EXCLUSIVE – In conversation with the mastermind behind the revolutionary ASICS Tennis Academy

ASICS Tennis Academy

Tennis coaches around the world are set to be given a huge boost after ASICS launched a new ASICS Tennis Academy that will provide access to leading industry experts.

Based on the needs of coaches, experts from the ASICS Tennis Academy, including elite coaches, strength trainers, physiotherapists and sports psychologists will share bespoke training videos and articles, so coaches have the latest trends and training information readily available.

Based on the specific needs of coaches, ASICS has created the Tennis Academy to provide easy access to the information they need; experts, including elite coaches, strength trainers, physiotherapists and sports psychologists will share bespoke training videos and articles, so coaches have the latest trends and training information readily available.

Through the Academy, ASICS will support coaches with advice and training sessions about how to identify playing style, and how to select the right product to improve a players performance and prevent injury.

The academy is being supporting by Patrick Mouratoglou (above), who is the current coach of Serena Williams, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Coco Gauff and Tennis365 spoke exclusively to Rene Zandbergen, Head of Product Innovation at ASICS, to get the lowdown on what is certain to be a valuable tool programme for coaching talent around the tennis world.

Give us an idea of how the ASICS Tennis Academy will work?

Rene Zandbergen: “The ASICS Tennis Academy was born out of independent research where we found out that over 90% of tennis players rely on their coach for advice on how to improve their game, as well as product recommendations. Soon after understanding the outcomes of the research we did our own, going in the field to speak to tennis coaches. They told us that they often feel stressed and anxious about juggling the need to be on court giving lessons, while also staying up to date and informed.

“So, we decided to initiate a programme to support coaches, with an online resource for training tips from industry experts, as well as support from ASICS in the form of product for those who are a part of the ASICS Tennis Academy community.

“The way it will work is very simple – there is an online platform that will be updated on a monthly basis with training tips from experts. Under the “Coaching Tips” section of the website, anyone can access the training videos and articles.

“We also have the community aspect; this is where we partner with coaches throughout Europe to support them with product and access to exclusive training.

“We put great importance on gaining insights from tennis coaches on what they and their players need. They will also be a part of product development, testing new technology, brainstorming with us and our product team in Kobe, Japan – all so we can continue to develop the very best tennis footwear and apparel products.”

David Goffin ASICS Tennis Academy

Why is this a project ASICS decided to launch?

RZ: “There is no other free platform designed to support tennis coaches, with the backing of a leading tennis brand like ASICS. We believe in supporting tennis coaches, and together we can drive the entire game forward.”

Do coaches need a network of support like this to become the best they can be?

RZ: “We certainly hope so, but it’s not always about being the best, we believe in Kaizen, which is Japanese for continuous improvement. So, we believe that with this platform and community we are fostering a network of tennis coaches to collectively come together for continuous improvement. The tennis coaching profession has traditionally been one of individualism, but we believe there is power in community and that by sharing experiences and learning from those who perhaps you would never cross paths with, you can improve, which also mean tennis players improve.”

Will tennis at all levels change coming out of the Covid crisis and will that make projects like this even more important?

RZ: “The tennis industry has been drastically impacted this year, there is no doubt about that. But it is also one of the sports that we have been able to practice in some capacity, relatively early on. It is hard to say now what the true impact will be on the sport, or how it will change post-COVID, but we do feel that having a platform to support tennis coaches will be needed in every scenario. The content on the platform will be updated every month, which means that it can also be very topical, and relevant to the world we are operating in in the future. For example, if we need to focus on at-home training drills – how do you motivate your players to stick with it, and what specific drills should they be doing?”

What role will the Mouratoglou Academy have in the ASICS tennis project?

RZ: “Mouratolgou Academy is very involved in the project. Patrick himself is one of our experts and a group of their professional coaches have agreed to also be active members. We also have their strength trainer and physiotherapist who are already contributing with training tips they apply every day to professional, elite tennis players.

“Mouratolgou Academy is regarded as one of the very best training facilities for tennis players to develop, their decision to partner with ASICS a year ago, and to be a part of our own tennis academy, we think, shows our serious commitment to the sport.”

What can we expect from ASICS looking ahead to 2021. Are there new shoes being released?

RZ: “Yes! We are planning to release a brand-new model of one of the most loved on the market today for the all-court player: Solution Speed FF. More on this to come soon, but you can expect an even lighter, even faster, and more flexible version of the current model.”

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