‘PLAYS SMART’ (Tactical)
In this article, we will explore the ‘Plays Smart’ component of our player vision statement:
“A Performer who is an Athlete that Plays Smart with Functional Shots.”
The entire vision is a re-framing of the 4 Performance Factors:
Playing smart is part of a package of tactical-technical development that combine together to develop a ‘Player’:
Our Mission Statement for tactical development is:
“Solve Problems by managing space & time to establish your timing and break your opponent’s timing.“
This is the essence of what tennis is all about.
The first words of the ‘plays smart’ development mission is ‘solve problems.’ Tennis is a ‘game sport.’ All games require problem-solving. This includes the problems opponents throw at you and the ones you create for them. In games (whether chess, hockey or tennis), problems are expressed in terms of tactics.
Tennis is an ‘open skill’ (for a more detailed article on open skills, click here) and a game sport. Therefore, it is more effective to adopt a Tactics-first approach since it will elevate problem-solving and decision-making to their rightful position. I am by no means saying technique is not critical. In a tactics-first approach, technique is second, but never secondary.
Cultivating a smart player requires intentional and systematic development. To do that, coaches need a functional framework to do annual, seasonal and sessional planning. Most coaches have an organized technical system but no tactical system to speak of. Typically, tactics float around in a coach’s head, disconnected from everything else. This leads to developing ‘strokers’ rather than actual players.
The button below will take you to a detailed article on the elements of an effective Tactical framework coaches can use for planning seasons and sessions.