The 2015 Vida Australian Open training was held at Glen Iris Valley Tennis Club from the 15th of Jan to the 17th of Jan. It was fantastic to see all the kids experience a variety of tennis development opportunities both on and off the court. See below the three day overview.

From all the team at Vida, we say thanks for being part of another awesome Australian Open Camp and we look forward to seeing you on the court in the future.

Day 1: Thursday 15th Jan – Overview

After a little tease of rain and some coolish weather, the 2015 Vida Aus Open Camp kicked off this morning at Glen Iris. Most of the kids were excited to get out on the court and show off their skills, so we went straight into some directional hitting and general rally activities.  After all the groups got sorted out appropriately, the coaches put the young girls and guys through some technical and tactical activities focused mainly on consistency and ball placement. After a few hours on court we moved back in to function room and had the amazing opportunity to speak to Geelong footballer James Toohey.  James was actually a tennis player before footy, and represented St. Kevins the year they won the title.  What made James an inspirational guest was that he gave all the kids (and some of us coaches too) an understanding on how he was able to accomplish earning 99.95 in his VCE, playing footy, tennis and athletics in the firsts, and also having time to socialise with friends and be with his family.  I’m sure that all the kids today got something out of the talk.

We then moved into some forehand and backhand video analysis and some mental toughness sessions.  Getting a chance to see yourself on an ipad and getting direct feedback to work on is really important to player development.  Improvement all around the venue was happening in only a short amount of time.  The mental toughness with Damian was also really important as it conveyed the need to think differently and appropriately during a tennis match.

After lunch we did some more video analysis on the serves and also worked on the volley and net game which often gets overlooked in the era of power hitting.  Ryan from Essendon also did a really valuable and again, another overlooked part of tennis, with his fucntional movement,  I’m sure everyone’s legs will feel Ryans session tomorrow morning!

So after going through a little of everything today we move onto tomorrow where most of the focus will be on movement patterns and injury prevention.  Then we we migrate over to Melbourne park and watch some very intense and exciting qualifying.  I hope everyone is excited to watch some professional players display all the aspects of the camp so far so everyone can see the advantages.

Vida Team & Who came along on Day 1: The Vida Team from all venues joined together for the morning on court sessions. After the morning break the on court theme was video analysis, focusing on stroke production and swing lines. Damien Lafont took the off court session of Mental Skills for tennis. Damien is a Mental Coach and works with athletes on developing the mental skills needed for them to perform at their best. For more information about Vida Mind and his programs click here. Ryan Palfrey took the Functional Movement for Tennis off court component of the afternoon session. Ryan is the head coach of Vida Tennis Essendon, a Tennis Australia Talent Development Coach as well as a personal trainer specializing is movement.

James Toohey joined the group at the first break, speaking to the kids about his experience transitioning from Tennis to Football and balancing schooling along the way. James now plays for the Geelong Football Club after being drafted in the AFL Rookie Draft in 2014. He has been a long time Vida Tennis player representing Glen Iris Tennis Club and St. Kevin’s College as the schools number one player and making the APS representative team. In final year of schooling,  James represented the school in three 1st Teams (Tennis, Athletics & Football), with all teams winning the APS title. At the end of that year he was named Dux of the School with a 99.95 score and then was drafted by Geelong. He has an amazing story for the kids about balancing work load and working hard to achieve his goals (nothing for James came easily). He also spoke about the professional training environment that he is now involved in on a daily basis. (Click here to view his AFL profile)

Below is an overview of the timing of day 1;

Day 1 Overview 2015

Day 2: Friday 16th Jan – Review

What a great day it was today.  After some off court tactical review led by the always inspiring Ash, the kids went through some on court activities focusing on patterns of play and tactics.  The understanding of what one needs to do to win a point from a tactical point of view is a key component of player progression.  I can say that all the kids were using their new skills on the court and hopefully saw some of them displayed later on in the day at Melbourne Park.

After a quick lunch we went spent the afternoon at the qualifying for the Australian Open.  We were greeted by world number 99 in doubles and last years doubles quarter finalist (and former Vida student) Andrew Whittington.  He gave us an in site on the life of a professional tennis player, travelling the world and some of his tactics for getting better as a player.  It was great for Andrew to give us some time as he prepares to play next week.

We then moved around the park, watching the enthralling qualifying matches.  After an hour or so of that we were really lucky to talk with Julia Goerges, a former world number 15 player from Germany.  Being at the top of the sport was inspiring for the kids, and they asked some really good questions. Her fitness trainer Damian Prasad spoke to the kids about the importance of professionalism and movement in the modern game. After meeting with Julia we moved over to watch the big man Sam Groth (another ex Vida player) warm up.  Lots of the kids got to meet him!  Some were even lucky enough to meet Nick Kyrgios too.

On more than one occasion different groups of kids were interviewed by Australian Open TV and ended up on the big screens around the Melbourne Park venue.

So overall, the day went really well and all the kids loved meeting all the players and being around the sport they love.

Vida Team & Who is coming: The Vida Team was joined by Joe Kuriel from Acacia Health. Joe took the group through a core stability / Pilates session specific for tennis. Joe comes from a sporting background himself, still competing in Ironman events. He is a qualified Chiropractor, Personal Trainer, Pilates instructor and Massage Therapist. He has a wealth of knowledge in helping develop young bodies holistically. The session gave practical exercises to highlight mobility, flexibility, body balance, injury prevention and more. Joe and the team at Vida tennis have put togther a number of tennis specific workouts which can be found on the following links;

  • Damien Prasad – Life on the tour
    Damien has been working in the tennis industry for over 15 years and has helped develop players of all ages and levels. He has a Masters in exercise science and has worked with the likes of Ana Ivanovic, Nicholas Keifer, Nadia Petrova as well as the Australia Institute of Sport. Currently he is the fitness and movement trainer for Julia Gorges would will be playing in the main draw of the Australian Open. Damien has also worked in other sports, including; AFL footballers, V8 Racing, Nascar, Olympic Skiing and more.
    Damien will speak to the group about life on the tour, traveling eight months a year, a players daily routines (in season and off season) and more. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions.
  • Marco Chiudinelli – Marco has joined the group the last two years but unfortunately had elbow surgery in the last few weeks so wont be able to play this years Australian Open. 2014 was an up and down year for Marco but it was highlighted by his country’s win in the Davis Cup in which he was a team member with Federer and Wawrinka. Hopefully we will see him back in 2016.

Below was the overview of the timing of the day 2;

Day 2 Overview 2015

Day 3: Saturday 17th Jan – Overview

The last day of a terrific camp was held today.  It was a great opportunity for the players to put all their new skills into point and match play scenarios.  The main topics throughout the camp could now be practised in a match atmosphere which I am sure was appreciated by all the kids.

After a review of some technique, footwork, mental application and tactical awareness, we moved into some point scenarios with specific focuses such as, movement forward, consistency, attacking and defending. Over on the top courts, Vince, Ryan and Ash had a really amazing way of measuring the intensity of a tennis workout.  Each player had a heat rate monitor and using the latest Polar software, we monitored and reviewed each players heart rate during a relaxing rally, and during an intense, exciting activity.  Each player should have a good understanding of what their heart rate should be (if they are working hard).
After the morning break and some double tactics, we set up out mini Davis/Fed Cup match!  We drafted two teams and unbelievably, they came up with the names “Taco Unicorns” and “Geoffs”.  Some interesting teams names did produce some close and exciting match, but in the end it was the “Geoffs” taking out the win.
Overall, the three day camp was really enjoyable from the coaches perspective, and we really hope all the kids had a great time too!  Every player should be commended on their behaviour and willingness to learn and work hard.  We never heard any player complain and players were even playing during their breaks.

Below is an overview of the timing of the day 3;

Day 3 Overview 2015

Some images from the 2015 camp;


Camp Andrew WhittingtonCamp Ash Camp Hitting 1 Camp Hitting Camp Pilates 2 Camp Pilates Camp Vida Tennis Ball Camp Whit