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10ispro
10-22-2007, 09:05 PM
I thought I would post a question that has bothered me for sometime at my new club.
I am the Head pro at a rather large 8 Indoor court facility. The club has myself and 2 staff Pros as well as several Independent Contractor Pros to help with various activities and and Lessons.

There has been an ongoing "problem" in our Open Junior Drill sessions where The Pro conducting the Session takes it upon him/herself to attempt to make technical corrections to students he/she knows are currently taking private lessons or Training with another Pro.
Technical corrections refers to grips, stances, swing paths, and other technique issues.

My personal belief and what I have been taught at other clubs is that it is not acceptable to make these types of corrections to a student you are not in a student/teacher relationship with on a regular basis.
They are paying someone else to make these corrections, they came to the drill sessions to do exactly that--do drills and hit balls.
This is what I consider professional courtesy to your fellow Pros.

My personal problem is that I primarily work with tournament players and players who want to advance into competitive tennis. The Pros who conduct the sessions really donot possess the technical knowledge to understand or teach as Dave Smith would say--an Advanced Foundation. Or Modern Tennis--open stances, semi and full western grips, angles, swinging volley,correct footwork and movement etc...

My second Dilemma is that I have several kids in some of my programs who also take some other Pros and have some stroke deficiencies which if not addressed would prevent them from reaching their goals-but I leave it up to the student to take it up with their personal Pro to make these corrections and then the student and parent to make a decision about what is best for the player in the end.

So where does one's responsibility end with the players on the court?

Swissv2
10-22-2007, 09:29 PM
One of the issues that a student struggles with is which "technique" is proper. Having multiple coaches make the student conform to the coach's preference of technique, while their intentions are mainly for the student's benefit, may be destructive to the student's development.

The line should stop at a students technique - and focus on the contact point with an ability to properly control the ball and a students ability to move around the court properly. Knowledge of the modern game is beneficial if and only if a student is able to successfully apply the mechanics.

Now if it is a coach's resposibility to take these students to the next level, there must be a communication with the student to the issue of having to learn multiple schools of thought. The student must decide which coach to go with, and not have two otherwise things will be much worse down the road.

Shahar26
10-23-2007, 05:07 AM
This is an interesting question, and I think the answer to that may vary depending on where you are...

I think that since you are all working for the same club, giving these kinds of "tips" are okay, I mean, at the end of the day, I think the student should determine what helps his game the most, regardless of where he got that "tip", and he should also determine if he want to switch coaches, if he finds that one works better for his than another.

I can also understand how a coach might not want someone else to "interfere" with his teaching methods, but since it's the students who are paying for these lessons, I think it's their right to get as much out of them, regardless of who is giving them.

It seems to me to be like a substitute teacher situation in school, they come from time to time, sometimes they teach the same stuff the regular teacher does, and sometimes they come up with their own stuff (which I think is good since it can broaden the students way of thought).

Whatever you do though, I think it should be discussed and agreed upon with the other coaches to prevent any hard feelings.

P.S

Check out TennisLessons.com (http://www.tennislessons.com), you can post your information for free and get new students.

Supernatural_Serve
10-23-2007, 05:14 AM
I don't know how one could possibly know where to draw the line.

Hopefully, a pro does his best and uses his judgment to best see how he/she adds value in the lesson in front of them.

I'll never forget the time when a pro I was hitting with for 9 months went on vacation. He taught a very advanced style of game to everyone. So, a substitute filled in for him. The first words out of his mouth were: "Good, I've been wanting to hit with you. Now, I know <the other pro> teaches you this...but you really should be doing that instead." This was before we even hit a single ball.

And the truth was, he was right.

So, if he respected my 9 month relationship with the "advanced" pro, I wouldn't have gotten "the traditional" points he was making concerning racquet preparation.

And I would have lost out.

raiden031
10-23-2007, 05:32 AM
I don't see how there is a problem among different pros giving tips unless one or more of those pros are technically wrong. I think any pro should recognize that there is more than one right way to do certain strokes, and should only interfere if the student is doing something that all of the coaches would agree is incorrect.

Tennismastery
10-23-2007, 06:12 AM
This problem is not uncommon at facilities that have multiple teaching courts and teaching pros. There are all sorts of 'egos' and pros who believe they know it all.

the real answer is to create communication between the pros by the director of the facility. Monthly meetings among all the pros to discuss and formulate a training methodology that all can adhere to.

There is also a proper way in which a pro can offer suggestions. That is, for one pro to say, "here is another way to try to accomplish that. See if this works for you. 'Mr. Jones' your other pro, has it correct. But, I've found that this method also works for many of my students." Too many pros will use the opportunity to get a 'notch' up on other pros by telling the student something like, "No, don't do it that way. That is all wrong. You need to do it this way." This certainly undermines the authority and percieved skills of the other pros who is teaching the student and creates animosity and a sense of competition between pros at the same facility.

When communication of and a dedication to this prinicple is followed, you will have students enjoying the diversity in pros yet believe that the facility has their act together.

While I believe in a general "Advanced Foundation" that I describe in my book, I believe that there are many 'tools' which different pros can use to get players to that Foundation. It is amazing when I send one of my students to a reputable camp and they come back with something like, "They taught/said the same thing you did." Or, "They said to try this and it worked." (When what they said to try was exactly what we were teaching...but hearing it from someone else, in a different practice environment can make it click for some reason!)

Anyway, if you don't get a handle on this problem now, you will have some real problems in the near future. It is terribly frustrating too, when inexperienced pros especially, try to undermine your authority. A good director will know how to address this and create a 'teamwork' mentality instead of an 'individual' one. All the pros should work to build up the other pros, making the student feel that all the classes they attend are valuable and that there isn't a 'weak link' in the facility.

Just a few things I have seen in my years. Hope it helps!

Kaptain Karl
10-23-2007, 06:40 AM
I had a related problem with a player on our HS team. (Our season just ended.)

"Joe" took lessons all summer from a TP who taught him some (frankly) ridiculous techniques. The most flagrant was to hit volleys with Joe's thumb UP the handle instead of wrapped around the grip. (Really!)

This TP teaches at one of the better clubs in the next town and evidently she tells ALL of her students to volley this way. (Oh yeah. I also found out this TP is a long-time friend of the family. Ugh!!!)

I tried to be diplomatic about it at first ... but I finally gave up on diplomacy and simply said, "Joe, you need to decide. Do you want to avoid ruffling feathers with a friend ... or do you want to improve?"

Many of my boys' parents are soliciting referrals to TPs for the off-season. Guess who isn't getting recommended period???

Sheesh!!!

- KK

Geezer Guy
10-23-2007, 07:55 AM
To go along with what Tennismastery said - but from a students perspective - I think it works best if everyone at the facility is in agreement on the best set of techniques to teach. If everyone is teaching different techniques, it get's pretty confusing. Having a standard approach makes it easier. You'll still have certain pro's you "click" with or that make learning easier or more fun - but at least you feel like you're learning a good solid foundation. When you try out a new pro, it's not like you're starting all over.

As the new head pro, you should be able to implement this at your facility. I'm sure there'll be resistance at first, but it's not like your asking them to do something wrong. Many businesses have a standard set of "Best Practices" that everyone is requred to follow - whether they like/agree with them or not.

Cindysphinx
10-23-2007, 11:45 AM
This is fascinating.

My recent experience with this involves a "Stroke of the Week" clinic led by one of the pros. My own pro works at this same facility and knows that other pro well, of course. I get the sense my pro doesn't think much of the other pro's background or methods.

Well, I mentioned to my pro that I was going to give this clinic a try to get some extra practice on volleys. I got the feeling he wasn't thrilled with this. Why? Was he worried I'd ditch him for the other pro? Was he worried the other pro was an idiot who would mess up my strokes? Was he just marking his territory? Hmmmm . . . .

So I went to the clinic, and immediately I had a problem. This pro taught the backhand volley differently. Specifically, he taught that you should keep your elbow locked and you should move your shoulder kind of like a hinge. There should be no follow-thorough.

My pro believes that, to get weight on your slice backhand volley, a bend in the elbow is preferable. He discourages hitting the ball too far away from the body and just reaching for it with a straight arm. He believes that there is a follow-through toward the target.

I tried this other pro's way, but I really didn't see it as being very effective. First, it feels unnatural and weak to keep your elbow locked like that. And it was *really* ineffective -- people were popping up the ball like crazy. My own shots with that new technique seemed to lack the weight and power they had before.

Afterward, I told my own pro the technique being taught and said I wouldn't be using it and preferred his method. He immediately launched into an explanation of why his method is better, but I cut him off: "Dude, I'm sold, OK!"

So. Where was I going with this?

Oh, yeah. I don't think pros should be threatened by having their student learn something new. Students are smart enough to figure out what will and won't work for them. If I were in a clinic and a pro did not teach me something solely because I "belong" to another pro, I'd be irritated. Show me and let me decide.

predrag
10-23-2007, 11:57 AM
I thought I would post a question that has bothered me for sometime at my new club.
I am the Head pro at a rather large 8 Indoor court facility. The club has myself and 2 staff Pros as well as several Independent Contractor Pros to help with various activities and and Lessons.

There has been an ongoing "problem" in our Open Junior Drill sessions where The Pro conducting the Session takes it upon him/herself to attempt to make technical corrections to students he/she knows are currently taking private lessons or Training with another Pro.
Technical corrections refers to grips, stances, swing paths, and other technique issues.

My personal belief and what I have been taught at other clubs is that it is not acceptable to make these types of corrections to a student you are not in a student/teacher relationship with on a regular basis.
They are paying someone else to make these corrections, they came to the drill sessions to do exactly that--do drills and hit balls.
This is what I consider professional courtesy to your fellow Pros.

My personal problem is that I primarily work with tournament players and players who want to advance into competitive tennis. The Pros who conduct the sessions really donot possess the technical knowledge to understand or teach as Dave Smith would say--an Advanced Foundation. Or Modern Tennis--open stances, semi and full western grips, angles, swinging volley,correct footwork and movement etc...

My second Dilemma is that I have several kids in some of my programs who also take some other Pros and have some stroke deficiencies which if not addressed would prevent them from reaching their goals-but I leave it up to the student to take it up with their personal Pro to make these corrections and then the student and parent to make a decision about what is best for the player in the end.

So where does one's responsibility end with the players on the court?

I usually approach the pro who is teaching that player and discuss the issue.
If did not get to agreement, I would limit my comments to tactical solutions but would not
go deep into technical details.

Regards, Predrag

LuckyR
10-23-2007, 12:13 PM
This is an interesting question and the correct answers are different depending where the student is in their tennis career. For a rank beginner, any and all sources of info are reasonable. The difference between the good and the bad would be how the info is phrased, as Tennismastery mentioned. For someone who has already grooved their strokes but will never make one $ from tennis the answer is slightly different. It is probably a disservice the vast majority of the time to mess with the techniques you mention (grips, stroke path etc). The Pro (either their primary or substitute) should be optimizing what the client is bringing to the table, since although this or that technique might be "better" than what the client is doing all things being equal, the reality is, all things aren't equal, they have already grooved a grip/stroke path etc and there is probably a ton of info that can optimize that person's particular setup. This will probably dwarf whatever theoretical improvement to be had by starting over from scratch.

For the Junior who really has a shot at the Bigtime, they (or more accurately their parents) are really paying someone else to make the decisions, you, as the substitute Pro, are being hired to hit drills. Show a bit of ethics and blowbag about your knowledge with the next client. Of course the parents should be stating this, for the truly dense, but many won't.

tennis-n-sc
10-23-2007, 12:35 PM
Just for me, and I'll admit that I'm not the best example of anything, different pros bring different things to the table and I would never stick with just one pro simply because I've never found one that I could relate to involving every aspect of the game. At my club, we have three teaching pros that do a lot of work with juniors, some with high state and sectional rankings. They do individual lessons and clinics and seem to have no problem with conflicts of teaching methods. And I know they do not all teach the same techniques. Having said that, I can see a potential conflict of fees issues and loss of clients which could create bad vibes all around. I don't know if there is a right answer, only an answer that may work for you.

NoBadMojo
10-23-2007, 12:42 PM
I thought I would post a question that has bothered me for sometime at my new club.
I am the Head pro at a rather large 8 Indoor court facility. The club has myself and 2 staff Pros as well as several Independent Contractor Pros to help with various activities and and Lessons.

There has been an ongoing "problem" in our Open Junior Drill sessions where The Pro conducting the Session takes it upon him/herself to attempt to make technical corrections to students he/she knows are currently taking private lessons or Training with another Pro.
Technical corrections refers to grips, stances, swing paths, and other technique issues.

My personal belief and what I have been taught at other clubs is that it is not acceptable to make these types of corrections to a student you are not in a student/teacher relationship with on a regular basis.
They are paying someone else to make these corrections, they came to the drill sessions to do exactly that--do drills and hit balls.
This is what I consider professional courtesy to your fellow Pros.

My personal problem is that I primarily work with tournament players and players who want to advance into competitive tennis. The Pros who conduct the sessions really donot possess the technical knowledge to understand or teach as Dave Smith would say--an Advanced Foundation. Or Modern Tennis--open stances, semi and full western grips, angles, swinging volley,correct footwork and movement etc...

My second Dilemma is that I have several kids in some of my programs who also take some other Pros and have some stroke deficiencies which if not addressed would prevent them from reaching their goals-but I leave it up to the student to take it up with their personal Pro to make these corrections and then the student and parent to make a decision about what is best for the player in the end.

So where does one's responsibility end with the players on the court?

off topic but seems to me you've got too many teaching pros for this size facility and your staff pros are likley to not stick around if they are good. if you need that many pros for 8 courts, i would think you have an unhappy membership complaining that too many courts are being devoted to lessons and not enough available to the membership who just wish to play and not receive lessons if lots of the lessons are being conducted during prime time and they cant get court time

as to your other question, clinics/drill sessions usually arent designed for individual instruction <as i'm sure you must know> other than an occassional tid bit here and there, so if you have a tp who is devoting too much time to an individual at the expense of the rest of the clinic that sure isnt good

i've never proclaimed ownership of any of my students. other tp's may give one of my students some instruction here and there knowing i am their primary teacher, and i'm fine with that..sometimes hearing something explained in a way that is diff than your way is helpful to the lesson (provided the advice is being given by someone who knows what they are talking about>......i have observed that some TP's are insecure about this <not saying you are>. I hit with 3 other tp's who live where i do every week, and i would trust them to give any of my students an occassional peice of good advice and a couple of them take a clinic from one of the guys i hit with each week...we're all friends and try and help one another...another one shouldnt be teaching anyone anything about tennis period;)

Jack the Hack
10-23-2007, 01:07 PM
I think this might be related to the topic...

At a tournament this year, I had the (mis)fortune of sitting next to a well known teaching pro from a large metro area in our section. I didn't know who he was, but looked him up later after hearing his loud mouth that day. That afternoon, he was bragging about breaking some racquets in his last match, and was going on and on about how the manufacturer was trying to get more frames to him in time for his next match. Also, at one point, the tournament director came around asking if anybody knew who's car was out front because it was parked right in the middle of the driveway and nobody could get in or out of the lot. Apparently, some ******* had gotten impatient trying to find a proper parking spot, and just parked right in the middle of everything. Hmmm... guess who our ******* turned out to be? And, he pitched a fit about having to move it also! After seeing this guy's behavior, I quickly formed the opinion that he was one very arrogant and annoying ******.

Anyway, what was on topic to me was this:

Before he had to go move his car, this particular teaching pro (I'll call him Mr. Wonderful) was complaining (loudly) to another pro that his students kept going to other pros without asking him first. He also said he had a beef with the pros these juniors had gone to because he felt that the first thing you should do as a pro is ask a new student if they are taking lessons somewhere else. According to Mr. Wonderful, if you find out that a new student is taking lessons elsewhere, you are obligated to turn that student away immediately and call the other pro for "permission" before teaching them anything. I have never heard of this code of conduct.

Furthermore, Mr. Wonderful went on to trash one of the new pros that had just moved his area because several top juniors had switched to him (and he never had the courtesy to call Mr. Wonderful for permission). The thing is that I know this new pro, and he's a former collegiate champion and ATP tour player. With his credentials, there's no wonder that the kids would want to take at least a few lessons from him. The funny thing is, I don't think Mr. Wonderful even had a clue who this new pro was or what his background included.

I came away from this experience with two things:

1.) Nobody in my family will ever take lessons from Mr. Wonderful. I suppose that famous teachers like Landsdorp and Bollettieri probably have big egos also, but the kind of arrogance that Mr. Wonderful showed was just pathetic. Even if he can teach a monster forehand, I wouldn't want to reward him for his personality, or have my kids emulate his attitude.

2.) I suppose that there is professional courtesy involved between teaching pros. However, it's a competitive business. Since when do you have to ask "permission" to work with a student that has come directly to you? Also, from the consumer side of it, are you telling me that I am obligated to just one pro and am somehow stuck with that guy/gal until they release me to a new teacher? Unless a contract is in place, I see teaching pros a total free agents. If you are good at connecting with people and improving their games, you don't have to worry about them leaving. If they feel another pro works better for them, more power to them. People are free to spend their money any way they want.

I've taught tennis lessons for a few summers in the past and I have been a coach before, but I've never considered it my full-time profession. For those that are truly inside the industry, can you share your thoughts on the behavior of Mr. Wonderful and the code of conduct he espoused?

BeHappy
10-23-2007, 01:15 PM
who was it, rick macci?

Mike Cottrill
10-23-2007, 01:24 PM
IFor those that are truly inside the industry, can you share your thoughts on the behavior of Mr. Wonderful and the code of conduct he espoused?

Just as in any business, have an issue; talk off line and not in front of customers. Is this in ATL?

NoBadMojo
10-23-2007, 01:35 PM
This is fascinating.

My recent experience with this involves a "Stroke of the Week" clinic led by one of the pros. My own pro works at this same facility and knows that other pro well, of course. I get the sense my pro doesn't think much of the other pro's background or methods.

Well, I mentioned to my pro that I was going to give this clinic a try to get some extra practice on volleys. I got the feeling he wasn't thrilled with this. Why? Was he worried I'd ditch him for the other pro? Was he worried the other pro was an idiot who would mess up my strokes? Was he just marking his territory? Hmmmm . . . .

So I went to the clinic, and immediately I had a problem. This pro taught the backhand volley differently. Specifically, he taught that you should keep your elbow locked and you should move your shoulder kind of like a hinge. There should be no follow-thorough.

My pro believes that, to get weight on your slice backhand volley, a bend in the elbow is preferable. He discourages hitting the ball too far away from the body and just reaching for it with a straight arm. He believes that there is a follow-through toward the target.

I tried this other pro's way, but I really didn't see it as being very effective. First, it feels unnatural and weak to keep your elbow locked like that. And it was *really* ineffective -- people were popping up the ball like crazy. My own shots with that new technique seemed to lack the weight and power they had before.

Afterward, I told my own pro the technique being taught and said I wouldn't be using it and preferred his method. He immediately launched into an explanation of why his method is better, but I cut him off: "Dude, I'm sold, OK!"

So. Where was I going with this?

Oh, yeah. I don't think pros should be threatened by having their student learn something new. Students are smart enough to figure out what will and won't work for them. If I were in a clinic and a pro did not teach me something solely because I "belong" to another pro, I'd be irritated. Show me and let me decide.

lol...well i seem to be in between....i teach that on the backhand volley you would usually like your arm <pretty> straight but not locked. "Locked" is not a very good verbal clue and you sure dont want to feel like you are 'locking' anything out there. that often creates bad techinique, a too mechanical move, and can lead to injury. i also dont feel that a bent elbow is a very efficient way to hit a backhand volley.
assuming we are talking about a traditional one handed bh volley

you are right though...will these TP's next say you cant read tennis tips in Tennis Mag? <well that sometimes is good advice>;), are not allowed to listen to teaching tips on the Tennis Channel? etc and etc

sounds like there's a lot of insecurity out there. tennis <and other sports> often brings out the huge yet fragile egos

10ispro
10-23-2007, 05:22 PM
thank you for everyone who has responded thus far.

As far as the Club having too many Pros, thats debatable. Contract/Block time come 1st, so any member wanting to purchase time get first dibs. Then Random Time, then Pro's lesson times. Adult Random Time Trumps junior random time b/c of price difference, junior rates are discounted.
There is a very long 30year history of the club being abused by former directors and managers, until about 5 years ago.
As an example the former director/manager convinced the club owners that it wasnt necessary to make membership to the club mandatory to play at the club, he said "once they enjoy the game they will join". Well for 30 years the clubs memberships barely surpassed 200.

Once players were made to join the club to play, not only did the club actually start making money, but contract time picked up, random time picked up, programming participation picked up etc...We now have around 1000 members total and is operating in the black


So anyways, The idea of a general consensus or method of teaching or at least an understanding is great in theory and in many situation its ideal. The difficulty in this situation is We have alot of Independent Contractors who help with these sessions etc...The club owners love IC's b/c they essentially cost the club nothing and ultimately there is much less responsibility. I call it the walmart approach--cheaper and lots of selection.
Owners really known nothing about tennis or how to run a club, Owners are part of a large corporation which does commercial and residential business .
So they think by having an able body to feed balls is a tennis lesson. They'd much rather sell the courts to members for contract time or random where it pays more-but Club manager is a tennis guy and knows that people want to improve or take lessons or do drills or clinic and its an integral part of any club--not just playing.

So with IC's, it becomes difficult to say "this is how you need to do your job". They aren't employees--which goes back to that fine line.

as far as other Staff Pros, this is the 1st year the club has had any Staff Pro and the 1st year in like 10 years there has been a Head Pro, I started as an IC and convinced them to hire me on after they realized that I was doing a good job and everything continued to improve.
In the near future it could be possible to implement a teaching structure and methodology amongst the actual staff.

on a separate note--really serious players can differentiate much easier who knows what and what is best for them. The average player really has a hard time deciphering many different techniques and changes to know what is "right" and often will end up with who has the best personality or best price.
Sad, but its true in any business--sometimes it isnt the "best" person who gets the job but the person who has the best sales pitch.
I refuse to market negatively about the other Pros to members, but I know they have no problem doing so about one another.

Trinity TC
10-23-2007, 05:32 PM
Unless another pro asks...I don't encroach on their territory.

edit: Except online. :)

Geezer Guy
10-24-2007, 06:56 AM
... So anyways, The idea of a general consensus or method of teaching or at least an understanding is great in theory and in many situation its ideal. The difficulty in this situation is We have alot of Independent Contractors who help with these sessions etc...The club owners love IC's b/c they essentially cost the club nothing and ultimately there is much less responsibility. ...

Even if you have Independent Contractors, they should still operate by the guidelines that you set. If they can't or won't, they need to find somewhere else to independently contract. There are plenty of pro's that teach at public courts and are beholding to no one. Buyer Beware - if you go to one of those guys. However, if I was the head pro at a club, I'd want EVERYONE that taught at the club (be they a regular pro or an IC) to teach by the club standards and follow the code of conduct. Seems like you owe that to your members.

10ispro
10-24-2007, 08:20 AM
Even if you have Independent Contractors, they should still operate by the guidelines that you set. If they can't or won't, they need to find somewhere else to independently contract. There are plenty of pro's that teach at public courts and are beholding to no one. Buyer Beware - if you go to one of those guys. However, if I was the head pro at a club, I'd want EVERYONE that taught at the club (be they a regular pro or an IC) to teach by the club standards and follow the code of conduct. Seems like you owe that to your members.


I completely agree and now it would be a matter of convincing management and owners to put this policy in place.

NoBadMojo
10-24-2007, 08:57 AM
Even if you have Independent Contractors, they should still operate by the guidelines that you set. If they can't or won't, they need to find somewhere else to independently contract. There are plenty of pro's that teach at public courts and are beholding to no one. Buyer Beware - if you go to one of those guys. However, if I was the head pro at a club, I'd want EVERYONE that taught at the club (be they a regular pro or an IC) to teach by the club standards and follow the code of conduct. Seems like you owe that to your members.

I've found that many of the Independent Contrator pros are far better teaching pros than staff pros. Buyer beware applies to both of course

wihamilton
10-24-2007, 08:58 AM
This problem is not uncommon at facilities that have multiple teaching courts and teaching pros. There are all sorts of 'egos' and pros who believe they know it all.

the real answer is to create communication between the pros by the director of the facility. Monthly meetings among all the pros to discuss and formulate a training methodology that all can adhere to.

There is also a proper way in which a pro can offer suggestions. That is, for one pro to say, "here is another way to try to accomplish that. See if this works for you. 'Mr. Jones' your other pro, has it correct. But, I've found that this method also works for many of my students." Too many pros will use the opportunity to get a 'notch' up on other pros by telling the student something like, "No, don't do it that way. That is all wrong. You need to do it this way." This certainly undermines the authority and percieved skills of the other pros who is teaching the student and creates animosity and a sense of competition between pros at the same facility.

When communication of and a dedication to this prinicple is followed, you will have students enjoying the diversity in pros yet believe that the facility has their act together.

While I believe in a general "Advanced Foundation" that I describe in my book, I believe that there are many 'tools' which different pros can use to get players to that Foundation. It is amazing when I send one of my students to a reputable camp and they come back with something like, "They taught/said the same thing you did." Or, "They said to try this and it worked." (When what they said to try was exactly what we were teaching...but hearing it from someone else, in a different practice environment can make it click for some reason!)

Anyway, if you don't get a handle on this problem now, you will have some real problems in the near future. It is terribly frustrating too, when inexperienced pros especially, try to undermine your authority. A good director will know how to address this and create a 'teamwork' mentality instead of an 'individual' one. All the pros should work to build up the other pros, making the student feel that all the classes they attend are valuable and that there isn't a 'weak link' in the facility.

Just a few things I have seen in my years. Hope it helps!

This is a great response.

Geezer Guy
10-24-2007, 09:33 AM
I've found that many of the Independent Contrator pros are far better teaching pros than staff pros. Buyer beware applies to both of course

Yes - no offense intended to Independent Contractors.

I see it as kind of like buying a used car. If you go to a good reputable dealer, you should have a good chance at getting a decent car - or at least getting some satisfaction if you end up with a lemon. If you buy from some guy on the street you MAY get burned, or you may get a nice little car at a better price than if you'd gone to a dealer. (If that makes any sense.)

(and no offense to all you guys that are selling your own cars.)

Jack the Hack
10-24-2007, 09:37 AM
who was it, rick macci?

Just as in any business, have an issue; talk off line and not in front of customers. Is this in ATL?

No, it wasn't Rick Macci and this didn't happen in the ATL.

I'm not going to specifically name "Mr. Wonderful" because I'm going to give him some small benefit of doubt. Perhaps he was just having a really bad day... although, I doubt it.

I can understand controlling the pros within a single club, requiring them to teach the same methods, and to setting down rules that they communicate with each other before taking on customers that have already been working with other pros in that same club. However, Mr. Wonderful was talking about kids leaving his program to go across the city and take lessons from another pro at a completely different facility. Does that other pro "owe" a phone call to Mr. Wonderful to ask for "permission" to give those new players lessons?

(That sounds completely bizarre to me. It's kind of like switching dentists. If you decided to get your teeth worked on by a different dentist that is more gentle or has the latest equipment, does that new dentist need to call your old dentist to get "permission" to treat you? Of course not. Why would a tennis teacher need to do this then?)

NoBadMojo
10-24-2007, 09:49 AM
Yes - no offense intended to Independent Contractors.

I see it as kind of like buying a used car. If you go to a good reputable dealer, you should have a good chance at getting a decent car - or at least getting some satisfaction if you end up with a lemon. If you buy from some guy on the street you MAY get burned, or you may get a nice little car at a better price than if you'd gone to a dealer. (If that makes any sense.)

(and no offense to all you guys that are selling your own cars.)

The problem with finding a good teaching pro is how do you know who is reputable/good at what they do?

Certification by the USPTA or PTR means little or nothing. It's a shame the USTA doesnt seem to care enough about their sport to try and help ensure that people teaching tennis actually know what they are doing.

I dont know how it works in other countries, and would be interested in feedback

I think the USTA should pattern themselves more after golf. if you are a certified PGA Golf Pro, you've been through an apprenticeship Program, have learned a bunch of stuff, and chances are that you are very able to teach people how to play golf. at least that's how it was a few years ago.

Mountain Ghost
10-24-2007, 02:17 PM
Let’s take a vote among the teaching pros . . . how many think it’s a good idea for everyone to wear the same uniform, chant the same technical slogans and follow the same rules as laid out by the supreme (“head”) clone maker (“pro”)?

OK, I can see the camp, academy or “production line” philosophy, where a singular thought form can provide linear efficiency and maximum value for the participants, and I actually do support professional caution in preventing encroachment onto technique being developed by another pro, where it might be acceptable to enhance, but not to substantially change, the existing structure. What I wonder, though, is how to identify the REAL issue in a tennis club environment? Is it a case of: 1) truly bad or unhelpful advice being given; 2) creative underlings not bowing to forced conformity or; 3) straight-up possessiveness by the “primary” pros? Of the three, only #1 comes close to ringing an intelligent bell, in which case someone needs to confront them head-on and tell them to stop!

But basically, if you don’t want your students to hear whatever subordinate or “independent” (aka “renegade”) pros have to say, then don’t intentionally arrange for them to be on the same court together in a learning situation. Use the authoritative power vested in YOU to protect your clients from what threatens YOU . . . namely, unique or inventive methods and ideas that don’t come from YOU. If muzzling doesn’t work, then banning the teaching-pro competition altogether is probably your best bet.

I must also laugh at “certified” know-it-alls who generically condescend on less-credentialed (and always unnamed) know-it-alls, in effect displaying the EXACT same trait they so mockingly criticize in others. Maybe it’s not about knowing it “all” at ALL, but a matter of each pro seeing a unique frequency of “light” that the others (even the bona fide know-it-alls) can’t, and somehow combining them all into a full-spectrum learning collaboration.

MG

Gmedlo
10-24-2007, 07:49 PM
... I know a place that has fired pros because they got more students taking privates form them than the head pro. Not gonna name names, but it seems to be pretty common.

(These fired pros got more business because they were much better at their job than the heads, not necessarily because they had a better personality.)

More important than what the pro's teach, technique-wise, is how well their personalities mesh. If a pro can't accept a student going to one of their peers for lessons, they should either find a new place to teach or find a new profession.

NLBwell
10-24-2007, 07:54 PM
As an independent contractor who did drills, group classes, and one-on-one lessons, I realized that in a drill class you are not going to be successful in fundamentally changing someone's strokes by a quick tip in a drill class. You should give them tips to improve the basic strokes they have, quicker footwork, racket back earlier maybe, etc. but to try and change someone's grip or basic swing path you should be in a lesson of some type to do that. If there is a glaring error, suggest a class or private lesson (I was always deferential to the club pros because they made their living at it while it was just fun to me). I would hope no one would object to that.
If asked specifically about something I would answer them truthfully with my opinion, but always tell them options and examples - Agassi's more loop BH takeback vs. Hewit's more straight style and said why I taught one over the other (ie. simpler for beginner, more control, more power) to that particular person - of course it may change depending upon who I am teaching..
If I'm teaching an instructional class or a one-on-one lesson, I'm teaching it my way - they signed up for me to do that. (Of course the head pro thought I did a good job or I wouldn't have been doing it.)

10ispro
10-24-2007, 10:19 PM
... I know a place that has fired pros because they got more students taking privates form them than the head pro. Not gonna name names, but it seems to be pretty common.

(These fired pros got more business because they were much better at their job than the heads, not necessarily because they had a better personality.)

More important than what the pro's teach, technique-wise, is how well their personalities mesh. If a pro can't accept a student going to one of their peers for lessons, they should either find a new place to teach or find a new profession.

thank you for the reply. I am not sure you understood the original question or situation but your answer veers in a different direction.

Basically we are taking about an Open Drop in type DRILL SESSION being conducted by whatever Pro said they were available to do the program that day.(long story on why the program got set up that way, its before my time)
Then that Pro essentially attempting to make a technical change or suggesting such a change in a soliciting manor to a student he/she knows is currently in a relationship.

I completely agree that Group lessons/drill groups really arent the best environment to make a technical change, but believe me it doesnt stop some of these guys, who from what I have seen do it b/c its just different from what they teach without offering any real support for the change.

I'll even give an example of how brazen one of the Pro's was, that or completely clueless about what I consider professionalism.
I run the Competitive Training Program at our club. Its a new program in the 30 year history of the club. Program has roughly 20 kids in it b/c its selection based on rankings, tournament results, HS results ranking etc...
As I am walking out the door with one of my students talking about all the steps he needs to do to get ready for college (NCAA clearinghouse etc...) One of the Pro's yells up " hey, how ya been, what are you doing Saturday, you should come to my group at 11:30" (pro knows I run my Program at 4pm at Saturday)
My student looked at him, nodded in acknowledgment and looked at me like "WTF is wrong with him"
then we continued our conversation...

But thats a classic example of what has happened with some of these pros.

LuckyR
10-25-2007, 09:33 AM
thank you for the reply. I am not sure you understood the original question or situation but your answer veers in a different direction.

Basically we are taking about an Open Drop in type DRILL SESSION being conducted by whatever Pro said they were available to do the program that day.(long story on why the program got set up that way, its before my time)
Then that Pro essentially attempting to make a technical change or suggesting such a change in a soliciting manor to a student he/she knows is currently in a relationship.

I completely agree that Group lessons/drill groups really arent the best environment to make a technical change, but believe me it doesnt stop some of these guys, who from what I have seen do it b/c its just different from what they teach without offering any real support for the change.

I'll even give an example of how brazen one of the Pro's was, that or completely clueless about what I consider professionalism.
I run the Competitive Training Program at our club. Its a new program in the 30 year history of the club. Program has roughly 20 kids in it b/c its selection based on rankings, tournament results, HS results ranking etc...
As I am walking out the door with one of my students talking about all the steps he needs to do to get ready for college (NCAA clearinghouse etc...) One of the Pro's yells up " hey, how ya been, what are you doing Saturday, you should come to my group at 11:30" (pro knows I run my Program at 4pm at Saturday)
My student looked at him, nodded in acknowledgment and looked at me like "WTF is wrong with him"
then we continued our conversation...

But thats a classic example of what has happened with some of these pros.


Excellent example of what happens to ethics (and common sense for that matter) when you throw $ into the mix...

Clintspin
10-28-2007, 07:25 PM
I am teaching pro. Teaching pros have the biggest egos on the planet. They all think they know the best, most correct way to hit a ball. Many use terms that don't correctly describe the action intended (for example: jump serve instead of a leg push). If you take a look at the real pros, they hit with so many slight variations. How can I tell my student there is only one way to hit a forehand or a serve? I think they checked on forehands one year at Wimbledon and noted 64 different variations of swing.

I try to work with what students have learned from other pros but you have to make changes or suggestions sometimes or they really aren't getting what they are paying for. The USPTA & PTR are not doing their jobs, especially the PTA. I think a pro can learn more about teaching tennis from Tennisplayer.net or Tennisone, than the USPTA or PTR. Both have strongly pushed CardioTennis, along with the USTA and CardioTennis really works hard against good technique.

Important also is the fact that you cannot teach the same style or method to all of your students. What you teach a junior, or they teach you, may not be the same thing you teach a 3.0, 50 year old female player.

You can and should suggest important improvements or changes but never put down another pro. People will figure it all out in the end. Either their game improves with you teaching or it doesn't.

Nellie
10-28-2007, 08:41 PM
I am not a teaching pro, but I have taken a lot of lessons. I love to receive a quick reminder at a drill session such as lock your wrist, look up at the ball, move your feet, prepare earlier, etc. In fact, these kinds of problems often arise during intense drill sessions and matches, but not in lessons.

If it takes an explanation, that is going beyond the point of the drill sessions - to get maximum repetitions.

I would not like to have a pro change my strokes during a drill sessions because they do not understand my needs. For example, I have a bad shoulder, so I use an intentionally shortened service motion to minimize discomfort. It is not textbook, but I works really well for me and I don't want to discuss my rotator with every pro.

The job of a pro isn't to make everyone play the same way, but to maximize their students' styles and abilities.