You can’t talk about talent identification without talent development. And you can’t talk about technical development without physical development. Johnny Parkes is the senior manager of player ID and development at the US Tennis Association. In this role he’s sought to apply his philosophy: coaches need to incorporate, not separate. Integrate ID and development, and integrate technical and physical training. He joins this week’s GAINcast to discuss how one national organization is trying to reshape traditional development models and approach the local problem of player development.
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. After working in a variety of coaching roles worldwide, he joined USTA in 2016.
- 3:15 – Background and setting up a tennis school.
- 6:45 – Transitioning to the USTA.
- 8:30 – Issues with talent identification at a young age and national scale: “There is no data to support that kids doing well at 10 or 11 translate into players at the top of the game down the road. It is more about taking the developmental approach rather than an identification approach. “
- 12:00 – Developing athleticism in young athletes and moving the culture away from skills-only training: “You have to get kids to solve problems to win a point on the court, but we also have to get them to solve movement problems on the court. “
- 16:00 – Defining both group and sport-specific approaches to athletic development.
- 19:15 – Breaking up traditional models of 4-hour on-court sessions: “If you go back to our training standards of giving full effort and full engagement, can you really do that for four hours? “
- 24:00 – Translating national level changes to the local coaches and introducing concepts like constraints-led training.
- 30:00 – Upskilling tennis coaches on athletic development: “Coaches get it now: you have to be a phenomenal athlete first, and a tennis player second. If we believe that, then we have to put more time into that side of it. “
- 34:30 – Are we missing great talents in American tennis? “Players may look skillful at young ages, but how much is it because they have had more time on court and have higher technical proficiency. Once the game speeds up and the physical side takes over, will they get exposed? “
- 39:45 – Learning from clay court play.
- 42:45 – Injury prevention.
To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- The GAINcast is brought to you by GAIN and HMMR Media. Join HMMR Plus so that you get full access to our video, article, and podcast archive here on HMMR Media.
- Come join us at the GAIN Europe Deep Dive on January 10 and 11 in Devon, England. Find out more here. And save the date: GAIN 2020 will take place from June 16 to 20.
- 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
- Parkes was also a panelist on our progressions roundtable hosted live at GAIN 2020 and replayed on GAINcast 163.
- A few resources referenced on this episode: an interview with his colleague Ed Ryan on GAINcast 141 and GAINcast 130 with Len Zaichkowsky and his book The Playmaker’s Advantage: How to Raise Your Mental Game to the Next Level