Kiawah Island Tennis Conditioning

At Kiawah Island tennis conditioning creates a bedrock foundation for developing players. When Kiawah Island Golf Resort restructured and relaunched its tennis academy in the spring of 2019, cofounders Jonathan Barth (director of tennis for the resort) and Bruce Hawtin (academy director) endeavored to make conditioning and physical development an indispensable component of the curriculum.

Barth-Hawtin Tennis Academy attracts highly competitive junior players who aspire to advancing to Division I collegiate play or directly to the professional tour. Academy athletes train full-time, and the residential component pairs traditional academic coursework with intensive tennis training.

In making conditioning so central to the success of their students, Barth and Hawtin turned to Mark Kovaks, PhD, a leader in sports physiology and founder of the highly successful Kovaks Institute. Kovaks has a solid track record of creating strength and conditioning programs for some of the worlds most elite athletes across multiple sports disciplines, including tennis greats John Isner, Sloane Stephens and Frances Tiafoe.

Every young athlete at Barth Hawtin Tennis Academy begins by undergoing and extensive evaluation to determine a tennis-specific strength-and-conditioning baseline. “The purpose is to not allow an athlete to attempt a particular technique until physically conditioned to perform it without risking injury,” say Hawtin. From the evaluation, consulting with Kovaks the academy creates for each athlete an individually designed strength-and-conditioning program. This becomes part of each student’s overall development plan that is constantly evaluated and adjusted as the player reaches developmental milestones.

Such a comprehensive approach to tennis instruction addresses every aspect of the game: physical, technical, tactical and mental. The goal for each player is to advance as quickly as possible while also creating the proper physical development to avoid injury in the process. The highly personalized approach allows coaches to closely evaluate technique errors that can hamper the athlete’s game and increase the chance of injury. Any errors can be addressed with proper technique as soon as coaches identify them.

Barth-Hawtin Tennis Academy also incorporates other unique approaches, including bringing in small groups of players with their coaches to broaden exposure to diverse hitting partners. Tournament travel is another important developmental aspect of the academy. In addition to tennis activities, Barth-Hawtin Tennis Academy offers residential and academic components for out-of-area athletes. “Jonathan and I warmly welcome resort guests who have or know of a junior athlete who might be interested in exploring the possibility of taking their game to the next level to visit the Roy Barth Tennis Center to learn more,” says Hawtin. Parents or legal guardians who wish to register their students in the Barth-Hawtin Tennis Academy can take advantage of the academy’s online registration form.