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Thanks a lot Bubo for the insightful discussion. I still believe that ultimate coaching in any sport is mental and that part is universal. It's about understanding specifically the process in an individual's mind that leads to optimal performance and reproduce it at his own command. But this is too big a topic and I don't expect that everyone will agree.
Since you mentioned tennis grips, let me ask you for your opinion on the western grip (for the tenth time in these forums? I hope people don't ban me from asking the question again). My 10yr old son uses a western grip and claims that this is HIS grip. His private coach is fine with the grip. He does go to group lessons and camps, however, and at these places he is constantly reminded that he needs to change his grip to semi western if he were to fully realize his potential (most think he has potential). Even coaches at the Evert Academy in Florida tell him that (he went there for a week). With support from some expert opinions in this forum (Oscar Wegner, Coach, etc.) and seeing what Nadal and Djokwich is doing, I tell my son to ignore the naysayers. But still, it makes me uncomfortable when a lot pros say with conviction and, I believe, out of care, that he needs to change. Your opinion will be highly appreciated.
Now, I would like to say few things abot desirable personal traits for a quality coach.
First of all being tennis coach in professional tennis is very demanding so this this person must love tennis, and coaching others to be able to endure harsh life on the pro tour.
Second,he/she in spite of his/her passion for the game, and coaching should not manifest his/her emotional states.Tennis, as said earlier is very stressful sport for tennis player so it is enough that player showes her emotions (he/she has to learn too how to control emotions).If coach becomes too emotional too, it leads to disaster
Another very important personal trait is leadership.There so many from day to day to strategic decisions coach has to make.
This leads to mental toughness on one hand, and soothing on the other.In certain circumstances is very important to show firmness while in others to show emphaty
Tennis coach has to be fair, and predictable so that a player knows what to expect in certain situation.
As is obvious from everything above mentioned that tennis coach has to have great mental and physical endurance, and at the same time be able to take very decisive actions when necessary.
There must be mutual respect between player and coach.Both of them have to earn this respect by own deeds (at the beginning a coach is the one who give orders, and a player is the one who fulfill these orders, but as their relationship grow and mature they more and more cooperate and discuss every move a player makes)
Even 1:1 relationship between coach and a player is very demanding, and burden of competition and travelling makes it even more stressful, coach should never forget that a player is a human being so under no circumstances he should criticize a player as human being;he has to criticize player¨s actions and behaviour in order to improve them.
Last edited by Bubo; 05-01-2009 at 11:34 AM.
To continue this topic on quality coaching, I will reiterate few things:
- tennis coaching at highest level is ongoing education and improvement ( as well as tennis player, but coach has to forsee things, and present them to tennis player in undestandble way)
- as in playing one thing is theory, and completely another praxis so actual experience in coaching plays very important role, and cannot be supplemented by anything else
Tennis coaching at any level is very fullfiling profession, and especially at high level where every good o bad decision reflects even more on players performance.Tennis coaching differs greatly from teaching tennis (giving tennis lessons)One who gives lessons thinks about that player (and only about his tennis)during tennis lesson (not before, not after).
On the contrary tennis coach is involved with his player 24/7, and not only concerning tennis but as a complete human being (normaly with emphasisi on tennis).Tennis coach must know personality of his player, and find ways how to get the best results under given circumstances.It is very complex, and challenging task and as such more rewarding.
There is not ideal coach, as there is not ideal player, and it never will be one.This is so complex task that there is nobody who has all.The more one has the better coach he will be, but most importantly with less as possible stress his player will approach his limits.
They are always exceptions to the rule which if analyzed in details just confirm the rule(Capriati, Pierce, Lucic - very umbalanced mix which took great toll on players, and they were not able to endure for long time)
Last edited by Bubo; 05-01-2009 at 04:47 AM.
So from all above mentioned it is not easy to become quality tennis coach.If a person were one time quality tennis player he should go faster through phases of coaching development (working with children, juniors etc.).It is important that he does because playing tennis is one thing, and coaching is completely another.
Another very important thing is to get aquainted with different topics as:tennis technique, tennis tactics, teaching methodology, training methodology, psychology, physiology, nutrition, injury prevention, physical conditioning etc.
All these can be done through self teaching, but it is more efficient to become certified by one of the major tennis teachers associations (PTR, USPTA).There you will get introduced to all different topics, and then it is up every individual to continue his education.
Another way is to take some special classes at universities.
Parallel with learning theory one has to work practically to test this theory in praxis that means try to teach, improve, and train young players.
After few years of actual teaching, coaching he should seek intership at one of the world class tennis coaches.All this preparation will help that he can understand what is going on, and being and seeing how does world class coach does will give answers to many questions in short period of time.
With such knowledge (which have to be updated and added all the time)the one is ready to show his coaching talent by bringing a tennis player as close as possible to his potential.
One is better coach if he understands the essence of the tennis game (technique, tactic, psychology, teaching methodology, training methodology, biomechanics etc), and on top of it build something of his own, but based on overall knowledge.
This example would be good illustration what I ment by essence.Once in my coaching career I possessed a buble for indoor play.Every fall reflectors inside the bubble should be connected to electricy, and every spring before taking buble down disconnected.I had no problem in the spring.I would just take out fuses, and disconnect reflectors from electricity.The problem always appeared in the fall (even before disconnecting in spring I would draw position of the wires) in spite of this drawing.I did not dare to connect wires because I did not know what each of them stands for, and how they are related:in other words I had no basic knowledge about electricity.
The same applies to tennis, but it is just more complicated because it has to do with human being.If the essence of tennis is not very clear to tennis coach he will never be able to fill up this gap, and he will never be able to feel secure about his coaching.It is unbelievable number of coaches who do not have good grasp of tennis essence.When one does,then, and only then one can build upon it to unlimited heights.
Last edited by Bubo; 05-02-2009 at 02:24 AM.
The best measure of tennis coach quality are his results.This statement would be true if all coaches work in equal training environment, and with equally talented players.This is not true, because as there not equality between players conditions, there is not equality between coaching conditions.There is not equlity in this world so there is not equality in tennis either.One is recognized when he has results (whether player or coach), and nobody cares under which conditions one achieved these results.The results are what it counts.
I wil give two opposite examples:
There are coaches who get players who they can get.They are coaches, sparring partners, conditioninig coaches, psychologist, nutritionist, doctors, drivers etc, to these players, and reach between 100-200 WTA/ATP.
On the other hand there are famous coaches who as such attract the best talent from all over the world, who has whole team (assistants, doctors, conditioning coaches, sparring partner)engaged in the project,in a beautiful, and functional facility.Few of their players make top rankings WTA/ATP.
The question is who of the two kinds of coaches are better coaches.Who of two kinds of coaches are more capable,knowledgeable.There is not comparison between the two because who cares "what would be if would be".All what is important is result, and one who has better result is better coach.
Last edited by Bubo; 05-02-2009 at 08:36 AM.
From all the above it is easy to see complexity of tennis coaching job.Giving tennis lessons is one thing, and coaching tennis player in all aspects of tennis game is completely another.
As I already mentioned for one to become quality tennis player it takes at least 10 years (10,000 hours).It is very rare that one coach stays all this time with the player so consequently there are coaches who specialize for
- talented children whose parents have high ambitions
- promising young players
- ones who want to turn professional tennis
- the best professional tennis players
In the next few post I will describe characteristics, and tasks of each one.To achieve ultimate goal (to bring a talented child to professional tennis) it is necessary to have blueprint and quality implementation of this blueprint through all phases of player development.This will lessen production of stress which is very detrimental to player¨s development.
Last edited by Bubo; 05-03-2009 at 02:23 PM.
Tennis coach for talented children whose parents have high ambitions
Development of tennis player is interdisciplinary process,and although all participants (I will say more about them under quality training environment)are very important, tennis coach is the one who leads this process (normally with parents ) so he has to be leader on one hand, and knowledgeable enough so he can control all the other participants.
Now, I will say few words what a quality tennis coach should do first time he meets a child.
The most important thing is to appraise child talent.The talent is inborn characteristic, and as such is mostly given(talent without all other quality elements is not enough on one hand, but everything can be very best, and cannot make up for lack of talent).
Next thing is to see child¨s family social and financial situation.To support a child on his way to become a professional player is very demanding on the family, and all family members must agree to this sacrifice.The same situation is with finances because this is very expensive process.Tennis coach does not have to bother to screen the situation at the very beginning, but it is better that he does because it is huge task to try to bring a child to professional tennis (very low probability od success), and if some unfovourable things (such as poor finacial situation, divorced parents) are noticed before hand make reaching this goal even less probable.
Let assume that the first predispositions (family, financial status) are met then tennis coach has to set long term, intermidiate, and short term goals.
This is very important because it seems that there is enough time, but actually there is enough time only in the case if everything is well planned .
Starting on time (4-6 year old child), and everything planned will lassen stress which will appaer nontheless.
Last edited by Bubo; 05-12-2009 at 09:16 AM.
Long term goal would be that a child by the time he/she enters puberty learns all basic, and special strokes (all tennis technique) at the level of practice stage.
Once long term goal is set follow intermidiate goals which lead to long term goal, and shot term goals which lead to intermidiate goals.
I have to emphasize that a child must train in as much as possible in pressure free environment, and it is very much coach¨s duty to observe that child does (coach has to control himself,parents, and all the others).
The younger a child is process should go slower.It is different if child is 4 from child who is 6 year old.
Here, I must say one very important thing - I am not talking about these children whose parents/coach want them to be very good very young so that they are noticed by tennis management companies.They follow another path.Here, I try to describe a path which will cause the least damage to a child.My approach is a child oriented.
At the beginning, learning tennis is not primary thing.Primary thing is to develop child"s physical capabilities according to child" s biological age (coordination, reaction to defferent stimuli,rhytm,motoric learning, speed etc).All this in general not tennis specific, and can be done through different exercises, games or additional sport.The broader the base the higher can be built on top of it.
Here is very important that child is introduced to new things little by little, and not forced to it so that a child doing all this feels enjoyment.
Tennis is introduced very lightly, and at the beginning tennis coach should try to get child to do some body mechanics through games and movements which will be later on easily be transferred to stroke mechanics in tennis.
At this stage of development it seems that child progresses very slowly because child¨s cognitive functions are not as developed as in later phases, but all the things a child learns in this stage will be able to perform naturally
Last edited by Bubo; 05-05-2009 at 01:26 PM.
That was quite a volume on becoming a tennis coach from Bubo, but he did not answer your question aboutt he western grip. Fro my answer to that question please go to the MTM forum and look at the thread entitled "Coaching Your Kid".
How good can your game get?
You too can
play like the Pros with The Wegner Method
Discuss The Wegner Method
here at TW in the MTM forum
or visit www.tennisteacher.com
for more info.
Originally Posted by Bubo
that's not to say one cannot learn after that window has closed -- just that it will require more dedication from the individual.
I think you guys are on the right track. It's all about playing naturally - but not just for kids, for adults too; in fact, for players of all ages and levels of ability!
How good can your game get?
You too can
play like the Pros with The Wegner Method
Discuss The Wegner Method
here at TW in the MTM forum
or visit www.tennisteacher.com
for more info.
I would like to emphasize once again (I already have done few times) that here I am talking about things which are needed potentially to become professional tennis player.I do respect every effort, but I would like to draw line between recreational and professional tennis.
Originally Posted by Lawn Tennis
Professional tennis is highly competitive sport, and to become one day professional tennis player one has to do things in right way, and at right time to have any chance.To mix the two blurr whole picture, and one may understand that it is easy to become a professional what is very dangerous and oversimplified view.
In "Is it Possible to Go Pro if You Start Tennis at Age 13?" through my discussion I illustrate my point of view.
Devotion to the task is self understood, but there are so many other things which have to be met, and some of them, and their complexity I am trying to present so that everybody who undertakes this adventure learns a little bit about what he will go up against.
Last edited by Bubo; 05-08-2009 at 03:15 PM.
I thought that if somebody sends me private message that it means that I am the only who can read it, but it seems that I am wrong because private message I received by Rchen83 was read by Tennis Angel, too.How come?I do not know, and this si definately issue John has to take care of.
Originally Posted by Tennis Angel
By starting to write my topic I have wanted to show a little bit of complexity which goes with bringing a child to professional tennis.People aim at professional tennis, but if one succeds to be good junior or college player is fine, too.It is very difficult to become professional tennis player. and I illustrated it that there are many beutiful tennis facilities with few good tennis players (not to mention professional tennis players).
Why am I doing it?So that ones who try (parents/coaches) to achieve that get just a light picture how difficult it is, so that they prepare better and consequently increase their chance to succeed.
My aim is to say few words about all the factors which form tennis environment in which this process takes place (parents, tennis coach, quality tennis environment, child¨s talent, and little bit of luck).
I am not going in great details, but I am giving some details so that this process gets necessary recognition for what it is.
This topic is just first layer;it describes what is all involved in bringing a child to professional tennis.
Last edited by Bubo; 05-09-2009 at 11:44 AM.
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