Tennis is an individual game and the main thrust on the court is on players. However, behind the scenes, coaches and support staff have a very crucial role to play. Tennis coaching is not just about ensuring that the players improve their game and shots. It also deals with strategy making, adding new things to the player’s game-style, and motivating them to perform above their potential. Here are the things to need to become a great tennis coach.
Understand The Game As A Coach
Most of the well-known coaches on the pro tour are former tennis players. They have years of experience at the highest level and aim to pass that knowledge to players. There is, however, a lot of difference in tennis coaching and playing the game. As a coach, one needs to understand the game as an instructor and not as a player. The great Andre Agassi while starting to Coach Novak Djokovic used to say, “as a coach you need to learn the player inside out, tennis coaching demands more than passing information and giving instructions.’’
As a coach you need to learn about the player’s game, his weaknesses and strengths. Different professional players react differently upon getting new advice and information. Many may be open to accepting slight changes in the game and some may be a bit rigid. Thus, tennis coaching is also a lot about making a player accept a few things without pressing too much. Every professional coach knows that in the end it is all about the player on the court.
Be A Sound Strategist
Tennis coaching demands a lot of strategy in making and planning both practice sessions and matches. The rules of tennis don’t permit on-court coaching. Thus, before important matches, the player and the coach usually spend a lot of time deciding about various plans. It demands to analyze the court surface, players’ own game, and the opponent’s game also. This ensures that the player goes to the court with a full proof plan which is good for his confidence and winning chances.
Experienced tennis coaches, however, don’t impose their strategy on the players. They recognize that the player has already achieved so much by doing what he has been doing. A smart tennis coach will subtly pass his word without letting the player go off the hook. Paul Annacone, who coached great tennis players like Pete Sampras and Roger Federer says, “different players react differently to the information given to them, tennis coaching thus demands you know many ways of passing ideas without sounding to impose them.’’
Get A Coaching Certification
Most pro tennis stars hire famous retired tennis players. However, if you aim for a tennis coaching career starting from junior level, certification is necessary and beneficial. You need to pass some mandatory tests about the skills and knowledge of the game. These certificates are issued by most national tennis associations like the United States Professional Tennis Association, French Tennis Federation, etc. They help you to start a career at the junior level or join the tennis academies.
Tennis coaching is one of the most enthralling and challenging careers. It gives one a lot of satisfaction to see the players you mentor improve their game and career.