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Coaching University

Coaching U provides tennis teaching and coaching how to, tips, videos and other resources to help you develop more complete tennis players and handle the challenges of coaching tennis at schools!  Whether you are new to coaching middle school or high school tennis or a seasoned coach these resources will help you make a difference in your players!  Many of you have asked for this type of information and we are excited about this addition to

We have divided Coaching U into four areas, these are the main areas a coach must have knowledge in and a player must develop: (click on the links for samples)

Match Play Strategies
Mental Toughness Training
Tennis Specific Conditioning and Fitness

Coaching U Technical

Here's a sample of the Coaching U Technical area.  Each stroke is broken down by preparation, contact and finish.  Here's a sample on the forehand preparation.

Forehand Preparation
Here are some tips, images and videos on the forehand preparation.  We have gone through various resources and extensive research to break it down into some simple steps to help you teach and coach your players.  We provide the basic ideas and encourage you to keep it simple whether you are working with beginners or tournament level players.

Ready Position:


Ready Position

The first step on the forehand preparation is a shoulder turn; most players (pros) will keep their opposite hand on the racquet. This results in a quicker turn and guarantees that the shoulders turn and will prevent the racquet going back without a shoulder turn.  Turning the shoulders will help generate more power and efficiency.
Forehand Prep
Forehand Prep
Forehand Prep
     Image #1                                                  Image #2                                               Image #3

Practice this first step:
  • Players are lined up in a good ready position, coach or assistant will say “1” or “turn” and players turn their shoulders to take the racquet back keeping their opposite hand on the racquet. The back foot pivots. (players look similar to image #1)
  • Return to the ready position and then repeat
  • Progression: have players take a few step to the side after taking the racquet back (players look similar to images #2 and #3)
  • Return to the ready position at the starting point by shuffling back and then repeat
The second step for the forehand preparation is making half of an arc from the elbow as the racquet drops back and down.  The opposite arm moves forward with the hand pointing to a space in front (contact point).
Forehand Prep
Forehand Prep

    Image #4                                                  Image #5

Practice this second step:
  • From above players are in the first step of forehand preparation.Coach or assistant says “2” or “racquet back” and players make half an arc from the elbow as the racquet goes back and down.The opposite arm moves forward (see images #4 and #5)
  • Players return to starting point
  • Progression: Players perform both steps on coaches command
  • Progression 2: Players perform both steps moving to the side

Coaching U "Match Strategies"

Here's a sample:
“Go To” Plays and Coaching at the Changeover
Learning to teach and coach match play strategies can be a challenge.  Here are some tips, images and videos on match play strategies.  We have gone through various resources and extensive research to break it down into some simple steps to help you teach and coach your players.  We provide the basic ideas and encourage you to keep it simple whether you are working with beginners or tournament level players.
“Go To” Plays
Players that tend to be most successful in big point situations are those that have actually decided how they will play these points prior to even stepping on the court (part of their strategy). They have spent time thinking about and developing “Go To” plays for the critical points in a match and are much more likely to find success when faced with a pressure situation in a match!

These “go to” plays are a big part of a successful match play strategy.  Just about all coaches in other sports practice and spend a lot of time on plays, for example a two minute drill in football.  High school players need to develop “go to” plays for when they are serving to both the deuce and ad courts, returning serve, etc. (for both singles and doubles).  Here is a sample of a play to the deuce court.  It’s a high percentage play that can be used to start a match or a 40-40 point, both of these points can be a high stress nervous situation.  There are also three drills to use in your practice to develop this play!  Many additional plays on the site under Lesson Plans!


Play: SSPSR206 Serve down the center and hit to the open court (deuce court)
Practice drill #1: SRC379 Serve down the center practice (deuce court simulations)
Practice drill #2: DoC571 Self feed then practice
Practice drill #3: SRC332 Serve and Stay

Coaching at the Changeover
We provide a guideline with tips and ideas on what to say to players during tennis matches at the changeover.  Although each player and match is unique this relevant information can help players stay on track and help coaches “coach”!   The time spent with a player during the changeover is short but what a coach says and or questions a coach uses can quickly help a player learn and improve and maybe win the match!  Here’s a sample of what you will find inside, all the possible changeover scores in a match are analyzed!  Also see how other coaches approach the changeover in the "Coachable Moments" link on the site!
2nd Changeover (1-2 0-3)
Coaching Tips: have the player think about the future and not dwell on what has happened, stress slowing down between points and play the ball not the opponent,  maintain or increase effort let opponent know he/she is in for a fight
Questions to ask:
How are you losing points?
What can you change? (play high percentage tennis)
Where are you going to hit the (return, serve) on the first point of the next game?

Coaching U "Mental Toughness Training"

Learning to teach and coach mental toughness is an important part of developing good tennis players and life skills! We have gone through various resources and extensive research to break it down into some simple steps to help you teach and coach your players.  We provide the basic ideas and encourage you to keep it simple whether you are working with beginners or tournament level players.  Here are some sample worksheets to use to start an important part of mental training - motivation and why players compete!
“Reasons for Competing and Improving the Fight”

“When I compete I love to be there and fight always.  Maybe I like more to fight for a win than to win.”                          
  Rafael Nadal

An important component to building competitive strengths is assessing the truth regarding how your players currently manage physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy.  This involves examining energy management in all four dimensions, both in practice and competition.  Here’s how you can start with your players:

Identify your player’s primary reasons for competing.  Here's a handout for the following worksheets you can edit and then have your players complete, click here.
What do you tell others are the main reasons you compete in tennis? ­­
Common answers:
Become a professional athlete
Earn a college scholarship
Become nationally ranked
Win titles
Make money
Become the best in the world
If any of these your main reason for competing, how might it be a problem?
Circle the descriptors that might apply to you as a consequence of exposure to tennis:
like yourself more    
more positive as a person
more constructive inner voice
greater self-confidence
more focused
more stable
less fearful
stronger character
more self-directed
more humble
more open to criticism
more respectful of others
more disciplined
more emotionally resilient
love live more
more grateful
physically healthier
more ethical
more energetic
more excited about life

like yourself less
more negative as a person
less constructive inner voice
less self confidence
less happy
less focused
more fragile
more fearful
weaker character
less self directed
bigger ego
more defensive
less respective of others
less disciplined
less emotionally resilient
love life less
less grateful
physically less healthy (always hurt or injured
less ethical
less energetic
less excited about life

Here's another important worksheet for your players to complete.  It will help them discover the value of character development in tennis (and life)
You can use these three questions in individual or group sessions (great option for a rainy day)!
Who are you becoming because of competitive tennis?
How will improving your character (both performance and ethical) help you perform better in tennis and life?
What is the potential negative consequence of using tennis performance to build your self-esteem and self-value? Why might using character building be a better measure of value?

Tennis Specific Conditioning and Fitness

In this section you will discover and develop skills for tennis specific conditioning and fitness.  Included are a variety of training tips and exercises to keep your players interested and motivated.  Also learn the best ways to warm up before a match.  You will find more specific training ideas and videos using the drill search and then click the conditioning icon!

Here's a sample of what you will see using the search function: (click the upper body and core attributes in search function)
CF722 Push Up Grab Tournament is an extensive resource for high school tennis coaches with over 300 tennis drills, video clips, tennis team practice formats and a tennis coach’s forum. High school tennis coaches will also gain access to the tennis team Line-up Maker and the tennis Strategy Maker. provides everything to organize your high school tennis team from team practice formats to match play strategies!

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