LEARN | PRACTISE | COMPETE
There are two pathways for kids to become involved with Tiger Tennis. Our Tiger Junior Programme caters for newcomers and less experienced players, while our Tiger Academy Programme challenges players who have reached a higher level and those who are looking to play competitively.
Both routes embrace our Learn/Practise/Compete philosophy and our programme has been carefully designed to incorporate all three of these elements. The Tiger Training and Matchplay sessions support what has been learnt in the coaching session and work together to form a complete and effective programme.
Our Earn Your Stripes rewards system adds structure and progression to our coaching and is designed to challenge and motivate players to make the most of their potential.
Team work and communication skills
At Tiger Tennis we recognise that each child is unique, and we understand the importance of valuing their individuality. Therefore, it is part of the Tiger Tennis approach that we take into account the fact that each group will create a different dynamic, depending on how each child interacts within the group. By taking a consistent approach and adapting to the different needs of each group, we can work towards building an environment where everyone respects each other for who they are. At the same time they are learning the skills necessary to work together to make the activity more successful as a whole. In this way we aim to teach children that they can achieve more by working effectively with others than on their own.
Age and stage appropriate
We also consider it vital that the age gap between children in a group and the level of activities we do are age and stage appropriate. Because of this we ensure that the gap between each child is no bigger than two school years apart between Year 1 and Year 8, and we give Reception age children their own class as they are new to school and are still building up their own experiences of these types of learning situations.
Fun and stimulating environment
During each session we try to create an environment that is stimulating, motivating and fun, because anybody will learn better if they are somewhere they want to be! Each session follows a consistent structure that is designed to lead towards the core skill that we are working on. The physical and racket warm-up activities will reflect and support this key skill to be learnt in that session. Focusing on one thing allows everyone to work in the same direction and keeps goals clear and effective.
As well as using a coaching style that keeps the sessions fun, we incorporate games at the beginning and the end of each session where everyone can relax and enjoy themselves. Children learn best when they can be themselves and so our goal is to run sessions that provide an appropriate challenge in a fun environment.
Tiger Academy sessions are designed for those players who are committed to working hard and want to take their game to the next level. These sessions offer players who have reached a good level of play for their age an opportunity to develop their skills and understanding within a more competitive environment. The method of coaching is the same as all Tiger Tennis sessions but with further progressions and more detailed technical attention on all levels. As players develop through the Academy route, the coaching also becomes more bespoke and specific to each player so we can begin to define their own identity as a player.
Although skill level is a guiding factor, it is important to note that it is the mindset and attitude of a player that is the determining factor of who is best suited to Tiger Academy sessions. This is a central consideration to the Tiger Tennis ‘growth mindset’ approach.
Players attending the Academy session may also be looking to play more competitively within the LTA framework. For this reason the sessions are divided into Academy Red, Orange, Green and yellow and uses the same age groupings as the LTA competition guidelines.
These are structured practise sessions led by a coach and they provide the opportunity for players to get the repetition required for new skills to move through the four stages of learning to the point where they become fluid and automatic. The coach encourages players to take responsibility for the quality of their effort and helps them stay focused on the goals they are trying to achieve. The ability to practise well is an important skill in itself and one that is part of the holistic approach that Tiger Tennis takes to teaching tennis. Skills and qualities such as self-discipline, mental focus and determination are developed and gradually create a healthy ‘growth mindset’ in our players.
Matchplay sessions are purely points based sessions where players can have the opportunity to put into practise what they have been learning during their coaching sessions. Even with good technical skills, Matchplay is an art in itself and something you need to be doing regularly to stay ‘match-fit’.
These sessions allow players the opportunity to gain experience and develop these skills in a non-pressurised environment. If there is something specific a player is working on, then this a great time for them to put that into the practise and see how it holds up in a live game situation. This also gives coaches and players valuable feedback to integrate into future coaching sessions.
These sessions are not coaching sessions but are organised and run by a Tiger Tennis coach to facilitate the smooth running of the session.
* red/orange/green alternate weeks with yellow
Earn Your Stripes
Earn Your Stripes is a unique and original Rewards Scheme designed specifically for Tiger Tennis. It is a progressive system that gradually expands and challenges a players abilities physically, technically and tactically. It provides a guide for coaches and players to ascertain what level they are achieving, as well as a framework for teaching different aspects of technique and strategy.
There are four levels, each one progressing onto the next. The first Skills level works on the basic skills and shot selection required to play the game. Transition is the next level which takes the shots learnt in Level 1 and stretches players’ movement ability in five specific movement patterns. During the Strategy stage, the skills learnt so far are put into context by adding a tactical intention so players understand how each shot selection affects the responses they get from their opponent. In the final stage players are required to show a variety of skills required for an all court Battle!