The Annabel Croft Tennis Academy was founded in 2009 at the National Tennis Centre (NTC) in Roehampton. This programme is now in its 6th year and offers coaching services to over 350 junior players on a weekly basis. The major success behind this business is in no small part due to the clear coaching philosophy that has been used since its inception and is a major part of all the academy tennis coaching programmes now being delivered across Europe.
"Movement and Repetition"
The concept of prioritising a player’s movement in any coaching situation is something that is at the heart of our coaching philosophy at the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy. Annabel has spent over 35 years involved in tennis – either through playing or in the media – and has learned that good quality tennis is primarily focused on movement and footwork skills as well as the understanding of the key strokes and strategies of the game.
A player’s coaching experience at any of our academies will consist of a highly energetic tennis professional armed with a large trolley of tennis balls. They will be ready to deliver a series of carefully thought out drills and exercises designed to maximise the development of your movement around the court. This highly repetitive way of training enables players to gain a high level of improvement in a short space of time.
It is worth noting too that ACTA do not specify a specific shot for each of its coaching classes. Working on just one shot can be limiting and frustrating, so we advocate creative shot making in each session and encourage players to work on a series of skills in sequence – whilst at the same time making sure that the racquet is doing the right thing!
Smaller Groups, Accelerated Learning…
One of the key ingredients to all of our coaching sessions is the size of the groups that players participate in. We aim to keep the ratio of players to coach to a maximum of 6 players and in some classes such as our adult tennis courses, restrict this number to 1:4. Smaller groups means more hitting time including better communication and feedback from the coach, something which really helps players improve quickly over a short space of time. This is essential for a good holiday programme as our coaches the luxury of weekly appointments.
Our groups are always carefully matched, with players invited to attend tennis assessments on arrival in resort. These sessions are conducted by our head coach who will be able to talk with each player about what goals they want to set for the week and the key areas they are looking to work on.
Match Play and Competition:
Players looking to take their game to a competitive court can also participate in our match play clinics and tournaments that are run throughout the year at our overseas destinations. These sessions can be added on to your existing programme of coaching to create a full day of tuition and really maximise out your time at your chosen tennis academy.
Match play clinics offer players to chance to understand key tactical situations such as the traffic light system which helps players decision making in key match situations. Players are encouraged to learn more about their tennis game and we pay particular attention to doubles tactics as well with a number of sessions devoted to the art of good doubles play. Round robins are available for players to enter throughout the peak seasons should you wish to try and win a coveted ACTA trophy to show off to your friends when you return home!
Junior Coaching Programme:
The ACTA overseas junior programme is largely based on the same concepts that are used weekly at our London HQ in Roehampton. Most importantly we keep the same ingredients - such as low group ratios, high volume of hitting and a focus on footwork and creative shot making – that the adult programme features. The junior coaching though gives players some extra help in key areas as they are starting on their tennis journey.
We prioritise the service action and use creative ways to help young players develop this action effectively. Our coaches also look closely at the basic PAS (pathway, angle, speed) of each stroke to make sure that players are getting the basic shots right as they grow into the game.
Most importantly our junior coaching comes laced with loads of fun on court but at the same time remains true to the discipline required to improve and master the game. We want our young players to enjoy every minute on court and keep coming back for more challenges as often as possible.