LOMBARDI COACHING METHOD
My individualised approach to coaching focuses on four major elements of player development, regardless of the athletes age: Technical, Tactical, Mental & Physical essentials.
Coaching technical fundamentals includes developing mechanically correct ground strokes and footwork.
Having technique that is suited to individual players physical traits, facilitates clean ball striking, is coordinated and will ensure that a player is able to execute any shot accurately and consistently.
The ability to execute all ground strokes accurately and consistently is a prerequisite to learning the games craftsmanship that forms tactical fundamentals.
Tennis technique can be learnt and adjusted at any point of athletes development, but as it is a foundation skill, establishment of mechanically correct tennis technique is best done during the formative years of the athletes development. Having correct and individually suitable tennis technique will ensure that the athlete stays free of injuries and their technique does not break down under competitive conditions.
Please follow this link to learn more about technical fundamentals. This article heavily features one of the athletes that I worked with from the age five (Sasha Djurovic) –
Tennis is about outsmarting your opponent. Once a player can execute each shot relatively accurately and consistently, an athlete will learn how to control and direct the ball in response to the opponent’s ball striking.
Basic elements of tactical development include:
Ball control and placement. Key development objectives for athletes include clearing middle of the court, controlling corners and changing direction.
Building a point plan that contains starting, setting up and finishing strategies utilising athlete’s strengths
Developing clear intentions on each shot. Athletes must know that for each of their tennis shots, an opponent is likely to respond a certain way. Having clear intention teaches athletes to anticipate opponent behaviour and enable them to link a sequence of shots to form a pattern.
In teaching tactical fundamentals, it is my intention that athletes become independent problem solvers on a tennis court and are able to consistently and effectively find tactical solutions during competitive matches.
MENTAL & EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Tennis matches have many ups and downs. Successful players can execute their technique and tactical plans, but most importantly they are able to respond to the competitive pressure in a productive way.
To enable player to compete in a productive way, Lombardi tennis teaches athletes valuable techniques to manage their mental (thoughts) and emotional (feelings) states. Key strategies to manage mental and emotional states include:
Improving concentration through visualisation and breathing techniques
Developing self-awareness of thoughts, feelings and actions and acquiring techniques to help themselves to become more positive and reduce the anxiety and pressure.
Developing a clear and strong mindset on putting attention on what the athlete can control versus on what they can’t control.
Managing momentum of a tennis match: understanding a point and score situation and controlling important points.
Controlling mental and emotional state is by far the hardest skill to teach an athlete, especially during the period of personal development in adolescence. The strategies are selected based on observing an athlete at training and competitive matches and are suited to their personality types and learning styles.
Each person goes through different stages of physical development which result in changing physical capabilities. It is of utmost importance that any tennis player at Lombardi Tennis follows athletic development that is suitable to their life stage. Young athletes develop at different rates and growth patters vary considerably. Therefore, Lombardi Tennis endorses a long term athlete development approach, that can be generally outlined as follows:
An athlete under 10 years of age should be engaged in a variety of sports, as their neural system can absorb a lot of learning, and therefore young athletes will develop a broad set of athletic skills required to play tennis. A structured gym program, or aerobic training is not recommended at this stage. Training focus at this stage is on developing fundamental skills.
Age 10-15 years is a period of rapid physiological development, emotional and physical instability. It is a period of inconsistent performance and heightened risk of injury. Physical assessments and identification of potential risk area is the key. At this stage and athlete can start an individualised strength and conditioning program. At this age, athlete should focus on skill development (tennis and athletic). This stage is about training to train and training to compete.
Age 15 years and over are the investment years. Athletes now want to focus on performance and the training focus here is on training to win.
Lombardi Tennis has a network of trusted specialists and advisors to help with developing athletic base.