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Coaching: Developing Juniors to become World Class Seniors

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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

Email: mnwjames@gmail.com

Website: www.mikenwjames.com

Twitter: @mikenwjames

 

References:

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.

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Alexander Bublik Praises Mentality Change Ahead Of Newport Semi-Finals

Alexander Bublik is on the rise after changing his mentality as he looks to win his first ATP title in Newport this weekend.

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Alexander Bublik (@TennisHalloFame - Twitter)

Alexander Bublik praises his change in his mental approach to tennis after reaching the semi-finals in Newport. 

 

The 22 year-old from Kazakhstan is arguably having one of the best seasons of his career, having reached a career high ranking of 82 in 2019.

Having won three challenger events in Budapest, Pau and Monterrey, Bublik is full of confidence and is currently trying to transition that form on the ATP tour.

In an interview with the ATP website, Bublik has praised a change in mentality for the improvement in form, “When I was a kid I got in mental troubles a lot because I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to win this match. I want to win this tournament’,” Bublik said to atptour.com.

“Then last year when I broke my ankle is when I realised it’s fine… I’ve got to work hard to make it here, to make more and more, so that’s why I’m working hard every day trying to succeed.”

There is no doubting that Bublik has the talent as he has a unique style, which includes tweeners and during his quarter-final match with Tennys Sandgren in Newport, hit four aces in a game which concluded with an underarm ace.

However the world number 83 has said that he entertains himself first and aims to stand out from the crowd, “I entertain myself first. That’s the most important thing for me,” Bublik explained.

“Always be a leader, not a follower, You just have to be your own leader, make your own decisions,” Bublik said when speaking about one of his tattoos.

Well Bublik’s fate is certainly in his own hands when he faces Marcel Granollers for a spot in his first ever ATP final on Saturday.

The other semi-final will see top seed John Isner take on 4th seed Ugo Humbert as the Frenchman looks to take advantage of an under-par American.

In both of his matches, Isner has needed a third set to overcome both Kamil Majchrzak and Matthew Ebden as he looks to win a 3rd title at the Hall Of Fame Open.

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Bernard Tomic Sent Warning About Behaviour As Wimbledon Appeal Rejected

Bernard Tomic’s appeal was rejected after being fined all of his prize money for his first round defeat to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at Wimbledon.

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Bernard Tomic (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

Bernard Tomic has been sent a stinging warning about his behaviour after his Wimbledon appeal was rejected. 

 

The Australian lost his first round match at Wimbledon to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in 58 minutes a couple of weeks ago in another lacklustre effort.

Although in previous years he may have escaped punishment, this time the grand slam board decided to deduct all his prize money as a result of his straight sets defeat.

This sent a clear message to the tennis world as they want to cut out lack of effort and give places in grand slams to competitors that will try their best.

Of course, Tomic wasn’t exactly pleased with the ruling and decided to appeal against the ruling which stated that he did not play to “required professional standards.”

However the appeal didn’t only get rejected, it got slammed down by board director Bill Babcock in a stinging letter to the controversial Australian.

In the letter Babcock referred to Tomic’s past history in lack of effort during matches, “A review of your historical record of misconduct at grand slams, never mind elsewhere, provides little justification for an adjustment,” Babcock said.

“In your case, Bernard, I am sure you would agree there is no historical evidence to give comfort to the theory that you can reform your behaviour.

“Admittedly, I am sceptical that you can achieve this reform of grand slam on-court behaviour, Many others, no doubt, would be even more than just sceptical. Good luck and I hope to be pleasantly surprised in the future by your successful reform.”

In the letter, Babcock added that if Tomic escapes a sanction in his next eight grand slam events, then he will be refunded 25 percent of his prize money.

Despite this outcome, Tomic plans on appealing this latest inquest further as he currently prepares for the ATP 250 event in Atlanta next week, “I don’t care about this 25 per cent, I care about the right thing for players in the future,” Tomic told the New York Times.

In a separate case, Anna Tatishvili was refunded all of her prize money after appealing successfully after her fine for not meeting professional standards at Roland Garros.

The American lost 6-0 6-1 in her first round match to Maria Sakkari in only her third tournament back since 2017.

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Angelique Kerber Splits With Rainer Schuettler After Eight Month Partnership

Angelique Kerber has parted ways with Rainer Schuettler after an eight month partnership which ended in Wimbledon disappointment.

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Angelique Kerber (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

Three time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber has split with her coach Rainer Schuettler after an eight month partnership. 

 

It’s been a topsy-turvy year for the German so far after reaching the finals in Indian Wells and Eastbourne as well as being 11th in the Race To Shenzhen rankings.

However after losing in the first week of all three of her grand slams so far, last year’s Wimbledon champion has decider to end her partnership with Rainer Scheuttler.

The 31 year-old made the announcement on Twitter as she admitted it was a tough decision to make but a necessary one to make, “Moving forward, it’s never easy to change – especially when you work with great people like Rainer,” Kerber said.

“But for now, we’ve decided that it’s the right time for a fresh start. He has become a friend and I‘m thankful for his hard work & dedication in the last months.”

A couple of days ago, Kerber also said it was time to embrace the challenges moving forward as she looks to improve her sluggish form ,“This time of year feels very different compared to last year, but it’s still part of the same journey,” Kerber explained on Twitter.

“Whether you‘ve won or lost the last match- it‘s done, it‘s over and it can‘t be changed. It‘s about the lessons you learn from both outcomes that will determine your path. 

“There have always been ups and downs, twists and turns in my career that I accept as part of my story as an athlete. Even more, I‘ve learned to deal with it and embrace the challenge moving forward.”

Although Kerber and Schuettler have become good friends, the results never really translated when it really mattered most as Kerber couldn’t keep her focus on the big occasions.

A very brave decision to do it more than half way through the season though as Kerber looks to finish the season strong in a frustrating year.

Next for the former world number one is the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which starts on the 5th August.

 

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