My diary from the AO was so popular, that I wanted to continue the S9 diary of my life as a tennis coach in a typical week. Like many coaches around the world, last week was half-term… and so was camp week.

The camp was held at what will be the new S9 Tennis School and had attendance of 18-23 juniors each day!

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Day 1 – Technical Day

Camps always begin with students writing on the whiteboard their expectations of the day and what they want to gain from the camp. The biggest request was for backhands and serves! This may be why I wrote the last book ‘Beat the Backhand’ as it’s a popular request!

The progressions for these (excluding the volleys), are on our YouTube channel.

We all know that many students who practice play differently in matches at this level, so we always end in matchplay before revisiting the whiteboard to check that we covered everything

Five hours of pure technical training and drilling, ending in match play. But the question is, how do we ensure deeper learning with our students?

Answer – Buddy Coaching

Players have to understand the basic workings of every stroke. So, for instance, while demonstrating the forehand, students note down what they see to make a consistent forehand. They then paired up as ‘buddies’ and recommended what the other could do to improve their strokes.

Day 2 – Tactical Day

The whiteboard exercise brings out the best in students who write down what they want to get out of the day.

This 5 hour day was all about percentage tennis and the drills based from baseline to approaching to net. We then looked at how to teach the serve (keep an eye our for the one day course S9: Serving from Beginner to Tour).

Matchplay was the intention of buddy coaches seeing what percentage tennis tactics they could tick off from the card while they were watching their partner play.

Day 3 – Doubles

The whiteboard exercise today was to write down all they could on doubles play. From the server to the returner roles, net players and anything else!

Much of this day revolved around the basic doubles masterclass that was another CPD course we often run. If you’ve not heard of it, then it’s basic doubles in the morning followed by advanced in the afternoon. Then we look how to earn £240 from each session at your club.

Teaching doubles is an art and as we are heading towards the road to Wimbledon, it’s much needed.

Day 4 – Matchplay

It’s always interesting to see what players write down as being important when playing matches. Today was our biggest turnout with 23 players. With 3 courts and a buddy coach doing simple match charting and sponge ball doubles inside the large hall, we were organised!

The match charting brings about many surprises on how players play, but as you can see from the attachment, albeit ony playing one set with short deuces we can record a match report and set some goals. Perfect for those only attending group sessions.

For the more advanced match charter, we have a new book coming out this week (don’t tell anyone…. here’s an early link! ‘Match Charting the S9 Way’). This is how we worked out patterns against our opponent when in Australia but also when visiting tournaments with our players. Keep an eye out!

Day 5 – Red Ball CPD

We are always asked to visit clubs and educate the coaches in our system.

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We visited Towers in Bedfordshire which has been running the S9 Programme for a few years and has a waiting list for juniors. It also heralds a successful school programme that has the teachers wanting to learn the S9 way of teaching to take back to their own schools. It’s got a track record of unrivalled improvement in all students in not only tennis, but focus and behaviour.

If you want to book me in for a visit to not only educate your coaches but have a look at your programme, then get in touch!

Enjoy you week and we will be back next week with more coach information and tips!


Andy Dowsett
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