The opinion of Mariano Martínez, director of Tennis Concept: New methodologies to minimize the sport dropout


Mariano Martinez is director of Tennis Concept and International Tennis Academy of Elche, a project that collaborates with the Miguel Hernández University of Elche and with working in various research projects related to tennis. National tennis coach for the RFET degree in psychology, is currently working on three research areas: adherence sports programs and motivation; Leadership and teamwork; psychological variables that influence performance. Martinez, this article reflects on the abandonment of the sport among students that start in the world of tennis.

We are currently experiencing a time where you are giving great importance to the new technologies, new methodologies and education systems within the educational context. Spain leads the European Union with 21.9% of 18- to 24 who have left the education system prematurely. But this fact is not only given to educational level but transferred to the sports field, tennis in our particular case, where we have a high dropout rate in formative stages. Therefore, touches formulate a question: Tennis coaches are aware of tennis abandonment of our students ?.
Many variables are those that appear to influence this phenomenon, although in most cases, and as the theory of attribution, we tend to attribute to external and beyond our control causes, as in the case of parents, the truth that is not always exempt from some blame. However, even in these circumstances, our performance which should allow us to have a direct effect on this factor, providing adequate training to parents of athletes, allowing us to obtain a balanced relationship exists between the athlete, coach, and father. The establishment of schools for parents within their own tennis schools could help address such situations. In our school we have and the results may not be satisfactory.

But I think where it really lies one of the major current problems in our sport, and also depends solely on us, it’s in our teaching methodologies. Is still seen, yet too often methodologies that not only predispose the student to neglect, but also respect the principle individualization of sports training loads: children 7-8 years in line waiting for the teacher throw them a ball, same corrections to all, little dynamic sessions, limited autonomy of students in the sessions, etc …
From my humble position would like to take this opportunity to give some small methodological guidelines. Applying them try to improve the intrinsic motivation of students, which will result in a lower rate of abandonment as a result of prolonged practice best players / as tennis. Speaking about strategies to create a work climate based on some premises TARGET (Ames, 1992). These assumptions refer to the following dimensions:

• Task: design tasks repercussions on other premises, so we must design based on variety activities and novelty follow a logical progression Example: different games of warming up every day, different goals to achieve, different materials, multiple chances of success. It should seek personal challenge through individualization.
• Authority: to involve students in decision making (ways of working, contents, how to evaluate, etc.). Example: students direct heating or cool down, to explain a game they already know, they choose some variant of the game, etc. It is important that the teacher-student relationship is warm and affectionate, where the first must show a close attitude and empathize with their students.
• Rewards: strengthening at all times the effort and personal improvement of each student, avoiding comparisons with each other. It should be emphasized that the ability can be improved if you work for it. Furthermore, it frequently provide positive feedback both individually and collectively (e.g., “Good job,” “You’re doing very well”, etc.)
• Grouping: flexible and heterogeneous leading to multiple forms of grouping. Examples: random groups, by a decision of the students, working in pairs, teams. Design cooperative activities and socializing use teaching style.
• Evaluation: should be focused on personal progress and mastery of the task. It is useful to put a self-assessment where students assess their own personal work and group besides evaluating the session itself. Example: Tennis Journal where to write what he has done, what he has learned and if you liked the session.
• Time: allow sufficient time for the acquisition of different concepts, procedures and attitudes time, thus helping the student does not receive low competition. Find the balance between duration of activity and variety.

Finally, say that the application of these premises will not guarantee the success of our players in high performance, and ensure adherence to our sport, because as I mentioned earlier, this depends on many factors, but it will allow achieve adequate progress in the process of teaching and learning, while high levels of fun are obtained by the students. I would like to quote a phrase by Howard Gardner, a psychologist who formulated the theory of multiple bits of intelligence, and which states: “The purpose of education is that children want to do what they should do.” Well that’s what we look for in our tennis school, children want to play tennis playing as it should be played.

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