You've heard right - MOVEMENT and POSITIONING are key!

You've heard it right, and you'll hear me say it on court time-and-time-again. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. As my very first blog, it's not by accident that I chose this topic. The importance of movement, in both shot-execution and recovery, can't be overstated when it comes to the modern game and, especially, at the Elite levels of tennis performance, and are at the core of Spanish Training System.

The TE-TA-FI-ME model (Technical, Tactical, Physical and Mental, as the core pillars of the Spanish System) states that technique is a functional entity that is a means to execute a tactical intention, and technique, therefore, is a function of physical “contextual” competency which also relies on efficient movement and footwork execution and application. I know, that's a mouthful. But lets break it down a little. According to Mike Crooks, a specialist Etcheberry Elite Certified Performance Coach and ITF contributor, "movement and footwork are key attributes to allow a player to execute tactics efficiently and be able to play at the highest possible level. As the quality of the game a player is exposed to increases, the time and space available to operate in becomes of great importance- players have less time to get into position to play. Not only do players need to understand tactics but they also need to associate and practice footwork patterns that are most desirable. In the midst of all this is the ability to cover the court and, once again, as the level increases and the game of tennis progresses, management of space and time is of upmost importance. Therefore players must find the most efficient ways of getting into position, the appropriate footwork to execute a stroke, and the recovery requirements."

The four integrated and interconneted pillars (TE-TA-FI-ME) are used to reach the ideal competitive state, where the Technical pillar consists of the tools the player uses to carry out a task (i.e., a tactical intention; Tactical, the ability to organize and develop those tools; Physical, the total available energy at the players disposal to use in carrying out the task; and Mental, the ability to channel the quality and intensity of that energy.

Footwork and movement go well beyond the physical ability. They also play a key role for their tactical relationship with the game. In addition, not only do we have a technical component in stroke production, we have the same in footwork execution. This means that when developing players or working with high-level players, the tactical intentions must also contain a footwork and movement component. Consider the players ability to cover the court effectively and also consider the position of recovery that is optimal to maintain the tactical intention.

Consider the words from the man himself - Emilio Sanchez - who developed the ASC Sytem used at DCTENNIS: “Because [Spanish system players] work much harder in the practice sessions, in the matches they are more than survivors; they are warriors. They don’t mind doing what they have to do to get behind the ball, and they know that if they can get behind the ball, they’re going to have more options to hit the ball more places.”Emilio Sánchez, ATP 7 Singles, ATP 1 Doubles, French Open W, US Open W, Wimbledon F.

In Summary:

The level of functional physical skill can deter the ability to develop the technique pillar, which, in turn, will affect the ability to develop the tactical and consequently the mental pillars as well. Conversely, competence in any of the four pillars will promote possibility, potential and opportunity in the other performance factors. Okay, Emilio did say it best: "...i f [a player] can get behind the ball, [he's] going to have more options to hit the ball more places.

Want to learn more about movement and tactical decisions? Try our next Defense & Attack Balance Clinic.

This 2-Hour Session is the perfect opportunity to try the Spanish Training System used at ASC (Academia Sanchez-Casal) Academies in Barcelona, Spain, and Florida, USA.

In this intensive and dynamic tennis clinic you will:

* Learn to transition from baseline to the net

* Learn to play offensive and defensive situations

* Improve shot height and depth, and use different areas of the court

* Work on specific drills that help build the game, all based on repetitions.

It's a fun, dynamic and intense training session that will have you end the session believing in yourself.

Age is not a factor. Minimum skill level of 4.0 is required (advisable). The format of training used means that even 5.0 level players and above will have a great session. Come play the Spanish way!

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