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World Tennis Conference 4: Dream Big, Coach Better!

Apr 6th 2024

World Tennis Conference 4: Dream Big, Coach Better!

Presented by the Segal Institute, GPTCA in association with the ATP & powered by Coachtube

The fourth consecutive World Tennis Conference is about sharing, learning, and becoming an ambassador of tennis. You can register and have repeated access to over sixty-five main presentations through May 17, 2024, by clicking this link:

Fernando Segal, President of the Segal Institute is dedicated to the global expansion of tennis development through enhanced coaching. An advocate of life-long learning, Segal established the conference for high-performance coaches and other industry partners. Coaches and industry leaders must be committed to the profession and develop a performance mindset. Be a motivation and communication champion and strive to create growth in the sport.

Rafael Paciaroni: The importance of the environment in the long-term development of tennis players

The best players on tour have a winning environment comprised of a very strong leader, typically the coach, members of the player’s team, and close family. This intimate group is referred to as the 1st core. Every member of this group has a specific role in ensuring the realization of the player’s dream. 

The coach, like a CEO, manages the group and nurtures a winning environment for maximum development. Everyone in the 1st core must be committed to the player’s goals and clearly communicate for they have high and direct influence on the player.  

There are challenges to maintaining this optimal environment. The coach must shield the player from any negative influences especially criticisms posted on social media. He worked with world #13 Beatriz Haddad Maia who carries two cell phones – one that is only for 1st core members while the other is for those outside that intimate group. By having two separate phones, he was able to control the flow of communication, especially during tournaments, shield her from unwanted negativity and criticism, and maintain a positive, winning environment.

David Ferrer: My tennis views in high performance

Former #3 on the ATP Tour with 27 singles titles. For Ferrer, curiosity is crucial to excel at the elite level. Many gifted juniors burn out on the pro tour because they lack the requisite curiosity and ability to grind and navigate the inevitable challenges. If you are emotionally mature, you will be able to adapt and your game will improve. Some players are innately more competitive and embrace it. The little details make the difference. He started working with a trainer and soon after, made the top ten for the first time.   

He values overcoming obstacles and accepting frustration. In order to build confidence in your player and garner trust, find common interests. Communication and unification between player and coach is crucial. Coaches should lead by example and have empathy to assess the emotional state of players. Positive energy and sound values are more important than technique and tactics for we are first human beings – then tennis players!   

David Witt: Fundamental concepts in women’s tennis for players from junior to professional pathway

Former coach of Venus Williams, Jessica Pegula and is currently working with world #7 Maria Sakkari. When working with juniors don’t focus too much on winning; perfect the technique and learn how to construct points. The mental side is paramount for professional players; how they handle losses, stress, pressure, injuries, and match preparation. It is crucial that players exude positive energy and body language. 

Those with the most potential are good athletes who continually improve and are mentally resilient. Mental/emotional health needs to be prioritized. The season is exceedingly long so if a player feels burned they should take a few weeks off and then return to competition refreshed and eager. 

For many juniors, the transition to the pros is exceptionally difficult and it is not for everyone. Many find life on the road arduous and struggle being away from their families. If a player enjoys outside interests, they will perform at a high level. 

The player/coach must like one another and possess mutual respect and trust. Communication is crucial – discuss goals, emotional state, and stress levels.

Coaches are champions of communication – when to speak and when to remain silent. The drama surrounding a player can be substantial so it’s critical team members are in sync. As long as the player feel cared for, they will trust and listen attentively and solidify the partnership. Coaches have tremendous responsibilities. It’s a very taxing profession especially with juniors so it’s essential to share knowledge and success stories.

Gaurav Maholtra, Director, Limitless Center of Excellence Academy: Game changers: how implicit tools transform tennis athletes into champions 

Implicit tools – specific drills and tools tailored for each stroke and how they facilitate balance and enable players to seamlessly transition between offensive to defensive strategies. These tools have revolutionized coaching because they engage the body at a higher level, sharpen critical thinking and decision-making, and force players to adapt to varying conditions. Hand pads are worn to improve eye/hand coordination as well as a wooden spoon in a controlled environment to work on volleys before transitioning to a court. 

These implicit tools function to create optimum biomechanical balance while augmenting holistic physical development with fewer injuries. They empower players to make requisite decisions with confidence, agility, and a deeper understanding of the game resulting in more versatile, adaptable athletes. For more information, please visit www.

Louis Cayer, LTA senior performance advisor: An integrated approach on coaching footwork

He is an international coach who worked with seven #1 doubles players on the ATP Tour. Every time you step on the court you are developing the performer and player. It’s necessary to develop common terminology for coaches and players. Must safeguard the mental/emotional state of the player. By praising the performer, you are creating an identity and manifest destiny.

Train them to see the court as manageable for as long as they stay in the desired quadrant, they will reach and effectively hit most volleys. Establishing norms is vital: move to the ball, hit, recover. Norms are requisite to elucidate what is achievable at each level and this demands consistent, hard work. Norms established for each stroke create objectives for footwork efficiency. 

Anticipation – to read technically and predict tactically - is also vitally important. A player must predict what the opponent will or will not do and adjust accordingly to their position. Footwork is integral to teaching; not an aside. Coaches must impart knowledge, form, and transform players into winners! 

Dr. Jim Loehr: Training your players to become credo-driven tennis warriors

He is a renowned sports psychologist who worked with several number-one players including Jim Courier and Monica Seles. Psychology is a big component in competitive sports. Coaches must train players to be noble opponents. He investigated how soldiers- the ultimate warriors- were trained since they must perform under life and death conditions. In the course of his research, he gleaned many valuable insights including the honor code of samurai warriors.

He endeavored to illuminate how the honor code functioned to create a supreme warrior. He founded the Human Performance Institute and wrote two books. He determined that self-esteem and self-worth lead to a noble path as a warrior. 

How does tennis impact a player’s moral character? Health ignites performance and this encompasses the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. He concluded that it is the spiritual dimension that translates most into competitive effectiveness. 

The credo for tennis warriors is; that moral character will create a great person and competitor! While you cannot control the weather or speed of the court, you are in control of your attitude regardless of the score, effort, and positive self-talk. On these three dimensions, Loehr holds his players accountable. 

Great tennis role models exhibit ethical brilliance and you will win as a competitor if you effectively manage this ethical code. A coach’s primary responsibility is to instill good character from an early age and along with parents, reinforce this code of ethics on and off the court.  

Andrew Mateljan: Fit4tennis - fitness training strategies for tennis players: Enhancing agility, strength, and endurance.

He is a coach and former #1 player in Southern California and by the age of nineteen was coaching full-time. His primary goal is to make Fit4tennis more accessible and attainable. Tennis is an extremely demanding sport that requires agility, strength, endurance, and mental fortitude. Tennis-specific fitness is essential!

Recovery and preventing injuries are paramount. Tennis is more physical than ever and players are invested in peak fitness. To move quickly and change direction with ease, he uses cone drills, lateral movement drills, agility ladders, and hurdles. Strength training is crucial for optimal performance. It enhances power, depth, crispness of volleys and prevents injuries. For this modality, he utilizes medicine ball throws, plyometric training, balance, and core stability.

Interval training that mimics the stop/start nature of tennis and cross-training to boost tennis-specific stamina are employed. He fashions strategic recovery and tailored nutrition plans to enhance and sustain endurance. Mental resilience is also fortified during training. Create chaos during drills so they can manage match chaos!   

This is a holistic approach to tennis fitness that is structured to minimize risk and maximize performance. Train smarter – not harder! Prehab instead of rehab! Foster a culture of innovation and share your successes with other coaches. For more information, please visit

David Sammel: Biggest killer of success “feeling sorry for yourself”

Founder of Mindset College, ATP Coaches Committee member, and current coach of Liam Broady. Killers of success include seeking perfection, obsessing over results, competing poorly when having a bad day, and comparing yourself to others in an unhealthy way. 

Every player must climb their own ladder! Too many players overthink and worry about the opposition; instead, focus on what you bring to the table. This is a healthy mindset. Coaches must inspire players to focus on their own journey and train daily to improve. 

In order to avoid these pitfalls, players must create the right mental foundation. The number one killer of success is feeling sorry for oneself! In this scenario, the player has no control over their mind, makes excuses, quits the tour too early, or blames it on genetics. 

Players must manage adversity another way and understand that overcoming it isn’t always tantamount to winning. Coaches must encourage players to remain curious about the future. Commit to curiosity and ponder how much you can improve in 12 months or two years and with that level of dedication and long-term vision, you may just end up top twenty! For more information, please visit www. mindsetcollege.

Yannick Yoshizawa CEO & Founder of Unbox Sports – official agency of the World Tennis Conference

Their mission is to promote and unbox the value of coaches. Coaches are more visible now as on-court coaching is permitted and Unbox is capitalizing on this opportunity. Tennis is a two-billion-dollar industry and there is substantial room for growth in this area. Great coaches add value by attracting sponsors, media attention, and fans. If they are forced to promote themselves they will have less time to coach.

Wim Fissette, a founding member of Unbox, is a great coach who worked with multiple grand slam winners on the WTA tour. Unbox has marketing, business, coaching, and legal departments. There are commercial, educational, and speaking engagement opportunities for coaches. By promoting the undervalued, they will elevate the profession and assist the next generation of coaches. Unboxing and taking advantage of opportunities; is their mission. Don’t stay in your lane or color within the lines; they want to unbox you and your potential! For more information, please visit

Marie-France Mercier, Director of Coach Education & Services, Tennis Canada: The development of a holistic tennis coach 

Coaches need to create a safe, inclusive, welcoming environment. She has developed the “whole player development pathway.” Not all professional players started their journey the same way. The 5C framework, while applicable to players, is also informative when developing coaches. Better people, better players, better coaches. To create better players, coaches should adopt a holistic approach to coaching because this framework fosters growth of players as people and competitors.

Culture: respect, fighting spirit, pride, and 100% effort. Create a purposeful environment that values learning and continual improvement. Embrace pressure and challenges; create enthusiasm in your players
Character: be innovative and knowledgeable. Go the distance, be caring, resilient, proactive, face fear, and learn from experiences.
Confidence: Brad Gilbert who is a student of the game embodies confidence. As a former player, coach, and broadcaster he has a 360-degree view of the game and is always learning. Be creative, innovative, and challenge convention.
Connection: Nick Bollettieri is a great example. He was charismatic, always smiling, and inspiring players. Communicate effectively, create alliances, and understand one’s limits as well as your player’s. 
Competence: tennis-specific skills are vital. Bob Brett is a great example. He was succinct but impactful and successfully applied them. Coaching is a lifelong journey so strive to improve daily!

Mike Anders, Director WTA Coach Program & Member Services: The Tennis Coaches Program 

Since female tennis players turn pro as either teenagers or young adults, it is necessary to have input on coaches who influence them personally and professionally. 

This program was launched in 2017 even though the WTA is not in the coaching or education sphere. Their approach over the years has changed to a more holistic one. A better coach leads to better athletes and overall product so they decided to invest time and resources in coach education. 

While coaches are not members of the WTA, they sought to formalize the relationship as a marketable asset. And while players are independent contractors that can hire whomever they prefer, the WTA is committed to ensuring through a vigorous vetting process, that coaches in their program are safe, ethical, and qualified.  

The WTA, as the premier organization in women’s professional sports, continually strives for greater equity. Since only 5-10% of membership is female, they launched the WTA Coach Inclusion Program in 2021. Their aim was to attract more female coaches, actively recruit them, and provide the requisite tools for success. Equity is also good for business since brands want to align with this philosophy and platform. 

In 2023 there were more new female than male applicants and in 2024 at Indian Wells, there were 3 times as many credentialed female coaches than the previous year. This is remarkable progress for a program still in its infancy and looking to expand in Europe and Asia. They are also prioritizing education, mentoring, and safeguarding standards for all WTA coaches while promoting it as a viable career choice. For more information, please visit

Fernando Segal: WTC founder, director, and international tennis development expert

The 4 tennis concepts: training methodologies applied as noted in his new book “Analytic Formative System.” 

These four constructs work in unison during competition but some players are weak in one or more areas. Consequently, coaches must evaluate each player on these four modalities and determine how well they are integrated. 

Head tennis = brain/mind duo
Tennis of the feet = footwork
Tennis of the hand-body
Tennis of the heart

A motivated brain/mind is continually learning therefore it is essential that coaches are champions of motivation. All actions are taken and executed from the decision in the brain. 

Coaches must capture their player’s attention and create a positive learning environment in order to motivate them. If you do the same warmup every session, the brain gets bored. Players are continually engaging in self-talk and coaching themselves. A coach’s job is to teach their players to coach themselves. Teach them to read their opponent, the situation and formulate and execute an effective response. 

Coaches must create a secure environment, pose questions, and encourage players to problem-solve through guided discovery. Coaches must always capture/maintain attention and by creating and innovating, you’ll motivate your players to participate. If you can imagine it, you can manifest it!

It is not about you - it’s about what they learn and this is why instruction needs to be specific. Situational training = practicing real things so that during competition, players can automatically respond. 

Intensity is the key to creating high-performance players, not the number of hours you train. Matches are won in the last ten minutes so coaches must ensure their players are supremely focused during this period and repeatedly train for victory. 

Footwork is the third backstroke of tennis. Feet first, then shoulders, then hands. The tennis of the hand/body is to utilize the forces of the kinetic chain since impact is the king of the stroke while the hand is the brush to paint. 

Tennis is a sport of questions and answers: coach is posing, player is answering; opponent is posing, player is responding. Tennis of the heart entails dedication, effort, and consistency. Coaches must develop drills that integrate the heart for great champions to refuse to yield. For more information visit @fernandosegal www. www.