Contributor: Ben Wolf
As a teacher of 12 years, I’ve had my share of students who have enjoyed my class. They understood my humor, understood the articulation of how I explained concepts and were comfortable approaching me for questions. I also have had my share of students that have detested my class. They felt I talked too fast or too slow, was hard to understand and considered me “unapproachable.” I try hard not to have this happen but it is impossible to get around the fact that there are some students that just won’t get along with how I teach.
I have a feeling many of you can relate to this with having great experiences with teachers and not so good ones. Why is this important? There are numerous studies that tie how well a teacher is liked with motivation and achievement. Making this connection makes selecting your tennis instructor very important so that you or your child is feeling supported and challenged to learning new concepts of the game. With that said, let’s look at some aspects of what you should look for in a coach.
What kind of coach do you need? Do you get along with someone that is extremely positive or one that is constantly pushing for more out of you? Do you enjoy humor and a less intense environment or do you need someone pushing you the whole time? Do you consider your coach a role model for you or your child to look up to? These are all important questions to consider when finding the right fit for you. Before looking into what the instructor knows, make sure you get along with them!
There are a lot of good tennis players out there but not a lot of good instructors. It’s hard to explain what it feels like to hit with the correct technique. Ensuring that your instructor is able to convey the information about the proper technique in a way for you to understand is crucial for your development. Remember, you can always find a good hitting partner. They are much easier to find so make sure you’re not just hitting with your coach but also receiving valuable information on improving your game.
This is obvious but some of us develop a close relationship with their instructor that they don’t want to think about the question, “am I constantly improving?”. Sure, you will see some times of difficulty in getting better, but are you progressing or regressing with your tennis skills? The pros know that it is often the case that a coach has taken them as far as they can and it’s time to move on to a new coach and a different approach to keep improving. A good example is Andy Murray’s switch to tennis legend Ivan Lendl as his coach. Some believe Ivan was the driving force behind helping Andy improve his second serve, forehand and consistency and subsequent three Grand Slam titles.
If you are a baseliner with a two-handed backhand, you probably don’t want to talk to coach who plays as a serve and volleyer with a one handed backhand. Make sure you have the right coach that knows your game inside and out. Their perspective of your game will be based on their own experience rather than just what they have played against in their own matches.
Price and Availability
Most coaches will charge between $50 and $80 an hour. Think of the value they give you rather than the cost. For example, if you are paying $75/hr but feel like your game has gotten better a lot faster than with someone who charges $60/hr, then you have more value with the more expensive coach. Also, make sure they can work around your schedule. You need to have consistent times to work with your coach and their schedule needs to coincide with yours.
Who Do They Know?
Another aspect I would look at for a coach is who they know for me to practice with. If the coach knows a lot of players either as their students or through programs they run, it will allow you to find more players to train with and improve your game even faster.
How Open Court Club Can Help With This
Coaches that offer their services at Open Court Club have a bio that comes with them and a video to help you get to know them before trying out a lesson with them. There are also numerous coaches on OCC to choose from, making the chances of finding a good match higher. Go ahead and shop around to find your coach to bring your game to the next level! Check out: opencourtclub.com