Maybe the most asked question asked outside of actually training methods and strategies is, “What Tools Do You Use, Coach?”
If you have followed me for any length of time, you know I am a very resourceful coach- I use basics to help more coaches and players also use the basics.
I’m resourceful in taking a medicine ball or low box and creating an entire system out of these basic tools.
How do I do that?
I base my training on principles and mechanics. If a simple training tool can help me achieve the movement result, I’m after it becomes a fit for my training toolbox.
Here are some examples:
A simple 40 to 110-inch band can be used for everything from mobility to speed to strength training.
- The bands can be attached to a net post, linked fence, or even a partner can hold.
- Bands are a tool used to resist a movement or assist a movement. The resistance allows loading a particular body segment or range of motion within that body segment. Therefore, creating more force- and more force over a more extended period. Bands can create less force- and less force over a shorter time.
- Best of all, using bands can be a tool used with beginner and elite players.
- Simply stuff it into a backpack or duffle bag and take it anywhere- even to a hotel room when traveling.
A low box, roughly 18 inches wide by 18 inches long and 2-4 inches high, can work magic for coordination and quickness. With a low box…
- I can teach my players how to accelerate and decelerate properly laterally.
- I can teach them to change direction on the box.
- I can use it for mobility and strength as well.
- It allows me to train the concept of translating the body laterally.
- I can use it for various jumping, leaping, and hopping skills.
- It enables me to train important stiff/elastic qualities in the foot, ankle, and lower leg.
- It is a substituted for an Olympic lifting plate, an aerobic step, or a lifting block- as long as these are stable and solid.
- It can be used on the field, in the wt room, on a court (as long as it doesn’t slip or scratch the surface), or on a track.
A medicine ball is a tool that just keeps on giving!
- It is a great strength and power builder.
- It can train players to gain stiffness from the inside out.
- It allows to the opportunity to train multi-planar movement at various speeds.
- Players can do a set of “Fake Throws” to build deceleration demands then follow it up with a set of side throws to build sequencing power.
- The medicine ball allows players to trainer their shoulder, grip, elbows, t-spine, hips, core, knee control, foot, and ankle proprioception- just to name a few.
- It is an excellent tool to use with a linear progression or a wave load.
- It can be used to train the most elastic or power response by adjusting method and weight.
- It travels relatively easily and comes in a large weight variety.
A tennis ball may be the most overlooked tool for a tennis player, beyond the obvious.
- Consider using the ball to gain the fascial release of feet, calves, hips, legs, glutes, back, and on.
- Use it to train foot speed as well as hand speed.
- Use a tennis ball for a coordinative juggle pattern or dribble pattern.
- Throw the tennis ball to build shoulder strength.
- A player can toss it, let it bounce, then sprint after it.
- A coach can roll it to build tracking and leading skills.
- A player can catch it while balancing to challenge coordination and proprioception.
- Load up thirty tennis balls in a bag and easily run a clinic with them!
Cones are little tools that can be boundary markers or a distance regulator.
- Players can run to a cone and pick it up before their partner does.
- Cones come in many colors and provide opportunities for games, relays, distinctions.
- Hold a cone and catch a tossed tennis ball for tracking and coordination skills.
- Players can race to, run over, jump over, step over it, or project past it -allowing them to perform a change of direction and agility.
- Cones can be used as a goal or finish line.
- Cones come in various sizes and shapes and are easy to take when traveling.
These are my five “go-to” tools. Maybe this opened up some ideas for you to include these tools in your tennis training.
In the CTSS course, I demonstrate how I use many of these tools to enhance a training session and a player’s performance through technical proficiency. Check them out at www.CTSS.co