View Full Version : Question for Teaching Pros

10s talk
09-30-2007, 04:18 PM
how honest are you with your students/parents ? if you are working with a semi athletic, semi coordinated student, are you honest about their potential ?

10-01-2007, 01:45 PM
I could only speak for myself. Of course, I am always honest about the student's potential. I don't want things to back fire on me. If I say the potential is there to play DI college and the player can't even go higher than a 3.5 rating after taking a ton of lessons from me, what would that make me look? I think the only teaching pros who would not be honest are either those with no pride in themselves or those who don't intend to stay in the business for long. Of course, there will always be those who are just plain dirt bags.

10s talk
10-01-2007, 04:30 PM

I have a 9th grade girl who has never played before. She wants to be on a strong High School team that probably has D1 players.

I have told the parents that it is a long shot, but havn't said to much to the girl, other than watch the team play so she understands the level of competition.

Kaptain Karl
10-01-2007, 06:49 PM
I've seen DOZENS of "sure thing" kids bomb. And I've seen a few kids I thought were bums prove me wrong with their heart, fight and desire.

Show me a Teaching Pro who claims he can predict a kid's potential ... and I'll tell you that same TP is (being foolish).

- KK

10-01-2007, 07:08 PM
Sure. There is no way anyone can predict potential. However, if you see the fight, heart and desire from the player, you can at least let the parent know what the kid has and with some athleticism and a bit of talent, you can pretty much be able to say the kid will be able to progress to a decent player. From there it's all up to the kid.

Mountain Ghost
10-01-2007, 11:04 PM
If she has never played before, that means she has no bad habits to correct. I think the real questions are: 1) How good are YOU as a teaching pro? . . . 2) What is the depth and the intensity of the environment she will be developing in? . . . and 3) Will she keep working hard on her game even if she doesn’t “succeed” immediately? With a good work ethic, in a real tennis scene and under excellent guidance, REAL progress is possible for ANYONE.

There’s no way that trying to estimate her potential at this stage of the game can be accurate, so being “honest” about her chances of becoming a truly competitive player would be, quite frankly, inherently dishonest. Instead of trying to sell her or her parents on some “realistic” reading of the future (be it puffy PR or cautious failure “insurance”), you should explain that, while she will surely improve, her level of eventual success will have more to do with intelligent, willful and persistent actions than with raw abilities . . . or early predictions.


Trinity TC
10-02-2007, 12:38 AM
how honest are you with your students/parents ? if you are working with a semi athletic, semi coordinated student, are you honest about their potential ?
I think I'm fairly honest with them. I always say, "I don't know."

10-02-2007, 05:39 AM
In my earlier years of coaching, I found many players who didn't seem to possess those early charicteristics that led me to believe they could reach highly skilled levels of play. Yet, through proper instructional progression and desire on their part, (Dedication, drive, discipline, and sacrifice), they went on to play not just great on my team, but many went on to play collegiate tennis.

I have learned NEVER to dismiss a player's potential. The honesty factor deals not with potential, (which, unless a player truly has some handicap, each player has ample potential to reach highly skilled levels of play), but the honesty factor will, in reality, deal with if the player has the desire I mentioned earlier. I tell both the parent and the player that they have the potential to do anything they want. However, if they are not willing to apply themselves, (lesson effort, time spent playing and practicing, study of the sport on their own, tournament entries, etc.), then they will only gain the skills of tennis, (because that is what I will teach them), but they will not master the sport.

There is a big difference between learning the patterns of skilled tennis and developing a competitive game with such methods.

I have had players who literally could not drop-hit a ball as freshmen, only to go on to become top state-ranked players. One, player I had was terrible...only to go on to become the top doubles player in southern california.

So, you really never know. And kids mature at different times so you might have an immature kid who is physically inept only to mature and reach tremendous levels later.

These are my experiences.

10-02-2007, 06:51 AM
Excellent thread guys! To be perfectly honest, the responses I have seen from the teaching pro's here, are not what I would have anticipated. The fact that they seem to be consitent across the board, really increases the credibility from different samples of the population. I really like what I am hearing from those who have responded.