Athletic Performance Academy – Latest news & updates from Athletic Performance Academy

How to Get Fit Fast- ready for the Summer!

Hi Everyone!

With summer around the corner attentions are turning to exercise to lose some unwanted belly fat and get fit.

Last night I tuned in to ”How to Get Fit fast,” a series on Channel 4 which offers viewers top tips on how to get fit and lose weight, particularly in time for summer. This week’s episode focused on body-weight exercises as well as the right foods to add to your diet to aid workouts and help get rid of belly fat.  See a full review of the programme HERE which focused more on the nutritional advice given on the show.

I’d like to focus on the exercise regimes they discussed- which were designed to be done during a lunch break according to the time different workers set aside for lunch.  Apparently the average British worker takes 34-minutes off for Lunch.  In this show they designed a workout for someone who takes 30 minutes, 20 minutes and 5 minutes for lunch!!

All the workouts are based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR) to gauge intensity.  I have previously used the First beat system when measuring heart rate zones.

The First Beat System uses the following Training zones:

  • Max => 90% +
  • Very Hard => 80-90% MHR
  • Hard => 70-80% MHR
  • Moderate => 60-70% MHR
  • Easy => 50-60%

Different Types of Workout:

Option 1: 30-minute workout

Mode: Steady running on a treadmill for 30-minutes

% MHR: 65

Calories burned during exercise: 260

Calories burned after exercise: 0

Total calories burned: 260

Option 2: 20-minute workout

Mode: High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) for 20-minutes.  60-sec work: 30-sec rest bodyweight calisthenics (stair runs, wall sits, mountain climbers, jump squats)

% MHR: 85

Calories burned during exercise: 180

Calories burned after exercise: 100

Total calories burned: 280

Option 3: 10-minute workout

Mode: Sprint Interval training (SIT) for 10-minutes.  20-sec maximum work: 120-sec rest bike sprints x 4 sets

% MHR: 95+

Calories burned during exercise: 30

Calories burned after exercise: 220

Total calories burned: 250


What does this mean?

The conclusion is that any of the above workouts can work for you to burn around 250 calories.  But depending on how much time you have you can choose from the steady run, HIIT or SIT.  However, you will require to have a higher level of fitness to cope with the demands on the body of the HIIT and SIT workouts, so always consult a doctor before starting any of these workouts.

The benefit of the HIIT and SIT workouts is that they are more efficient.  They burn less calories than steady running during exercise but your body continues to burn calories after exercise, known as the ‘After Burn.’  When you exercise at high intensity you won’t be able to use oxygen to supply the energy so you have to use energy from elsewhere in the body, which raises your metabolism.  Your metabolism will continue to stay elevated in the 24 hours after your exercise, which explains why you continue to burn calories.

How does this calorie burn compare to Tennis?

Clearly you can expect to burn around 500 calories during a 60-minute tennis match, which is similar to an hour of boxing or a 10km run. But if you want to try an alternative way to get fit for Tennis there are a couple of other options:


Tennis Workout:

Option 1: 10-minutes HIIT Footwork

Use some of the drills I have shown in a previous BLOG on Tennis specific endurance tests.


Option 2: 20-minutes Hitting Balls

Benedikt Linder uses actual hitting until they get to about 95% MHR- which might take around 20-30-sec followed by rest until it drops to 80% MHR- which might take 30-40-sec. Do this 6-8 times per set, 3-min rest between sets and do 2-3 sets.  Usually it will take around 10-15 balls fed side to side to get the heart rate into this high zone.  As soon as it does you can let them rest.

In my previous blog Heart rate monitors in Tennis you can find out more about how Benedikt Linder performs high intensity intervals ON COURT with the aim of getting your Heart rate above 80% of your Maximum.


Where I am next presenting?

Speed, Agility & Quickness Training for Sports Workshop

Dates: 3rd June 2018  09:00AM-15:00PM Location: Gosling Sports Park, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6XE

Book your ticket HERE


Hope you have found this article useful.  Remember,

  • If you’re not subscribed yet, click here to get free email updates, so we can stay in touch.
  • Share this post using the buttons on the top and bottom of the post. As one of this blog’s first readers, I’m not just hoping you’ll tell your friends about it. I’m counting on it.
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Resistance Training Guidelines for Youths

Hey Everyone,

I recently recorded an episode of Daz Dee TV which you can see below.  In this episode we look at Resistance Training Guidelines for Youths.

Please check out the International Consensus statement which I refer to throughout the video


You can also read another blog I wrote ”Why 12-year olds should lift weights” for further insights.

Resistance training is always a fascinating topic to discuss and I hope this helped you to understand my view on the matter.  Technical competency has to be a priority with anyone who is a developmental athlete or has a low training age.

At APA we determine readiness for external load by performing a bodyweight Physical Competency Assessment (PCA).  Once we are satisfied they are competent in the techniques of the main bodyweight movements such as squatting, lunging, pressing and pulling we will add external load.  The amount of load lifted will be determined on an individual basis.  Usually for the primary strength exercises (Squat, Deadlift, Bench) the typical progression is 5-10kg each week provided technique and bar speed are maintained at the required level of speed and control.   For Overhead press, and most single leg exercises the progression might be 2.5-5kg per week.  Progression will vary based on training age, lifting competency and frequency of training amongst other things.

Learn more about the PCA HERE and HERE


Where I am next presenting?

Speed, Agility & Quickness Training for Sports Workshop

Dates: 3rd June 2018  09:00AM-15:00PM LocationGosling Sports Park, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6XE

Book your ticket HERE


Hope you have found this article useful.  Remember,

  • If you’re not subscribed yet, click here to get free email updates, so we can stay in touch.
  • Share this post using the buttons on the top and bottom of the post. As one of this blog’s first readers, I’m not just hoping you’ll tell your friends about it. I’m counting on it.
  • Leave a comment, telling me where you’re struggling and how I can help

Do Extroverts make the Best Coaches?

For the last several months I have been busy recruiting new S&C coaches and training them up. I have said many times before that I interview for character first and credentials second.  I’m more interested in what kind of person you are than what you know.  Let me be clear I am not saying knowledge of S&C training theory and practice isn’t essential, because it is.  But let’s face it, how many applicants for part-time and full-time S&C coaching roles aren’t coming with at least a degree in a sports related subject these days.

So it then comes down to how a person differentiates themselves from the competition, and that opportunity comes when I get them to do the practical part of the interview.  It’s about how they create an environment that inspires the athletes to listen, learn and have fun!

It also comes down to the values of the coach- what is important to them in a role and how do they fit with my company and my vision.

During my recent holiday in April I read several books and one that recently captured my interest was ‘QUIET’ by Susan Cain.

Do Extroverts make the Best Coaches?

I never really enjoyed learning about psychology and sports psychology at University.  Perhaps it was the lecturer I didn’t like.  In recent years it has become one of my favourite topics to study. I first got into psychology through a former colleague of mine Helen Emms, who continues to be a mentor to the present day.  We used to work together at Gosling Tennis Academy.  I also found the ‘’Chimp Paradox’’ work of Dr Steve Peters interesting.  However, I’ve always found the personality research a bit abstract and I never really engaged in it any more than astrology- that is supposed to tell me something about my traits based on my birth date!

Below is a summary of some of the key take home messages from reading the book:


Extroverts and Introverts

This book was interesting because it wasn’t written by a psychologist- it was written by a lawyer who was interested to learn about how researchers define introversion and extroversion.  Early 20th century researchers thought they were central building blocks of personality.  Contemporary researchers still can’t agree on an all-purpose definition.

Introverts are Thinkers- quiet and cerebral

  • Introverts- internal world of thoughts and feelings
  • Extroverts- external life of people and activities

They differ in the level of outside stimulation that they need to function well.

Introverts feel just right with less stimulation => sip wine with a close friend or read a book.  They often work more slowly and deliberately.  They like to focus on one activity at a time and can have mighty powers of concentration.  They are relatively immune to the lures of wealth and fame.

But they do have a sensitivity to novelty not just people!  More on this later.

Extroverts enjoy the extra bang that comes from activities like meeting new people, skiing slippery slopes and cranking up the stereo.  They tend to tackle assignments quickly.  They make fast (sometimes rash) decisions, and are comfortable multi-tasking and risk taking.  They enjoy the thrill of the chase for rewards like money and status.

‘’Introverts may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while they wish they were home in their pyjamas.’’

Introversion is not the same as shyness.  The shy person is afraid to speak up, while the introvert is simply overstimulated.

Introverts=>Leadership executed with quiet competence.  Inventing, researching, caring- they are not alpha roles but the people who play them are role models all the same.

Rise of the alpha status

The increasingly competitive society of 1920s America went as far as labelling social anxieties as an inferiority complex (Alfred Alder).  In the western world (North America and Europe) we seem to celebrate extroverts as the kinds of personalities that will get on in life and do well in the world.  Shy or retiring types could be left behind it seems.

Quiet is seen as wise in Asian cultures but western cultures value charisma!!  You need style as well as substance.


The Myth of Charismatic Leadership

Salesmanship as a Virtue:

Unleashed power comes from ‘’high energy’’ according to Tony Robbins

Salesmanship: Act like an extrovert vs believe in what you are pitching

Zero correlation between extroversion levels and cold calling process. Persistence vs buzz.  Great salesman can be successful without a buzz if they are passionate about what they are selling and can articulate that through communication.

Power of persistence- don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race.

Vocal Leadership:

Quick and assertive answers (Harvard Business School) vs. quiet slow decision making.

We perceive talkers as smarter than quiet types.  We see talkers as leaders.

Getting your way vs. going the right way- just because you got your way, doesn’t mean it’s the right way!

Good talker vs good ideas- If the idea is good people shift.  Not every person who is a great talker has great ideas!

Giant egos vs. Giant ideas

Question: Is it best to make decisions in the face of incomplete information. Or wait to get as much info as possible?  By hesitating do you risk losing other’s trust and momentum?

If assertive people tend to get their way, then it’s a useful skill for leaders whose work depends on influencing others.  Decisiveness inspires confidence, while wavering can threaten morale.

(However,) ‘’We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies.  We need leaders who build not their egos but the institutions they run.’’ (Jim Collins)

Quiet Persistence

Leadership roles in public domain (suit extroverts)  vs theoretical and aesthetic fields (suit introverts)

In the opening chapters she describes a woman who is mild-mannered, tends to ask questions, never raises her voice, is constructive and makes simple queries by asking questions.

Introverts do better on intellectual tasks- disinclination to charge ahead.

Social Connectors

‘’Connecting people to fix the world over time is the deepest spiritual value you can have’’- Craig Newmark (Founder Craigslist) – modest, cerebral systems engineer at IBM for 17 years.

SOCIAL connectors- chatty, outgoing, spellbinding vs. SOCIAL MEDIA leadership (digital communication- establish a presence online and THEN extend these relationships into the real world)

Role to play as a coach? To be sociable- to be more extroverted as a social connector?

Is Temperament Destiny?

Temperament is hard wired genetic behaviour and emotional patterns that are inborn.  Personality emerges after cultural influence and personal experience

Temperament is the foundation and personality is the building.

Introverts have Reactive nervous system– more sensitive to their environments in concert with environmental factors from personal experience and inborn temperament.  Anxious side of the limbic brain- old brain.  It also has a greedy side associated with reward-seeking cravings associated with extroverts.

They tend to be philosophical or spiritual, rather than materialistic or hedonistic.  They dislike small talk- at least at the start of a conversation.  They love music, nature, art, physical beauty.

Rubber band theory of personality- we can stretch our personality.

Change your environment and act on your own free will.  We can stretch our personalities but only up to a point. We have free will and can use it to shape our personalities.  It can take us far but it cannot carry us infinitely beyond our genetic limits.

Free Trait theory

We have fixed traits but we also have free traits where we can and do act out of character in the service of core personal projects.  In other words introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important.

Especially relevant for introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal

I coach with passion because it nourishes my core personal project/mission to maximise my athletes’ potential by raising standards in coaching excellence.  Many people especially those in leadership roles engage in a certain level of pretend-extroversion.  It can be effective if used judiciously but disastrous if overdone.  You don’t want to act out of character too much- and create as many restorative niches as possible in your life.


Like the nature or nurture debate related to physical attributes we can summarise that we can stretch our personalities but only up to a point. We have free will and can use it to shape our personalities.  It can take us far but it cannot carry us infinitely beyond our genetic limits.

Leadership roles vary.  Some roles are more suited to extroverts and others to introverts.

I personally think that the role of an S&C coach can vary according to the environment we are working in.  For example, one-to-one versus groups, adults versus children, males versus females, Westerners versus Asian etc.  For many of the roles that I recruit for that involve working with children I do tend to look out for the extrovert characteristics.  These are the coaches that seem to thrive in social situations and make everyone feel at ease.  They have charisma, and put a smile on everyone’s face.

But this book has confirmed for me that everyone is capable of stretching their personalities and if you’re an introvert you might need to show some pretend-extroversion.   I now understand why I get so exhausted by my role.  I’m an introvert at heart but when I’m coaching I fall into the role of the performer who is passionate about helping my athletes and coaches improve and I do tend to use a ‘high energy’ approach to grab attention!!


Where I am next presenting?

Speed, Agility & Quickness Training for Sports Workshop

Dates: 3rd June 2018  09:00AM-15:00PM Location: Gosling Tennis Academy, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6XE

Book your ticket HERE


Since you’re here…
…we have a small favor to ask.  APA aim to bring you compelling content from the world of sports science and coaching.  We are devoted to making athletes fitter, faster and stronger so they can excel in sport. Please take a moment to share the articles on social media, engage the authors with questions and comments below, and link to articles when appropriate if you have a blog or participate on forums of related topics. — APA TEAM

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Our updated Privacy Policy

Our Updated Privacy Policy

The information you have provided is subject to the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The Privacy policy applies to all data collected via our website and in email communication.

Athletic Performance Academy (APA) Limited is responsible for all Personal Information held both electronically and on paper

Types of Information We Collect

We may collect information from you which can be used to identify you (“Personal Information”), such as your name, address, date of birth, email address, telephone number, medical insurance membership and tennis coach licence numbers. We also hold details you may have provided as part of an athlete details form, which may include sensitive, personal information such as medical information.

Information will be collected:

* When you register as an APA athlete when using one of our Personal Training or remote package services

* Throughout your training with us

* When your personal information changes or are updated (for example change of address)

* When you register for an APA qualification or workshop

* If you submit an enquiry to us via email or phone and you have consented to having your details stored.

We may also get information from a third party whom books an appointment on your behalf, such as family members, insurance companies, GP’s and Consultants, (e.g. referrals, medical reports, updates after appointments or procedures/surgery, consultant/GP appointments).

In some instances it may be necessary for us to contact third party providers to supplement the personal information you give us (e.g., validate your private medical insurance information with an insurance company, when processing invoices) to help us maintain the accuracy of your data and provide you with a better service.

Personal information we collect automatically

When you use the Website we automatically receive and record information on our server logs from your browser or mobile platform, including your location, IP address, cookie information, and the page you requested.

We treat this data as non-Personal Information, except where we are compelled to do otherwise by law or legal authority.

This data is only used in aggregate form to allow Google Analytics to monitor how our customers, collectively, use the Website, so that we understand how the user make use of the Website. This is statistical data about our users’ browsing actions and patterns, and does not identify any individual.

The Google Analytics Terms of Service, which all Analytics customers must adhere to, prohibits the tracking or collection of personal information using Google Analytics, and we adhere to these terms.

If you wish to opt out of being tracked by Google Analytics, we encourage you to look at the Google Analytics Browser Opt-Out Add-on which might serve your needs.


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You may refuse to accept cookies by activating the setting on your browser which allows you to refuse the setting of cookies. However, if you select this setting you may be unable to access certain parts of our site. Unless you have adjusted your browser setting so that it will refuse cookies, our system will issue cookies when you log on to our site.

We may collect information about your computer, including where available your IP address,

Collection and use of children’s personal information

We only collect personal and medical information required to effectively train children, this information will be obtained from the parent or guardian chaperoning the child for their appointment, records will be stored in line with Data Protection laws and all the confidentiality guidelines issued by the professional bodies such as CSP, HCPC. From the age of 16 patients can consent themselves.

What we do with your information

We hold personal details including medical information and we use this information to obtain details relevant to your training and for medical and internal record keeping; this information will only be kept as long as necessary to comply with UK law and professional bodies.

We do not sell your information to third parties. And only share your personal information with third parties (i.e. insurance companies, GP’s & Consultants when required and with your consent/knowledge.

The confidentiality of your personal information is of the utmost importance to us and we comply with the Data Protection laws and all the confidentiality guidelines issued by professional bodies such as CSP, HCPC.

We may use your Personal Information, for the following purposes:

Workshop Registration/Training sessions: We will use your name, address, date of birth, telephone number, and email address to register with Athletic Performance Academy (APA) Limited, for the services we provide and to communicate important information to you. We may obtain additional personal information about you, such as address change and changes to your health information, correspondence from other healthcare professionals and insurance companies throughout your training and also if you return to us in the future to keep our records current.

Invoicing & Insurance Companies: When processing insurance claims, on your behalf your name, address, date of birth & insurance policy details will need to be provided to your insurance company to enable them to progress the claim, this may be communicated via telephone or email.

Training Session Reminders & APA News: We may use your information to send confirmation & reminder emails for your training sessions and for any correspondence regarding your sessions or updating APA workshops that might be of interest to you.

We may contact you from time to time, regarding APA news and information about our services.

Response to Legal Requests: Requests from third parties (e.g. solicitors if there is a personal injury claim) we will only photocopy your training records and provide electronic records on request providing we have written authorisation from you.

Accessing Your Personal Information

You have the right to access the personal data which we hold on you free of charge and we will provide this information within one month of receipt of request. If the request for data is complex or numerous we reserve the right to extend this period by a further two months.

Updating Your Personal Information

In connection with your right to manage your personal information you provide to us, you may update, change or correct any of your information.

Data Retention

In accordance with and as permitted by applicable law and regulations, we will retain your information for as long as necessary to serve you, to maintain your account for as long as your account is needed to operate our business. We will retain and use your information as required by applicable regulation and information management policies to comply with

our legal and reporting obligations, resolve disputes, enforce our agreements, and complete any outstanding transactions and for the detection and prevention of fraud.

Your Access Rights

SECURITY OF YOUR INFORMATION. Keeping your Information safe is important to us.

We have put in place procedural & electronic processes intended to safeguard and secure your information. All staff have a legal duty to respect the confidential information we hold, and access to this information is restricted to those who have a reasonable need to access it.

We provide reasonable and appropriate security measures in connection with securing personal information we collect, for example:

* Constantly work to update our security practices to implement accepted best methods to protect your Personal Information and review our security procedures carefully.

* Comply with applicable laws and security standards.

* Securely transmit your sensitive Personal Information.

* Train our staff and require them to safeguard your data.

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How to Contact Us

If you have questions or comments about this Privacy Statement, please contact the Data Protection Officer in writing. Athletic Performance Academy (APA) Ltd, Gosling Sports Park, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6XE

We welcome your feedback and comments.

Changes to our Privacy Statements

From time to time we may change or update our Privacy Statements. We reserve the right to make changes or updates at any time. Our up to date Privacy statement will be displayed on our website.

If we make material changes to the way we process your Personal Information, we will provide you notice via email or website. Please review any changes carefully.



How to Make Billions of Dollars….and Plenty of Enemies

How to Make Billions of Dollars….and Plenty of Enemies

I took four books with me on holiday.  I wanted to reflect on my vision for APA and take some inspiration from some successful businesses- I thought I’d look at one business ‘AirBnB’ and one iconic sports team, the New Zealand All Blacks.

This blog is a sort of book review come personal reflections of ‘’the Airbnb Story.’’  I’ll discuss ‘’Legacy,’’ the book about the All Blacks next time.

AirBnB is a fascinating story of three business partners lead by Brian Chesky told by a journalist who spent some time with them. It’s the time told story of struggle and perseverance but it gives a fascinating insight into their growth that makes compelling reading.

Originally called Air bed and breakfast- the idea came when two of the three business partners needed to make rent and decided to rent out one of their rooms with an air mattress, during a weekend when there was going to be a big conference in town and hotels would be fully booked.  Initially it took three website launches before it took off- each time the issue was that no one wanted to list their home if no one else was going to book it.  They were successful when big conferences came to town and hotels were fully booked in their local area.  However, they couldn’t get it to grow.

The initial slogan was ‘’stay with a local while travelling,’ which I believe was upgraded later to ‘’ Living like a local.

Conceptually this is about offering a different kind of experience to the inner city hotel experience.  There are a number of reasons why this kind of product would go on to work with people who have:

  • Desire for authentic experiences over things
  • Hunger for anything that claimed to have a purpose or mission
  • Anti-establishment and anti-corporate leaning
  • Desire to seek out community wherever they could find it
  • The chance to connect
  • Spirit of adventure

Attract Attention

Like anything the more people use something the more valuable it becomes.  They knew that their success or failure lay in their ability to generate news coverage.

Tip 1: Pitch a local story to smallest blogs you can find – the smaller they are the more likely they are to pay attention to them.

Once it got off the ground they had achieved what was known as a ‘’product/market fit’’- when its concept has both found a good market- one with lots of real, potential customers- and demonstrated that it has created a product that can satisfy that market.

Building a Company

I liked reading that the founders had noticed that all the companies they admired had a strong mission and a set of defined core values.  The core values help define the kind of people they want to bring in.

It’s also important to ask the question, ‘’why should customers use us?’ and another way to say this is ‘’what is our unique selling point?’’  I only used Airbnb for the first time this Easter (because many of the hotels were outside my budget) and I wasn’t going to go to a hostel again!!  It was clear that Airbnb was leading the way with its ‘quirky’ product and low costs.  Certainly I wasn’t aware of its competitors.

Steve Jobs Three-Click Rule

But reading this book I realised I actually had plenty of choice- the reason it took off was down to several things but much of the explanation lies in the product itself, and the user experience on the website.  You could literally book a room in someone’s house as easily (and safely) as you could book a hotel room.  The website and the experience had to be:




never more than three clicks away from booking a room

One of the business partners had a wonderful computer programming background who was able to innovate in the coding aspects to create a booking website that could do everything they wanted it to do and probably a lot of things their competitor’s website couldn’t.


Learning to Lead

Chesky was a natural leader- he had a knack for ring leading and a near pathological curiosity. He calls his practice ‘’going to the source.’’ Instead of talking to 10 people about a particular topic and then synthesizing all their advice, he reasons, spend half of your time learning who the definitive source is, identifying the one person who can tell you more about that one thing than anyone else- and then go only to that person.

Chesky also had some pretty privileged contacts as his business grew in wealth such as Mark Zuckerburg, owner of Facebook.  But Chesky insists there are always good mentors, regardless of someone’s level.  If he had been meeting with some of these heavy hitters while he was an unemployed designer, he points out, it wouldn’t have been useful.  There wouldn’t have been anything to give back in the conversation.  It’s a matter of picking people that are, at least, a couple of years in front of you.’’

Because Chesky is an infinite learner he was able to scale with the company.

When he needed an even bigger performance from his team how do you get them to take things up a notch? How do you get people to play at the next level when they are already tired, they haven’t seen their families very much and they just need time to have a rest?  You can’t ask them to work harder but you can ask them to massively up-level their thinking.

I took from this that to help them to adopt a new way of thinking about something it is helpful to have a North Star.  Airbnb needs to be more a calling than a job- built on a mission to ‘’create a world where you can belong anywhere.’’  A goal for 2020 was orientated on how many people can experience belonging in a deep, meaningful, transformatiomal way.

‘’pessimists are usually right, but it’s optimists who change the world.’’

How do you build a culture where everyone believes they’re changing the world?

It is clear the founders knew what the things were that their customers would value (living like a local) and also knew what their employees would value so they could massively up-level their thinking.  They need to feel an important part of a mission to create a world where you can belong anywhere!

Where I am next presenting?

Speed, Agility & Quickness Training for Sports Workshop

Dates: 3rd June 2018  09:00AM-15:00PM Location: Gosling Tennis Academy, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6XE

Book your ticket HERE


Since you’re here…
…we have a small favor to ask.  APA aim to bring you compelling content from the world of sports science and coaching.  We are devoted to making athletes fitter, faster and stronger so they can excel in sport. Please take a moment to share the articles on social media, engage the authors with questions and comments below, and link to articles when appropriate if you have a blog or participate on forums of related topics. — APA TEAM

=> Follow us on Facebook

=> Follow us on Instagram

=> Follow us on Twitter

Two International Speakers are coming to APA’s next SAQ workshop

Hi there,

I am excited to announce that this June I am opening out my usual four hour ”Speed, Agility & Quickness Training” Workshop to six hours.  For the first time I will be inviting two additional International speakers, Ruben Neyens and Howard Green.  Both Howard and Ruben were speakers at the recent 2018 Grand Slam Coaches’ Conference in Australia.

Myself, Ruben and Howard will each present for 45-minute in the morning and then again in the afternoon.  The goal is to showcase the entire physical development journey from Mini tennis 10-under, to 14-under Junior performance tennis to the Pro game.  This workshop will be suitable for any coach, teacher or parent who is interested in learning about speed development for tennis players (as well as those athletes who play other sports).

Plan for the day:

We will break the speed drills down into fundamentals, semi-specific and specific drills for tennis.

Ruben Neyens: Fundamentals   Morning and afternoon: speed drills and games for the 10-under player

Daz Drake: Semi-specific     Morning: the APA speed training system.  Afternoon: speed drills for the 14-under player

Howard Green: Specific       Morning: RREADERR model introduction.  Afternoon: speed drills for the Pro player


Price: £50

Dates: Sunday 3rd June 2018 9am-3pm

Location: Gosling Sports Park


Book Online HERE


About the Speakers

Daz Drake

Daz Drake been a professional coach since 2000 and specialises in youth fitness and Tennis. He has been an an accredited S&C coach with the UKSCA since 2007 and the director of Athletic Performance Academy (APA) which provide Strength & Conditioning coaching to several high performance Tennis Academies including Gosling and Sutton Tennis Academy.

He has had the pleasure to work with some of the best junior tennis players in the world including players who have gone on to play at the professional level, and has worked with two Top 50 WTA Tennis players.

Ruben Neyens

Ruben Neyens combines the roll of head of coach education and physical coach for the High Performance Department U12 for Tennis Vlaanderen (= the Flemish Tennis Federation). Together with a team Ruben coordinates programs and projects like KidsTennis, Physical coach development, regional workshops and many more. He is co-author of the manual KidsTennis and developed the physical coach manual and several other coach education programs. On ITF Tennis iCoach and Instagram you can see a lot of contributions about physical training. He has also been a speaker at national and international conferences. Ruben has a degree in Physical Education and started his career in his own town Tessenderlo as head coach.

Howard Green

Howard has been the Head of Strength & Conditioning at USN Bolton Arena High Performance Tennis Academy for 8 years. He is an accredited S&C coach with the UKSCA, a Certified Tennis Performance Specialist with the iTPA and has a First Class Hons degree in Sports Coaching – including several coaching qualifications. Prior to coaching Howard spent 6 years in the Royal Marines Commandos, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Howard has experience preparing Professional and Junior players at WTA, ATP, ITF and Tennis Europe levels, most notably working with world number one Ana Ivanovic. Howard has his own training philosophy and methodology, which takes into account both the general and specific physical qualities needed. He also places a high amount of importance in training coordination abilities to enhance movement performance.


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Middlesex University 9th Annual S&C Student Conference 10th March 2018

Yesterday I went to Middlesex University for the  9th Annual Strength and Conditioning Student Conference.  I think I’ve only missed one since they started!

As always it was nice to catch up with a few colleagues and I was particularly delighted to hear Perry Stewart speak, who had previously worked for me some years ago before his role with QPR and more recently his role as Lead Academy S&C coach (U9-16) at Arsenal FC.

Perry Stewart- Title: Understanding the Youth Athlete- From Theory to Practice

Perry split his talk up into three parts which I have discussed below but he started off with an important point.

Youth S&C Coach as a Career

I wholeheartedly agreed with Perry who made a passionate point that too often working with youths is seen as a right of passage for less experienced coaches to gain their experience on route to working with the pros.  As Perry said, it is a specific population that needs a specific expertise, along with a lot of experience.

It’s so rewarding because you’re starting with a blank slate- you are building the foundations rather than trying to re-build them.

So now on to the three elements of his talk:

Football as a Business

Perry asked that no one took photos of his presentation but I can say that Perry revealed some fascinating insights into the business that is professional football.  He highlighted the huge sums of money it costs to put together a team.  Now it wasn’t such a surprise to me that the top teams in Europe have assembled a squad at a cost in the region of £500 million pounds (Man City, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Man United, Barcelona).  But what was more surprising was how much it costs to support an Academy player for a season.

U9-U11 £3000 per year

U12-U15 £40,000 per year

U16-U17 £300,000 per year

U18 £500,000 per year

Pro £££££££££££ (based on contract)

Perry said that the chances of an Academy player making a debut in the Premier League are less than 0.05% (I think!!) meaning it is more likely they will be struck by an meteorite!!!  And I think the chances of them getting a professional contract were still less than 1%.   Given the huge costs to run an Academy and the percentage of players making it professionally a number of Academies have closed.


Growth & Maturation

Perry went into a lot of detail on the way Arsenal use the Peak Height Velocity (PHV) to report back to the coaches on their development.  He mentioned the Robert Mirwald (2002) maturity offset (age at/ of PHV) calculation as well as the Khamis-Roche method (% Predicted Adult Height).  During PHV you can sometimes see the adolescence ‘awkwardness’ where athletes are like baby giraffes or bambi on ice!!  During this time you may need to modify the training somewhat.

Such as:

  • reduce reduction of the same tasks- use lots of variety
  • periodisation- modulate volume and intensity
  • gradually increase workload- avoid acute spikes in training load

Arsenal categorisations for Khamis Roche method:

  • Pre PHV <85%
  • Approaching PHV 85-89%
  • Circa 90-95%
  • Post >96%

Typically Arsenal takes measurements quarterly although will increase them to every 6-8 weeks if they are circa PHV.  For further info please see this presentation by Dr. Sean Cummings Practical-case-study-of-using-maturation-assessments-and-sport-Sean-Cumming-UK

Arsenal Training System

Apologies as I can’t remember the specific titles for each phase but it went something like this:

Motor competency >> Overload phase >> Specificity >> Periodisation and Planning

You develop the skills (how well you do it) then you add some load to the skills (how well and how much you do).  After that you apply the skills to the sport (how fast you do it) and finally you build the skills into a more targeted annual plan.  He concluded with two videos showcasing some of the drills and how they are progressed from U9-U16 for speed and then strength.


Dr. Ben Rosenblatt- Title: Physically preparing teams to win major international tournaments

I have known of Ben’s work and reputation for several years having followed him in his roles as a senior rehabilitation scientist for the BOA and EIS, and Senior S&C Coach for the Olympic winning GB Women’s Hockey team.  Ben now is the Lead Men’s Physical Performance Coach for the FA.

Ben split his presentation into three areas too:

  • Training Durability
  • Tournament Durability
  • Game Impact

He started by asking the question we should all ask as S&C coaches- but in a slightly different way.  Normally the question is ”what are the physical demands of the sport?”  If you know this you can prepare for it.  But he asked instead,

who are the most PHYSICALLY CAPABLE OF TOLERATING the demands of training?

Who are the players in the team who seem to be always turning up to every training session ready to get after it, that don’t pick up many knocks or illnesses?

Training Durability:

I was interested to see that Ben has been using a jump profile to measure physical characteristics that might be related to training durability.  But unlike concentric measures of power or force he was focusing on eccentric measures.  This makes sense as it is the deceleration components that place the most stress on the body!

He was looking at both the speed of the eccentric lowering phase of the jump but also the depth.  It appears that those athletes that can drop deeper but faster and can then obviously arrest that momentum in the time needed to deliver the jump are most robust.  They are typically the strongest (1.7 x BW Back squat) and have a mean power on the eccentric phase of 8 W/kg performing the jump in under 0.5 seconds and a depth of 40cm.

Is it a surprise that stronger athletes are most durable? No! But it is good to see a test that is sensitive enough to discriminate between the athletes who get fatigued by a tough session and those that actually respond positively to it.

Doing more work than normal

Ben was able to show that stronger players have a potentiation effect (jump performance) the day following a match/session where you have to do more work than normal.

Fit players sleep better

Players who score more than 20.5 on a 30-15 test ease to sleep better.  Equally unfit players who also have to do a high training load are going to experience significantly larger amount of fatigue.

Tournament Durability

Essentially this part of the talk can be summarised as ‘Training tougher than a Match.’  Ben highlighted that in a week where he wanted the team to get after it (in a previous training camp) he used GPS to record workrate and specific percentage of time in high speed running zones (>5 m/s).  He found that only 8% was above match intensity in the training.

He spoke to the coaches about needing to get them to be training at higher loads than in a match during this period and they constructed a few drills to specifically address this such as a 4 vs 4 game in a 60 x 40 Yd. pitch where the ball could only be played forward.  This encouraged a lot of movement ahead of the ball to keep possession.

Game Impact

Ben asked two questions:

  • What matters most?
  • What’s easiest to change?

He said he spoke to the Head coach and his summary of the hockey strategy was they need to jump back harder and get ahead of the ball harder!! Basically they needed to be faster at retreating when they lost possession of the ball (GET BACK) and faster at advancing ahead of it when they gained possession (GET THERE), and do it for the entire match (LAST THE GAME).

Planned vs. Programme Change of Direction

GB Hockey prided themselves on being the fittest team in world hockey but one of the things Ben found was that players were very slow to redirect their changes of direction when they needed to respond to an opponent/change of possession etc.  He said they were all very good at doing high speed shuttle drills but this was a closed drill with an anticipatory change of direction.

Biomechanics tells us that the deceleration loads of unplanned directional changes are much higher than planned directional changes.  You spend more energy taking longer to change direction!  So he spent some time on doing more unplanned high speed changes of direction to make more of an impact on game day!


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Physical Conditioning for different game styles

Hey Everyone.  I recently had the privilege to be invited back to speak at the Master Performance Coach Level 5 tennis coach qualification, at the National Tennis.

I was asked to speak about how to physically prepare for different game styles.  I had recorded the presentation separately as a webinar so you can hear what I had to say!  Hope you enjoy.

Understanding the Demands of Tennis

It should always be at the forefront of any strength & conditioning coaches mind the question:  What are the ‘physical’ demands of the sport and who are the athletes that are most physically capable of tolerating the demands of the sport?

The likes of Raphael Nadal have spoken out about the stress on the body of the current tournament schedule.  But I am still exacerbated that in 2018 there is still very little data on the ‘mechanical loading’ of elite Tennis.  From personal communication with trainers who work with Top 100 players on the tour, I know that it is possible to pay for the Hawk Eye data- which costs £250 per match.  Hawk eye uses a camera to track player movements and from this you can determine distance covered in the match.

Thankfully there are promising signs that technology advancement in Tennis is catching up with the needs of the coaches.  For years accelerometers and GPS technology have been redundant in Tennis because the discrete movements of tennis players which take place over short distances have been too difficult to accurately detect with GPS units.

From speaking to Matt Little I know that he uses a catapult system with Andy Murray.  From this technology he can calculate player load for each session using the accelerometer and he can use the GPS to measure distance covered and highest speeds reached.  Apparently the GPS can actually work inside- he has used it successfully in bubbles, and the next break through will be being able to get feedback on what percentage of time Andy spends accelerating to and decelerating from particular speeds.

So for me knowing how much load is going through a player across the course of the competitive calendar is the key thing to know first and I hope that the Performance Analysis teams will be able to shed some light on this over the next few years.

In the meantime we have to make some assumptions about the likely demands of the sport on our players and acknowledge that different types of game styles may put different demands on the body.  I maintain the belief that at the top level of the game a tennis player has to be able to do all the different game styles at some point and we need to be able to prepare for all of them.  However, I do believe tennis players (like all elite athletes) win because of their strengths so of course we need to be mindful of what they do best- what the physical demands are of that playing style- and devote enough training time to prepare specifically for that.

Demands of a particular Game style

Power Game- Big Serve/Forehand 

Need muscle strength and power to hit fast serves and groundstrokes that can enable them to hopefully finish the point off with one or two more shots.  There are different types of athletes who employ this type of game style.  Obviously the big tall men and women will use this game style.  Think of Maron Cilic and Kevin Anderson.  The tall athletes may also lack the movement skills so need to work hard on their speed and agility so that they can stay in the rally if a counter puncher can turn the point around.

The other type of athlete who can successfully use this game style is the likes of Roger Federer.  While he is known as an ‘all court’ player his recent success at the Australian Open 2018 was built on a very effective 1st serve where he won 81% of points on his 1st serve.  He finished 75% of his points in the tournament in under 5 shots, compared to Maron Cilic (69%), and Rafa Nadal (58%).  He was also able to hit a forehand immediately after his 1st serve in 86% of the time from an imposing 2.07m inside the baseline.

Attacking baseliner

Similar to the Power game they also need muscle strength and power.  However this game style may not be able to rely on a big serve or massive ground stroke to win easy points.  They will be looking to maintain pressure on their opponents by maintaining a strong court position on the baseline and taking time away from their opponent with several aggressive ground strokes.  They will need quickness to get off the mark and good footwork to maintain steady balance.  They will also need a high level of anaerobic fitness so they can keep a high intensity throughout the match using short sharp bouts of explosive work with incomplete recovery.

All court player

Similar to attacking baseliner but they will also look to attack players with accuracy (not just power) and they have a willingness to approach the net regularly.  They do not serve particularly big, or play with huge power from the baseline but instead look to rely on a variety of skills in both attack and defence to disrupt their opponent.  They may come forward to the net whether serving and volleying or approaching from the baseline.  They will therefore need to be explosive to move forward quickly, cover the net and get up for smashes.  They will also need great speed and footwork to take the ball early and play at a high tempo to take time away from their opponent.  They will also need a good all round fitness as they will be moving forward a lot.

Counter punchers

This game style is often suited to someone who lacks a major weapon that allows them to consistently win shorter points, so they base game around developing a higher level of fitness.  They use the pace of the opponent and they are more likely to move deeper behind the baseline to give them more time to hit the ball.  This means they will often cover a lot more ground and rely on wearing their opponents down by making them play another shot.  Fitness has to be very high for this player.


Training Sessions for a Specific Game style

As far as training videos go I’m afraid I don’t have a lot of video footage of training I do with my athletes.  I need to get better at that!

But for some examples of a couple of ideas for how you could work on specific qualities for different games styles check out these below:

Attacking baseliner/all court player- Roger Federer warm-up

Notice the explosive movements laterally and up/back.  Federer won 75% of all his points in less than 5 shots at the recent Australian Open 2018 so he is looking to move aggressively into the court following behind his very effective first serve.  In fact Federer was able to hit a forehand after his first serve 86% of the time at an imposing 2.07m inside the baseline.  His warm-up, his speed work and even his stamina work will ideally be about doing high quality work for 5-15sec work max.


All court player- Ed Corrie CH 215 WR stamina session

Rather than use a big serve and forehand Ed will use precision and timing.  This session was about working on precision of footwork around the cones even when he is tired, as well as maintaining a good tempo of high intensity movement into the wider areas.  This is to enable Ed to keep beating the bounce and set up with precise footwork so he can hit the ball on the rise and take time away from his opponent.

This session can just as easily be done as a speed session but with recovery between the work bouts.

Want more info?

For those of you wanting more info on where to learn more about Tennis Strength & Conditioning I recommend three books below:




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FREE Ebook: Fun Games for Kids

This blog is one I am really excited to write.  I have been really enjoying mentoring some of my assistant coaches recently.  Like all things in life there are challenges to every business.  I recruit a lot of part-time S&C coaches, who at some point will often move on to a full-time job unless I can offer them one first!!!  But while they are with me I do everything I can to assist in their development.  Lately I’ve been on the shoulders of a few coaches more than usual as I am seeing if they can step up from assistant to a lead role- or whether I need to bring in some more ‘talent’ who are perhaps more ready to take the lead.

So what are the ingredients I am looking for from a great coach? Obviously a big part of this is the Quality of the Session Plans- it’s the ‘what you coach.’  I can help here by providing session plans.  But there is also the Quality of the Delivery- it’s the ‘how you coach it.’  A big part of my role is challenging my team by role modelling some of the behaviours that I want to see in my coaches in terms of how they engage the children with their communication.

I thought I would share some of the learnings here and I’ll address both topics in this post!  For those of you in a rush and just want me to get to the punch line, well I can summarise that playing games with kids is one of the main ways we can easily create a fun learning environment.  It can be a bit of a crutch for a less experienced coach who is still finding their voice! Let the games be the coach!

You can read more about this topic in my FREE Ebook:

To download the ”Fun Games for Kids Ebook” click the link below:

Click Here


”Are all coaches born or are they made?  Can some coaches that initially seem to lack the knowledge, skills and even personality to be a great coach then grow into one over time with good mentoring?…”

I often think about this and want to start with some thoughts of mine.  Let me start by setting the scene.

Long term coach development??

Youth Training is one of my passions.  I think practitioners like Rhodri Lloyd have done great work to pave the way for new understandings of the training process and long-term athlete development (LTAD) principles.  But coach mentoring is my absolute favourite thing to do.  If there was such a thing as long-term coach development (LTCD) what types of skills would we expect to respond greater to training at certain times in a coaches development?

Is there an argument that coaches respond better to certain training once they are ’emotionally’ mature?

If we think that an athlete goes on a long term development journey to first learn some skills and then train them and then apply them in a competitive match environment, then wouldn’t it make sense that a coach could also need to learn some communication skills and train them, as well as all the book smarts they have to learn vocationally or academically?

I don’t always feel many student coaches that I mentor have necessarily learnt as much about how to coach at university as they have about what to coach!!!!!!!

Being a business owner I am somewhat like the national coaches of sport conducting talent ID.  We know that an evaluation/test is only a snapshot of someone’s ability at a point in time.  It may not be a reflection of their potential.  There are so many variables at play! Maybe when I interview a coach who has no experience I see something in them and I give them the opportunity to grow with my organisation. But if I know a coach has several years of experience and they don’t create a great environment then perhaps I don’t give them the same opportunity.

I need to respect that I am running a business and it has a reputation to protect.  I can’t allow coaches opportunity to learn from making too many mistakes resulting in poor feedback on the quality of the sessions from the children and parents.  That’s why I have lead coach roles and assistant coaches/interns.

But regardless of role they do, they have to show me something that makes me think they will fit in with my company.  So what is that ‘something?’  I try to be objective in my assessment so I can give good feedback to coaches who I may or may not give a job to.  It also gives me ways to give specific feedback in coach appraisals and mentoring programmes.

I’ll previously posted on Communication numerous times.  This is a key part of being an effective coach:

Lessons we can learn from Sir Alex Ferguson

Are you a good coach?


Essentially it always comes down to three things:

  1. Creating the environment
  2. Setting the scene
  3. Asking for Feedback


What does the Research say?

Last year November 10th 2017 I had the opportunity to do a guest lecturer visit at the University of Hertfordshire as part of the third year ‘Advanced Coaching Module.’

Take a look at the video below created by Joshua James:

Coaching Employability and the Coaching Process

This is just to give you some background on my coaching style and also some evidence in the research to support some of the behaviours I was using.  Now not everyone is going to coach in the same way and the same style.  But I feel we need some sort of operational definitions of the ‘characteristics’ of a world class coach and at APA I define them as:

Definition of an Athletic Performance Academy Coach

An inspirational, honest, professional, courageous, self-aware, self-disciplined leader who coaches unconditionally and effectively and is rigorous in developing themselves as well as their athletes

Athletic Performance Academy

Athletic Performance Academy


Instilling Values to Develop Yourself- 

If the definitions are the behaviours we can see then the values are the deeper aspects of our very core that manifest themselves in our behaviours.

These are psycho-emotional and spiritual factors that we want to develop in ourselves and in our athletes in order to help us achieve our highest potential (getting the best out of our talent).

It is a balanced approach to developing the PERSON first and the ATHLETE second.


Values- Commitment, Excellence, Courage, Competitive Spirit, Respect, Enjoyment


I am quite a high energy guy.

I like to get my passion across by being quite animated and vocal.  I like to be heard and when I am giving feedback I tend to get quite excitable when someone is performing something well (or not performing well).  I need to let them know I care about their performance and it is important to me.

But on the flip side I know I have to do this ‘compensate’ for the choice of drills I like to use.  More on this below.

I also coach quite explicitly (which is something I am trying to work on!)

I have had a lot of chats with coaches over the years about implicit vs explicit coaching.  Anyone who has studied the motor learning literature can tell you that explicit instructional coaching works better in the short term- children move better in the drills.  But longer term and in more chaotic environments the children who were ‘over coached’ tend to struggle to move well.

You see I tend to default to giving too much information rather than too little.  I tend to internalise movements by drawing children’s attention to where their body is in time and space (explicit feedback).  I want ‘this joint angle’ not that one; ‘I want the arm to move to here not there!!’  ”Move your feet wider apart!’  Implicit feedback relies more on creating an outcome result but not giving specific feedback on how to achieve the outcome- so you give them more time to solve the problem themselves.  You tell them where you want them to move to, or the target to throw so it’s more about external cues. This is known as a ‘non-awareness strategy.”

Because I am more explicit it means I like to coach within closed drills that slowly open up into more chaos.  It allows me to instruct and correct more easily.  Other coaches would try and coach within the chaos as the norm using conditioned games and competitions- and let the athlete have more opportunity to self organise and auto correct through trial and error.

Because I am more inclined to close skills down into their component parts it ‘could’ be less fun and engaging for the children. But I compensate with loads of energy and enthusiasm for the drills and I give the children feedback on how well they are performing the tasks we are doing.   Without the energy and the input from the coach the drills would be too boring.

And that was the inspirational for the ‘Fun Games for Kids’ syllabus.  We always play games at the beginning and end of sessions any way.  The games in the Ebook I created are categorised so that coaches can use the most appropriate type of game to test/challenge a particular type of speed or coordination.  The Ebook gives my less experienced coaches some ‘Games’ to use as an evaluation tool and to compliment the ‘skill development’ drills I like the children to practice to learn the correct technique.  You could say it is a crutch to help them create a more inspirational learning environment by appealing to our natural desire to play!  I will always advocate certain skill development drills to instil the proper mechanics but these days I will get to the chaos sooner and make it a bigger part of the learning than in the past.

I also wrote the Ebook for me- to challenge my ability to teach/train skills through more chaos.  To test myself to see if I can refine technique in more chaos rather than always making it easy for myself.  I have noticed that mistakes are more visible in chaos- movements that aren’t repeated over and over- don’t look as good as if I just drill them on the same thing ten times in a row.  But over time they can make little corrections.  Longer term they will be able to manage themselves better in the chaos.

So let’s look at some of the other ways to inspire the children beyond just playing games and the drills themselves.  What about the delivery style and communication?


Creating the environment

The environment I want is an environment that promotes Listening, Learning and Fun.  I believe that the best way to do this is to be inspiring!! Remember the 3 P’s:

3 P’s of Inspiration

Passion: Grab their attention

There are different ways to do this.  My style is through my own high energy but you can convey passion in different ways- it’s about getting your athlete or group to be engaged in what you are saying to them/showing them.  They have to feel something from your words or actions.

Presence: Respect clear rules

Energy will only get you so far if you can’t channel it and control it- especially with children, and especially if you are using some of the games in the Ebook.  You need to have a presence.  It doesn’t mean you have to be a big scary person. It’s about Respect.  One of the best things you can do with groups is set rules/expectations of behaviour/routines and BE CONSISTENT with these and any consequences for non compliance!

Purpose: Set the scene- expectations / get buy in 

To get your athletes to focus it is important to set the scene with the what-why-how.  I want my coaches to do this with the Games as well so the children can at least think a little bit about why they are playing a particular game and how they can perform to have more success at it.

I personally default to closed drills as I said before.  But one of the reasons I hold the attention of the children is that I am VERY CLEAR with the teaching points and know exactly what I am looking for.  I expect the children to respond to the challenges I set them.  Even though the drills are closed at times- I have clear expectations of how I want them to do it and I think the children engage in this challenge of getting the process correct!

Let the drill teach the skill: Multi skills

Take a look at my summary of the multiskillZ curriculum I wrote.  I recently bought this product and you can see the review in a previous blog.  In terms of setting the scene it’s a lot easier to get buy in when you’re having fun!!!! That was one of my motivations to get the multiskillZ product because I wanted to get some new ideas for fun skills and drills!  But it’s also because I want to challenge myself to set up the environment differently!

MultiskillZ overview

One of the the things I really enjoyed reading about was the information on Session structure, how to start and end the session, and all their thoughts on periodiation.

Athletes will always respond well to drills that are:

  • Fun
  • Competitive
  • Challenging

Generally speaking games based drills are more fun so rather than just doing closed technical drills, more open drills that involve running and use of a variety of skills are more fun.  Athletes always enjoy opportunities to apply their skills.

Keep score to hold interest and promote competition and most importantly stretch your athletes by making them aware of world class levels of performance.  I think it’s always easier to challenge them by setting the level high and see if they can reach it.  To do this you as a performance coach need to have an awareness of standards and know what world class looks like!

Too often we might berate athletes for not working hard enough but if we don’t stretch them in the first place they may not have a reason to need to work hard!

Give them a choice

When you set the scene you can also:

a) give them a choice how hard they want to be challenged- they can decide how challenging they want the drills to be

b) give them a choice if they want to stop or keep going (when the drill is challenging)- but they must know that IF they decide to KEEP GOING they will need to meet the demands of the drill.


Summary of a great coaching session

There a number of ways to define world class coaching- from a communication stand point I find it helpful to describe the characteristics so I can give more constructive feedback, ‘An inspirational, honest, professional, courageous, self-aware, self-disciplined leader who coaches unconditionally and effectively and is rigorous in developing themselves as well as their athletes.’

What does that look like in terms of the outcomes we want for each and every session:

Listening • Children show respect by listening when the coach is talking • Coach needs to have something ‘interesting’ to say • Keep the information concise and concrete • Select a few simple teaching points • Show a god demonstration and then ask one of the children to demonstrate it back to the group to check for their understanding

Learning • We are coaches not baby sitters • Provide appropriate amount of instructional/corrective feedback to enhance movement skills  • Children should be able to tell you one or two key features of correct technique

Having Fun • Competition is good as there are natural in built outcomes because of the score line • But you can still create attention on the task by setting expectations for behaviour/performance level • Tell them exactly what you are looking for and give feedback on their performance.

Children need to be stimulated and in my opinion it is possible to give them a session which is as fun as their favourite sport.  You just need to think about what children like about playing sport playing a computer game.  Can you challenge them and make them compete to achieve a task that they want to complete!!!!

The fact remains that some coaches may have more talent for ‘communication’.  They may be more at ease in front of people and have more natural presence.  By everyone can be a better coach.  I just have to decide whether they can improve quick enough and to a level high enough to work for APA!!!

I hope you found this blog useful.

To see the entire APA Games Syllabus download the FREE EBOOK below:

Click Here



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Want to come and work for APA?

Dear coaches,

APA are recruiting for a part-time strength & conditioning coach at Gosling Tennis Academy.


The role at Gosling starts immediately and would ideally suit someone who is looking to gain valuable experience in a high performance environment.

We welcome applications from all candidates.  It is not essential that you are available to coach every day to be considered for the role although it is preferable if you can make yourself available every weekday.

Hours: 4-6pm Monday to Friday     

Duration: Permanent. School term time

Remuneration: £8-15 per hour, depending on experience 


Please download the PDF below to find out further details