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Monday, 8 March 2010

Everyone loves their Coach!

As a school teacher, experience suggests that at an infant/early primary level everyone loves their teacher – it is not uncommon to see open, wonderfully spontaneous examples of warmth & affection extended by young children towards the teacher, something that I might add, for probably understandable reasons is frowned upon by “authorities” if the teacher is to reciprocate.
At a secondary level, however, it becomes decidedly “not cool’ with a majority of students to cooperate with one’s teacher let alone like them!

A comparison with pupils on the tennis court proves an interesting exercise. Very young pupils tend to “idolise” the coach, constantly trying to impress, seek approval etc etc – the coach can do no wrong. Adolescents & young adults treat their coach quite differently to the school teacher. Although not as openly expressive as their younger counterparts, pupils from this group nevertheless generally hold their coach in the highest regard – often having to strongly defend their coach’s skills, reputation etc – the “my coach is better than yours” syndrome.

It seems logical that both groups are highly supportive of their coaches – after all, unlike the school situation, the pupil (or their parents) has made the choice of coach. Except in some squad type situations, selection of a coach (particularly in larger centres) is a free choice.

PROBLEM: Most young players & their parents are not sufficiently “tennis wise” to make an informed choice. We therefore have a situation where the player (and their entourage) are very friendly with & highly supportive of a coach with sometimes very limited teaching ability.

Assuming that tennis is a very difficult game to learn to play at a high level, then we have a dilemma – “an uneducated tennis community” desperate to be successful is frequently placing its formative development in the hands of coaches who are sometimes not capable of doing the job in a professional manner.

This lack of capability is often a matter of personal ignorance of one’s own coaching ability while in other circumstances, unscrupulous “coaches” are well aware of the superficiality of their “teaching”.

Either way, the result, or lack of, is a dilemma that recognised late or not at all will ultimately lead to lack of development & consequently “under performance” as related to “potential”.


Related articles from Peter Smith

  • Watch and learn from the Greats of the Modern Game
  • Accelerated Learning
  • The Natural Tennis Player Theory
  • False Desperation
  • Playing & Living in Fear
  • Potential downside of having successful role models

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