Being A Coach On And Off The Court
Good sportsmanship is important for players.
But being an example of what good sportsmanship looks like is up to the coach. To lead by example is the best way to teach, which is why it’s so important to always remain calm, cool, and collected both on and off the court. If you spend the majority of your day on the court coaching students you might as well do it with an energetic and positive attitude. This will guarantee the most effective outcome, not only for your students but for your fulfillment as a coach. In many ways, your coaching philosophy should be similar to what a life coach might suggest is only a roadblock that can be overcome, just like those in the game of tennis. Not every player will pick up direction as quickly as others, just like some drivers won’t ever understand the concept of a fast vs. slow lane. It’s all okay, because when your philosophies for work and life are aligned so is your mind…and your temper. Solidifying what this philosophy will look like in practice might take some time, but once you do it will synthesize your mode of discipline with your long and short term objectives.
Being a good coach is also about being a good listener.
Communication is also key in this case, so also make sure to always give direction in a positive light as you will find players respond better to positive advice rather than outright criticism. To keep this mentality fresh, you should always stay a student of tennis by joining national tennis associations like the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) or the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR). Through either of these organizations you can take courses and have access to publications and conferences about tennis. The USTA (as well as Youtube) has a video library for coaches to utilize. After all, there is always more to learn.
Another important aspect of coaching is to keep in mind is who you’re coaching. What does the student want to get out of his/her session with you? Certainly, if they’re training to be professional it’s more about performance than participation and you certainly don’t want them to develop any bad habits. If the student is just trying to improve their skills for recreational purposes, then lessons should be focused on tennis basics and techniques based on their level. I’m sure their parents (if they’re younger) would appreciate them having fun over being drilled over and over again until drops of blood form on their forehead.
Last, but certainly not least is being a great, effective leader. The theory “you are who you hang out with” rings true on the court as well. In fact, as a motivational coach you have the ability to rub those good vibes off onto your player, who might have the potential but not the attitude during the early stages, which are often the hardest.