Wednesday, 1 January 2014


As a Tennis Coach , whether it be full time or part time , feed back is the obvious source of information that is required to continue teaching the game , without it no Coach would know where he or she is at with their program. In saying that , my last 4 weeks on court i would describe as both frustrating and rewarding, in details that i will explain later , but it's great to see some of the 'older generation' warm to some ideas that they perhaps weren't either aware of on court or not previously interested in , good signs for the future .
Some of the shots hit by these players are rather remarkable considering they are hit with what i would call 'conservative ' grips and swing patterns that are from older text books , proving one thing , the mind is actively thinking about the process of playing the game.
The most frustrating part of teaching the game lately has been the lack of knowledge of how to actually hold a racket , this coming mainly from some young players who have been having regular coaching over the past two seasons from organisations that are obviously 'baby sitting' as opposed to teaching. I can tell within two shots whether a pupil is holding a racket correctly , it's not that hard , yet for some 'Coaches' it is something that seems beyond their capabilities , a detriment to the game, the grip is where it all starts. Within two sessions i had a kid hitting confidently through her two handed backhand up and over her shoulder which originally resembled a 'poke' with an open racket face that had no chance of being hit consistently, she now looks comfortable with this shot in particular. I also had a lesson with a kid that lasted a little over 30 minutes before i refused to hit another ball to as their attitude was one that i have seen on many occasions 'big fish , small pond' syndrome. This kid 'knew it all' and apparently has been having regular one on one sessions with an 'Experienced' Coach yet the way they hit the ball lacked any correct technique or thought process. Some kids accept fresh ideas , others aren't interested and in this kid's case i would be surprised if any wins were achieved outside of the local area in the near future, his game style would be 'eaten' by State ranked kids his age. I would like to think that with teaching the game of Tennis i am 'hard but fair'....
I also looked up some valuable teaching tips from one of the true legends of Tennis and a player who i have mentioned regularly as a big influence on my game , former World Number one Mats Wilander, a true 'tactician' of the game. Now when you watch a guy like Mats both talking about strategies as well as teaching technique it is very satisfying to know that my rather 'pedantic' way of coaching is in a lot of ways similar , the difference in experience however is obvious.
We have an obligation to our students to teach the game properly , not just take the money and say 'see you next week' , as was the case with the young kid who's lesson i cut short . I refused to take any payment for that 30 minutes of what any experienced Coach would call a reality check, i in fact called it 'free advice' , sometimes in the game of Tennis it doesn't hurt to give just that. Just because we own a bit of paper that says we are a 'Qualified Tennis Coach' doesn't mean that we should stop learning also , the game continues to evolve , so should we.......

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