Innovative Coaching Tips from Emma Doyle

In the ever-evolving world of sports training, innovation plays a pivotal role in enhancing performance and refining skills.

With the right training aids, coaches can accelerate how quickly students learn. 

World-class Coach Emma Doyle shares her insights on using training aids and gamification to keep students engaged with their tennis or pickleball practice. 

These tips are great for coaches, players, and parents. 

The following is a transcript from our Game Changers 5 video:

Billy

Let’s continue on the product side for a second. I just want to share a couple of slides. Because, Emma, you did mention this product. 

Let’s check out the Airzone System

Could you share some of your insights around that product because you have experience with it as a player and coach? 

Emma

Sure, I love this. It’s one of those products where what you see is what you get. It’s a visual aid where most coaches and players use and expect audio instructions, you know?

You can say to a player, “Hey, increase your swing length. Hey, change your swing path from low to high.” and you can say it until you’re blue in the face. 

Or you can just use the Airzone. 

Because it provides a big, visually fun target to look at and aim at, which will help players improve their depth and accuracy. 

The Airzone helps gamify practice, you know? That’s huge. 

What I like to do with that training aid is split the area between the serve line and the baseline into three zones and give each zone a point—3 points here, 2 points here, 1 point here. 

And that, with the visual training aid, makes a fun game out of it. How many points can you get? All the while, they’re really working on their depth and swing. 

I let the court equipment do the teaching for me, you know? I’ve still got a tactical game going, I’ve still got a live ball drill going, while they use the aid, so it’s the best of both worlds.

You could have six kids on the court doing that activiity, maximizing the space, maximizing the visual. 

I also love to use the Roll Down Lines with this. I’ll have the kids create their own target, you know? Gamify that bit more. 

Tennis doesn’t reward perfection; it rewards bravery. So we make the target bigger with the Roll Down Lines and have the kids start making some shots. 

For example, if we’ve got four on a court and we are hitting cross-court with recovery – please don’t have them hit cross-court and then just leave them standing out there, make sure they’re hitting cross-court. And then recovering just off-center. Super important to me that we make everything as realistic as possible. 

Then we count how many balls they can hit in the center, hit the target, and we have their partner be the biggest cheerleader when they get it in. Great work! Awesome job. Love the height. Great spin. Your depth is fantastic. That sort of thing. 

Kalindi

Oh that’s great, Emma. I love how much you do with our training aids. 

You mentioned earlier how you’ve dropped it down and looped it through the center strap to create a “b.” I’ve never actually heard of anyone doing that, so that’s really cool. 

That adds a whole other layer. 

For the pickleball players and coaches watching, we did just come out with the Pickleball Airzone.

There was a lot of demand because we had a lot of pickleball players and coaches using the Travel Airzone, which did work. 

But there were a few things that you had to change, so we were like, “Hey, let’s just come out with one specifically made for pickleball.” 

Emma

You know what else I use it for, which relates heavily to pickleball, is actually hitting under the Airzone. Not aiming for it, but aiming under it. 

For like dinks, and slices, and drops. 

And these are all neat uses for the Airzone, but it works great for the most obvious thing, and that’s helping people stop hitting the net. 

And especially with the multi-colored flags. There are four different flags you can get, and you can add a lot of dynamics to your drills and lessons by giving players different prompts. 

Whether you’re a seasoned coach looking to inject fun into training or a player striving for precision in every shot, the Airzone is invaluable.

Thanks to Emma for sharing her insights, which helped us get even more from our limited time on the court.