarevic converted his third break point chance in the seventh game and held his final two service games to win the second set 6-4.

Great Britain’s Daniel Evans battled past Bernard Tomic 6-4 1-6 6-3 setting up a second round match against either Casper Ruud or Filip Krajinovic.

Italy’s Stefano Travaglia stunned US giant Reilly Opelka 7-5 4-6 6-4 securing his spot in the second round, where he will face either Yuichi Sugita from Japan or Elias Yimer from Sweden. Opelka had to save a break point in the first game with five aces. Both players went on serve until the 11th game when Travaglia got the break before serving out for the set at love. Travaglia saved a break point at 4-5 15-40 but Opelka converted his second chance to seal the second set 6-4. Travaglia got the decisive break in the ninth game and sealed the win on his first match point.

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Andreas Seppi fends off two match points to beat Christian Garin in Moscow



Italian veteran Andreas Seppi came back from one set down to beat Chile’s Christian Garin 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4) in 2 hours and 45 minutes at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.


Garin broke serve twice in the second and ninth games to win the opening set 6-3.  Seppi converted his second break point chance in the first game of the second set, but he wasted two break points at 5-4 and dropped his serve. Seppi saved two match points in the 12th game at 5-6 15-40 in the second set before winning the tie-break 7-2.

Garin broke serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-2 lead. Seppi broke straight back to draw level to 4-4, but he did not convert four match points at 6-5. Seppi won five of the final six points in the tie-break of the third set to close out the match.

Czech qualifier Lukas Rosol fended off two match points to beat Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (9-7) 6-3. Rosol came back from 4-6 in the tie-break of the second set by winning five of the next six points. The Czech player broke serve in the eighth game to win the third set 6-3.

Adrian Mannarino edged past Damir Dzumhur 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 to improve his record in their head-to-head matches to 3-1. Dzumhur got the first break of the match in the opening game. Mannarino broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Dzumhur broke serve for the second time to take a 4-3 lead. Mannarino pulled the break back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 before winning the tie-break 7-2. The Frenchman cruised through to a 6-0 win in the third set with three consecutive breaks.

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