Based on :- Class – Commitment – Character – Accountability – Technical Skill – Mental Toughness and Excellence in Performance!
MY KEYS TO EFFECTIVE PRO COACHING
- The main priority of a successful, experienced professional coach should be to put the game and the welfare and development of the players FIRST.
- The keys to effective coaching are sound technical knowledge, good motivational , communication and social skills.
- A charismatic style of teaching helps. A genuine caring for the students’ welfare and development is crucial and the coach should monitor progress systematically.
- Academic excellence, a strong set of family values, integrity (honor and honesty) and refraining from involvement with alcohol or drugs should be insisted upon. The coach should help players develop good judgement and sportsmanship.
- Players must be taught to share responsibility, always be ACCOUNTABLE – and not be SELFISH. In my opinion, being a champion is just as important as becoming a valuable team member, having good manners and learning to be respectful of others – especially player’s opponents, parents and coaches.
- The coach should continuously strive to expand his or her knowledge and understanding of modern techniques, as the game evolves. A coach should avoid promoting and focussing on one style or method of teaching.
- Formulate a detailed plan for the development of a proficient tournament player and monitor progress objectively and fairly. Integrity and fairness are aspects of coaching that students can feel! The plan should include regular participation in tournaments and College tennis.
- Video analysis is an effective method of teaching stroke development and for building players’ understanding of the latest stroke swing patterns and progressions. Video is effective because it has a strong visual impact.
- Teach players to set and adopt appropriate goals and objectives and to accept that errors and losses are part of the game. I encourage players to use or adopt realistic margins for error – so that the level of expectation is not too high – and the ‘fall’ too big to handle.
- I believe that many players have sound stroke and footwork patterns but they have not been taught to set realistic goals and their level of expectation is, thus, far too high. This leads to frustration and irritation on court and an emotional collapse under competitive pressure.
- Players should be taught to effectively handle adversity during matches – which should be scheduled frequently during the program to develop competitive experience.
- Players should be taught to understand and read a variety of patterns of play, so that they can recognise them when on court. The player should see the need to introduce a different strategy and then formulate and adopt an appropriate game plan and then execute the plan to win the match!
- To develop players physically to cope with today’s demands, the coach should develop and impliment an appropriate conditioning and fitness program which includes speed, stamina and strength. A suitable fitness program will help to prevent injuries and help players to stay the course of long, tight matches. A coach’s ability to identify stroke deficiencies will also prevent injuries.
- Approachability by players is crucial for every successful coach. The coach must make himself or herself available at all times. No matter how long and hard a coach works, he or she should always display a professional attitude and work ethic. Trust and respect are the foundations of a strong coach – student working relationship.
- My late step-mother Sheila Evans ( Dowdeswell ) – who coached professionally for over 60 years – often reminded me that an effective coach should always make tennis FUN for the players.
- It is the coach’s responsiblity to motivate the players so that they want to return for another lesson. The coach is also responsible for inspiring the players to give of their best at all times. Students should not be pushed by parents to take lessons!
- Players must be taught the significance and importance of being performance driven to achieve success. They should be encouraged to avoid focussing only on winning as this creates too much pressure when competing. If players concentrate on their performance, success will follow. They should not focus on seedings or rankings.
- Positive reinforcement is an effective teaching style. Players should understand the importance of self-discipline, self-motivation, honesty and a fighting spirit to achieve success in tennis. They should know that champions do not make excuses and always take on challenges head-on. This includes accepting constructive criticism and a strong desire to achieve success – be the best!
- Players (students) should be encouraged to make a commitment to tennis if their goal is success at a high level. I personally believe that top tournament players should participate in tennis all year round. ATP pros Sam Query and John Isner participated in other sports until the age of 15 – before specialising in tennis only. Team sport experience is an essential part of a player’s development.
- Players must organise their own tournament entries and “hitting partners” when arranging practice sessions. Practise, practise and more practise will improve CONSISTENCY, CONTROL and CONFIDENCE!!
Hallmarks of a Young Champion
Accountability : Self Motivation – Discipline – Dedication – Honor – Loves the Challenge -Excellence in Performance!