Tennis Tips: How to Grow A Tennis Star - The Coach
This is the second of three blogs discussing the all-important sports triangle—athlete-parent-coach—taken from the guide I Want to Play Wimbledon, produced to assist in the development of young tennis athletes. It will focus on the role of the coach.
When coaches do not have the experience and knowledge working towards a college or pro-level career, they should be honest with the players and parents and find coaches who have had this experience to work together with them and make the team more competent.
It is so important for coaches to be honest and have empathy for the kids, their players, and their parents. Coaches should put the person first, then the athlete.
If we coaches don't build a good personal relationship with the player and the parents, where they trust us, not just talking about our competence, but also connecting with us on a personal unique individual level, the work with the team towards the goal of a college or pro-level player, will become very difficult.
It’s good to be honest, and not to know it all. If coaches don’t know all the answers, consider other coaches, who can consult the team and find solutions. A good coach always questions the work and consults with other coaches or high-level players to maybe bring a new perspective into the team works.
Coaches, parents, and kids have to work together in that triangle team to get the best out of everybody for continuous improvement. Keep moving and improving is the motto and coaches have an important role in that process coaching the kid and also the parents on how to be effective in their important parts. The team makes the dream of keep moving and improving and giving the son or daughter the chance to become a college or even pro-level tennis player.
Here's an excerpt from “I Want to Play Wimbledon” addressing the second point of the triangle, “The Coach”:
'In our triumvirate or team of three, two positions cannot be interchanged or are very difficult to replace: those of the main actor - your child or the player and the parents. The trainer/coach is completely optional and of course also interchangeable.
Certainly, there are exceptional cases of a coach accompanying their player through the whole or a very large part of a tennis career. Example: Rafael Nadal and his coach Toni Nadal; Björn Borg and his coach Lennard Bergelin. The majority, including the current big earners in our industry, have worked with several, sometimes many, different coaches in the course of their careers.
As a rule, the situation can look like this: A child takes their first steps on the red ashes with a club youth coach, usually in a group, and is taught the basics, such as basic strokes, netplay, serves, and counting.
As soon as you or the coach notice that your little "darling" has more enthusiasm or commitment, individual lessons usually follow, in which your child is treated in a more distinguished manner.
Other coaches can then join you up to the association level, for example, or you can decide on a coach or tennis school of your choice. If teaching a few basics is not challenging for a coach, the situation will change gradually as your child's tennis career progresses. The outline of requirements becomes more and more complex and extensive. The better your child becomes, the more difficult it will be for you to find the right coach.
In this chapter, our second set, the intent is to provide solutions to help you avoid some nasty blunders.