High Performance champions program Overview
The JTCC High Performance program provides young people with a challenging pathway that leads them to top tier collegiate and potentially professional competition.
The High Performance program is inspired by JTCC President Vesa Ponkka who started the program in 1999 and Senior Director of Player Development Oliver Akli who arrived in 2000. The program is led by General Manager of Player Development Megan Moulton-Levy and Senior Director of Player Development Alisama Agnamba.
To participate in the High Performance program, a player must have a strong work ethic and must qualify as a tournament player whose goal is to play college tennis. JTCC develops champions who live by the philosophy of “Trust your Training.”
High performance training takes place on and off the court. The four levels comprising the High Performance program are Junior Champs (tournament players ages 8-11), Champs II (USTA L6 and L7 tournament players), Champs I (USTA L1 – L5 Sectional tournament players), and the Full-Time Champs program (USTA National and ITF tournament players and players enrolled in distance learning).
Players of similar age and abilities train together under the supervision of their coaches, who also serve as mentors. Training sessions are dictated by Periodization Training. Depending on the training period, practices will consist of different proportions of dead ball drilling, live ball hitting, situational point play, and match play. The timing of these cycles will vary for different players, and the coach-mentor will ensure that each player is maximizing his or her training time.
The training cycle consists of the following segments:
- Fundamentals Training: New concepts are introduced along with long term technical changes. The training will focus on high intensity and high repetition.
- Tournament Preparation Training: Short term and small technical adjustments are made. The focus is on competition tactics and strategy.
- Tournament Peak Training: Grooving strokes to maintain sharpness and a high level of play is the focus is without overworking in preparation for competition.
- Active Rest Training: Low tempo and limited practice providing players time to recover after periods of intense training and play.
A unique element of the High Performance program is the mentoring model which offers participants important opportunities for character development on and off the court.
Coach-mentors maintain a personal file for each of their mentees to track and plan the training, academic, and general character development such as competing with integrity and maintaining self-esteem. Other responsibilities of coach-mentors include recommending tournament schedules, supervising the player’s required community service, and monitoring player development both on and off court. Coach-mentors are available to meet with the parents and player to report on the player’s progress.
JTCC’s mentoring relationships foster a value-based community and encourage players to become mentors in their own communities.
High Performance fitness training is overseen by Senior Director of Athlete Development TC Costello and Director of Athlete Development Jon Hill. Similar to tennis training, the intensity, focus, and duration of the physical training varies depending on the period of training in the players’ tournament cycles.
Fitness training consists of speed, agility, strength, and endurance training, tennis specific footwork and balance exercises, and dynamic and static stretching for flexibility and injury prevention.
The goal is for each student to connect what happens in the gym and on the track to efforts and results on the court. Ultimately, fitness training makes players more effective in competitive situations and better athletes overall.
Players will be tested in specific speed, strength, and agility settings to monitor their development over the course of the year.
Each player will receive mental training throughout the year. This is led by JTCC Mental Skills Consultant David Sacks. A clinical and sport psychologist with over two decades of experience in the mental health and performance fields, David owns the organization Nashville Performance and Psychology. As a performance consultant, David has worked with athletes from the youth to professional levels, including NCAA champions and Grand Slam competitors.
Areas of focus for athletes include, but are not limited to breathing techniques, rituals, focus, training and competition mentalities, body language, and different situational techniques such as “playing the score”. David works with players to make specific adjustments in their approach and helps them understand the “bigger picture” in order to achieve lasting change. There will be periodic evening training seminars designed for the players and parents.
Learn More about High Performance champions Programs
The Junior Champs program is year round and designed for tournament level players ages 8-11.
The Champs I program is year-round and designed for players who are active tournament participants at the USTA National level (L1 – L5) and ITF tournaments.
The Champs II program is year-round and designed for 8th grade and high school players who will compete in high school tennis and/or USTA Sectional L6 and L7 tournaments.
The Full-Time Champs program is year-round and designed for USTA National level players, ITF tournament players, and players who are enrolled in distance learning.