Wednesday, 6 April 2016

'A COACHING PHILOSOPHY' ( PART 1 )

If I was asked to describe my tennis coaching in two words I would say 'affordable' and 'practical' because I believe the two go hand in hand. If you keep the game within the price range of the every day student or rather the students' parents' then two things will happen. The student will book a regular lesson and if the coaching is easy enough to follow then improvement will occur, fairly simple.
I was told once by a rather astute local, "Glenn you are a good tennis coach and you have taught me a lot yet you are an ordinary Businessman". He was right though I would prefer it that way than the other way around. If you have an ability to teach a sport then it is always a little easier to eventually improve the way you manage the financial side of the game.
Basically I have never charged a 'usual' fee for a tennis lesson because I believe the sport is heading out of control in that aspect.
When I was a kid I learned the game from a gentleman by the name of Peter Homes who used to charge around $15 for an hour's lesson, one on one. It was pretty obvious what that pricing did, it had kids knocking on his door for lessons and improvement was a given. Why ? Peter was a brilliant tennis coach but he was also affordable to have a regular lesson with so if you compare that type of situation to today it is no wonder that many talented kids are leaving tennis and playing team sports instead.
Many tennis coaches now charge up to $90 for a one on one hourly session and even their assistants who may be rather fresh in their own ability to teach the game can be charging up to $70. That's big dollars to learn a sport so for people on a tight income that luxury is not even on the radar.
I had a lesson with a youngster just recently who is paying for their own lessons and I had a bit of an idea as to what they earned per hour due to their age. I was rather taken by their desire to not only get better at tennis but also their independence at paying for their own lessons. A coach needs to use their discretion when charging with this type of situation.
If a student is working then I am not going to charge the equivalent of a week's wage for them as I quite possibly won't see them again for a month, if at all.
When a parent pays for a tennis lesson in the City it quite often is anywhere up to four hours work for them, perhaps in many cases half a day's pay. If you put all of that into perspective it is an extremely expensive sport to learn. 
A one on one tennis lesson is so valuable because it can improve a student ten times quicker than a group session. This is due mainly to the volume of balls hit and the luxury to talk in detail about both the thinking and technique side of the game without the distraction of other students.
Personally I didn't do many group sessions as a kid because it was so affordable to learn one on one with Peter and it was rather obvious how quickly it took my game from junior level to senior standard in a short time frame. I went from hitting with kids my own age to hitting regularly with Peter and his mates. Most times I got beaten but it gave me a focus, a goal, a true idea of where I needed to improve to be competitive against the big boys.
That type of intensive hitting took me to Perth junior tournaments where I was more than competitive in my age group and I won a State Doubles Title shortly after I turned 15. (I didn't start until I was 12.) I felt as though I belonged with those players as opposed to that feeling of intimidation that many country players have when they play against the City kids.
Tournament play is not for every tennis player but improvement is every player's goal so for a student of the game it is imperative to find an affordable and practical way to improve.
Every tennis coach has a desire to create both a Business for themselves and a group of players who can one day be the local benchmark of the game but it starts with the price tag of learning. Keeping it within a family's budget is one of the biggest factors in a sport such as tennis because if it is given an 'exclusive' rating it will stay a sport that only a select few play.
You shouldn't have to be rich to learn tennis.......


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