Tips for Coaching with Training Aids

Getting the most from the training aids available is something every coach cares about. 

How you use your training aids will dictate how effective they are and how enjoyable students find using them. 

Experienced coach Emma Doyle shares her tips for getting the most out of coaching with training aids. 

The following is a transcript of part 3 of Game Changers 5. 

Emma

Now, as you can see, some people call me Mary Poppins because I have an endless bag of kinesthetic training aids, right? You never know what you’re going to need. 

I have brought my garage into my office today for this fantastic Game Changer episode. And I want to talk about these. 

What do you call these, Kalindi? Z-balls

Kalindi

What do you call them? 

Emma

I call them crazy balls they go all over, and they’re great. 

But, so with the Z-balls, one thing I like to do with them is when I’m working with children, when the ball reaches its highest point, I have the kids clap, and then when it comes down, I have them do a split step, and they have to try and catch it. 

So, just a little coaching tip, there. It really helps engage the kids. And then, when they do that, they’re already throwing the next one. It makes for this fast and quick exercise that works a lot of core skills for kids. 

A lot of these training aids, like the Z-ball, are great for thinking outside the box. 

It’s a lot more than just a ball that bounces in different directions; it’s really flexible and fun training aid. 

And you can try out the kids saying all kinds of different things. 

Sometimes, the kids will say “split” when the ball is up and then “step” when they go for the catch. It helps keep the kids engaged and thinking and recognizing timings. 

I’m passionate about encouraging children to make decisions and have them verbally say something out loud. 

It shows whether they’re engaged in your activity. And, of course, they always gamify it, which just makes the environment more motivating and helps make learning fun and cool. 

Okay, on to the next one. This is one of my all-time favorites, the Serving Sock. It’s perfect for warmups. Absolutely love it. 

I have broken a few in my time. One thing I love about this training aid is that I have players sometimes, during warmups, to actually throw this thing when they do their motion as a way of extending and lengthening the form. 

It makes for, what I think, a deeper learning. The energy we put into the throw tells us a lot about our swing. We want the energy to be up above our heads. So, we’re not looking for distance, a good swing usually has the Serving Sock landing two meters from the player. 

Okay, this next one is another favorite. It’s the Magnet Master. 

For obvious reasons, I call it the slice, backhand fixer. 

I had a player, we’ll call him Michael. And every time, for whatever reason, with his slice, both his arms would come forward, and he would open his chest up very early. 

Now, as we know, technically, on the slice, it’s one of the strokes that really hasn’t changed that much since the sixties or seventies. 

With the Magnet Master, he could see that opening happening too early, and he adjusted so when he swung with it, right before contact, he would push the arms out and split the magnet at the right time. 

And then it just reattaches for the next shot, which I love. 

And this works amazingly well for the backhand volley. So, it’s one aid, but you can use it for multiple kinds of shots. 

Now, speaking of backhands, one of the biggest problems with that shot is the backswing and just keeping the elbows forward. 

So, here we have The Backswing Solution

And it just pops on over my shoulders. 

As you can see, on the volley, I can’t turn too much without hitting the training aid, so it keeps me in the right position. 

It’s a great way to develop a natural feel for proper positioning like that. 

And this works amazingly well for pickleball players, too. 

Kalindi

You mentioned pickleball, Emma, and I want to point out that every product you’ve shared works equally well for pickleball players. 

Like, there is so much crossover, you know, for these products. Which makes them of great value and versatility. 

Tennis and pickleball coaches have a variety of incredible training aids available to them that help their students learn and enjoy their time on the court. 

Click here to watch the rest of this Game Changers video