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Tennis - Is The Coach The Boss?

Apr 04, 2014
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Its true, well a tennis coach should be the boss. However, it seems there is a trend that has been developing for a while.... Parents, players and other influences who apparently know better are controlling what happens, on and off the court. In my opinion, it is wrong. I can see the problem here coming from two areas.


Tennis - Is The Coach The Boss?

1. The coach is not strong enough with their players and their support team or they run their business just for profits, not results, or the benefit of players and the game (they don't care as they should) so they are happy to let things be.

2. Influences around the player stepping over the boundary and giving bad advice, undermining the player's team, and chopping and changing things around, which is confusing and causes instability for players.

As a tennis fitness trainer, I know my role and responsibility. When I dealt with Tony Roche I would ask him what he needed and what I could do. Then he leaves it with me and that's that, if things need to change we communicate it and move on, neither of us would ever undermine each other and this has always worked well for Lleyton. Lleyton's parents never tell Tony or myself how to do our jobs, like we never tell them how to parent. His manager plays his role, controlling everything from a management perspective and keeping the wheels turning, but never oversteps his role. Simple right, its how the wheels of progress and success turn......

One of my biggest no no's is seeing players have 2,3 or more coaches... it's crazy in my opinion, why? it is so confusing for a young tennis player to get told 3 different ways to do something, once again causes instability and stability is one of the highest priorities for a young player. What's worse is when none of the coaches know the player is getting coached someplace else, this happens a lot.

My advice; Communicate what everyone's role is, that sets the boundaries right there. The moment someone oversteps is the moment someone needs to be strong and stop it before it escalates. Assertive communication is needed at times and that builds respect.

The coach should be the boss of a players development and tennis structure, if they are not, WHY? they don't want to be or something else is stopping them.  
As tennis trainers, we understand the importance of having a good team around a player. In order to get everything running well, everyone has to be on the same page and the player needs to know everyone respects each other. There have been times when I have conducted a tennis workout and the coach of the player has approached me after the session and asked why I did certain tennis exercises or drills. I really like this, giving feedback and educating each other is what it is all about! I encourage everyone to ask questions and learn from each other. 

Good luck!

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