Below you will see the abstract from the full report and also some of the major principles outlined in the report. Please let us know if you agree with the points made and if you have any thoughts specifically related to this topic.

“The health, fitness and other advantages of youth sports participation are well recognised. However, there are considerable challenges for all stakeholders involved—especially youth athletes—in trying to maintain inclusive, sustainable and enjoyable participation and success for all levels of individual athletic achievement. In an effort to advance a more unified, evidence-informed approach to youth athlete development, the IOC critically evaluated the current state of science and practice of youth athlete development and presented recommendations for developing healthy, resilient and capable youth athletes, while providing opportunities for all levels of sport participation and success. The IOC further challenges all youth and other sport governing bodies to embrace and implement these recommended guiding principles.”

General principles

·         Youth athlete development is contingent on an individually unique and constantly changing base of normal physical growth, biological maturation and behavioral development, and therefore it must be considered individually.

·         Allow for a wider definition of sport success, as indicated by healthy, meaningful and varied life-forming experiences, which is centered on the whole athlete and development of the person.

·         Adopt viable, evidence-informed and inclusive frameworks of athlete development that are flexible (using ‘best practice’ for each developmental level), while embracing individual athlete progression and appropriately responding to the athlete's perspective and needs.

·         Commit to the psychological development of resilient and adaptable athletes characterised by mental capability and robustness, high self-regulation and enduring personal excellence qualities—that is, upholding the ideals of Olympism.

·         Encourage children to participate in a variety of different unstructured (ie, deliberate play) and structured age-appropriate sport-related activities and settings, to develop a wide range of athletic and social skills and attributes that will encourage sustained sport participation and enjoyment.

·         Make a commitment to promote safety, health and respect for the rules, other athletes and the game, while adopting specific policies and procedures to avert harassment and abuse.

·         Across the entire athletic development pathway, assist each athlete in effectively managing sport-life balance to be better prepared for life after sport.


·         Provide a challenging and enjoyable sporting climate that focuses on each athlete's personal assets and mastery orientation.

·         Coaching practices should be informed by research-based developmental guidelines that promote flexibility and innovation, while accommodating individual skills and athletic development trajectories.

·         Coaching should be context-specific (eg, participation vs performance focus) and aligned with individual athletic readiness.

·         Coaching education programmes should assist coaches in establishing meaningful relationships that enrich the personal assets of their athletes and foster their own intrapersonal and interpersonal skills (eg, reflection and communicative skills).

·         Coaches should seek interdisciplinary support and guidance in managing a youth athlete's athletic development, fitness and health, and mental and social challenges and needs.

Conditioning, testing and injury prevention

·         Encourage regular participation in varied strength and conditioning programmes that are suitably age based, quality technique driven, safe and enjoyable.

·         Design youth athlete development programmes comprising diversity and variability of athletic exposure, to mitigate the risk of overuse injuries and other health problems prompted by inappropriate training and competition that exceed safe load thresholds, while providing sufficient and regular rest and recovery, to encourage positive adaptations and progressive athletic development.

·         Maintain an ethical approach to, and effectively translate, laboratory and field testing to optimise youth sports participation and performance.

·         Develop, implement and continue to evaluate knowledge translation strategies and resources that will enhance injury prevention and promote health in youth athletes, such as the Get Set—Train Smarter injury prevention app developed by the IOC for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games

·         Promote evidence-informed injury prevention programmes, protective equipment legislation and rule changes that are context specific, adaptable and consistent with maintaining the integrity of the sport and participation goals.

·         Strictly adhere to a “No youth athlete should compete—or train or practice in a way that loads the affected injured area, interfering with or delaying recovery—when in pain or not completely rehabilitated and recovered from an illness or injury”.

Nutrition, hydration and exertional heat illness

·         Dietary education for young athletes should emphasize optimal eating patterns to support health, normal growth and sport participation demands, with emphasis on a balanced intake of nutrient-dense carbohydrates, high-quality protein and sufficient dietary calcium, vitamin D and iron.

·         Youth athletes and their support personnel should be educated on the risks associated with dietary supplements and energy drinks.

·         Emphasise and mitigate the risks of sport-related EDs, DE and RED-S, by raising awareness through education, improving screening and treatment, and implementing applicable rule modifications.

·         Education and training on exertional heat illness risks and effective prevention and risk-reduction strategies (including practical preparation, offsetting measures and management and immediate response protocols) and policies should be regularly provided and emphasized to youth athletes, coaches and staff, and others overseeing or assisting with children and adolescents participating in outdoor sports.

·         A written emergency action plan and effective response protocols should be in place and practiced ahead of time with trained personnel, as well as readily available facilities on-site for managing and treating all forms of exertional heat illness and other medical emergencies, for all youth athletic activities, especially in the heat.

Sport and sports medicine governing bodies and organisations

·         Sport and sports medicine governing bodies and organisations should protect the health and well-being of youth in sport by providing ongoing education, and fully implementing and monitoring practical, and effective, athlete safeguarding policies and procedures in all youth athlete programming

·         Youth athlete selection and talent development philosophies should be based on the physiological, perceptual, cognitive and tactical demands of the sport, and a long-term, individually variable developmental context.

·         Diversification and variability of athletic exposure between and within sports should be encouraged and promoted.

·         Competition formats and settings should be age and skill appropriate, while allowing for sufficient rest and recovery time between multiple same-day contests.

Read the full report -

By Ollie Stephens, CTPS, MTPS

The World Tennis Fitness Conference has quickly become an integral part of the calendar of many tennis coaches, physical therapists, athletic trainers, strength & conditioning coaches, chiropractors and medical doctor’s calendar.  I was lucky enough to be involved in this year’s conference as a moderator and as a speaker in a panel discussion, which also included Dr. Larry Lauer and Dr. Jeff Chandler.  We discussed the team approach in developing a tennis player and to be on stage with two of the industry’s most recognized experts was a really fun experience for me personally and something I will never forget. 

As I spent the weekend listening to lectures from some of the world’s most foremost tennis experts, a couple of things became plainly obvious to me:

Firstly, the word that springs to mind was QUALITY.  The standard of the speakers was second to none.  From Martin Blackman, Allistair McCaw, Loren Landow, Dr. Mark Kovacs, Page Love, Dr. Dom Lausic etc., the list was a who’s who in the Tennis Fitness Industry.  Every single presentation exuded quality and was a clear example of just how serious the iTPA is about raising the standard of coach’s education in the U.S.A. and Internationally.  As an example, I had never heard of Loren Landow before.  However, after his presentation on Speed and Movement training, I will certainly be following his work from now on.  To hear from someone who regularly trains NFL, MMA, NBA and professional tennis players was a real treat and his wealth of information was truly world class. 

The second thing that really struck a cord with me was the quality of the attendees.  All of the people attending the conference were themselves at the top end of the tennis industry and the networking opportunities and exchange of ideas was worth the cost of the conference alone.  Just getting to know great coaches like Rob Carlbo, Jenny Walls-Robb and Jim Harp has been such a boost to my career, these professionals are such an inspiration to be around and to be able to pick their brains has been so much fun.  So many great coaches and trainers where in attendance including individuals from Harvard University, Princeton University, The University of Michigan, The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC), Auburn University, The University of Alabama, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Carnegie Melon among many others.

There were so many nuggets of information that I took from this year’s conference.  Some take homes which I felt especially helpful were:

·        Loren Landow explaining the importance of first step speed and the ability to move effectively in all directions. 

·        Allistair McCaw showing his great warm up routine that he uses with all his junior and professional tennis players, including his HBHA routine (Hips Before, Hips After).

·        Lalo Vicencio, always a favorite, showing some great lateral movement patterns and single leg stability exercises for junior tennis players.  Showing some great ways to teach younger athletes how to decelerate safely. 

·        Page Love explaining the best way to make sure your players have proper nutrition when they travel abroad, including some easy snacks that you can take with you to foreign destinations such as “Go Picnic,” ready to eat meals

To conclude, I have been to many conferences, all over the world.  In my opinion, the World Tennis Fitness Conference is already one of the best, if not, THE best educational opportunity for anyone interested in off court tennis training.   A huge thanks must go to the International Tennis Performance Association, Mark and Mary Jo Kovacs and all of their staff for creating such a great event. 

Please follow the iTPA on facebook to see more than 300 photos from the conference


Information compiled by Alvaro Lopez Samanes, CTPS
By LaRue Cook, Certified Tennis Performance Specialist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Tennis requires the coordination, cooperation and synchronization of several body parts and muscle groups in order for you to be effective on the court.  Yet, many tennis athletes who work out treat their bodies and their workouts as if their body is a collection of unrelated parts! They will often work one muscle at a time, in isolation.  If this describes you, then please read on.  These types of individual muscle exercises are called single-joint exercises and an example would be your standard bicep curl where the exercise targets that single muscle. Make no mistake, there is definitely a place in a workout for these types of exercises, for example, single-joint exercises are often used in a rehabilitation setting to specifically target an injured or repaired muscle or body part.  It is also a great way to strengthen a particular muscle that may be weak and not adequately or safely doing its part to fulfill its role in more complex multi-joint movements required in tennis.  By strengthening that single muscle we can make the entire chain of muscles more effective.  For example, think of lining up a set of dominos so that when you tip over the first in the line, the successive domino knocks over the next and so on.  Now what would happen if I replaced one of those dominos with one made of marshmellow?  It probably would not be able to perform its duty in the chain by knocking over the next, or at best, would slow-down the process; it simply isn’t strong enough.  To get that domino to perform its full function we’d need to strengthen it by replacing it with a ‘stronger’ domino.  Similarly, we may need to train individual muscles so that they can adequately perform their chain duties

However, once you’ve addressed any individual muscle weaknesses, in order to get more bang for our training buck, and to strengthen your body in a more functional way for tennis, it is best to spend most of your training time on what are known as multi-joint exercises.  Performing the more complex multi-joint exercises (for example a squat that requires the movement of more than a single joint and muscle group) will better prepare you for similar types of movements and strength needs that you will experience on the court. These types of train the chain exercises will help you develop speed, strength and power for tennis by training the various muscle groups together – as they would be used on the court.  So remember, when training for tennis, Train the Chain!

About the Author:  LaRue is a CTPS, CSCS and also holds specialty certifications as a Youth Conditioning Specialist. LaRue travels the US providing specialty training and programming to Country Clubs and other organizations, working with tennis players and other athletes providing one-on-one and team Strength and Conditioning and Post-Rehab training. LaRue also serves on the Board of Examiners for the National Board of Fitness Examiners.

by Oliver Stephens, CTPS, MTPS
“Tennis Elbow” is an expression that we as tennis coaches and trainers hear on a regular basis.  There is a lot of information on this subject online and in some great books such as Tennis Anatomy (Roetert and Kovacs), Fit To Play Tennis (Peterson and Nittinger) and Tennis Training (Kovacs, Chandler and Chandler).

In fact, there may be so much DETAILED information available to us, that it may seem challenging to find a simple answer to the following questions:

1.      What exactly is Tennis Elbow?

2.      What makes it occur?

3.      How do we treat it?

So, here are the answers in a very simple form:

1.      What exactly is Tennis Elbow?  Tennis Elbow is sometimes called Lateral Epicondylitis.  It is pain on the outside area of the elbow.  Pain on the inside part of the area may be Medial Epicondylitis, or golfer's elbow.  Tennis Elbow is typically degeneration of the tendons that connect to certain muscles in the area (the muscle usually involved in this condition is the  extensor carpi radialis brevis).   {Remember, a tendon’s main purpose is to connect muscles to bone}.  When the tendons degenerate enough, this causes acute pain, particularly at the moment when someone is making contact with the ball, this is Tennis Elbow. 

2.      What makes tennis elbow occur?   Firstly, understand that tennis elbow is a long-term injury.  Younger players rarely have tennis elbow as it usually takes years to develop (at least 10 years).  The main culprit is incorrect technique on a one-handed backhand.  When recreational players “lead with the elbow” on the backhand for a number of years, then Lateral Epicondylitis occurs.  For this reason, you do not hear of high-level players with tennis elbow as they are all technically sound. 

3.      How do we treat Tennis Elbow?  The first way to treat any injury is of course, rest.  Taking a month or two away from tennis may have a big effect on pain levels and allow the tendons time to recover.  Also, making sure that the bio-mechanics of the backhand are correct will also have a positive effect.  Another commonly used method is to Strengthen the flexors and extensors of the forearms using light weights and to Stretch these same muscles on a regular basis.  I have also had students who have drastically reduced the string tension on their rackets and this has absorbed more of the vibration of the ball and has helped alleviate pain. 

This article is not intended to be a medical diagnosis or replace a visit to a P.T. or a Doctor.  However, I hope it can give you a simple understanding of what tennis elbow is and some of the common ways we can help our clients if they have this common affliction. 

By LaRue E. Cook
Certified Tennis Performance Specialist
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
As I constantly remind ALL of my clients - whether they are tennis athletes wanting to improve their performance, or general fitness clients needing to improve their general health and fitness - “nothing in sports performance or general health and fitness is a straight-line progression!”  What I mean by this is that as humans, we might see great progress in what we do one day, and then see it all seemingly come crashing down the next.  Whether it’s in practice on the court, or training in the gym, each day is different, and poses a challenge even to elite athletes; it’s what being human is all about.  In tennis, this concept often smacks us right in the face as the shots we or our athletes made last week or even yesterday, seem elusive today.  The key to developing a player who can handle these ups and downs is to practice how we, as the player’s support system, also handle these swings in performance.  Here’s what I mean.

Whether it’s perfecting a player’s technical tennis skills, or improving their fitness and conditioning, there will always be peaks and valleys on the road to progress. This is something that coaches, trainers and parents should be aware of, accept, and learn how to use to affect a positive attitude in their tennis athlete.

Coaches, Trainers, and Parents of tennis athletes, have a very important role as that athlete’s support system and in how our athletes react to the ups and downs of tennis performance.  How we react to the ups and downs of tennis, and more importantly how we teach our athletes to deal with them, can make all the difference between ‘success’ and failure.

Staying positive and focusing on what’s going ‘right’ rather than always focusing on what needs improvement, what went wrong or what is missing, is vitally important to building an athlete’s confidence and encouraging them to strive for better.

Here’s one example of what I mean:  During a tennis match your player hits a deep approach shot, adeptly moves into the court positioning herself for a volley, anticipates her opponent’s passing shot attempt, and then badly misses the volley.  What do you see, and more importantly what do you react to?  Do you see, and focus on the great tactical play she made to put herself in position to make the volley?  Or, do you focus on, and react to, the missed volley?

Coaches, Trainers and Parents are teachers, motivators and leaders.  Your athlete picks-up on many of cues that they get from you, spoken or unspoken.  Slumped shoulders, that unmistakable look to the heavens, or a grimace can all signal ‘failure’ to a sensitive athlete, and can diminish their desire to take such ‘chances’ or employ such tactics in the future.

So, the next time you watch your athlete during play or training, try to see what went right.  Of course this doesn’t mean that you need to ignore the mistake, but instead that you use any setback as a learning experience, not as a source of negativity.  You will be amazed at how this simple change in focus and attitude will have a positive impact on your athlete, and spur them on to want to improve, and to take tactical chances in performance when they present themselves. So remember, teaching our athletes to be unafraid to take tactical risks and to focus more on the process rather than the results has a lot to do with our Reaction!

About the Author:  LaRue is a CTPS, CSCS and also holds specialty certifications as a Youth Conditioning Specialist. LaRue travels the US providing specialty training and programming to Country Clubs and other organizations, working with tennis players and other athletes providing one-on-one and team Strength and Conditioning and Post-Rehab training. LaRue also serves on the Board of Examiners for the National Board of Fitness Examiners.

Compiled by Alvaro Lopez Samanes, CTPS
Compiled by Oliver Statham CTPS
Compiled by Oliver Statham, CTPS
Information compiled by Oliver Statham, CTPS