The last 6 weeks have been an incredible journey of learning and getting to know great coaches and friends. First I attended the MTPS (Master Tennis Performance Specialist) certification in Atlanta where I met amazing coaches/trainers/physical therapists from different countries who are working at the top of their profession in the tennis industry. Then, I spent 5 days at the ITF World Wide Coaches Conference (WWCC) which took place in Cancun, Mexico.
The WWCC is the highest level of tennis conference in the world and it takes place every two years in a different country. Every country has different requirements to endorse their coaches and allow them to register. The conference goes for 5 days with a great variety of presentations and speakers. It is very interesting to see how speakers from different countries approach tennis with a different perspective, different drills, point of view, etc. Also, it is interesting to see how researchers working for their tennis federations around the world are using statistics in different studies to make tennis better and stronger for their countries.
During the WWCC you get to know coaches from all over the world, sometimes you have lunch with a coach you just met, sometimes you talk with the person next to you during a presentation or sometimes you can chat and have your picture taken with a former Grand Slam champion, an author of many books (like Bruce Elliot, Miguel Crespo, etc.) or with one of our great American coaches like Tom Gullikson or Doug McCurdy.
As I reflect on the reasons why I should spend all this time and money to go to a different country and learn or stay comfortably at home and do what I am used to do every day on the court … Well, once you experience the conference, you will want to come back again and again. As I continue with my reflection, I could see the biggest names in the research world along with the top coaches who have attended and presented on this conference for the past 2 decades. They all still sit on first row taking notes relentlessly from all presenters. They all have the drive to keep learning and keep getting better on what they do. This is perhaps a great example for all of us coaches to never think that we “know it”. The journey of learning never ends!
USPTA 1, CTPS
Author of the first manual for strength and conditioning for Mexico’s Federation WWCC 2013 Speaker Davis Cup Fitness Coach for Mexico Director of TOP Tennis Team Academy in El Paso Texas ITPA member
Guest Post #2: iTPA Certified Member Cameron Moore, TPT
The ITF World Wide Coaches Conference recently took place in Cancun, Mexico. 900 participants from around the world filled the conference center. The presenters are some of the top coaches, researchers, and minds in the game today. The theme is the long-term development of a high performance player. Here are some of the key take ways from my experience.
Dr. Jim Loehr (USA) presented on the inner voice of the player. He emphasized building character first. Loehr talked about developing the inner voice to be the best coach possible when you play. His speech was about training the player to be self-reliant and to look inward in the moments that count.
Bruce Elliott (AUS) presented twice on the female professional serve. The 1st was on the development from Junior to Pro. The keys were that juniors tend to have a higher ball toss and move faster into the trophy position. The Pro players contact the ball more often at the zenith of the toss and take more time to get into the trophy position. This is helpful information when coaching younger players and understanding their needs. His 2nd talk was on how the Female pro serve is a similar version of the male serve. In talking with him further, he believes that if a female player has the proper service technique, she will be able to develop a powerful serve that is comparable to a male player.
Beni Linder (SUI) presented on physical support in specific footwork situations. He offered an on court demonstration on how to develop footwork using specific games to simulate match like situations. His games involve great movement patterns, tactics, and a competitive environment. He emphasizes playing with the hip level when working movement.
Mark Kovacs (AUS) presented on training considerations for the tall athlete. His presentation was filled with on court drills and exercises geared toward working with tall players. He emphasizes working flexibility of the player and making sure they are low to the ground when they load. They were solid exercises for working stability and then going straight into hand fed drills. These drills give your players are great sense of how to incorporate the training into play.
Piotr Unierzyski (POL) presented on how to work the serve more effectively. The 4 usual problems he looks for in the serve are: Stance/Balance, Grip, Backswing/Arm/Elbow position, and Kinetic Chain. He spoke about arranging the practices with the serve. Piotr uses the warm up to work coordination of the upper body. Then he likes to move into the service motion. Piotr talks about quality over quantity. When practicing the serve, he suggests mixing up slice, flat, and kick after every 3 to 4 balls so you’re not over working the same motion.
It was a great experience to be apart of the ITF WWCC. All the coaches who attended were motivated to improve and share their experiences. If you have the opportunity to attend, don’t pass it up.
Cameron Moore, TPT