What To Look For in a Coach?

Today I want to give you some things to consider when selecting a tennis coach for your child.First, you should not taking choosing someone who is going to work with your child lightly.  This person is going to spend and enormous amount of time with your child over the course of years and more importantly have a tremendously ability to impact their life.  I know some kids who spend more time with the coach of their chosen sport on a weekly basis than with their parents.  It is critical that you get to know the coach and make sure you know about their character, integrity, and just the kind of person they are in general.  Take a look at how he or she interacts with their other students.  Do they yell a lot? Are they generally positive or negative?  Just take all of these things into consideration.

Second, it becomes important to have a conversation with the coach at some point and define their role in your child’s life.  A coach can have a tremendous impact on the character of your child and tennis certainly is a wonderful metaphor for life.  Do you want your coach to teach these valuable life lessons when the opportunity arises? Do you want the coach to simply stick to teaching the technique of tennis and that is it?  Is the coach the kind of person who is willing to teach more than just technique?  These are all important questions to ask and help to clarify roles and expectations.

Third, ask what is the level of knowledge and teaching experience a coach has?  Coaching is teaching plain and simple.  I always look at myself as a teacher first and foremost.  There are many coaches with decorated playing backgrounds but being a player is much different than being a teacher.  Look for the teacher first.

Finally, the game and athletic demands of a tennis player have changed significantly in the past 15 years and it is critical to have a coach who throughly understands the aspects of technical stroke production, shot selection, and athletic skill development.  Look for a coach who focuses on long-term athletic development.  What that means is do not look for the coach who offers to provide the quick fix, there is no such thing.  Instead, look for the coach who looks out for a player’s long-term development.  When you plan for the long-term you get the best results and less injuries if training volume and methods are appropriately accounted for.

To close, remember maybe the most important thing of all, make sure your coach genuinely cares about your son or daughter.  No one cares what a coach knows, until they know the coach cares.

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