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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up How To Find The Right Coach & Academy For Your Kids

    PART I

    I hear many parents say:" My son/daughter is going to Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy". Parents say it with such conviction as if sending their child to Nick's academy means that the kids become the next Roger Federer over night. Don't get me wrong, with all due respect, Nick Bollettieri is a great coach but most of the kids attending his academy never get to see him on the court. Instead, parents pay a lot of money, $32,100 - $85,000 for full-time status, but don't know much about the person who actually conducts the training. Most of the parents don't even know what the player/coach ratio is – most academy coaches have numerous kids they coach at once.

    If parents ask me if they should send their kid to Nick Bollettieri's academy, I generally do not recommend it, unless their child is already a very successful junior player on a national/international level. National/International successful junior players will receive quality training and hence the individual attention of good coaches that is needed to become successful. But if the kid is "just" a talented player, he/she will be one of many and will not receive the quality training that the top players receive. Instead, they will be on court 28 with some assistant coach who drills them till they throw-up, then they receive a hat and a shirt, and not much else. This phenomenon can be seen at tennis academies all over the country.

    So, what would be a better approach?


    One way to go is to find a place where player/coach ratio is low (1:2 – 1:4 max). One such place could be John Roddick Total Tennis. But the most effective way is to find your own private coach that works with you on a 1:1 basis. This is a comparable scenario to class room sizes in schools. Research has shown over the years that if you have a private tutor you will learn more than sitting in a classroom with 24 other students because the tutor can focus solely on your needs and the student pays more attention as well. It will cost you probably some more money but you get much more for each and every $ spent. I strongly believe in the notion that "quality will be remembered when the price is already forgotten."

    Now, how do I find a great coach that can help me get better?

    There are many coaches out there and almost each and every one of them claims to have worked with professional players. Most of the time, it's rather wishful thinking than reality, which leads me to the first rule: "Don't listen to what people say, look at what they do".

    For instance, what is their completed level of education? What kind of degree did they accomplish - do they have a "Bachelor's" or "Master's"?

    If someone has a Master's degree doesn't necessarily mean that they are smarter but it means that they had the determination to get through 6+ years of university classes. It means that they set out to achieve something and they started and finished the job.


    Is the coach certified by a tennis teaching organization (e.g. USPTA or USPTR)?

    How many certifications does he/she have? What level did they accomplish? Again, it doesn't mean that they are "better" than someone without a license but it is an indication that they take teaching seriously. If someone possess more than one license means that he/she is open to different ways/methods to accomplish something – being open-minded to different approaches. Believe it or not, there are many ways to become successful – Nick Bollettieri has one way of teaching, Ion Tiriac/Gunther Bosch (Boris Becker's former manager & coach respectively) had another way.


    What is the physical appearance of the potential coach - do they suffer from the fat-and-happy syndrome? What I mean by that is, are they in good physical shape themselves for their age or are they 25 pounds overweight? Why is that important you might ask…well, for once, it's a matter of self-discipline. As a coach, I cannot expect from my student to work out hard, eat right, etc. and I can't do it myself – they should do themselves what they are preaching. Does Nick Bollettieri, Tony Roche, or Dean Goldfine look overweight? The answer is NO.

    If you have a chance to watch the coach conduct a training session, watch for the following:

    • is he/she on time?


    • Do they have a plan for what they try to accomplish or do they just do the same routine all the time?


    • Are they engaging when they teach – do you feel the coach cares if the student learns something


    Being on time is a matter of respect and discipline. If they have a plan shows that they took the time to sit down, think about what they want to accomplish and find ways to implement a desired outcome. If they are engaging means that they want you to get better, not just getting paid.


    PART II

    Quality education cost a lot of time and money...Rome wasn't built in one day. Many tennis academies are either run by former professional players (e.g. Casal, Bruguera, Evert, etc.) that all know how to hit a ball themselves but have little to no knowledge about physiology, anatomy, nutrition, etc. or they are run by a coach that had success with 1 player 25 years ago and they still practice like it is 1975. By the way, the most successful coach, Nick Bollettieri, is not a good tennis player himself but he had/has drive, discipline and determination.

    Being on the court during the day and then sitting in class for 3 years in college takes money, time, determination, and effort....lying is easier and they get paid regardless because most people are blended by a big name and/or don't have adequate information available to them.

    I mentioned previously what parents can do to evaluate for themselves if a coach is ambitious, honest, and knows what they are talking about. One thing I would recommend to parents is asking questions...why do you do this? why do you do that? Coaches who know what they are doing will be able to explain to you in simple terms why they are doing something...coaches who don't will often answer "because we used to do it". The best advice I can give parents is to look at results. Has the academy produced any players that made it into the top 100 ATP or WTA and when did they do it? Are they still getting players to that level today or in the recent past? There are no excuses to charge a lot of $ but not being able to deliver results...why send your kid somewhere if they never produced anybody? That means that they are doing something wrong...doesn't it?

    Back to the expertise of coaches...For example, the coach says "you have to go jogging 6 miles, 4x/week". The coach that doesn't know what they are doing will say something like "because it enhances the player's aerobic base" or "that's how we do it". A competent coach would say "we don't send them jogging because tennis is more of an anaerobic (higher power output, short durations < 30 sec) sport than aerobic (endurance)." Do endurance runners look muscular? How about American Football players? Why would I want to train a football player (plays last ~10sec) like an endurance athlete (marathon runner)? It has to be sport-specific.

    Also, the notion of "more is better" when it comes to training is absolute non-sense and shows immediately that the coach is clueless. This approach will most often lead to injuries and a decline in the players performance due to over-training! and/or because the coach reinforces wrong technique, intensities, rest intervals...just to name a few. I don't see how doing the wrong things over and over make you a better tennis player...do you? For example, adequate rest intervals are vital, otherwise any organism (e.g. human body) will die instead of getting stronger.


    These are just some of the things you can use to evaluate a potential coach. Apart from the aforementioned guidelines, it is essential to be on the same page on a personal level – coach and player should trust each other and get along personally in order to have success.


    For more information you can visit our website and/or join our Facebook Group for periodic information on tennis, conditioning, and sports nutrition.
    Last edited by WorldTT; 07-14-2009 at 12:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    When it comes to certifications make sure they are accredited, otherwise they don't mean anything. You can conduct a "Elite Tennis Conditioning Seminar" over the weekend and give everyone a certificate...then the coaches use that and represent themselves as experts in the field.

    For example Pat Etcheberry, a known conditioning coach, conducts those classes over the weekend and hands out certificates, making a lot of money with them but that's it.

    That's like you making a license to become a dentist over the weekend and then present yourself to clients as a specialist.

    A list of accredited programs can be found here.


    My motto is "Quality is remembered when the price is already forgotten"!
    Last edited by WorldTT; 07-14-2009 at 12:29 PM.

  3. #3
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    I do so enjoy a conversation about Coaches & Coaching, given that's what I find myself doing on a Part-Time basis these days for High School. But the old, "How do you find a good Coach" is like the question, "Who's the greatest of All Time?"

    Of the Academies you mentioned in your writing, you did omit the Evert Academy which is excellent in my opinion but more to the point. Even good/great Coaches aren't always good or great for everyone evident in the countless Coach firings that happen year round in the Pros.

    Take someone like Brad Gilbert. I'm old enough to have known Brad when he was on the tour. A very mediocre Players that had an unorthodox style, no big weapon and was good enough to eek out a living but little else. What Brad did have however was a keen sense of the Game as it applied to others. He could see what he could never seem to do. But Brad got his Coaching recognition with Andre Agassi success. All of a sudden, Agassi is bouncing back from 141 in the World off the Challenger Circuit, winning Majors, kicking butt, winning the French to cap his career Slam and Brad was the lucky guy standing next to him. For most of us, we tend to think Gil Reyes was the driving force behind Andre's success in the late 90's but Conditioning Trainers never get the props they deserve and that was the real Keys to Success for Andre. Andre Agassi had the weapons, he just wasn't physical where his body needed to be for what he was asking it to accomplish.

    Is Brad Gilbert a good Coach? Well after Andre, Brad was hired by Mary Pearce which crashed & burned as quickly as it started. Then Andy Roddick started making some noise with Brad at his side but still came up sort of winning the big ones so away Brad went as if it was Brad's fault Andy couldn't win.

    And why would a Pro Player blame their Coach for losing? Strokes are Strokes as many will suggest. Once you've gotten to the Pros, you pretty much know how to hit a ball. Do you need a 6 figure Coach to tweak your game at that level? Yeah of course you do to a point but believe me, a good High School or College Coach could accomplish the same.

    To get a good Coach once you've learned how to compete, there are two essential criteria that one should seek out

    1. Strategy - Believe me even the Pros are horrible at good court strategy. Jennifer Capriati was one that made me cringe when she played. Even though Jen could smack the cover off the ball, all Jen relied upon was over-powering her opponent but more than not, Jennifer made he work far more difficult than necessary because so many times she didn't take advantage to the many openings that she created with her weapons and a good Coach would do something about that.

    2. Conditioning - This is more than ever the biggest component of today's game. Now everybody can smack the ball as hard as the next person. Not too long ago, I would easily claim that below the Top 5 in the World in the WTA, I could beat. The way many of the young ladies played, made me wonder how they even got where they are. I coined them as Draw Fillers and nothing more than that. Today probably thanks to the William's Sisters, to claim I could beat these ladies, I'd need to look below the Top 50 or maybe lower. And because they all can hit like hell, you have to stay out there longer, run faster, think quicker and don't even consider Moon Balls anymore. The Women are hitting passing shots like nobody's business. They are serving in the 100's easy and they are strong.

    Do you need a High Priced Coach to achieve these attributes? No you don't, you need someone who understands what you want to accomplish and the best way for yo to get there based on what you bring to the table (weapons you have). For the Pros, I'd look to past Touring Pros who know what it's like to be there. But for us average Club, High School, College, Park Players who take our Game seriously, credentials are meaningless really.

    If someone tells you they Coach Tennis, it is perfectly fine for you to suggest your first lesson be No Charge or 50% off to see if they are going to be a good fit. I've had no problem with that arrangement because it makes sense.

    Our new member WorldTT suggest that if they've accomplished getting a degree or some level of credentials that are hard to come by, it indicates they at least put some time in and take their job seriously. That's a good point but as I see it, not always necessary.

    My game turned around 180 from an old guy I met at a park many years back. He use to hang around and what people play. He had no legs for tennis anymore although he would always come down to the Park with a Racquet that he would spin in his hands but even if you asked him if he wanted to pay a set of Dubs, his answer was always No Thanks. He just sat and watched people play. One day I was taking a break on the bench and he started talking to me about what he assessed my game to be. He suggested I make some small adjustments and gave me very sound reasons as to why. I took his advice and to be honest, it changed my game. I literally went from being a solid 3.5 Player in singles to beating people who were 4.5 Players in a few short weeks. He also told me I needed to Bike, Run and/or Swim as much as possible. I lived in Huntington Beach, Calif. so all of those activities were available to me. I began to get stronger and even noticed that getting to balls became much easier than before even though I considered myself to be pretty fast but the difference was, I didn't just get to the ball but I got there in time to do some damage with my reply.

    Point is, this old guy had been playing tennis for 40 years or so and knew tons about the game. He understood and was able to communicate to me how to evaluate my opponent's weaknesses & strengths and how to use that information in a match. He made an adjustment to my serve that messed me up for almost a week before I finally got it down. For the first time I was starting to hit not only aces but unreturnable serves. He had no credentials other than years of experience and a willing student to listen to him. I won my first tourney in Newport Beach, Ca. with him sitting in the stands smiling the whole time. I still have that trophy in a box.

    When I meet my kids, I asked them what they want from the Game. Do they just want to be able to hit a good shot and keep the ball in play so they can have fun or are they serious about winning local tourney and more? Are they willing to run the track or is Friday night out with the friends 10 times more important? Once I get an idea of what I have to work with, I build a game plan around that. My goal is to get everyone to a level where they can be as successful as possible with what they bring to the table because as you all know, there's nothing like a good clean winner to make you crave more like it.

    WorldTT - your article was very good. Although I don't agree with everything, I do agree with your premise and I like the way you write so I can't wait to read more from you.

    Coach
    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.

  4. #4
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    Coach, in the 2nd paragraph of PART II I also mention the Evert Tennis Academy…and in my opinion they are not “good” because they have an infrastructure that other places can just dream off (but still don’t produce anybody) and a staff that is not what it should be (a few coaches are great!). For example, since you mentioned that conditioning was such a great factor (and I agree), take a look at Evert’s Strength & Conditioning Coach JohnMark Jenkins. From what I know he’s a great guy but from a professional standpoint should probably not be in charge of conditioning at a place like Evert Academy because he has no background in tennis and a Bachelor’s Degree in Prelaw/Politics. How does that qualify you to be in charge of Strength & Conditioning? Because he has a certificate? Maybe as an assistant conditioning coach but not the guy in charge of program design.

    I believe that if you have spent millions of $ for the place then your goal must be to produce world class players, not just good players. But how can that be achieved if the guy in charge of conditioning is not one of the best out there?

    When you hire a financial advisor, wouldn’t you want to have someone with a degree in finance, plus series 7 & series 9 certifications, and years of experience in the field? I don’t think it would make much sense to hire someone in charge of finance who has a degree in liberal arts, worked years as a baker, but has the series 7 & series 9 certifications that are needed to work as a financial advisor. Why go to school, pay thousands of dollars, etc. if it doesn’t provide any benefits? Again ,you must not have a degree to be successful…there are exceptions, but they are exceptions and not the rule, like John McEnroe is an exception.

    I agree with your viewpoint about Brad Gilbert. Brad has success because he is the Anna Kurnikova of ATP coaches…he knows how to sell himself but is not one of the best coaches out there. Every chance he gets he puts his face in TV in talks himself up…it’s never about his players. Brad Gilbert gives more interviews than Andre Agassi & Andy Roddick together. It’s always about what Brad thinks, and I’m sure he has his expertise (I feel it’s more in the mental department) but he never developed any of his players and made them better…therefore, in my eyes, he is not a good coach.

  5. #5
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    I assume you watched Rocky 4 at some point. I ask this because when I think about the Rocky 4 story, on the surface was this story about how people can learn to accept each other regardless of their differences but I looked beyond that and took from the movie that you can have the very best of everything and still come out 2nd best. Because my friend, at the end of the day it's all about the Guts & Grind.

    Is your horse willing to put it all on the line? Is he/she willing to bleed for the cause (not literally)? Boris Becker use to dive for shots and many thought it was theatrical at best but Boris being a large frame guy, didn't have the mobility that he needed to stand at the Net and defend countless passing shots. His instinct was to get to the ball even if it required diving for it.

    So my little point is, when you ask about producing World Class Players at a young age, you have to include many factors in that scenario. Who wants it more, the Kid or the Parents? If the answer is the Parents, then spend all the money you can scrape up but at the end of the day, this kid is still going to be a loser, because his/her hearts not in it.

    The Coach is only 40% of the equation at best. Like I said, you can show a kid the correct way to strike a ball but that penetrating shot that an opponent can't seem to get to comes from the Gut.

    This is a very short but very true story that I experienced many years back in Huntington Beach, Ca. I went down to our local Park to pick up a game. No one was around at the time so I hit against the wall they had. Soon this young lady comes to the Court and I see her serving balls from a bucket she brought with her. She was probably in her mid-20's

    Eager to hit, I approached and asked if she wanted to hit and she said yes. I discovered that she was newly planted in Calif. from South America. Her English was not too bad and with the little Spanish I speak, we were able to communicate pretty well. I took note immediately that although she could get the ball back with consistency, she had nothing on it at all. I mean you could have a drink before the ball got to you. So after about 30 minutes of this patty cake hitting, I had enough. I approached her and asked her a question.

    Now please try to put yourself into this situation if possible. Her name was Carmina (I'll never forget it because she was also very attractive & single)

    Me: Carmina, Come here I need to ask you something.

    Carmina: Ok, what ?

    Me: Have you ever had sex?

    Carmina: [With the look of shock on her face wondering if she should grab her stuff and split] What do you mean?

    Me: Please give me a moment because I want to help you hit the ball better and I have an idea that might work but you have to answer this question, Have you ever had sex?

    Carmina: [Heavy blushing] Yes I have

    Me: Ok, you know when you have sex sometimes you let out sounds like, "Ahh & Ohh" ?

    Carmina: Yes I understand, yeah sometimes but what do you mean?

    Me: Ok this is what I want you to do from now on, everytime you strike the ball, I want you to let out a sound from your stomach, like "Ahh or Ohh" I want you to verbally push the air out from your stomach when you hit the ball.


    Ok, I wish I knew where she was today because I never had such a quick study before. She began to immediately do what I asked and immediately she began to hit the ball 150% harder than before. She understood my point and what I was trying to achieve with her and she got it. I literally turned her into a hitting monster. She truly started grunting like Monica Seles and I wish you could have seen the transformation with each shot she hit. She increased her velocity two fold. From that day on, we had some great baseline rallies. I never got to play a match with her because she was one of those people who just like to hit and use that for her daily workout.

    * I hope you understand my bigger point here? For no money at all Carmina became a better player with a small tiny amount of instruction from me and a huge amount of determination from her.

    When you have a Coach and a Student that are both hungry for success, then and only then can you have a World Class Player otherwise it doesn't matter how much money somebody pours out. How did Andre Agassi fall to 141 in the World? He lost focus on the big picture. He didn't care anymore and his results showed it. Maybe it was Brad that helped him wake up but Andre brought whatever he needed to the table and the rest is history.



    .
    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.

  6. #6
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    Coach, I agree with you that as a coach can only help the player get there…it’s like giving birth, the doctor can help you deliver the baby, but he can’t deliver it for you. Same in tennis, as a coach you can help the player become successful but that depends on a few factors but most of all on the discipline and eagerness of the player to become successful. Unfortunately there are not enough good qualified coaches out there in institutions (colleges, academies, clubs, USTA) that proclaim to be great in developing talent.

    What I have a problem with is that many coaches don’t have the necessary skills and integrity (big word)…instead of telling some parents and/or players that they won’t make it as a professional player, they rather get paid. Believe it or not, not everybody can become a professional tennis player. Take a look at all the players in US colleges, how many each year make it into the pros (Top 100)? 1 maybe 2? Which also lets me to believe that most college tennis coaches are not that good since they a) are in charge of recruiting players, b) have an infrastructure to their disposal that is unbelievable (include. Athletic trainers, strength & conditioning coaches, nutritionists, in-door/out-door courts, etc.) but still can’t produce anybody. Some coaches run programs 10-20 years and never produced anybody but they continuously talk themselves up saying that they had a great tennis program….based on what?? That the program is top 10 in the nation? Who cares if you are top 10 in the nation but had never a player who became successful? Doesn’t that mean that the coach takes some responsibility for not having the skills necessary to produce professional players? It can’t just be the parents/players fault!

    Just a few days ago we were at the National Clay Court Championships Girls 14 for 1 week. They had a 256 main draw with a few byes…I assume there must have been approx. 200 girls playing. There were coaches there from all kinds of academies all over the country approaching parents to send their child to the academy and some of the conversations I heard made me nauseous. Instead of having the desire and skill to develop a player and making him/her better, they just had $ signs in their eyes.

    Out of the 200 girls playing maybe 10 were good athletes, all were comfortable at the baseline, and maybe 5 were comfortable hitting volleys. In other words, most of the coaches did a terrible job in developing their players! How do you expect to become successful if you can’t move well and are limited in your stroke production? But the coaches still keep their jobs for years and are getting paid well? How can that be? To me it means that we (the organization, e.g. USTA) support mediocrity but are not interested in supporting excellence. What does it mean to you?

  7. #7
    Coach, I agree with you that as a coach can only help the player get there…it’s like giving birth, the doctor can help you deliver the baby, but he can’t deliver it for you. Same in tennis, as a coach you can help the player become successful but that depends on a few factors but most of all on the discipline and eagerness of the player to become successful. Unfortunately there are not enough good qualified coaches out there in institutions (colleges, academies, clubs, USTA) that proclaim to be great in developing talent.

    What I have a problem with is that many coaches don’t have the necessary skills and integrity (big word)…instead of telling some parents and/or players that they won’t make it as a professional player, they rather get paid. Believe it or not, not everybody can become a professional tennis player. Take a look at all the players in US colleges, how many each year make it into the pros (Top 100)? 1 maybe 2? Which also lets me to believe that most college tennis coaches are not that good since they a) are in charge of recruiting players, b) have an infrastructure to their disposal that is unbelievable (include. Athletic trainers, strength & conditioning coaches, nutritionists, in-door/out-door courts, etc.) but still can’t produce anybody. Some coaches run programs 10-20 years and never produced anybody but they continuously talk themselves up saying that they had a great tennis program….based on what?? That the program is top 10 in the nation? Who cares if you are top 10 in the nation but had never a player who became successful? Doesn’t that mean that the coach takes some responsibility for not having the skills necessary to produce professional players? It can’t just be the parents/players fault!

    Just a few days ago we were at the National Clay Court Championships Girls 14 for 1 week. They had a 256 main draw with a few byes…I assume there must have been approx. 200 girls playing. There were coaches there from all kinds of academies all over the country approaching parents to send their child to the academy and some of the conversations I heard made me nauseous. Instead of having the desire and skill to develop a player and making him/her better, they just had $ signs in their eyes.

    Out of the 200 girls playing maybe 10 were good athletes, all were comfortable at the baseline, and maybe 5 were comfortable hitting volleys. In other words, most of the coaches did a terrible job in developing their players! How do you expect to become successful if you can’t move well and are limited in your stroke production? But the coaches still keep their jobs for years and are getting paid well? How can that be? To me it means that we (the organization, e.g. USTA) support mediocrity but are not interested in supporting excellence. What does it mean to you?

  8. #8
    Different players may have different coaching needs within an academy setting. In mot instances, the academy environment offers group participation, dorm-room accommodations, academic study and cross-training combined with the on-court work. There are few opportunities for players at the junior level to train one-on-one with a pro-level coach. One new option, suitable for some high performance players and coaches aspiring to reach the pro ranks is Oscar Wegner's Elite Training Program, which is described on his forum here on Tennisw.
    Last edited by Tennis Angel; 03-14-2010 at 06:36 PM.
    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.

  9. #9
    As a parent of a 7-year-old who shows promise, I have found this thread interesting and useful. My daughter is no child prodigy, and I have no illusions about that, but she is above average and has won a few tournaments and it will be interesting to see how she developes. But there is no way that I would ever send her to any academy. If she wants it bad enough (and that has to come from her, not me pushing her) she will have every opportunity. We have good coaches and training facilities locally and I could spend hours hitting with her every day myself if needed. I have heard about kids going to academies and coming back worse off, feeling depressed and hating tennis.
    Here in the UK there are many tennis academies, including the national governing body LTA one, and we have only one male in the top hundred - and he trained in Spain. We have started having a bit more success with the women but it's been too long coming.
    One thing I would like to ask you guys here. How many hours on court would you recommend a junior to be putting in each week? I have come across under 10s putting in about 13 hours a week and under 16s putting in 25 hours a week. Is that about right?
    Last edited by mal-j; 03-14-2010 at 09:14 PM.

  10. #10
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    Well, desire is the key thing. I don't get that much time, but I do as many drills as possible on and off the court. I practice footwork, timing, and all I can do. When I get on the court, I see definite results.
    Todd Martin used to say, since he only got to play a few hours a week, he treasured them more, as I do.
    Also, the Spartak Club in Russia, (Sp?), well they had their kids playing a few hours a week (under 10), and even their older kids, less than 20..
    Technique> Time on court

  11. #11
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    Very informative posts filled with good opinions and advice. I think one thing that is overlooked by many however is the coachability of the player. You can have the most talented kid on earth but if they won't listen or think a bit too highly of themselves to be taught they won't go anywhere no matter how good a coach they have. Coachable players make good coaches look even better and kids that are willing to be coached can make up for lack of physical talent up to a point.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mal-j View Post
    As a parent of a 7-year-old who shows promise, I have found this thread interesting and useful. My daughter is no child prodigy, and I have no illusions about that, but she is above average and has won a few tournaments and it will be interesting to see how she developes. But there is no way that I would ever send her to any academy. If she wants it bad enough (and that has to come from her, not me pushing her) she will have every opportunity. We have good coaches and training facilities locally and I could spend hours hitting with her every day myself if needed. I have heard about kids going to academies and coming back worse off, feeling depressed and hating tennis.
    Here in the UK there are many tennis academies, including the national governing body LTA one, and we have only one male in the top hundred - and he trained in Spain. We have started having a bit more success with the women but it's been too long coming.
    One thing I would like to ask you guys here. How many hours on court would you recommend a junior to be putting in each week? I have come across under 10s putting in about 13 hours a week and under 16s putting in 25 hours a week. Is that about right?
    We do 20 hours a week on court and then add private lessons at Smith Stearns. We have two with extreme pro potential and another 14 players that are top 20 in the nation in their respective age brackets. There has to be a balance. Too much training is bad. These player do fine with 20 or so hours of training. (Then add fitness of course which is on top of those hours). The key is it has to be fun and they have to want to come to practice. The desire lies within the player, not the coach. The player must be coachable or everyone (parents, player, and coaches) is wasting their time. I have one 15 year old boy who could probably out groundstroke any junior in the world. Any of them. He is playing professional satellite tournaments and is getting through qualifying, but is losing early in the main draw. Why? Uncoachable. He thinks he is too good. He has no serve or volley because he refuses to get away from the eastern forehand grip on his serve and his volley. He has been told time and time again and it works great when he is in practice. Put him in a match, he immediately goes back from the very first point he plays. Doesn't even give the continental a chance. If matches were played with a fed ball from the baseline, he would be top 300 on the ATP. But, that is not how the game is played. All the talent in the world and uncoachable. It kills me.......

  13. #13
    In our case the amount of coaching time depends on the age of the child and other activities he/she is engaged in. Over-working a player does not guarantee better results. Last night I watched a coach run a player ragged from corner to corner with impossible feeds for 2+ hours, slam her racket down and kick stray balls demanding the player pick up balls that had gone over the fence, then making the player run several laps at the end of the session. People pay for this? We promote a friendly, calm and encouraging environment in which the player can build confidence and feel relaxed. In some cases less is more; we would probably recommend 2 hours a day for a very young player and 3 hours for an older child, and we would advocate some days off, perhaps 2 days a week for rest and recuperation. The player also needs time to hit with players as well as doing drills/coaching sessions. It needs to be fun for the player, and he/she should look forward to getting on the tennis court in between tournaments/matches. Some kids play so well in practice/training then lose it all in a match. We address this issue in addition to the mechanics of playing. I would hesitate to say that a player is un-coachable. We prefer to look at the individual player and his/her team (parents/coaches) and discover a way of making progress and shaping success for the player with an integrated approach. Finding what is holding the player back from reaching his/her full potential, whether it be faulty technique, physical issues (nutrition, rest, growth spurts, detrimental cross-training), misconceptions or false data from the parent or coach, too much pressure or other undesirable influences, and a host of other possibilities is key in liberating the player and his/her team. Tapping into the player's innate abilities and playing with naturality is the foundation of our system, together with application of the basics of a proven methodology. No one system is right for every player; ours has a unique approach that will serve some players exceptionally well, as will another style for another player perhaps serve best.
    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.

  14. #14
    i think that each child is individual and the amount of time that needs to be invested in coaching will aslo vary. The best players aren't born they train a lot. So kids, and adults, really need to be dedicated to a sport and only focus on one activity. At least that is my opinion. Boris Becker wasn't the most agile player but he still was a real good one as he very often dived for his shots. I like how now that his tennis carreer is over he believes himself to be a pro at the poker table. Hey if hes as good in poker as he is in tennis, then fair game.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Miami
    Posts
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    One coach that I can highly recommend is Philipp Halfmann. He has great references and expertise as a tennis and conditioning coach and is a person with integrity. I know that he also designed conditioning programs for many athletes that can't afford a personal coach.

    Here is a link to his website if you like more information.
    --
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