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Season Planning: On-Court Curriculum By Sinisa Markovic o get the best out of your students, tennis pros need to build a detailed curriculum just like school teachers. This ensures that players will more likely get the most out of their lessons. This doesn’t mean that lessons cannot change on the fly if the pro notices some glaring problem, but “winging it,” as the basis of that curriculum will no longer fly. It is a disservice to the students, who can benefit most from the logic of an in-depth plan that builds from the ground up. At CourtSense, we divide the school year up into three sessions of about three months each which we call trimesters. We have developed a three-month plan for each trimester that I essentially repeat each new trimester, give or take a week. To use our high performance 10-and-under groups as an example, we divide each trimester into four stages: General, Specific, Pre-Competitive and Competitive Preparation. The general stage is four weeks long and it is the initial stage of the trimester. The main goal at this stage is to concentrate on players’ techniques. To break this stage down a little more—during the first week, we do a lot of live ball drills which helps the pros study technique and movement, and assess what we see as the main issues with their game. One of the most important things we do is track what appears to be getting better with our students, and what still needs more work. Once we have a sense of what the players need, we spend the next three weeks designing drills to attack these issues. Players might work on changing grips or improving their swing path on various strokes. Additionally, they will begin to work on basic movements, like split-stepping and taking the proper first steps. We always include some sort of match play in the last part of our lessons, and during the general stage of the trimester, those competitions tend to focus on consistency and control. Young players often forget their “corrections” once they’re competing,

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New York Tennis Magazine July / August 2016  
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