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Fitness and performance needs are determined through fitness tests ie. Beep test and skills/performance for a given sport are determined by the Coach through analysis of their playing ability. This will help the coach to put them into an established fitness and training program geared to their level of ability and fitness.
It is important that players achieve a level of competency before moving to the next level or their development will be restricted later. Players should reach a level of both tactical and technical skill on the court that is the comparative size to both their physical size and skill level.
At this stage of the planning consideration it is important to understand how each individual learns.
Some students learn more visually from their environment than they do from direct instruction as controlling the environment is important.
Staying focussed for a long period of time may be challenging to some students, so changing activities every 10 minutes will help to maintain focus and motivation and reduce boredom.
Verbally leaners prefer to focus on one thing at a time so telling them what to focus on in a particular activity is important.
Visual learners like to assimilate information and instructions visually rather than verbally, so visual cues are advised for example, displaying a how a volley is played along with the verbal information is effective.
So, by changing activities, giving both verbal and visual clues to help the student to remain focussed and overcome any leaning styles that they may have.
Establishing a fitness and training/coaching program provides a development pathway between fundamental motor skills (basic) programs and, for example in tennis, full court coaching with a standard ball. There is a need for balance between children staying too long in a fundamental motor skills program (resulting in boredom ad dropping out) or moving on to full court coaching with a regular ball too early (resulting in lower success Council and high dropout Council).
The coaching program needs to provide progressive stages, which allows children to participate at a level appropriate to their developmental needs. Children want to be engaged in fun lessons, where they are active and challenged.
A “learn to play” posters and videos representing the coaching environment shows parents, children and coaches clearly what children are working towards on each developmental stage.
All fitness training programs should include a warm up, skills progression, differentiation of skill levels within the program, challenges and repetition.
Below is example of a training program that has been established for tennis players. It show what the students want to learn about, and how they want it in each level learn to do.
Beginners will learn about mastering the whole court.
The small racquet allows consistent contact with the slow, low compression ball. Tactically, players want to be put in situations where they have to stay in control of the court and ball, attack or defend quickly, pick up cues from their opponent and the ball and react accordingly.
Physical qualities such as agility, adapting to different situations, court will be so positioning and rhythm developed. This will be executed with:
Beginner player want to learn:
During this stage, the intermediate, committed player wants to learn about a complete technical repertoire. The length of the court is larger and forces the attacking player to be accurate and use spin. It allows players to approach the net and develop their net game. As a consequence, counter attacking wants to be more than just playing defensive lobs – short angled passing shots, aggressive drives and topspin lobs will be developed. This will be executed with:
The advanced intermediate player wants to learn about playing forward, coming to the net, using the serve as a weapon. This stage becomes a lot more difficult. The court dimensions and the height of the net increase the difficulty factor.
Students will learn about emphasising advanced Court positioning around the baseline, ball “on the rise” taking the (contact between hips and shoulders to prevent extreme grips) and body weight transfer into the shots.
Students will learn about preserving offensive/constructive attitude and to play at a higher tempo exist.
On appropriate racquet size for height and weight (either a large junior or adult sized racquet)
A full sized singles tennis courtLow compression tennis ball – 75 per cent compression of a regular tennis ball
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