Written by: Zoya Tabunshchyk
***Kyrylo Tabunshchyk, the tournament Director at ACE Tennis and the Head Coach of the Progressive programs in Burlington, took his family to Jamaica for a recent vacation. Doug Burke president of ACE Tennis arranged with the Jamaican Tennis Association to access Kyrylo’s leadership skills while in Montego Bay. Following is a report from his wife Zoya on the three days of activities. ***
On the first day nine Jamaican coaches came to workshop. Kyrylo came up with an idea of showing the coaches what it feels like to be kids during practice. It helped coaches to open up their minds and think of new ideas for teaching. It went very well. Kyrylo treated coaches as if they were little kids. They did fitness, different drills, played with each other. He explained a lot of teaching situations he had faced before and about how he tries to deal with them. It engaged a lot of conversation among coaches, they were discussing a lot of situations regarding the development of a tennis player and a good athlete emphasizing on the development of a good athlete in general and how to approach each student personally. At the end the coaches were quite engaged in the discussion.
On day two of the camp Kyrylo spent most of his time working with kids – ages four to 15 years old. There were ten coaches and over 20 kids. Most of them came straight from school and as a result some were late. The program started with four kids however finished with about 25.
During this practice Kyrylo tried to show coaches how to progress in their teaching technique. He chose one particular element, the forehand attack for exampl, which most of the Jamaican kids were struggling with. During the next hour Kyrylo showed them how to break down this stroke into simple elements which everyone was able to perform and gradually added more elements. At the end of this part of the practice all of the players were able to execute the stroke/motion.
Kyrylo also emphasized the importance of physical development for all players through the actual fitness practice. All players had a chance to execute a lot of different exercises. At the end of the session there were only two courts available, and Kyrylo demonstrated that lack of courts should not affect the intensity and quality of practice. He organized all 25 students on two courts in such a way that everyone was working hard and program didn’t loose its intensity and flow.
After the training Kyrylo spoke with the coaches and explained to them:
- How all the different elements in tennis could be broken down and presented easily to all kids regardless of age and skill level where the student can easily understand and execute/succeed;
- The importance of having a good discipline on court helps develop a positive attitude during the practice while still pushing their limit during the practice;
- How to structure the program to work with a large group whith limited court availability;
- How to structure the program where differences in age and skill level are present;
- And the importance of discipline and professionalism as this has an impact on the level of respect that coach will receive from student.
On the last day everyone came in time and Kyrylo ran a three hour session the way he would usually do at ACE, where the previous two days were more about sharing experiences with coaches.
All students started with a general physical warm-up and then the group was split in half. One went on to do intensive fitness, the others were on three courts with Jamaican coaches assisting Kyrylo. They worked on some fundamental technical elements, footwork, and ground strokes with simple tactical goals. Then, the groups were switched.
Kyrylo was focused on everyone’s performance and discipline to make sure that everyone put maximum effort in. It was a challenge for the kids to work at such a high intensity under the hot Jamaican sun, but they all worked hard with excellent attitudes. Coaches helped a lot with managing a big group of kids. They ran different drills and had fun conversations during the breaks that helped to establish good relations between coaches and kids. On the second half there were cooperative drills where players were hitting a lot of balls while rallying and trying to utilize the skills that they learned in the first part of practice. The session was finished with playing points, moving up and down. After the session the Jamaican kids took some pictures, received certificates, established personal contacts.
Overall, Jamaica is awesome and lots of fun.