Monday, January 20, 2020

Core Programs

Our core programs are split into 2 sections – Rainbow Tennis Programs for players aged 3 to 11 years old and our Junior Programs for players aged 11 to 18 years old. Our Rainbow programs have a total of 6 levels and our Junior Programs have 3 levels. All 9 levels have their own curriculum which is closely followed thought the 18 week term and awesome reporting systems; player passports for rainbow tennis and report cards, just like at school, for the junior development programs. There is no pass or fail, rather just a way for our coaches to track each and every players development and ensure they are reaching their benchmarks.

Our Program Directors are responsible for implementing the specific program curriculum, following clear benchmarks laid out for players, giving them a strong and steady learning curve. Each program is designed according to a players age and level, targeting the right aspects of development at the right time.

Players need a strong foundation of knowledge and well as skill, which is why our philosophy combines sport and education, with a specially designed off court program, addressing the other aspects of our curriculum such as nutrition, professionalism and the history of the sport.

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Program Introduction

If you are not sure which programs to register your children, please feel free to get in touch with a member of our team via our website, email or wheat and we can advise you accordingly.

Main Focus: General coordination, motor skills & lots of fun

This is a brand new program, introduced by SE for the first time in China. And for the first time children aged just 3-5 years old have the chance to get a taste for sports, learn new skills and make friends.

As well as a curriculum focused on general coordination and motor skills, at this age its about learning to follow instructions, understand corrections and feel the improvements.

The lesson takes place on a tennis court or in any open space such as aerobics room or squash courts as there are no nets involved at this point. Many different items of equipment are used to help support the children, keep them focused and allow them to balance alone while hitting, throwing and blocking. They use specialised rackets (15″) or pom do, which is a plastic glove and instead of normal balls; light “beach like” inflatable balls (100% slower than normal tennis balls) and balloons in order to give them more time to swing and therefore more participation.

And, for the Early Year Program only, we allow parents to volunteer to be on court, helping children to follow the exercises and keeping general order during the lesson. This is truly a unique program in China and we look forwards to seeing it grow.

Focus: Full participation & balance while moving

This is another brand new program from SE. Aimed at children 5-6 years old, it is one step up from the Early Year Program. For this program the curriculum focuses on movement and change of direction while receiving or hitting a ball. Being able to move your feet while not looking down and focusing on an object (tennis ball) is a key skill needed to go to the next level where rallying with a parter is the main goal of the game.

This program also utilises very special adapted equipment to allow students the time and control to learn the correct technique and skills. The adapted rackets are 17″ and the balls are 26″ white and 95% slower than a normal tennis ball. It is recommended to be rolled on the ground engaging rally activity but it can also bounce nicely with a very soft texture. There is still no net required at this stage of development, but students start to learn how to move the ball around with the rackets, understanding the energy the ball has and how to control it.

Focus: Basic stroke technique & understanding

This is the 3rd and last new program introduced to China by SE. Aimed at children 6-7 years old, this program starts to use a mini net with clear court outlines. There is much less stationary feeding drills and much more about player collaboration and participation which means players start to understand rally concept, in and out and friendly competition.

With mini rackets (19″) and played on a mini court with purple balls which are 90% slower than a normal tennis ball (15cm), players are able to lift the ball, rally and compete with each other thanks to the age adapted size making the sweet spot larger and contact easier. This is the perfect transition program before Rainbow Red, where you can start to compete in mini tournaments.

Focus: Rally concept & friendly competition

This program is designed for children aged 7-8 years old. At this stage of development players have solid stroke technique, understand ball trajectory and are able to move around the court well. Now we start to focus on rallies. Being able to keep a ball going not just with a coach but with each other. This takes good foundation skills which is why its so important to follow the layered development and improve at the right speed.

Played on a mini court, slightly larger than the purple court, using mini rackets (23″) and red balls which are 75% slower than a normal ball and designed to bounce at hip height. Once players have a solid level of rally skills and scoring they can start to compete in mini pop up tournaments that are hosted around Shanghai – ITF & USTA run official tournaments for this level for Under 10 players. The main goal of these tournaments is not winning, but participation, fun and making friends. Competition is all apart of the learning curve and a big part of our curriculum.

Focus: Rally stamina and consistency

This program is the first of 2 key transition programs, for 8-9 year olds, before yellow ball and full court programs. And for the first time in our player pathway the balls are the same size as normal yellow tennis balls but less pressurised, meaning slower and easier to control. In this program we want to see players rallying with each other and really starting to control the ball, moving each other around the court and saving the difficult balls, keeping the rally alive.

Now played on a full court, center line to doubles line and slightly shorter than a full court (3/4 court) and with 23″ rackets.The orange balls are 50% slower than normal tennis balls and is perfectly adapted to children 8-9 years old.  Its a very important stage or development and one that is usually overlooked! Ball control is the foundation to tactical fundamentals, without it you can’t implement your game plan.

Focus: Starting & finishing a point

The last in the transition programs before full court and yellow balls. This is such an important program in the player pathway and is even used for adult beginners or top players wanting to work on specific technical changes. Before entering our Junior Programs and once players have mastered their rally skills, we now focus on starting and finishing a point. This means a huge focus on serve, return and a more aggressive court position, using the approach shot, volley and overhead/smash.

Now playing on a full court, with 25″-27″ racket but still using slightly depressurised balls (25% less than a normal tennis ball) allow for greater control and more chance for success. We can start to play full court points with rallies lasting longer thanks to the less pressurised balls. There are many tournaments for players to compete in at this level, run by IFT and USTA and can be taken very seriously.


Focus: Technical fundemental development

This the first of 3 SE Junior Programs. Players joining this program will focus on technical development thought large amounts of hand and basket feeding, repetition and structured drills around each weekly theme. Players will not just learn the key aspects of technical fundamentals but understand it and absorb crucial knowledge allowing to coach themselves in the future and be start players. Once again we come back to combining sport and education, not just being able to hit a ball but understand the biomechanics behind each shot.

We will start by taking player stroke videos at various angles, giving us the materials to analyse and compare to the pros in the off court sessions, which are a very important part of our curriculum and player pathway. With over 40 years of combined experience in the tennis world, this has been a huge focus point for the team and one we are excited to implement.

Focus: Competition & matchplay

Now that players have strong fundamental technical skills and solid rally stamina, we now start to focus on tactics. For example tactics 101 in any sports is playing your strength to your opponents weakness. Being able to understand and implement tactics during a match takes an educated and smart player, which is the main philosophy we try to implement throughout our programs.

We will arrange tournaments throughout the year for all levels of junior players, weekly matchplay and point scenarios during each and every training session. During training we often have a “cage” court, where players will be sent to spar and play point orientated drills against one of our sparring partners. Coaches always say that 1 competitive match is worth hours of practice and we aim to combine both in our programs.

Focus: Performance & results

This is the top level high performance program and the last one in our player pathway before the Full Time Pro Players Program. The Junior Performance programs are for players training both on and off court between 10-15 hours a week and playing tournaments regularly. This commitment allows our team to make real impact in personal and specific aspects of a players game, which could be technical fixes, tactical analysis thought match charting or physical development.

This program focuses on performance and results. Its not for everyone but it is a real option at the end of our player pathway. Players with ambition and who are committed have the opportunity to represent their schools, travel to play tournaments and if they achieve the right results play college sports and even get scholarships!

SPORT | ED will be working closely with certain NCAA coaches to provide a clear student-athlete pathway to play college sports or even simply using tennis as a bonus part of their profile, which helps them get admitted to colleges.