What is high-performance tennis and how can it be tackled by a coach and a player who is persistently seeking that ultimate success?
First, it is critical to analyze a player's inborn physical abilities related to on-court efforts. We as coaches must study our player throughout prior to suggesting and later adapting to a playing style that is going to be executed in competition.
Does your player possess natural mover ability along with well-rounded eye-hand coordination? Then practicing lateral baseline patterns is the key. Net transitioning play patterns must be worked into practices often enough in order for an athlete to develop early courage on when and how to charge the net with a successful conversion ratio.
On the contrary, what if your player has a limited natural ability with delayed anticipation for quicker points? Perhaps applying more of a robot approach in practices by mixing dead and live ball drills is the way to go. A superb fundamental built through countless dead ball drill patterns are essential for a player who lacks that natural athleticism. We as coaches must recognize the need and cater for proper ingredients before sending off our players onto competition with pour skill level, which could hazardously reflect the self-confidence of an athlete.
Second, performance players must be exposed to a local or national competition at least twice per month. It is proven that practice without a test justifies too little positive results. The ability to compete leads to enormous knowledge that could only be obtained through competition as opposed to a plain practice environment. Many coaches and players make a common mistake of extensively over practicing which leads to excess of burning out, or simply a loss of a good adrenaline towards competition. Therefore, a proper tournament as well as a match play schedule is essential towards the athlete’s overall training modules as well as healthier, faster development at a performance level.
Lastly, the importance of a coach who, along with teaching fundamentals, happens to grow into a visionary who can convoy and prepare players for a competition is a large asset for any player. The consequence of such a specialist relates to a tedious player’s evaluation both in practice and competition which leads to continuous expansion of playing strategies, tactics backed up by solidified technical skills. Often, players fall into a spiral of “bad match breaks”. The inability to adequately evaluate a player’s match performance could result in loss of confidence.
Coaches should adapt tactics of a drawing board to regularly brainstorm match analysis with a player as well as continuously sharpen a player’s mind towards that top tier performance.
Yevgeny Supeko is the General Manager and Director of Tennis at Centercourt Club & Sports– Marlboro. A PTR and USPTA Elite Professional, Supeko has developed nationally ranked players that went on to play at Princeton, Lehigh, Villanova, Navy and more. He played collegiately at Texas A&M and South Carolina before competing on the ATP Tour, and eventually earning his MBA in International Business – Finance.