The two weeks before the Australian Schools Cup

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It is unlikely you will have to motivate your team in the final weeks before the schools cup. They should be jumping out of their skin.

Trainings should be game-like and should start to look very similar to what your first match in Melbourne should look like. You also should be well into a trial match program by now.

The training warm up should be the same as your first Melbourne match warm up. Same time, same intensity. This will often make the nervous transition to Melbourne matches easier if your players are familiar with it.

You know what your team will have to do to win matches in your division in Melbourne. It is time just to relentlessly practice those actions, again and again. Highlight those actions in your matches and wash drills and positively reinforce every time players/team does it.

You do not have time to be sitting down just watching matches. If one skill is hitting line then give that skill double or triple points in the match or wash drill. If it is serving cross court to position 1, then give that team a 1 or 2 points for getting the serve in the right position and then another point for whoever wins the rally. At this stage, who wins the rally is not as important as who is doing the skills required.

It is very important to celebrate and praise every attempt and attempting these skills.

I will bet that your position at the end of the week will be decided in a major way by how well your team served. I will also bet that the best servers in Melbourne will be jump float servers.

“There are 2 types of servers in my team. There are the kids who jump serve and the kids who don’t serve.”

Now this is a way too harsh, and I have exaggerated, and as junior coaches we must give all kids chances, but – you will train your team again next year. Check this year to see if the jumpers dominate. Start planning for next year.

See the below skill clip from the USA, on how to teach beginners jump float serving.