SME Tennis


After spending many years at elite academies across the world and traveling with elite players, I realized that there is no “Magic Formula” for success. Instead I realized that the best players in the world share certain common mental and physical traits. Besides their mental toughness the best players in the world have a level of awareness that lesser players lack. While the best players are blessed physically with athleticism, they also develop efficiency through simplicity, not only in the execution of their strokes, but also in their movement.

Many players and coaches believe that these common traits are inherent. Either you have it, or you don’t. However, I have learned over time that through patience and progressive training, many of these traits can either be learned or significantly improved upon. With this in mind, I developed a training system – the SEE, MOVE, EXECUTE method of training. It’s a progressive training system that focuses on aspects of fundamental development that are, in my opinion, neglected and sometimes completely overlooked by most coaches and training programs. These training programs will teach you how to execute, but if you aren’t learning to see and move first, your execution will fall well short of your potential and so will your game.

The SEE part of the system involves the development of awareness. Talented athletes are instinctively aware of several critical things while competing; the court, the sun, the wind, the ball, the opponent, and themselves. The less talented athlete requires training to become aware of these things. What do you need to learn to develop awareness? To strengthen your court awareness skills you need to work on: understanding the different areas of the court and how they affect your decisions and executions; knowing how the court surface influences the match; gauging the effect of the sun and wind on the ball and the players; and, finding the ideal recovery positions. For ball awareness focus on being able to read the direction, speed, spin, height and depth of incoming and outgoing balls. Better opponent awareness means improving your ability to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent. Improving self awareness includes becoming more aware of what your eyes, feet, body, and racket are doing at all times and also recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses.

Teaching players to MOVE is a passion of mine. After traveling on the ITF and WTA circuit for years I realized that, if everything between two players is fairly even, the difference in the result is almost always determined by how efficiently the players moved. Most players, even naturally talented ones, need to work on their movement. While I have found individual trainers everywhere with good knowledge about efficient movement and footwork, the Spanish training system is far superior to anyone else. In Spain, movement is a major part of the training philosophy and integrated into every players training program. Between visiting Spain and working with movement experts like David Bailey and Mark Verstagen for many years, I have formulated my own system of training. I believe that, through learning the fundamentals and using progressions, anyone can improve their movement. Again, some players are better athletes and don’t have to spend as much time on it as a lesser athlete, but no player will ever reach their full potential with inefficient movement.

EXECUTE is the third part of the training method. It involves decision making (Tactics) and execution (Technique). I strongly believe that Tactic (decision) and Technique (execution) should be trained simultaneously. Technical training was a major part of every facility I worked at or visited. Bollettieri’s academy was definitely the best in this department. What was surprising to me was the lack of teaching strong fundamentals, including simplicity and efficiency, even at the most elite academies. Players were left to figure these things out themselves. Of course the more talented players are able to do this on their own as they naturally use simple and efficient swings.

Although there is no such a thing as a “magic formula”, I believe that, with the correct training approach, all players can reach their full potential. A great looking building without a strong foundation will not survive in a storm. A great looking swing without strong fundamentals will not survive under pressure. Great technique is very important, but it has to be accompanied by strong fundamentals. What separates from everything else are the progressions we use to teach good fundamentals. At we use video feedback on a daily basis, so that you can learn to better visualize and develop awareness, as well as to give you off court feedback that you can use to practice and develop skills outside of your lesson time.

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