Mike Barrell, Founder and CEO of evolve9 and sports consultant, has been teaching players of all levels for over 30 years. Evolve9 programs are used in clubs and by National Governing Bodies throughout the world, including Tennis Whizz, which introduces pre-school children to tennis.
Mike has studied Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach for the last several years. Recognizing the multiple uses of the Eye Coach at very early age, evolve9 is pleased to announce that beginning immediately Tennis Whizz will incorporate Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach Junior into the program to help the youngest players develop the right focus on the impact point.
Mike stated that teaching professionals need to be equipped with a completely new set of skills so that children can begin having fun with tennis as quickly as possible. “It used to be that we only needed to understand the technical and tactical issues of the game, but to work effectively with under 5 children, we need to understand how this age group learns, how their capabilities and bodies change, and how they develop as people.” He stated further that, “children make gradual sense of the world around them and that our training needs to match this developmental process.”
“At Tennis Whizz clubs, we don’t just develop tennis and fundamental movement skills. We use a story telling approach that fully engages children in the lesson, while including key skills around literacy, numeracy, health, and social development. The Eye Coach is basically a motor skills device that starts with the mind and eye. This fits perfectly with the development system that we’ve created.”
“After each lesson children are rewarded for their achievements and take the lesson plan away as an activity sheet and bedtime story. This reinforces the message and allows children to get more deeply engaged in the game.”
Through evolve9, Mike has worked on programs for USTA, Tennis Australia, LTA (GB) and over 30 other nations around the world. Mike will be a keynote speaker at the ITF Worldwide Coaches Conference in Antalya Turkey this November. He is author of the ITF Tennis10s Manual and has been a major contributor to Under 10 programs around the World.