In recent years the Full time Academy programme at Gosling Tennis Academy has grown significantly. APA now write the training programmes for up to 13 full-time junior Tennis players, who are all committed to being the best Tennis player they can be.
In today’s blog I would like to give an example of a Training programme that would be appropriate for this age group. Then I am going to talk about how we are using the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale to monitor individual responses to the training programme.
Credit where credit is due, I like to acknowledge the work of other practitioners within my field and it looks like there is some quality programming being done at Proformance Strength & Conditioning in Gloucestershire.
I have included an example of his Key Stage 4 Programme which is an excellent example of a multi-lateral strength & conditioning training programme. Vern Gambetta would call it a ‘complex‘ programme because it is targeting several biomotor abilities in the same session. This is a sound approach with developmental level athletes.
Theme: Multi-Directional Speed & Agility & Strength Development
Foam Roll – Issue areas: Quads/Glutes/Calves/Hamstrings
Lateral Mini-Band Walk x 10m
Monster Walk x 10m
Hip Flexor Activation x 10/leg
Shoulder Taps x 10/arm
x 10 reps per exercise
Glute Bridge / Cook Hip Lift
Full Spiderman + Press UP
1 Leg SLDL
1 Leg Squat
Leap & Stick (In Place) 1 x 5/leg
Leap & Stick (Linear) 1 x 5/leg
Leap & Stick (Lateral) 1 x 5/leg
Hop & Stick (In Place) 1 x 5/leg
Hop & Stick (Linear) 1 x 5/leg
Hop & Stick (Lateral) 1 x 5/leg inside & outside
Multi-directional Speed & Agility:
Week 1: Cutting
Lateral Shuffle x 3
Rehearsed Cut x 3
Random Cut x 3
Spin Cut x 3
Speed Cut x 3
Strength & Power Development:
Clean from Thigh 2 x 6
Squat or Deadlift variation
DB Bench Press or DB Overhead Press
Split Squat or RFE Split Squat
Feet elevated TRX Row or Pull Up
Year 10 = 3 x 10 reps
Year 11 = 3 x 6-8 reps
Plank Combo – Left, Right & Front
Skydiver (Prone AW – Scap Retractions)
Full Chain Glute
Hip Flexor Lunge Sequence
3D Calf Stretch
The Need to Individualise
Now Properformance have included this as an example for a fairly homogenous group of Year 10 and Year 11 students.
So what kind of things can we change to regress and progress the athletes in a mixed group?
There is a pretty large age range (between 11 and 16 years) in the full-time junior Academy group. So we need to individualise by adjusting the parameters such as distance/height jumped in the jumping section, we could add challenge to the speed and agility by giving the older players bungees to work against, and in the strength section we can give the players more weight to work against.
But what about managing tiredness levels within the group?
It’s too easy just to say to everyone, ‘this is the session so just get on with it and do the best you can with the energy you have.’ Often you’ll get at least a few athletes who will come up to you and say, ‘I’m too tired today, can I just foam roll?’ But, if you say yes to one and no to another the players might think you’re being unfair. So how do you manage this? The first thing is EDUCATION EDUCATION EDUCATION.
So with our work with Gosling Tennis Academy we have started to get the player’s to monitor more closely their perception of exertion while following a similar programme. Using the RPE scale we have found it to be a good way of ensuring that we can modify the sessions of players who are perhaps more or less tired than we expected.
We can now look at the player’s Training Load scores together with the player for the previous few days and correlate this with jump scores, and then make smart decisions based on evidence. This gives us the ability to individualise the workload of the players to account for tiredness and generally we have three options:
- You’re not as tired as you think you are- get on with it!
- You’re tired- reduce the volume by half but keep the intensity up
- You’re very tired- do a recovery session and take the next Tennis session off too!
Check out the video below which goes into detail about how we are using RPE, but it also covers a lot of insider information on the kind of Volume of Training players should be doing right from 5 years old all the way up to the professional level.