FH VL forward run CC
Objectives: Forehand volley, Placement – Player stands on the baseline – Coach feeds the ball to the deuce side – Player runs forward and hits forehand volley cross court – Player repeats this pattern Related posts: FH VL forward run CC FH VL forward run DL FH volley CC + stop volley CC FH drive […]
Bounce on the racquet
Objectives: Control, Coordination, Focus, Reaction – Player puts racquet on the ground – Player bounces ball down with both hands – Player tries to keep the ball on the racquet Related posts: Bounce on the racquet – Advanced Bounce up air both – Advanced Bounce up right leg + racquet – Intermediate Bounce up left […]
Return DEUCE BH CC and FH drop shot DL
Objectives: Return, Drop shot, Placement – Coach serves from the deuce side – Player hits backhand return cross-court – Coach feeds the ball to the deuce side – Player finishes with forehand drop shot down the line – The goal is to put the opponent behind the baseline by hitting deep return and finish with […]
FH DL On the run
  Objectives: Placement, Control, Dynamic balance – Player stands in the ad corner – Coach feeds fast ball to the deuce side – Player sprints and hits forehand down the line on the run – Player repeats this pattern Related posts: FH DL on the run FH slice corner to corner BH corner to corner […]
FH 1 IO 1 II with coach
Objectives: Placement, Reaction time – Coach feeds first ball – Player plays forehand inside out from ad side – Coach plays it back with volley – Player finishes with forehand inside in – Player repeats this pattern Related posts: FH 1 IO 1 II with coach FH 1 II 1 IO with coach BH CC […]
Forehand mark the zone – Advanced
Objectives: Placement, Control Court is divided into 4 zones. Coach feeds the balls to the forehand side. Child tries to hit each zone and mark it. By performing this drill child improves control, placement, and pace of the shot. All these aspects are crucial to direct the ball into different areas on the court. Related […]
BH VL control and FH VL Deuce
Objectives: Serve, Volley, Consistency, Placement, Control – Player stands at the net – Coach feeds the ball to the backhand side – Player hits backhand volley cross-court back to the coach – Coach hits the ball to the forehand side – Player finishes with forehand volley cross-court to the deuce side – The goal is […]
Diagonal side to side on the ladder
Objectives: Footwork, Speed – Player faces the ladder – Player moves diagonally forward side to side – Player alternates legs with each step – Player repeats this pattern Related posts: Diagonal side to side on the ladder 2 in 2 out on ladder Ladder jump in out in Side to side on the ladder with […]


The importance of positivity on and off the court
In my 22 years of coaching players of all levels from beginner to touring professionals there has been one word that has been constant-positive is that crucial word. It took me time and failure and lots of work to understand that coaching is not about me but it’s about my players. It is my responsibility to set the right tone with the right mindset.
My father taught me a great deal about positive thinking and moving forward always! Everybody has a story and everybody has to overcome adversity. That is why a positive mindset can change players from good to great to champions.

It doesn’t matter what level you are competing at, negative self-talk and a constant barrage of negative coaching can really take its toll. Negative self-talk causes more tension. The fact is, when the player experiences pressure it becomes far more difficult to execute. The messages get sent from the brain to the body at a slower pace which can cause slow reactions and more fear. Many of us on the court have experienced the difference. For example, have you ever returned an out serve and it was an amazing solid return? As soon as you knew it was out you were so much more relaxed and the shot felt effortless. You wished that serve was in because the return was so good.  

I am a firm believer in constant positivity. It is important to be aware of negative reactions during the training phase and the competition phase. Being positive is a learned skill. It comes to different people in different ways but it is learned; therefore making it possible to improve via practice. This can be made easier if you are surrounded by positive coaching and positive people. As a player and coach you must surround yourself by these types of attitudes.

There is room for coaching to be tough. A coach can be tough but motivating and positive. A coach that is angry and negative causes our bodies and minds to tighten up and perform with fear and anxiety. After speaking with many professional players throughout my career I have learned how strong the mind-body connection is. Whether you are at the biggest tournaments in the world or your local club tournament it is essential to stay up! That is the only way to handle adversity. Tip: Next time you play a practice match try to completely eliminate the results and focus on being positive before every point. Say the word to yourself before every point. Start to train your mind how to truly believe in your abilities.

Rafa is an absolutely incredible example of this positive mindset. He can be down 0-40 and fight so hard to get that one point, win it, clench his fist and say vamos. His body language hardly changes and he has a constant look of belief in his eyes. He continues to play each and every point with belief. After the comeback he achieved this year, I am convinced his attitude is the only reason he is back at number 1!!

You don’t choose your height, athleticism and the talents with which you are born. People do choose to be in certain moods and have a certain outlook. The choice between negative and positive self-talk is an easy choice to make. For that choice to become habit requires work and lots of practice. Are you up for the challenge of letting your attitude help dictate how you compete? Nothing is guaranteed even if you are the best in the world. Everyone loses, everyone struggles and everyone is in control of their attitude. The only few precious things we are in control of on the court is our attitude, footwork, and serve. Always try to be kind to yourself out there. That applies to players or coaches!

I had a high school basketball coach that made me petrified every time I stepped on the court. He was verbally abusive, crossing the line of physical abuse on occasion. He took every ounce of self-esteem and joy I had for the game. His means of communication was yelling and if we made a mistake we were out immediately. I still have nightmares about it. I made a vow that if I ever coached anything I would do it in the extreme opposite manner as my high School Coach. Being called Coach is an honor. It is who we are, not what we do. Coaches must practice this mindset with their players every day. Uplift your players and you will be uplifted. Life is short. Stay Up!!  

I now have the challenge of working with professional players and keeping the entire process positive and forward moving. There is so much pressure on every match and the grind is so physically and mentally demanding. The right mindset is the only way to have any hope of achieving great things. We, as coaches and players should never be in the business of going backwards! Uplift yourself!! It will make the destination less important and make the journey so much more enjoyable.

Stay present focused, enjoy every ball as if it is your last and bring positive vibes-on and off the court.
Article written by Yoav Saarony  
Practice structure
Tennis is a sport where structure of your practice session depends on various factors like age, level of performance or sponsors’ requirements. If you are getting started with tennis, you will probably spend most of the time while practicing because you want to develop solid fundamentals and start building your own style. On the other hand, if you are serious competitive player, many times you will be playing few tournaments in a row so you won’t have too much time for practice sessions. Making a successful tennis session is not a really difficult task when you know the structure of it. In this article, I will give you some advices how to prepare professional tennis session and what you should take care of while establishing priorities for your players.

There is a quote that I love to remind myself of: “Bad plan is better than no plan”. There is nothing worse than going on the court without any plan and trying to figure out new exercise while players are drinking water. Professional tennis coaches have written practice ideas because lack of preparation can cost their players important matches and wins. Right now, it looks like the easiest job to do is to prepare successful tennis practice but without specific knowledge, you will be encountering many difficulties. Structure is the basic thing to consider while writing down your practice so we will start from that.

You shouldn’t try to “discover miracles” while thinking about structure because simple things are more than enough to develop good players. There is not one magical structure so variety and individuality are factors that give you freedom while working on this aspect. I would like to provide typical scheme, used by many coaches, that can help you prepare more effective tennis session but it all depends on you if you want to stick to this scheme or you want to modify it. Professional coaching session should consist of 4 important blocks: warm up, skill development, game development and cool down. Each of these blocks is focused on different skills needed to become successful tennis player. It is coaches’ and players’ decision to keep the structure this way or make some changes related to individual’s goals. You can mix the exercises (Skill development, Game development, Skill development, Game development) or you can start from the end (Game development then Skill development). These 4 blocks (Warm up, Skill development, Game development, Cool down) should be included every time but it is not necessity to keep it exactly in that form without any additions. Player’s improvement is the priority for each session so coaches’ objective is to find the most effective way to get as much as they can from this 60-180 minutes period of time.

Warm up

This time is dedicated to prepare player’s body and mind for incoming practice but it is also opportunity to improve many valuable skills. Player should perform physical dynamic warm up (running, lunges, shuffle step, stretching) and establish goals for this early stage of practice. Warm up is not just a hitting time – it is part of the practice where skills can be improved if there is an appropriate approach from the coach and player. If you want to be the best you can, start improving from the first step on the court.

Skills development

This block is mostly dedicated to improve your technical skills but it doesn’t have to be limited only to this area. You can work on any abilities like tactical patterns, footwork or mental toughness. During this period of time, you don’t have to solely rely on basket drills because there are many ways to step up with single skills. Coach’s job is to establish individual goals for players and try to develop these skills in this particular block. Having simple guidelines for every player, it is really easy to create interesting and effective tennis lesson.

Game development

It is a time to check and train your “real” tennis skills. Tennis is a game where everything changes every second so constant decisions and adaptation to the environment are necessities to achieve high level of performance. Coaches can focus on specific situation like defense, offense or change of direction to make some things automatic. They can also play regular points to analyze how previously possessed skills are working in real game conditions.

Cool down

Finish the practice with slow jogging to lower the heart rate and start recovery. Static stretching is of utmost importance to prepare body for the next day and improve flexibility needed to perform on a higher level. During this time, coach and player can discuss the practice and agree on things that are needed to develop.

Tips to include into practice session:
- Vary the exercises to avoid boredom
- Plan drills and game situations according to your player’s level (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
- Plan drills and game situations according to your player’s goals
- Plan drills and game situations according to your player’s tournament schedule (Intensity, Volume)
- Change structure of the practice to make development more effective
- Be flexible with the plan – if you need to change something during practice, do it!

There are hundreds of different approaches to coaching tennis and we can’t say which one is the best. One thing can work for player X but it won’t bring benefits for player Y so constant adjustments and looking for optimal tools are factors that coaches should be aware of all the time.
Session structure is a simple tool to build effective plan for tennis player so coaches should know what parts they have to use. In this article, I wanted to show typical scheme of tennis session’s structure, which can be modified on own personal needs.

I strongly believe that coaches who struggle with preparing a plan will benefit from these advices and I am also sure that even great personalities in the world of coaching can get few details that can make tennis session more effective.

About the autor

Marcin Bieniek is a tennis coach from Poland and a former professional player (Polish National Juniors Team). He is a certificated tennis coach by the Polish Tennis Coaching Association and the Professional Tennis Registry. Marcin has worked with many of the top 20 Polish Juniors and the top 150 players in the world.


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