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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Professional Coaching

    Sometimes is very rewarding to play against actual trainee, and see how much he/she improved game wise.
    When I said playing, I ment playing by a tennis player (competing).The problem is that at the time very few players are aware of this fact.They usually become aware of the fact once when they stop playing.
    Last edited by Bubo; 04-18-2009 at 09:30 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    What one has to have before the fact that one day he/she can have a shot at professional tennis:

    Family support
    Quality training environment
    Quality tennis coach and
    little bit of luck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    To be a quality tennis coach prerequisite sina qua non is that person one time in his life was quality tennis player (WTA, ATP ranked)?

    Yes, in my opinion that is must (exceptions to the rule always confirm the rule).One has to experience how is out there to compete on tennis court.
    There is not flying instructor who himself is not a very good pilot, isnt!t there?How logical.The same is with quality tennis coach.
    How good player one has to be to be able one day to be quality tennis coach?It depends on person, but at least ATP, WTA ranked;one who felt what means to compete in tennis at the high level.
    On the other hand in my opinion very talented, and very accomplished tennis players do not make good coaches.I will give the examples to illustrate what I mean.For example, John McEenroe, and Goran Ivanisevic would not make good tennis coaches in spite of fact that they were excellent tennis players.Why?They are both accomplished as tennis players, and do not have motivation for hard work to accomplish themselves as tennis coaches, excellent players are very egocentric, and this is not favourable coaching trait, and both these players lack of patients which tennis coach has to have in abundance.
    Last edited by Bubo; 04-26-2009 at 05:53 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Second prerequisite for quality tennis coach is that person is good human being because a child and this person will spend a lot of time together so it is important that this person will have positive impact on a child during its process of growing up.We do not need only good tennis player, but we need good human being as well.Besides parents, tennis coach will become the most influental person in child¨s life.Tennis coach who is at the same time good human being will by his deeds influence a child to grow up in positive mature person.Good tennis coach will never jepordize child¨s integritity by attacking child¨s personality;he is going to attack child¨s behaviour, and actions instead.

  5. #5

    Talking Some yes some no

    You can correct me if im wrong as, i am speaking from memory. I belive Vic Braden was only a college player yet achived a lot as a coach and, trainer of Tennis Officials. Nick Bollaterri i belive was also only a college player.
    The coach of WTA player Sam Stousr is the local coach were i play. He never had a tennis career but got Sam to the pros.
    So i think its a mixed bag of results.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England

    Please forgive the length of this Post however it is a topic I hold much interest in.

    When I first came across this Thread, I initially decided to allow our members to chime in with their thoughts & considerations without the feeling I need to always get in the mix regardless of the fact that this is my career being discussed. However our new Member's last inclusion prompted me to offer a few words on his message & behalf.

    When I first became a Tennis Instructor much like when I first started playing the guitar, I immediately developed ideas that I was going to create a group of future Pro Tennis Players, like I thought I was going to become a Rock Star because everybody seemed to like what I did and all I needed was the determination & passion for what I had to offer. If I showed up each day for these kids and they listened to what I had to teach them, there within laid the formula for a successful relationship.

    That was then and I thank God as often as I can about how absolutely grateful I am that I finally figured it out before too much damage was done. Yes, I am a good Tennis Coach but if you picked up on the clues I placed all over the comments above, success is measured by the relationship(s) formed built on trust, respect and appreciation for not what I bring but what I recognize in the kids I worked with. On many occasions I was not only approached by Parents inquiring about their child's possibilities & potentials but invited in some small part as an extension of their family.

    You do not necessarily become a 2nd Dad to the Kids but you do carry a lot of weight in helping shape their futures. These kids that have dreams of taking their Tennis as far as they can, look to you as a guide and for those who take that responsibility seriously, you have a golden opportunity to not only make them good tennis players but as Budo eloquently stated, "good people as well." And why is that important? Easy answer, good things happen to good people for one and other people like to help good people as much as possible not to forget good people have a tendency to have a much wider viewpoint of the World and how they fit within.

    A Tennis Coach can easily become a vessel for higher understanding to a kid. Tennis is not just about hitting a yellow ball better than the next guy. Actually it is as far from that as one can get. Tennis is about life and how you approach life. When you're in the Top Ten in the World, you've obtained a level of mastery that is pretty equal to the next guy, so why are the top say 3 in the World have such a stronghold on those spots when all pretty much have the same types of training? "See the whole Board", Martin Sheen once said in an episode of the West Wing. When you are coaching, it would be wise to not always dwell on the technique but include the principal as well. Not only what to do but why do you do it. The difference between Winning and Not Losing,

    My kids have come to me in tears about things unrelated to Tennis.
    Parents have approached me in Super Markets while shopping to ask my opinion of private family matters, knowing full well that our conversation goes no further than where we stand. And the most special moments when you see tears in the eyes of your Students after their first tournament victory and me reminding them that my role was merely to point them in the right direction and they did all the work on getting to their destination. I can't state strong enough that all victories large & small have all to do with their determination to Learn & Execute.

    When I demonstrate a forehand top spin shot and I find one child struggling with the mechanics of it, the last thing I do is continue to drill the same technique when it's clear this student isn't getting it. What I find most useful is to sometimes ask how that technique feels to them? Do they see the Whole Board? And by saying that I mean, any shot you demonstrate, a person has to not only focus on structure but also results and when a child understands the results, they can make the necessary adjustments at times.

    I've used too time on this but I appreciate discussions that speak to the many roles of a good Coach in any sport.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Good tennis coaches who were not good players are exceptions to the rule.(I am here talking about coaching professionals or to be professionals).As we all know exception just confirms the rule.One very good exception is coach of Mirion Bartoli Wimbledon finalist.Her coach is her father who is doctor, and was not good tennis player.Obviously, he has some other very good qualities(he has very good knowledge of physiological demands of tennis) to have such success as a coach.When I say that prerequisite for being a good tennis coach at this level of tennis is to have good competative tennis career I did not mean that this is enough by itself;I ment that all the others things being equal good competative tennis career will make difference.

    The tennis players from best colleges and universities in U.S.A. are so strong to be ranked maybe up to 400 WTA, ATP, and this is good enough.All these players who are so highly ranked were through all levels of competition and they play competative tennis for at least 10 years.
    Here, there is exeption to the rule ,too.A player can be ranked 30 ATP, and no use, and the other can be ranked 700 ATP , and he will make good tennis coach.
    What I wanted to say is this.To be tennis coach at high level of competition in tennis there are many prerequisites one has to meet.One of them is successful tennis playing career because one has to have feel of what it means to be on the tennis court, and compete.The ones who do not meet this prequisites, and have good results in coaching at high level of competiion are minority and as such exception to the rule.
    Last edited by Bubo; 05-30-2009 at 04:31 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England
    Quote Originally Posted by Bubo View Post
    What I wanted to say is this.To be tennis coach at high level of competition in tennis there are many prerequisites one has to meet.One of them is successful tennis playing career because one has to have feel of it means to be on the tennis court, and compete.The ones who do not meet this prequisites, and have good results in coaching at high level of competiion are minority and as such exception to the rule.
    Budo ~

    Without doubt it is helpful to understand the Game from a competitive standpoint. However if I understand you correctly, are you suggesting a person who hasn't played Professional Level Tennis, can not be an effective Coach for a Professional Player? How then can you explain Mr. Williams who by all accounts is not only a non-Professional Tennis Player but the man didn't play the game at all. How do you explain Mary Pierce's Father or Jelena Dokics' Father or even Steffi Graf's Father?

    Sure each of them went onto obtaining more professional coaching but each of them actually began playing on the professional level prior to their Debut with a seasoned Professional Coach.

    Ok let's put that aside for the moment. I played in the public parks for a long time doing what I did on the Courts. I was playing around a 3.0 - 3.5 level because I knew very little about technique until one day out of nowhere this Old guy who sat on the Park Benches and watched people play came up to me and asked if I'd follow him to the Racquetball Court Walls. He wanted to show me a few things about my so-called forehand shots. I hit everything flat in those days because that's all I knew. I also dealt with Tennis Elbow due to bad form and frequently had a wrap around my forearm.

    I'm sure you get the picture, I wasn't a very good player but this old guy with grayish white wirey hair must have seen something in me that gave him the idea that he could mold me into a fairly competitive tennis player. What he undoubtedly saw was my unshakable love for the game. We never once made any set plans for coaching or drilling. All that happened between us over the next 1 years was him constantly being at Park watching people play and me going over to talk story with him when I saw him. I began to like him alot and he had great stories of a younger time when racquets were wood, balls were white and you jumped over the net upon victory.

    There was no such thing as power tennis in his day. He was born from a time when tactics spawn from finesse & slices. The old guy showed me stuff that I could do with a tennis ball that no one I played with used and I found I began to win matches against people I never beat before.

    His history in Tennis was essentially what we were doing. According to him, he played tennis every since Bill Tilden was around. His occupation before retirement was carpentry and yet from this new mindset Old Ernie ushered me towards, I was able to control not only the Ball but the game as well. I genuinely saw his eyes water when I began to call him Coach. A friend of mine started asking him for pointers and now out of nowhere, he was basically coaching two people who were hungry to learn. I can say without hesitation that the first Tournament I won was 100% due to what he taught me about Tennis.

    I never saw him play a match or even a Set of Tennis. According to him, he never won a tournament because he claims he wasn't fast enough but in his head, he understood the game and was dying to show someone what it was he figured out.
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    The name of my topic was:from the start to professional coaching.I do not know why Coach changed my topic to just professional coaching.My topic was much broader, and I wanted to develop discussion about it so that people who visit this site may get hold of (one really cannot completely if he was not in the position to do it himself) complexity, and enormity of the task, and start to respect it little bit more.Watching on TV is completely another story, but trying to do yourself is completely another.
    As I said quality coaching (or quality coach) is just part of the story.The other parts I mentioned in one of my previous posts.
    There is not chance at all to become professional tennis player if a child was not through its tennis life coached properly.Quality coaches are few as well as quality players.The best proof to this is that you can see a lot of beatiful tennis facilities around the world, and very rarely you will find quality tennis player playing there.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    First part which I started to write is about quality coaching.To become quality coach is very difficult so I wanted to explain why is so difficult.In one of my post I mentioned that he supposed to be good human being.Next, I mentioned that he has to be good tennis player (once quality competative tennis player).I also stated that there are people who have extra coaching results without being good tennis players.This does not say anything against my hypothesis because there are always exception vhich just confirm the rule.
    As I can understand Heretrigger thinkss is 50:50 thing, and Coach that is helpful but not decesive.
    I do not agree with them, and to me arguments are very clear but before I present them we have to agree on something:all what I am talking about applyies under same conditions.To be completely clear the best I will illustrate by an example.There two racing car drivers;one has all team taking care of him and a car, the other is doing all by himself.One cannot compare the two because second one can be much better driver, and still has no chance at all.I used this example to make things clear.
    Last edited by Bubo; 04-30-2009 at 11:10 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Now, I will explain why is important for one to be quality tennis coach (very high level) previously to be very good tennis player himself.

    One thing is that own playing experience is impossible to substitute by anything else.Everybody read how to do it book, and when he actually tried do it is another story, and this is usally very simple task.How can you suggest to your player to do something during the match if you did not do it yourself once when you were playing competative tennis.How can you feel how your player feels at certain point if you do not have this kind of experience, and you never did.Coach with competitive tennis experience can tell his protegee on these long flights about his own experiences so that player does not have to go through all that himself.

    Coach with tennis competative career on this long trips is sparring partner too.Except that, person who was once competative player feels comfortable on the tennis court, and see things with different eyes than one who was not.

    Coach with playing career is able to show how to hit certain shot himself what is completely different from the one who never played or played just recreational tennis.

    Probably there are many more reason why under the same conditions one with competative playing career will make much better coach.

    Now, I will answer to Coach about him mentioning few parents who did not have any tennis experience , and still coached their children to world heights.
    The people who did it are very few (Williams, Seles, Dokic,Lucic,Pierce) compared to thousand of parents without tennis experience who tried and failed.
    Even for these few there is explanation:
    I read that Williams¨sisters were from the time they were 9,10 years old coached by Macci.I also red that Venus had learned forehand with such huge swing that each week at Macci she spent hours working on it, and even to these day she has problems with forehand

    Karolj Seles and Marinko Lucic did not play tennis, but they competed in track and field, and from there they knew about movement mechanics so they were able to teach forehand, backhand and serve (not volley because volley has different movement mechanics).They chose one parh, and they followed it fanatically.

    I think that I explained in details my point of view.Other things being equal, the person who had meaningful playing career will be better coach.
    Last edited by Bubo; 04-26-2009 at 06:09 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Another thing which good coach has to have is general education.General education will be very helpful on numerous occassions (I do not know any other sport where there is so much travelling as is in tennis).Coach is confronted with so many things which need quick, and rational solution.Here, general education helps a lot.It is not just knowledge of foreign language so one can get better around;there are so many unpredictable things a coach is confronted with.All this has positive or negative effect on the player.

    It may seem that the thing about general education is not a big thing.On the contrary, it is.There is need for formal or informal general education.The problem is how a player get it?If one is really in tennis these days he wiil not go even to regular elementary school, not to mention high school.How many of today¨s pro finished university?So if he one day after playing career becomes a coach his general education will depend only on family values, his coach general education, and his own knowledge curiosity.
    Last edited by Bubo; 04-26-2009 at 07:57 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Quality tennis coach should be well rounded person (good general education), but should also have good special education.Here, I do not mean just knowledge about tennis technique, and tactics, but also about teaching methodology, training methodology, biomechanics, physiology,psychology, physical conditioning, nutrition, injury prevention, general health, equipment etc.Now, one can see why is so important for the quality coach to have good general education.One who has general education can on top of that add special education.Having this, he can make much better decisions, and take much better actions which wiil reflect on his player in the long run.
    This is the main difference between being a coach and being a tennis player.While tennis player more or less do things instinctively, tennis coach must understand things, how they relate, and why to be able to teach, and train effectively his player.At the same time this is main reason why so many good tennis players do not make good tennis coaches:they fail to recognize that they need general and special education, or they are just not able or willing to fill the void which grew so big during their playing career
    Last edited by Bubo; 04-27-2009 at 01:42 AM.

  14. #14
    I would like to make a quick distinction between the technical part and the emotional (mental) part of coaching. I assume one cannot really argue (Coach's old man porbably knows the technical part well regardless of his own playing level) that you can learn proper technique from someone who doesn't know his stuff. The mental part, however, mostly has to do focus and performance under pressure and can be taught by anyone who understands how human beings work under those circumstances. In the end, it's the latter part that separates the mere talented or well trained from the truly good. Untimately good coaches are great motivators and life coaches. These people can coach anyone in any field. Ever heard of Tony Robbins?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Tennis game evolutes all the time, and quality coach has to be up to date with everything (knowledge how to apply sport science to tennis and coaching), and forsee what will happen in the future because from the time child is introduced to tennis, and the time when he/she has to show what is made of will pass at least 10 years.I will give you my example.When I played competitive tennis I used continental grip for forehand (as a matter of fact for all my shots ).Even, in the one book I found that author praise usage of one grip for all shots as a future development in tennis.
    20 years ago when I started serious coaching first things that I did was to write two articles:
    The Grips
    The Best Possible Grip/Shot Combination

    and then I decided that my players are going to use semi-western grip for forehand.There many others examples which show that coaching is at the same time own continuing education, so as tennis changes so must coaches knowledge too.
    One my collegue taught her player continental grip for forehand(he used it so he taught it).I did not see in my life somobody so devoted to tennis as this girl.She won Orange Bowl 14 and under, but later on she has not done as expected because of the wrong grip (and she could not change it anymore).
    So in technical part there is not old or young (how young one can be with all that knowledge) tennis coach.There is one who follows what is happening in sport science related to tennis, and try to foresee the future, and one that does not.

    I did not want yet to say something about mental part of tennis, but because of previous post (rchen83) I will.Tennis is mentally very tough sport because of the two things:

    individual sport is always mentally tougher than team sport, and
    in tennis there is a lot idle time when player has time to think.

    I would agree that first drop out from the race players who are technically inferior, then who are physically inferior, and at the end stay the ones who are mentally tough.

    Mental toughness in tennis has some in common with general mental toughness, but the same as physical conditioning is sport specific so one who teaches mental side of tennis must understand tennis very well.

    I never heard of Tony Robbins, but I do not agree that quality tennis coach at the professional tennis level has to be great motivator (this is more true for team sports).If at the time player does not posses inner motivation then he has no chance whatsoever.
    My opinion is that each niche of life (the tennis too) at the very high level is so complex that there is not universal coach for everythiing, but each segment demand high specialization.
    Last edited by Bubo; 04-30-2009 at 11:13 AM.

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