Over the years tennis has traditionally been taught in a very coach led way. From experience I know how this can be very frustrating not only for the coach but more importantly the student.
I believe that tennis coaching should be more pupil centered and ‘game based’. Tennis is after all a game and the fun of playing is why people take up the game.
What is the point of learning a forehand/ backhand or volley in isolation if it’s not related to a real life situation you’re in on court. The tactics of the game should dictate the technique needed. You need to know what to do before being taught how to do it.
There are two distinctly different skill sets needed to be acquired in order to understand the nature of tennis.
- Cognitive skills include a players mental resources for example perception, decision-making, problem solving, memory, creativity etc
- Motor skills are required for a precise quality of movement for success.
Unfortunately, the traditional approach to coaching often fails to equip players to use newly acquired skills in gameplay. The movement aspects are taught without the cognitive aspects. The player knows how to move without knowing when to move and why. The end result is that the player performs the skill successfully in practise but the skill falls apart during a live game.
So in a game based Serve and Volley Retreat lesson what differences will you see:-
Based on current levels of competence, players are taught how to make tactical decisions and then learn the technical skills to solve problems on court. This equips players far more effectively than the traditional way of teaching ‘strokes first’.
It’s also far more FUN.