As you consider sending your child to The Michael Filipek Tennis & Sports Academy/adidas Tennis Camp (or any camp or program) it is important to know that your child will be in an environment where he/she is challenged and that fosters his/her development. Believe me, I know first hand the commitment necessary in developing a competitive junior. Money, time and sacrifice are all part of the formula. I know this well, as I was a nationally ranked junior from ages 11-18, and my childhood was filled with 6 days of practice per week, 20 weekends per year at tournaments, and every summer taking our family vacation at the Nationals.
As a coach, these experiences have become invaluable in understanding the physical, mental, and emotional components of the game, each of which plays an essential role in the development and success of a young player.
At our camp we have a special curriculum that is designed for competitive players (which is different than that of noncompetitive players). This curriculum generally consists of cooperative and situational drills*, point play, match play, and physical/mental/emotional training. Below are some common questions/concerns that parents and coaches may have, and how they are addressed at MFT&SA:
Q: My child works with a regular coach throughout the year, and I don’t want their “game changed” or technique augmented at camp.
A: I totally understand this concern. I believe that it is very important for a junior to have one coach directing their development. Therefore unless specifically asked to do so, WE DO NOT CHANGE GRIPS, STROKES OR TECHNIQUES OF OUR COMPETITIVE JUNIORS. We will work with player’s current game/style and try to improve their performance through drilling, match play, strategy, mental/emotional development. At the end of camp we may make some technical recommendations, however it will be up to the player’s parents and full time coach as to whether and/ or how these recommendations will be implemented.
Q: How do I know that my child will be challenged and that there will be enough good players for him/her practice with?
A: In the past we have generally had a group of anywhere from 8-16 tournament players per week. In addition, our staff (generally consisting of college players or former ranked players) will regularly be practicing and playing matches with our tournament players. It is important for junior players and parents to understand that although playing with “better players” can be very beneficial, that there is much to be gained in practicing with “lesser players” as well. These are the times to practice weaknesses, develop new shots and tactics, improve focus and generally build confidence without the pressure of having to “prove oneself”. Often times I find that kids practicing/playing with better players will play more conservatively and rely only on the shots and tactics with which they feel comfortable. Also, although some kids may truly “rise up” to the challenge, there are many whose confidence is damaged in playing better players. I believe that it is important to practice with both slightly better and slightly lesser players, as that is the reality that a player will face at most tournaments.
Cooperative and situational drills: are activities whereby players feed their own ball in play, as opposed to being fed by a coach. This is the way most high level players practice, and is essential to developing ball control and creating realistic scenarios during practice. There will be some instances where tournament players are fed drills, but for the most part drills will be cooperative.
If you have any questions about your child, then please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to discuss.