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The Prem Tennis Academy: A Wholistic Way of Development

The Prem Tennis Academy uses the words Wholistic and Holistic inter-changeably. Holistic comes from the Greek word Holos, which means " to heal". Essentially Holistic refers to a “wholeness” or a place of wholeness. This spelling and this application is most commonly used by medical and nursing professions (such as the American Holistic Medical Association) who see the human body as one whole rather than a sum of parts. Holistic assumes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

At The Prem Tennis Academy our philosophy and priority is on training the whole player and the whole game. It is our understanding based on years of observations and development coaching this is the natural way to develop internationally competitive players, if they are to have the best possible opportunity to excel at the elite levels.
The key to the Peak Peformance Training Program is orchestration. (A Wholistic Way of Development) Taken in isolation, each of the skills presented in the program has its own merits and limitations just as a single player on a team can only contribute to the whole but not be it.

- Charles Garfield, PHD Peak Peformance
There is a major evolution happening in tennis today, and the players, coaches, and academies who know this “secret” will develop the players and champions of the future. Tennis is transforming and evolving into a game in which players now need to be well rounded and have all court games playing with advanced tactical abilities and trained mental and emotional skills. Almost all elite players are fit and have great technical skills and strokes. Unfortunately, most elite junior and professional senior players are lacking development in the other important foundations, which is one reason why today’s game remains still too one dimensional. And for many fan’s, tennis is boring to watch; especially during the early rounds or watching lower ranked players and in the women’s game.

Big Bill Tilden, one of the games greatest tactical players, once said about his opponents, “Almost everyone I play doesn’t know how to play tennis. Over 95% of players I play are stupid.” If one observes closely the professional levels of play you will recognize this robotic and one dimensional standard of player common today. Winning in today’s game usually means that the player that is more consistently powerful on a particular day will be the player who wins that match or tournament. But if you want to truly win consistently and reach the top levels or even dominate the sport then you must observe the exceptions. These are the players who have been developed to have an “all court” multi-dimensional game (a wholistic game). As one can clearly see this is the kind of player, who presently dominates the sport, i.e. Rodger Federer and Novak Dokovic in the men’s game, and Muresmo and Henin in the womens game.

I'm trying to develop all parts of my game. I'm trying to play a little bit more aggressive, serve a little bit better, be a more complete player. In the end, when you have more options, you have more resources. When you have tough matches, that's really important.

- Rafael Nadal, #1 player in the world 2009, sports interview seen in Bangkok Post

These players use underspin both offensively and defensively, have transition games, can volley well, tactically know when to play defense, neutralize, and attack, and mentally and emotionally are well developed. Why are these players like this? Were they born with underspin groundstrokes or the ability to defend well? No! They were developed in all the foundations of a wholistic game, which are the very foundations that continue to be neglected and not developed i.e. the foundations of tactics and mental training. The coaches and academies are partly responsible for this condition. We focus too much on some parts of the game and player, but not enough on developing the whole player.

The player of the future is the player, who has been well trained in the Art of Competition (Art of War) and who can manage their emotions and reactions while competing under tremendous pressure.

If a parent or coach still believe in developing players to be brainless baseliners to bash balls side to side or being a one-dimensional serve and volleyer predictably rushing the net point after point, then their players will be at a huge disadvantage, losing much more than they win.

This development approach only leaves players frustrated, underdeveloped, and unprepared for national or international competitions. Unfortunately, this method of training is still used today and remains very common among many coaches and academies around the world. This archaic coaching mentality is simply no longer good enough to develop and properly prepare players for the future game. This is the coaching method that creates the player from the past!

How a 17-Year-Old and Her Analytical Coach May Drag Tennis From the Dark Ages
Without the structure provided by a clear, step-by-step training program, the athlete can waste precious hours, or even years, seeking a path of excellence down culs-du-sac where little or nothing is accomplished.

- Charles Garfield, PHD Peak Peformance
The Prem Tennis Academy (PTA) recognizes and teaches this new, wholistic development approach. Ted Murray and Randall Scott, the founder and Directors of Tennis at PTA, have taught this Wholistic Way throughout their combined 45 years of coaching, even when it wasn’t a trend or favorable coaching approach. During their careers they have observed, experimented, developed and refined a wholistic process that develops players to compete at an international level in three years.

The future of tennis is combining both eastern (Inner Game) and western (Outer Game) principles to develop the three major foundations. As these foundations are built, the stroke fundamentals along with fundamental tactical and mental skills are simultaneously developed. This approach creates a “greater sense of wholeness” by developing step by step all the skills a player needs to compete, perform, and excel.

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