| By Asher Salam

My understanding of what a progression is, is to use a systematic scheme to accomplish goals. Using progressions as a tool to teach any subject matter is not a new concept. For tennis players, this type of planning can minimize the dependency cycle a player can have for a coach's approval. Progressions bring accountability for both the player and the coach. Accountability allows both player and coach the ability to grow in many different ways. This development can really allow empowerment of the individual to take on the many challenges tennis can impose.

On the coaching side, using progressions are helpful because it involves planning with clear goals in mind. However, with having a plan, there becomes the pressure of being able to execute the plan. This pressure can bring out the best in a coach. It provides an opportunity for the coach to constantly grow and learn. This can help the coach adapt to the organic obstacles that constantly occur when dealing with people. As every player is different, it allows for creativity from the coach to execute a plan, whether it deals with footwork, strokes or strategy. When you are trying to help people who learn in different ways systematically accomplish a task, the energy involved can be infectious. Providing the steps for a student to accomplish their goals becomes a transformative opportunity where the player can take on responsibility and not just rely on their coach. The player can now have a simple plan in place in order to solve problems.

From the player’s standpoint, progressions can create a clear map of how their game will be developed and where it can go. The individual can use this map to quickly asses why situations turn out the way they do, instead of feeling lost. Confidence can really grow with this ability. This map can introduce perspective to the athlete. Having perspective can allow the player look at the average of their practices and match play, as opposed to looking so acutely at misses. Perspective from the progressions can put the player in a position to develop a sense of maturity about how their tennis game has developed. It then becomes the development of the skill set of the individual player instead of the coach.

The end result will have multiple people on the same page. With that synergy, other team members or family members can find more clear roles. Fitness staff can have the information to maximize all efforts in their process. Nutritionists can have a full understanding of energy used developing a proper diet. Parents can really support players with a clear understanding of the overall goals. Coaches can gain a great sense of trust with the player. The player can then be in the driver's seat of their own game. With this sense of empowerment, everyone can feel good from having a well thought out and flexible plan, I believe it will always be worth it to spend the extra time to develop a progression for each player.