The easiest way to explain the difference between the two is to say that the first believes the game should be learned through introduction and perfecting of the techniques required to play it and only once these are developed "enough" on the eyes of the coach then the game can be played!
While in the modern approach the game is played from day 1 and techniques are learned as the game requires them to be developed. This enables the coaches to create an environment around the process of learning characterized by dynamic and intense sessions vs the traditional standard of teaching where the player is exposed to more closed exercises that are by nature less dynamic and intense in order to direct the focus to the movement to be learned.
Ingredients of modern coaching
Game based tactical approach to the game
The biggest change in coaching methodology over the last decades has been the introduction to the sport through playing the game itself. So even though we recognize that technical skills are crucial, we emphasize the decision making process and the ability to play tactically correct from the moment the sport is introduced to the player.
This means that success for the player is not tied to perfect execution of the exercise proposed by the coach but to his ability to play and understand the tennis game, making the process of learning a lot more democratic then the traditional models of coaching allowed.
This approach to the learning process can be resumed in the following steps:
- Expose the player to one of the 5 tactical situations (serving, returning, approach the net, opponent on the net or both players in the back)
- Understand the key elements to master the problems presented by the situation
- Solve the problems through working in more closed drilling situation
- Go back to game and test
Holistic approach to coaching
This approach puts in perspective the concepts integration vs isolation, recognizing that is not possible to isolate any component of the game without working on other at the same time. So the process of learning is seen as a proper integration of all elements into the training session vs isolation of certain aspects of the game
Player centered coaching (goal oriented learning)
Recognizing the player as the center of the process and creating learning opportunities to solve the problems created by the game as well as the techniques required to master.
This makes the coach with a role closer to a guide who shows the different paths to solve the problems that are faced rather then the “commander“ who chooses the direction to take.
Presence of sport science and technology, prevention and injury free
Understanding that sport science needs to be in the every day coaching practice is a must, understanding how the human body behaves and how can we prevent traumatic situations to occur needs to be in every coaches mind. Integration of technology as a support to accomplish this task in a more efficient way is key
Development of coordination as a base for technical learning
Understanding that coordination should be the main motor skill to be improved is a must in modern coaching. This ability when constantly present in all the sessions with young players (not just in warm up situation) will enhance their capacity in the future to make technical changes at a much quicker pace. Developing body awareness in early stages will facilitate largely future technical adjustments
Functional and biomechanics approach to movement
Recognizing a more game based approach to modern coaching doesnt exclude the importance of the technical and biomechanical principles. The difference lies on the fact that those principles and techniques are used to solve tactical problems rather then imposing a stroke model (grips, backswing, etc…)
For example, a player is introduced to a bigger swing in ground strokes to solve the problem felt in game situation - opponent always hits in balanced positions due to my lack of power production
Promoting and Marketing activities
“In reality of modern coach world possessing best product is not enough. It is equally vital to promote it“ - Unierzyski, P.; Crespo, M. (2007). Review of modern teaching methods for tennis