HMMR Podcast Episode 227: Warming up better (with Johnny Parkes)

When it comes to player development, it can be surprisingly hard for a large federation to make an impact at the individual player level. At the USTA, Johnny Parkes has been trying to identify where they can make most impact with young players. Their conclusion: the warm up. As physical literacy declines in young athletes, a good warm up can help ensure players are prepared for the ever-increasing physical demands of the international game. On this week’s episode he joins us to discuss some of the strategies they are using to develop players.

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Notes and quotes

Johnny Parkes is currently the Senior Manager of Player ID and Development at the US Tennis Association. After growing up in England, he played tennis at the University of New Mexico, worked in a variety of coaching roles worldwide, and then joined USTA in 2016.

  • 3:00 – Key areas to focus on for player development at the federation level and influences from PE: “The traditional warm up is such a waste of time. You have a lot more things to cover in that time than doing jogging and quad stretches.”
  • 7:00 – Coaching and player development philosophy of USTA: “Coach development should mirror player development.”
  • 12:00 – Assessing the current state of American tennis.
  • 18:30 – The physical demands of tennis.
  • 21:30 – Defining a good training situation.
  • 26:30 – Warming up and sequencing: “Forget about the 3 Ls in warm ups: no laps, no lines, no lectures. Just get going and look at the three Cs: challenge, coordination, competence. Do that from the start and they’re switched on right away.”
  • 30:30 – Key phases of the warmup: “We integrate our philosophy in the warmup: the eyes and the mind go first, then the legs go, then the hands. That’s how tennis is played.”
  • 34:30 – Making warm ups engaging.
  • 43:00 – Looking at recent changes to Nick’s warmups.
  • 46:00 – Looking at recent changes to Martin’s warmups.
  • 49:30 – Improving on tennis preparation.
  • 51:15 – Pre-game warmups from tennis and other sports.

To hear more on these topics, listen to the full episode above. Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and review it on iTunes.

Further reading

  • This episode is brought to you by HMMR Plus. Become a member for full access to our videos, articles, and podcast archives. If you like this topic, check back throughout July as our site theme this month is physical education.
  • You can find Parkes on Twitter (@JohnnyParkes1) and Instagram (@Johnny_parkes). He also co-hosts his own podcast with the USTA: Compete Like a Champion Podcast
  • For more on Nick’s traditional warm up, members can watch Video Lesson 2. Vern Gambetta’s warm ups are also available for members in GAIN Video 5.
  • Parkes was previously a guest on GAINcast 171 and also a panelist on our progressions roundtable hosted live at GAIN 2020 and replayed on GAINcast 163.
  • Parkes put together the USTA Player Development Learning Series during the pandemic, with some amazing free resources that can help athletes in any event.
  • Parkes mentioned the influence of Andy Stone, who was our last guest on Episode 226. Stone’s Lockdown PE series has inspired Parkes, including this recent video he posted to Twitter. James Marshall also was busy during lockdown and put together some great Lockdown PE resources.