How Tennis Coaches Can Help Their Players Improve Faster

How Tennis Coaches Can Help Their Players Improve Faster
Published: 2020-06-23

If I told you that there was a proven system to help tennis players improve faster, would you want to use it?  What if I said that it doesn’t have to cost you any extra money, would that entice you even more? Yes & YES, right?!

Let’s face it, tennis players take lessons because they want to get better, and improving at something makes it more fun. Players quit when they stagnate, get bored, and stop improving.

Our job, as coaches, is to accelerate our students’ improvement and to build their enthusiasm for the game by helping them get better and reach new levels.

What’s the secret that top players have used for years, but that more and more coaches of all level players are starting to find? Video Analysis. Almost all coaches already have the tools needed to implement video analysis into their workflow, at no extra cost.

Why then, do we not embrace a proven tool that will help us identify technical flaws quicker? Why wouldn’t we want to use this to help our students make corrections and improve faster?

After consulting with hundreds of coaches, at all levels, from across the world, I believe the answer is this…

CHANGE = PAIN

It is easier to keep doing things the way we have always done them. It is Einstein’s classic theory of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

If you’ve ever had a student not be able to figure out a particular stroke (that should be all of you) and you’re not using video, keep reading.

CHANGE = PAIN

Recent events that have all but suspended the teaching of tennis have given coaches pause, and an opportunity to make these changes and learn new long-term video skills that enhance their results with students...and their business.

Video analysis is the next big thing in tennis coaching, and a low hanging fruit for coaches to tackle.

What are the benefits of using video in your player development?

  1. It’s proven that players learn faster with video. The dominant learning process is Visual, and video is all about Visual.
  2. Coaches identify technical and tactical flaws easier. 
    • You get a different point of view. 
    • You can see frame-by-frame playback.
  3. Video is objective. You and your student see that exact same thing.
  4. Improvement now becomes measurable, one of the main tenets of goal setting.
  5. Player progress is documented. Parents of juniors love this.
  6. Remote coaching, or teaching from home is possible.
  7. Coaches can generate off-court revenue.

Learn how the best tennis coaches in the world are using video here.

So, how do you get started?

  1. Commit to the change.   
    • Understand that using video analysis is a process, not a one-time event. The lesson structure may have to change slightly. Usually, this is tougher for the coach than for the player.
  2. Set up a system or tools that you need, and then test them.
  3. Identify protocols (a game plan) that you will use over the long term. These create consistency in the service and make it easier for both you and your students.

Here is the process we use at Tennis Analytics with ATP, WTA, and college players.

The System

  1. Use a mobile device with video capability (cell phone works), and a tripod with mobile mount. It’s difficult to feed balls and film at the same time.
  2. Sharing videos.
    1. This is the KEY element in your system, since it is the “service” you are selling.
    2. Some online platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, WeTransfer are free, and with a little work, you can set up your delivery system.
    3. Apps like myDartfish Express offer a more professional solution and are essentially “plug-and-play”.  For $60/year you get the following technical analysis tools:
      1. Mark key positions on the stroke, like contact point.
      2. Add drawing tools, text, and audio comments
      3. Create collections for each of your players on your Personal Cloud.
      4. Share links to the videos with players & parents. They do not need any software.
      5. Create “perfect” stroke libraries, and strategy tip videos to share with your players.

The System

Get the App here!

The System 2

The Protocols

  1. Decide how often to use video on the court. You don’t necessarily have to video every lesson.
  2. Identify camera angles that you film from. Be consistent to make sure you have the same angle every time!
  3. Define your analysis format (use of tools, audio, etc). Often, the simpler the better.
  4. Choose the timing of the delivery. Ideally, on the same day as the lesson.

5 Video Tips for Tennis Coaches  

Generating off-court revenue

This is the #1 question I am asked. How much should I charge for video analysis?

First, understand that video analysis used on-court and during the lesson is included in the cost of the lesson. This is much like using a ball machine during the lesson. It is used as a fast teaching and learning tool.

Off-court revenue is generated from a more formal analysis that is usually done after the lesson. This should not take more than thirty minutes – the more you create post-lesson analyses, the easier they become. The best price to use should always tie back to what you charge for private lessons. For example, let’s say your private lesson rate is $80 per hour. Here are a few options.

Private Video lesson

  • 1 hour on-court using video as teaching, learning tool
  • ½ hour off-court (coach only) – analysis shared with player
  • Total Price $120 (33% off-court)

4 + 1 Video package (10% package discount)

  • 4 private lessons, using video on-court when needed
  • 1 hour off-court analysis (coach only) – analysis shared with player after 1st and last session
  • Price $360 (20% off-court)

Remote Coaching

  • The player uploads a video to you using a free app (like WeTransfer).
  • The coach conducts a technical analysis. For remote lessons, our protocol is:
    • Reference clip (ideally a pro or good player) with key positions assigned.
    • Student clips with key positions marked, text and audio comments, drawing tools.
    • Side-by-side synched comparison. This allows the player to pause and see the difference between their stroke and the reference clip.
  • This is uploaded to their personal collection and with a follow-up Skype or Zoom session.
  • Price $80+ (all off-court revenue)

When you start talking to players and parents about using video to help them improve, they fall in love with the system. After all, players are taking a lesson because they want to improve faster, and there is no better faster way to develop players!

If you’re interested in learning more about video analysis, go to www.TennisAnalytics.net. We offer professional certification training for tennis coaches.