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Tracking Tennis Player Performance

Posted on February 24, 2009

By Kelly Jones  
How do you track player performance in a generation of complex training systems, influential aspects of sport science, and worldwide conflicting opinions on the best teaching methodologies? 

As a "profession" (by definition teaching tennis is not a profession because there is no prerequisite to teach or coach) how do we measure performance progress in a responsible and accountable fashion? How do we know our opinions are having an effective impact on long-term development? The real question we must ask is how do we show improvement and justify our opinions without any other evidence other than results.

Every coach goes through periods of uncertainty when faced with a player that has reached a plateau or ceased to show improvement. This could be a high-performance player or even a club player. The thing is in order to truly track players performances coaches must go beyond just players' match results. Important information about gaps in a player's development can be revealed more accurately through the use of other performance indicators such as video analysis, match analysis, physical conditioning, and mental awareness and coach feedback. The priorities of the most useful data collection will differ depending on the level and goals of each individual player. However, one thing is absolute -- the use of these kinds of tracking tools will help players, coaches and parents make better and more informed developmental decisions.

Last summer a professional player came to work with me because he was frustrated with the direction and results in his career. After an in-depth assessment and evaluation of his current skills we created a long-term development plan for him.


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