View Full Version : Should the WTA continue with coaching during a match? and should ATP follow?

08-06-2009, 10:56 AM
Should the WTA Allow Coaching During Matches?
By Jeff Cooper, About.com

As an experiment, the WTA is allowing players to receive coaching between sets in 20 events in 2009.
The main argument in favor of this change is that it will improve the quality of matches by giving a player who was blown out in a first set some ideas or encouragement to help her play a more competitive second and perhaps third set.

I have three main objections to this idea:

1. It will magnify the unfairness to players who can't afford a coach or can't afford as good a coach as their opponents have. The best coaches aren't always the most expensive ones, but coaches with great track records can generally demand higher pay, and some players can't afford them.

2. Singles is supposed to be a contest between two individuals, a matchup of both physical and mental skills. If a player has a bad set and can't figure out what adjustments to make for the next set, that player deserves to lose. Bringing in another person's coaching is like bringing another player, mentally, into the match. At that point, whose match is it? If Player X wins with the help of Coach Y, do we put both into the record books? Of course, players have lots of help, including coaching, to prepare them for matches, but once they're out on the court, it's time for them to show what they can do on their own. If one argues that players should be able to get coaching during a match because they got coaching to prepare and there's no meaningful difference, one would then have to say that a law student should be allowed to bring her professors with her to take the bar exam. Each of us has all kinds of help in becoming who we are, but at some point, we have to go out and be that person on our own.

3. It's particularly unfortunate to have women receiving coaching during matches when the men do not. Just when the women players have finally received some long-overdue, tangible measures of equality, like equal prize money, we'll see them seeming not to be able to manage matches on their own. In many cases, it will be a man who comes out on the court to rescue the woman player, giving the impression that women need help from men in order to play well. And when the player's coach is also her parent, it furthers the impression that she's not a self-sufficient adult.

Now, there's no doubt that illegal coaching from the stands has occurred during matches on both tours. The answer, though, isn't to let the rules be set aside because of their violation, but to enforce them more strictly. Chair umpires are understandably reluctant to insert themselves into matches any more than is necessary, but it won't take many penalty points to put an end to illegal coaching. With a little more courage from tournament officials and a restored respect from the WTA for the self-sufficiency of its players, we can hope once again to see players win or lose on their own merits, just as most of us do when we step out on the courts down the street.

I agree that it is a bad Idea, so NO for me.