Our vision for player development at Everyball Tennis is to develop 'Players of the game, skill-full, competitive and athletic'
The phrase encompasses and integrates the four performance factors:
- Players of the game (play-full) - tactical
- Skill-full - technical
- Competitive - mental
- Athletic - physical
For younger players, we believe this order is very important and here's why:
The concept of developing 'players of the game' early on is critical. I remember the first time my kids went to football at 3 or 4 years old. They 'played the game' right away! This is tough to do in tennis due to the challenge of the sport, but it's vital we get little ones to a stage as quickly as possible whereby they can rally and play the game because this is what really hooks them in to the sport - playing like the big kids or the pros on telly! One of the big barriers to this is the serve, due to it's technical complexity AND the requirements of hitting it accurately into the appropriate box in order for the point to start.
Recently, in our group sessions and internal 'play the game' sessions we've been experimenting with a 'serve anywhere' approach. If the ball lands 'in' the court somewhere, it's in play. Results have been fantastic.
- immediate longer rallies and sessions are more 'full of play'
- fear of missing taken away so children are more up for serving and for developing more complex aspects of the serve such as the chopper grip
Great job by coaches Alan Hutcherson and Neale Proud for leading this innovation/initiative for us. See it in action this morning in our Red session 9.00-10.00 am!