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View Full Version : Choosing a coach for kids: experience or rapport?


BMC9670
11-18-2009, 08:46 AM
I'm starting my soon-to-be 8 year old son on weekly lessons in order to refine his technique. I've gotten him pretty far over the past 2 years, but I'm not a formally trained player and I feel he's at the age/ability to benefit from formal training.

I'm torn between two pros at our club. One has been teaching for 30 years and is well respected and while he's a nice guy, he can be a little intimidating. The other is a young woman just out of D1 college tennis. She's outgoing, fun, and teaches the kids groups at the club. They are both excellent players and seem to be good teachers, but with different styles.

Do you think it is better to choose a coach based on teaching experience or their rapport with kids?

MakeSenseNotBabies
11-18-2009, 09:01 AM
coaches are leaches. they don nothing.
nonetheless, i'm sure i'm fighting an uphill battle in trying to convince people that coaches are useless. in such a case, i would advise as follows:

1. Determine what your son wants to do, i.e., does he want to get into good college on scholarship, or is the goal to play professionally. Be as specific as possible about the goals.

2. Look at the success rate of the coaches with respect to advice No.1.


in general, coaches are, at best, simply companions for players. players bring the talent, the work ethic, etc., coaches simply serve as council. if your kid's got the talent, a coach will add very little value. if your kid doesn't have the talent, a coach will add no value.

goran_ace
11-18-2009, 09:13 AM
The kid is 8. Go with the young woman. Either should be more than able to teach him the fundamentals. The key at that age is to make him want to keep coming back every week. You can switch to the other coach when he is older (13-14) if he wants to get serious about tennis.

Rambler124
11-18-2009, 09:47 AM
coaches are leaches. they don nothing.
nonetheless, i'm sure i'm fighting an uphill battle in trying to convince people that coaches are useless. in such a case, i would advise as follows:

1. Determine what your son wants to do, i.e., does he want to get into good college on scholarship, or is the goal to play professionally. Be as specific as possible about the goals.

2. Look at the success rate of the coaches with respect to advice No.1.


in general, coaches are, at best, simply companions for players. players bring the talent, the work ethic, etc., coaches simply serve as council. if your kid's got the talent, a coach will add very little value. if your kid doesn't have the talent, a coach will add no value.

Jaded much?:confused:

LeeD
11-18-2009, 09:52 AM
Motivation and FUN is crucial.
Not pressing too hard and avoiding injuries too ( from too much practice).
Pick the one thinking long term. Pick the one with the time an inclination. Introduce yourself and your soon to them. Take them out to dinner (serparately) and see how the cookies crumble.

SFrazeur
11-18-2009, 09:53 AM
coaches are leaches. they don nothing.
nonetheless, i'm sure i'm fighting an uphill battle in trying to convince people that coaches are useless. in such a case, i would advise as follows:

1. Determine what your son wants to do, i.e., does he want to get into good college on scholarship, or is the goal to play professionally. Be as specific as possible about the goals.

2. Look at the success rate of the coaches with respect to advice No.1.

in general, coaches are, at best, simply companions for players. players bring the talent, the work ethic, etc., coaches simply serve as council. if your kid's got the talent, a coach will add very little value. if your kid doesn't have the talent, a coach will add no value.

I feel sorry for whatever bad personal experience you have personally had with bad instructors/coaches. Care to explain to me why coaches are useless? You are very far off.

Perhaps you should stick to making babies--because you're not making the other.

-SF

KenC
11-18-2009, 09:54 AM
I bet a lot of your kid's enthusiasm stems from the quality time he spends with Dad. Honestly, it probably doesn't make much of a difference who is the coach/teacher as long as Dad still keeps hitting with Jr. and helps to implement what the chosen coach shows him. I would suggest you be there during the lessons to get a feel for what he has to practice in-between lessons.

Rambler124
11-18-2009, 09:59 AM
I feel sorry for whatever bad personal experience you have personally had with bad instructors/coaches. Care to explain to me why coaches are useless? You are very far off.

Perhaps you should stick to making babies--because you're not making the other.

-SF

Winning argument right here folks.

Rambler124
11-18-2009, 10:00 AM
I bet a lot of your kid's enthusiasm stems from the quality time he spends with Dad. Honestly, it probably doesn't make much of a difference who is the coach/teacher as long as Dad still keeps hitting with Jr. and helps to implement what the chosen coach shows him. I would suggest you be there during the lessons to get a feel for what he has to practice in-between lessons.

Couldn't agree with this more. The most successful kids I have seen typically have a parent who is pretty involved with them. They don't just drop them off for lessons and go about their business but watch and also spend time with them on the court as well.

BMC9670
11-18-2009, 10:31 AM
KenC and Rambler124: Yes, we have a great time playing tennis together - I keep it simple, light, and also work in general fitness and movement - running, jumping, shuffling, catching, throwing, etc.

I plan to keep on with him but I have to have shoulder surgery in a few weeks and I'll be out for a few months. Also, I feel he's good enough to where he needs technique help, and I can't provide it.

Also, at his age, we do a max of 3X a week for 1-1/12 hours each time.

BMC9670
11-18-2009, 10:34 AM
coaches are leaches. they don nothing.

in general, coaches are, at best, simply companions for players.

Isn't that like saying school teachers are babysitters?

MakeSenseNotBabies
11-18-2009, 11:08 AM
Jaded much?:confused:

yes, but not from tennis.

I feel sorry for whatever bad personal experience you have personally had with bad instructors/coaches. Care to explain to me why coaches are useless? You are very far off.

Perhaps you should stick to making babies--because you're not making the other.

-SF


coaches are useless for the following reasons:
1. They fail to provide a causal link between an action and a reaction. All they do is provide correlative evidence for why a shot/stroke turns out to be the way it does. For example, roger federer points to the east when he hits a kick serve out wide. Tomorrow, every tom dick and harry is pointing east. It becomes the new technology factor. Roger federer keeps his head still when he hits a shot; tomorrow, every coach is insisting that kids keep their head still without proving that keeping one's head still is even deliberate, and second, whether that has any direct impact on the stroke.

2. coaches do not invent techniques, they simply teach what some PLAYER has invented. players innovate, coaches do not. so, what are they teaching? it's not rocket science or nuclear physics or...financial econometrics.

3. they have no proven track record. nick bollittieriirjalkjsf, the all-mighty, prestigious academy has a success rate of less than 3% (according to bollitierri himself). Would you trust a consultant with thousands of dollars knowing he/she has a 3% success rate? I wouldn't...because that wouldn't make sense.

Isn't that like saying school teachers are babysitters?

Yes. School teachers ARE baby sitters. you don't need a teacher to teach you.

SFrazeur
11-18-2009, 11:23 AM
coaches are useless for the following reasons:
1. They fail to provide a causal link between an action and a reaction. All they do is provide correlative evidence for why a shot/stroke turns out to be the way it does. For example, roger federer points to the east when he hits a kick serve out wide. Tomorrow, every tom dick and harry is pointing east. It becomes the new technology factor. Roger federer keeps his head still when he hits a shot; tomorrow, every coach is insisting that kids keep their head still without proving that keeping one's head still is even deliberate, and second, whether that has any direct impact on the stroke.

You are over generalizing. Yes. There are bad instructors. However, that doesn't mean that we are all bad.

2. coaches do not invent techniques, they simply teach what some PLAYER has invented. players innovate, coaches do not. so, what are they teaching? it's not rocket science or nuclear physics or...financial econometrics.
Get a very high level player to teach someone how to play tennis and see the results. Being a good or great player doesn't make them a good teacher.


3. they have no proven track record. nick bollittieriirjalkjsf, the all-mighty, prestigious academy has a success rate of less than 3% (according to bollitierri himself). Would you trust a consultant with thousands of dollars knowing he/she has a 3% success rate? I wouldn't...because that wouldn't make sense.Not everyone is going to be a pro-player. Why should there not be any instructors just because not everybody has what it takes to be a one?

Oh, and have you, yourself taken lessons?

-SF

bigfoot910
11-18-2009, 11:45 AM
yes, but not from tennis.


Yes. School teachers ARE baby sitters. you don't need a teacher to teach you.

Wow, you really are bitter... Coming from a family of teachers, I can assure you they are not just baby sitters. The society we live in may USE them as baby sitters, but many are highly educated and just trying to give information to whatever percentage (however small) of kids that actually want to do something with their lives.

I do realize this number is shrinking...

5263
11-18-2009, 11:55 AM
Empower the kid on this and let him choose after a lesson or 2 with each (since you can't decide, bet he can) What he likes is more important at this stage assuming both coaches are acceptable.

He may like being a big boy and training with the tough ole coach!

BMC9670
11-18-2009, 11:58 AM
OK... so thanks MakeSenseNotBabies for your Good Will Hunting approach, but I believe a good coach can teach my son technique better than I can. I'll continue to play with him, hit with him, and work with him on general fitness and agility.

Thanks to those who gave valuable input to the original question.

mike53
11-18-2009, 12:31 PM
I believe a good coach can teach my son technique better than I can. I'll continue to play with him, hit with him, and work with him on general fitness and agility.


Good move. I have two primary requirements when I select an instructor/coach for any of my kids:

1) Must be as close to their age as possible
2) Must be the same sex

In your case, I would go for the youngest for now, but I would be looking to get your son hooked up with a twenty something male teacher asap.

Bungalo Bill
11-18-2009, 12:38 PM
Jaded much?:confused:

Hahaha, it sounds like the guy hasn't ever coached. For an hour lesson the coach is suppose to turn someone into Rodger Federer over night. Of course, the player usually doesn't practice what he learned nor cares too.

Or it sounds like he had a coach but failed himself. Or it could have been the coach.

If coaches are useless then why do so many pros have them????? Why would Roddick seek a coach? :)

Bungalo Bill
11-18-2009, 12:40 PM
If coaches are babysitters, then who is the "baby" in the equation? Maybe that is what the parents want. A babysitter that teaches tennis. Thank you that will be $40. :)

I think this guy is looking to be stroked. Look at his signature, doesn't it say "make sense, not babies?" LOL

Edit: Ahh, I see Rambler beat me to it. :) At least we are thinking along the same lines.

sureshs
11-18-2009, 12:42 PM
yes, but not from tennis.




coaches are useless for the following reasons:
1. They fail to provide a causal link between an action and a reaction. All they do is provide correlative evidence for why a shot/stroke turns out to be the way it does. For example, roger federer points to the east when he hits a kick serve out wide. Tomorrow, every tom dick and harry is pointing east. It becomes the new technology factor. Roger federer keeps his head still when he hits a shot; tomorrow, every coach is insisting that kids keep their head still without proving that keeping one's head still is even deliberate, and second, whether that has any direct impact on the stroke.

2. coaches do not invent techniques, they simply teach what some PLAYER has invented. players innovate, coaches do not. so, what are they teaching? it's not rocket science or nuclear physics or...financial econometrics.

3. they have no proven track record. nick bollittieriirjalkjsf, the all-mighty, prestigious academy has a success rate of less than 3% (according to bollitierri himself). Would you trust a consultant with thousands of dollars knowing he/she has a 3% success rate? I wouldn't...because that wouldn't make sense.



Yes. School teachers ARE baby sitters. you don't need a teacher to teach you.


You are not making any sense.

5263
11-18-2009, 12:46 PM
You are not making any sense.

I'm glad someone got that, lol.

sureshs
11-18-2009, 12:54 PM
I'm glad someone got that, lol.

I think he was just trying to provoke reactions here LOL

BMC9670
11-18-2009, 01:32 PM
I think he was just trying to provoke reactions here LOL

Looks like he succeeded... at the expense of my original question. Frustrating.

Bungalo Bill
11-18-2009, 01:35 PM
Looks like he succeeded... at the expense of my original question. Frustrating.

My advice to you is choose the coach that will help your kid reach their goals.

A good coach does show tough love. If a coach is tough but is dooing so for a good purpose and reason, then he is not doing it just to be tough or be intimidating.

If you think your kid won't be able to handle some tough love, then go with the newer coach. Just remember coaching is a skill and an art. It takes much more knowledge than being able to swing at a ball well, to be a good coach.

Experience in coaching goes a long way.

Matt H.
11-18-2009, 02:22 PM
go with the chick.

if she's fresh out of college tennis, then she might have a better understanding of actual tactics and strategies being used in today's game.

tennis005
11-18-2009, 02:37 PM
The young women should be able to teach your kid all the basics while still having fun. Having fun is important at his age. The more experienced coach would be better for him when he gets a little older.

tennis005
11-18-2009, 02:39 PM
go with the chick.

if she's fresh out of college tennis, then she might have a better understanding of actual tactics and strategies being used in today's game.

I disagree, there are some older pros that can easily whoop college and highschool players in a match. I know, I'm one of those younger players:(

Djokovicfan4life
11-18-2009, 02:40 PM
Personally I would choose experience over youth any day of the week, but then again I'm not 8 years old.

Bungalo Bill
11-18-2009, 02:46 PM
I disagree, there are some older pros that can easily whoop college and highschool players in a match. I know, I'm one of those younger players:(

I was hoping someone would say what you say. I wanted to but thought I would be too aggressive since I already posted.

As you know, it takes a lot more to be a coach than being a D1 player with the latest skills, tactics, and strategies they have performed.

The key with coaching is their ability to TRANSFER that knowledge to the student. There are a lot of intelligent tennis players out there that can't coach worth a darn but they play great tennis. They do not understand or have forgotten the building blocks necessary to develop a player. They may not even remember or understand how they developed.

They other issue is explaining things. If a coach does not have a good aresnal of analogies, metaphors, examples, illustrations and ways to explain something, knowledge transfer is diminished.

There are a lot of good college players that can't coach. There are a lot of good business people that aren't good mentors.

To say "go with the chick because they know all the latest and greatest" may also not be true. A good coach stays up on the things he needs to know to help a player be competitive and reach their goals.

And finally, many "coaches" do better in group lessons vs. private lessons.

papa
11-18-2009, 03:10 PM
Unless this child is an exception, keeping him even interested more than 30 minutes at a time is going to be difficult - 8 is very young and unless the sport is made to be fun he's going to loose interest quickly.

My kids were good athletes and there sport (which was not tennis) paid for a great deal of their college expenses. We didn't think it at the time but looking back, I think we pushed in just trying to accomadate the schedule. Unfortunately, unlike what some might think, I think these kids missed parts of growing up and being around their friends - there wasn't time for that and I regret it.

The bottom line is that if I had it to do over again I would not have allowed them to participate at such a high level to the expense of "normal" activities like the scouts, school teams, and the like - to me, it wasn't worth the price we paid as a family and what these kids missed. I like to tell people that my kids never got in trouble because they didn't have the time, they were too busy.

sureshs
11-18-2009, 03:33 PM
go with the chick.

if she's fresh out of college tennis, then she might have a better understanding of actual tactics and strategies being used in today's game.

You have a point there. I took two lessons from a current D2 woman and she hit the ball much harder, with much more topspin, and with much more quickness than any of the 4 experienced pros in my club, one of whom was on the tour many years ago. It made me realize just how difficult the modern game is. I also noticed that the club pro usually slices back with a 1 handed BH when faced with a good amount of topspin from a junior student, while the junior students when playing each other counter topspin such balls back with a 2 hander, which is what the female D2 was doing. Since the juniors will face each other in a real match, they should be training for that. Even Federer practices with a lefty junior before playing Nadal.

gameboy
11-18-2009, 04:00 PM
YIKES! The advices here are all over the board.

Personally, I would not listen to any advice coming from people without any kids.

I would recommend the girl as well. The most important thing at this stage is to grow the love of the game for your child. Technique and everything else will come naturally if you get your child to love the game.

Talking about the relevance of tactics and strategy when you are talking about 8 year old is pretty nuts. You are just looking to build some good basic foundations.

Bungalo Bill
11-18-2009, 07:11 PM
YIKES! The advices here are all over the board.

Personally, I would not listen to any advice coming from people without any kids.

I would recommend the girl as well. The most important thing at this stage is to grow the love of the game for your child. Technique and everything else will come naturally if you get your child to love the game.

So, I guess yours trumps it all? lol

It depends on the kid and their goals. Parents included since the kid is very young.

Also, your last sentence is the most mythical and misleading saying in tennis.

Talking about the relevance of tactics and strategy when you are talking about 8 year old is pretty nuts. You are just looking to build some good basic foundations.

I dont think so also. Again, it depends on how far the kid has come. Teaching basic strategy/tactics can be as simple as when to recognize to come to net. Believe it or not, there are those kids at 8 years old that can handle that and kick yours and my butt in tennis. :)

maverick66
11-18-2009, 07:21 PM
It depends on the kid and their goals. Parents included since the kid is very young.


I think this is the biggest thing. If you want your kid to go out and have a fun little hit around and pick up as he goes go with young girl. I am guessing here but I would bet she wants to make it a fun happy experience for the kid.

When I was 6 my parents started me with an older coach from Poland. He was as scary as they came and was very strict out there. I had a love/hate relationship with him because sometimes I wanted to just goof off and he wouldnt let me. He drilled a work ethic into me that I dont think I would have without him. Still almost 20 years later I respect him more than any other coach I have worked with and thats a good list of coaches.

So to me I would go to the experienced no nonsense coach. In the long run I think they put a better influence on the kid. I have seen coaches who just wanna fun and play games with the kids and I dont think it prepares the kid to move on to a higher level. It might sell more lessons but preparing for what is a very rough sport it does not.

MakeSenseNotBabies
11-18-2009, 08:52 PM
You are not making any sense.

ahhh you must be the guy everyone's talking about. apparently, there's a guy who goes around the world with a certain presumptive air about himself, assuming that everything he says will be taken at face value and immediately applied. he doesn't care to offer a substantive retort, only a statement. he's the most powerful and credible man in the world.

nice to meet you.

Bungalo Bill
11-18-2009, 08:56 PM
ahhh you must be the guy everyone's talking about. apparently, there's a guy who goes around the world with a certain presumptive air about himself, assuming that everything he says will be taken at face value and immediately applied. he doesn't care to offer a substantive retort, only a statement. he's the most powerful and credible man in the world.

nice to meet you.

Lol, only a statement? Well, let's see, you are a new user and you made a statement about Coaches. Your signature talks about "making sense" in which your first post didn't make any sense at all.

Maybe you are the one with a presumptive air about himself. :)

MakeSenseNotBabies
11-18-2009, 09:00 PM
Hahaha, it sounds like the guy hasn't ever coached. For an hour lesson the coach is suppose to turn someone into Rodger Federer over night. Of course, the player usually doesn't practice what he learned nor cares too.
What does my coaching or not coaching, or having been coached or not, have anything to do with my response?


If coaches are useless then why do so many pros have them????? Why would Roddick seek a coach? :)
look up correlation.

can you prove that andy roddick would be unsuccessful without a coach?
what about roger federer? I don't know if he has a coach now, but i remember he didn't for a long time. what coaches offer, at most, is a theoretical feedback, most of which is based on other theories and assumptions.


You are over generalizing. Yes. There are bad instructors. However, that doesn't mean that we are all bad.
Get a very high level player to teach someone how to play tennis and see the results. Being a good or great player doesn't make them a good teacher.

Not everyone is going to be a pro-player. Why should there not be any instructors just because not everybody has what it takes to be a one?

Oh, and have you, yourself taken lessons?

-SF
I am not saying a coach can't teach; i'm saying a coach is not necessary to be taught.

i took lessons, but only diagnostic ones. however, i took them only to see if what i suspected was right. and i speculated what was wrong with my strokes by being highly vigiliant of myself. it's very simple to observe yourself closely, and come up with a plan to change things. tennis isn't hard. your only limits are your intellect and talent.

MakeSenseNotBabies
11-18-2009, 09:01 PM
Lol, only a statement? Well, let's see, you are a new user and you made a statement about Coaches. Your signature talks about "making sense" in which your first post didn't make any sense at all.

Maybe you are the one with a presumptive air about himself. :)

so, a new user knows less stuff than users with 10,000 posts??? maybe users with 10,000 should not be posting as much.

MakeSenseNotBabies
11-18-2009, 09:04 PM
Wow, you really are bitter... Coming from a family of teachers, I can assure you they are not just baby sitters. The society we live in may USE them as baby sitters, but many are highly educated and just trying to give information to whatever percentage (however small) of kids that actually want to do something with their lives.

I do realize this number is shrinking...

i am bitter, i guess! can't deny that. lots of stress.
but, having been through college, i have yet to meet a teacher/professor that did more than act as an administrator.

i didn't say anything about how educated or smart teachers are, just how valuable they are beyond administrators. the kids who actually want to do somethign with their lives are probably the ones with a good head on their shoulder to begin with. in which case, they have the capacity to learn on their own.

junbumkim
11-18-2009, 10:23 PM
It's a tough call.

Are you also worried that he might be too "old school" ? Some of the elders can be pretty stubborn and not very flexible. (so can young people....NO offense to anybody out there)

If you are worried about rapport, then you should think how the old coach is as a person. As long as he is sincere, respectful, and decent to your kid, the rapport will probably develop. It will just take a little longer.

I remember my teachers who could be really intimidating but I grew to like them a lot as I did realize that they wanted best for me and treated me with respect.

You can give it a few tries with the old coach and if your kid is really intimidated, then you could switch to the young coach.

junbumkim
11-18-2009, 10:35 PM
i am bitter, i guess! can't deny that. lots of stress.
but, having been through college, i have yet to meet a teacher/professor that did more than act as an administrator.

i didn't say anything about how educated or smart teachers are, just how valuable they are beyond administrators. the kids who actually want to do somethign with their lives are probably the ones with a good head on their shoulder to begin with. in which case, they have the capacity to learn on their own.

Did you used to post under the name of "Deuce" by any chance?

I am glad to see how things that you have learned have turned you into a cynic.

It's ok to be a cynic, but you got to be a cynic with some intelligence...

kingdaddy41788
11-18-2009, 10:38 PM
Rapport is much more important. That being said, a good coach is able to adapt his approach to each player in order to develop a better rapport... And there's a lot more to coaching than just experience and rapport. Perhaps try lessons with each coach and then decide...

MayDay
11-18-2009, 10:46 PM
My kid's only 1 year old, so this is really good discussion thread in advance.

My 2 cents:

When I was 7, I was learning violen with a super strict teacher with great reputation. I hate to play violen. (I'm just not very good at it.)

When I was 13, I was learning taekwondo with a super strict grand master. I love taekwondo. (I'm quite good at kicking and sparring.)

I think it really doesn't matter which instructor you choose, it's up to your son's interest level. Interest level mostly depends on if it's fun. Fun level mostly depends how well he does, which depends on his talent. People excel at things they do well (or better than other people) and thus think it's fun...

...most of the time.

Of course, there are also people that are sadistic self punishing fools with no tennis skills but still love it - myself included. :) I'm really looking foward to hitting some tennis balls with my son once he's a little older - that's something I think it will be really fun.

KenC
11-18-2009, 11:52 PM
It kills me to hear that people advocate self-learning in any rigorous sport. Besides the fact that it is dangerous, how can one possibly expect to develop good form when they can't actually see themselves hitting the ball? How many untrained tennis players are really aware of where their feet are, are their shoulders level, are the knees bent, what grip to use in what situation, and so on while they are trying to hit a ball back? This is what a coach sees. Coaches create better form that enables players to advance faster.

I see it all the time on public courts. There are the hackers and pushers who never had a lesson in their life who talk big and then blame their bad shots on the racquet, wind, noise, etc. Then there are the players who obviously had some proper instruction that play good tennis and draw small crowds to watch and appreciate. They never seem as frustrated as the hackers do, and seem to really enjoy their time on court.

I was fortunate enough to have a great coach while I was a kid and then later in HS I played on my team, which also had a great coach. Now, 25 years later, I still love this sport and continue to go get lessons to help me hone my game and be as efficient as possible on the court. And for some reason the local hackers and pushers will not play against me...

dozu
11-19-2009, 05:13 AM
1 of mine started golf at 4, she's now 8.

my take on this -

1) at about 8, kids can really tell who is a better teacher, who is not. Aside from spending time with Dad, kid gets to enjoy the game by seeing RESULTS.

2) at this age, a teacher's communication skills is crucial! he may not need to have the perfect technical knowledge, but absolutely needs to have an open channel with the child.... I think this is the key in your selecting the coach. But my own guess, without seeing your 2 options, would lean towards the older one, who prolly has more know-how in opening up the communication 2-way channel. A young girl just out of college may have the most pretty strokes, but I doubt she knows as much in teaching.

3) depending on the Child, some at this age can communicate very well with a coach, a parent, or both..... you need to ask yourself - when you taught him, does he enjoy getting info from you? does he give you feedbacks? Mine asks me questions and gave feedbacks like she's never had with any other so-called PGA certified coaches, and her swing is improving leaps and bounds.

I don't know how technically savvy you are, but if you are pashionate about tennis, there is enough info on FYB and this board to home-grow a child to very advanced levels without seeking outside face-to-face help.

on the other hand, even if say 5 years from now, he has a game slightly underpar than would be otherwise with an external coach..... the time you get to spend with him, and the knowledge both of you gain in communicating with each other, is priceless and worth so much more than the extra 5mph on his serve.

Rambler124
11-19-2009, 05:20 AM
Talking about the relevance of tactics and strategy when you are talking about 8 year old is pretty nuts. You are just looking to build some good basic foundations.

Take this with a grain of salt in my opinion. Tactics and technique are somewhat integrated in my opinion to some level. Something as basic as teaching the child to hit higher over the net when a bit off balance or pushed wide to give you more time to recover is a great example of teaching both technique and tactics and its not too advanced for an 8 year old

Rambler124
11-19-2009, 05:30 AM
i took lessons, but only diagnostic ones. however, i took them only to see if what i suspected was right. and i speculated what was wrong with my strokes by being highly vigiliant of myself. it's very simple to observe yourself closely, and come up with a plan to change things. tennis isn't hard. your only limits are your intellect and talent.

So your experience dictates how everyone should learn I assume? I'm not buying your argument not only in tennis but in any function. Bottom line is that people learn through different manners and methods. Its pretty hard to argue in some ways that coaches don't do anything like you stated in original post. Take a guy like Monfils. Struggled until his newest coach Rasheed came on board and now the guy has broken into the elite of tennis.

Stating that Federer did not have a coach either is a HUGE reach. I'm not 100% certain on this but I would imagine throughout his entire playing life he has had a coach. Could we presume under your argument that he would be #1 in the world without any coaching throughout his life time? If he just went out and played without any instruction?

BMC9670
11-19-2009, 06:20 AM
So, I've talked to both coaches and was amazed at how much they are on the same page (maybe not a coincidence since one hired the other).

I'm going with the young woman for several reasons, least of which is my original worry - I think they both would be fine with rapport and teaching after talking with them more. Scheduling was a factor and the fact that she was brought in specifically to work with juniors because of her education and interest in teaching said something to me.

So I'll see how it goes for 4 months or so. By that time I'll be back in the game and decide the next step.

Thanks for all the input. Despite the obvious sideshow in the thread, I got a lot of good, albeit varied advice.

BMC9670
11-19-2009, 06:31 AM
Tactics and technique are somewhat integrated in my opinion to some level. Something as basic as teaching the child to hit higher over the net when a bit off balance or pushed wide to give you more time to recover is a great example of teaching both technique and tactics and its not too advanced for an 8 year old

I agree with this. Though most of the focus is on strokes, movement, and fundamentals at this age - they pick up an enormous amount of strategy naturally.

I've noticed this a lot when I play mini (service line) games with him. I'll work him on a few points, moving him around and then hitting the winner. Then, I'll hit back to the middle for a few points and he starts moving me around and hitting angles! No instruction, just seeing and doing. So then we play a set and I say "try and get me moving like in mini", and sure enough, he starts to work the point. The coolest part about it is watching him be patient until he gets the right shot (loves a big cross court forehand) and not just whack away.

MakeSenseNotBabies
11-19-2009, 06:46 AM
Did you used to post under the name of "Deuce" by any chance?

I am glad to see how things that you have learned have turned you into a cynic.

It's ok to be a cynic, but you got to be a cynic with some intelligence...

no i didn't post under "Deuce."
as far as iintelligence, i'm just average, on a good day. so i guess i'm just like you.

MakeSenseNotBabies
11-19-2009, 06:50 AM
So your experience dictates how everyone should learn I assume? I'm not buying your argument not only in tennis but in any function. Bottom line is that people learn through different manners and methods. Its pretty hard to argue in some ways that coaches don't do anything like you stated in original post. Take a guy like Monfils. Struggled until his newest coach Rasheed came on board and now the guy has broken into the elite of tennis.

Stating that Federer did not have a coach either is a HUGE reach. I'm not 100% certain on this but I would imagine throughout his entire playing life he has had a coach. Could we presume under your argument that he would be #1 in the world without any coaching throughout his life time? If he just went out and played without any instruction?

no my experience doesn't dictate how everyone should learn. it's an opinion based on experience and some thought. what is it about TT and people being allergic to new ideas???

i only brought in federer to demonstrate how using anecdotal evidence doesn't prove a point. you caught me, but then proceeded to use anecodtal evidence (monfil) to prove your point.

but yes, as far as tennis itself goes, federer would be at the top without a coach. whether his coach helped him out psychologically is different, in which case, as i said, the coach would be like a friend to bounce ideas off of or to share disappointments with.

my point is very simple: coaches have to PROVE that it was because of their intervention in a player's tennis that a player moved up the ranks, or up a level. then, they have to prove that their intervention could not have been duplicated by some other method (books, magazines, the series of tubes known as the internet, etc).

Jagman
11-19-2009, 06:52 AM
Depending upon the child, 8 may be a bit early to start with extended hitting sessions and individual coaching/lessons. Depending again, upon the child, their relationship with the instructor may be a more important consideration than the coach's experience or reputation. I do agree, that as a child develops interest in any sport, some level of formalized instruction becomes a necessity. It is certainly nice if a parent can facilitate and augment a young player's development in their chosen sport.

I have three boys, currently aged 19, 15, and 12. All three play tennis. The 19 year old was a high school standout in tennis and has a part-time job as a PTR-certified asst instructor with the local rec dept. His college does not have a tennis program. He is level-headed and keeps tennis in perspective. The 15 year old has a lot of innate talent, plays high school tennis, and is a tennis fanatic. Of course, he thinks he could be the next Federer/Nadal. The 12 year old is a solid player for his age, but is more academically inclined. He will regularly hit the courts, although he would be just as happy staying home with his GameBoy.

All three boys started hitting the courts around age 6, just tapping the ball around with dad. That was their decision, not mine. Understandably, they wanted to be like their father and do the things dad does. That's fine, but I didn't push them into the sport. As soon as they started showing interest, we enrolled them in a startup program offered by our subdivision's clubhouse. Our kids participated in this decision, as we (their parents) asked them whether this was something they wanted to do with their friends. They then progressed through a series of clinics until about age 12, when we started introducing a combination of clinics and individual instruction with a PTR or USPTA certified professional instructor. Court time, as to some extent, instruction, is guided by their desires and goals.

I can't emphasize how important quality instruction is to player development. I grew up in West Virginia during the '60s. There weren't many courts and no local tennis programs. Initially, I was largely self-taught, primarily from a copy of Rod Laver's Tennis Digest. I didn't have access to individual instruction/coaching until high school. By then, there were a lot of problems to address, but this was counterbalanced by a modest degree of natural ability. I was a very good player in high school and was able to play college tennis at a nearby NAIA school. I was not competitive, however, at the higher levels of USTA tournament play or certainly, at a D-1 school. I know first hand how critical good coaching/instruction is, and insist upon it for my children in any endeavor --- be it tennis, martial arts, or band.

That said, the usefulness of a coach or instructor depends, IMO, not only on their ability, but how your child relates to them. My 19 year old is a very attentive learner and thrived with a number of different instructors as we moved across the country. My 15 year old is egocentric and does not take criticism well. Although extremely talented, he does not respond well to authority. He did not get along well with one very reputable coach who was quite blunt and to the point with his assessments (something I loved, by the way). We eventually had to switch instructors because he just started to tune out the more experienced coach, resulting in a waste of time and money. He is much happier with his current, less seasoned but more likeable, pro. The 12 year old still does mostly clinics and we are waiting to see whether he becomes more serious with his tennis before increasing the number of individual lessons.

The 19 year old presently likes to practice for about an hour and will play any match for as long as it takes. In fact, he was somewhat renowned in high school for the marathon length of several matches. The 15 year old would spend all day and night on the court if he could. The 12 year old will practice for an hour but starts getting cranky after that. He does not like extended match play and will mentally toss in the towel if things don't go his way early. Very different mentalities, but also different goals in regard to tennis. I let their own predilections be the guide in establishing practice times. ( Yes, there is a time to push people past their self-imposed limits, but that has to be in agreement with their ultimate goal or it will be counter-productive.)

I will usually watch the boys take a lesson and discuss their progress with the instructor. I try to reinforce what they have learned away from the teaching court and will offer tips of my own occasionally, provided they are in sync with what the pro is trying to do. Although I have an interest in coaching/teaching, I recognize there are others better suited to instruct my children. As they grow older, children tend to establish their independence and listen to their parents less. Much better, IMO, to learn from someone else where possible.

That's our family's approach. We seem to have succeeded in raising three healthy boys that are imbued with a love of sport and the outdoors. We are quite fortunate that they have been able to develop their skills to the point where they can compete with others their age, leading to a richer high school experience. Where they take their tennis is up to them. I am happy enough to introduce them to the sport of a lifetime.

Good luck to anyone who takes on the awesome responsibility of raising a child. And, Cheers!

Rambler124
11-19-2009, 06:55 AM
I agree with this. Though most of the focus is on strokes, movement, and fundamentals at this age - they pick up an enormous amount of strategy naturally.

I've noticed this a lot when I play mini (service line) games with him. I'll work him on a few points, moving him around and then hitting the winner. Then, I'll hit back to the middle for a few points and he starts moving me around and hitting angles! No instruction, just seeing and doing. So then we play a set and I say "try and get me moving like in mini", and sure enough, he starts to work the point. The coolest part about it is watching him be patient until he:) gets the right shot (loves a big cross court forehand) and not just whack away.

Thats awesome. Definitely sound like a proud father with a good attitude. I hope all goes well with the lessons and your son really enjoys it!!:)

MakeSenseNotBabies
11-19-2009, 06:55 AM
It kills me to hear that people advocate self-learning in any rigorous sport. Besides the fact that it is dangerous, how can one possibly expect to develop good form when they can't actually see themselves hitting the ball? How many untrained tennis players are really aware of where their feet are, are their shoulders level, are the knees bent, what grip to use in what situation, and so on while they are trying to hit a ball back? This is what a coach sees. Coaches create better form that enables players to advance faster.

I see it all the time on public courts. There are the hackers and pushers who never had a lesson in their life who talk big and then blame their bad shots on the racquet, wind, noise, etc. Then there are the players who obviously had some proper instruction that play good tennis and draw small crowds to watch and appreciate. They never seem as frustrated as the hackers do, and seem to really enjoy their time on court.

I was fortunate enough to have a great coach while I was a kid and then later in HS I played on my team, which also had a great coach. Now, 25 years later, I still love this sport and continue to go get lessons to help me hone my game and be as efficient as possible on the court. And for some reason the local hackers and pushers will not play against me...

Well, answer the following questions:

1. who came up with the forehand? the coach or the player?
2. who came up with the 2hbh? the coach or the player?
3. who came up with the swinging volley? the coach or the player?
4. who came up with the kick serve? the coach or the player?
5. who came up with the windshield wiper forehand? the coach or the player?
6. who came up with the open stance? the coach or the player?

most of these were at once considered unconventional and ineffective and coaches were likely teaching kids not to do at least some of these.

no one can dicatate what counts as a proper technique. players invent new strokes as needed, not coaches. so, if anything, it's the players who innovate, not coaches.

again, it isn't that coaches can't teach your proper grips and stances etc. it is that they are not needed to do that. innovation will always come from the athelets themselves; hence, they know better. the underlying premise is the existence of natural abilityi.

sureshs
11-19-2009, 06:57 AM
my point is very simple: coaches have to PROVE that it was because of their intervention in a player's tennis that a player moved up the ranks, or up a level. then, they have to prove that their intervention could not have been duplicated by some other method (books, magazines, the series of tubes known as the internet, etc).

A common misconception. Like the student who argues that what the Professor taught him was already in the textbook. Yes it was. But the textbook was likely written by another Professor. And it is likely that the work this Professor is doing will find its way into another book which will be read by another student in the future. That is how knowledge is propogated. Some people make original contributions, some make incremental contributions, and others mainly compile the existing results, which are in turn used by the first two groups of people. It takes a village to spread education.

The books, magazines and tubes are mostly the work of coaches. Who writes the instruction in Tennis magazine? Brad Gilbert, Paul Annacone, and other coaches. Who has put up the Youtube videos? I have bookmarked many of them and they are by coaches.

Rambler124
11-19-2009, 07:01 AM
no my experience doesn't dictate how everyone should learn. it's an opinion based on experience and some thought. what is it about TT and people being allergic to new ideas???

i only brought in federer to demonstrate how using anecdotal evidence doesn't prove a point. you caught me, but then proceeded to use anecodtal evidence (monfil) to prove your point.

but yes, as far as tennis itself goes, federer would be at the top without a coach. whether his coach helped him out psychologically is different, in which case, as i said, the coach would be like a friend to bounce ideas off of or to share disappointments with.

my point is very simple: coaches have to PROVE that it was because of their intervention in a player's tennis that a player moved up the ranks, or up a level. then, they have to prove that their intervention could not have been duplicated by some other method (books, magazines, the series of tubes known as the internet, etc).


Ok I'll bite.

I am open to new ideas and I will give you this. Coaches at some level to provide some sort of companionship and perhaps a psychological edge to things. Even Monfils said about Rasheed is that he "Believes in me more than I believe in myself". So to some level maybe he needed the confidence to get there that could only be provided by an outside influence.

However, I would be much less willing to concede this for beginning students. Could I not challenge you to prove the same for players without coaching? Find me a top ranked player in tennis that is currently in the top 200 that has never had coaching and I will start to believe a bit more in your theory.

I understand what you are saying, but I just think you are taking it to a bit of an extreme.

BMC9670
11-19-2009, 07:08 AM
but yes, as far as tennis itself goes, federer would be at the top without a coach. whether his coach helped him out psychologically is different, in which case, as i said, the coach would be like a friend to bounce ideas off of or to share disappointments with.



Federer has worked with many coaches and consultants - he just doesn't have a full-time guy like many pros. It documented that he's worked with Tony Roche, Peter Lundgren, Darren Cahill, Severin Luthi, and even his girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec, an ex-WTA pro.

He may not use them to tinker with his technique or whatever, but many coaches are more focused on strategies, opponents (scouting) and yes, the mental part of the game. Whether their coaching the mind or the body, they're still coaching.

sureshs
11-19-2009, 07:08 AM
it's very simple to observe yourself closely, and come up with a plan to change things. tennis isn't hard. your only limits are your intellect and talent.

LOL then you must have very low intellect and talent, because all the top players, including Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Roddick, use coaches, while no one has ever heard of you. What is your ATP rank again, remind us?

BMC9670
11-19-2009, 07:09 AM
girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec



Sorry, wife!:)

mike53
11-19-2009, 07:12 AM
their relationship with the instructor may be a more important consideration than the coach's experience or reputation.


Well said. The relationship between the teacher and student is one of the primary factors contributing to the student's achievement of their highest level of personal excellence. It is human nature to relate best to someone with whom one identifies. A key concept here is getting the student to identify upward and see themselves as the teacher. When you think about this, the limitations of the parent as teacher become clear.

gameboy
11-19-2009, 10:16 AM
A great post by Jagman; a parent, I might add.

BMC9670
11-19-2009, 10:26 AM
Depending upon the child, 8 may be a bit early to start with extended hitting sessions and individual coaching/lessons.

Thanks for your experiences with your boys. I'm starting him on lessons now because I will be out for a several months for shoulder surgery, and also think he's ready for some technique instruction.

I'm aware of the dangers of over doing it or pushing too hard at a young age and I limit our time to 3x per week of no more than an hour at a time. In the summer, we make good use of our clubs Har-Tru courts to be easy on the body. The plans for a coach are once a week for an hour and then I can reinforce what they teach in our time together. We keep it very light and fun, but he's competitive and likes to improve. I think he's already counting the days until he can beat his Dad.:?

5263
11-19-2009, 10:57 AM
Well, answer the following questions:

1. who came up with the forehand? the coach or the player?
2. who came up with the 2hbh? the coach or the player?
3. who came up with the swinging volley? the coach or the player?
4. who came up with the kick serve? the coach or the player?
5. who came up with the windshield wiper forehand? the coach or the player?
6. who came up with the open stance? the coach or the player?

most of these were at once considered unconventional and ineffective and coaches were likely teaching kids not to do at least some of these.

no one can dicatate what counts as a proper technique. players invent new strokes as needed, not coaches. so, if anything, it's the players who innovate, not coaches.

Most coaches are players and many players do some coaching; so your questions are near impossible to answer.

A Coach provides needed perspective.
A good coach can help to avoid false data.
Players don't get REAL good without some coaching.

SFrazeur
11-19-2009, 11:39 AM
I am not saying a coach can't teach; i'm saying a coach is not necessary to be taught.

i took lessons, but only diagnostic ones. however, i took them only to see if what i suspected was right. and i speculated what was wrong with my strokes by being highly vigiliant of myself. it's very simple to observe yourself closely, and come up with a plan to change things. tennis isn't hard. your only limits are your intellect and talent.

I do not need an electrician to wire a house. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to screw myself doing it. I can watch an electrification wire and learn something that I can apply to doing it myself; however, a problem occurs when I think I'm seeing one thing and it's really another thing that is going on. Just becuase I can do it on my own doesn't mean I can't make it easier on myself, saving heartache, and finding a professional.

Can someone teach themselves? Yes. But understand that everyone has someone who teaches them some part of tennis. It has always been this way. Yes. Players are, in my opinion as well, the innovators. But the word "players" revers to a mass of players as a whole. One player shows another player how to serve or to serve better. Another shows one how to hit with more topspin and this is passed on. There is a migration of learning that started when tennis first appeared and is lead by professional/outstanding players and good instructors.

Good instructors are watchers, recorders, experimenters and educators. We see and record the better technique that is migrated through players and bring it to greater masses by finding ways of explaining it and ways for it to be integrated into other player's games. Any player can show how they preform a stroke; a good instructor can show how a player can preform the stroke.

You appear to see instructors as either lazy crooks or a bunch of mouth pieces who specialize in miss information. Honestly, some are guilty of thievery and ignorance. But do not judge us all on the actions of some.

-SF

5263
11-19-2009, 11:54 AM
Can someone teach themselves? Yes. But understand that everyone has someone who teaches them some part of tennis. It has always been this way. Yes. Players are, in my opinion as well, the innovators. But the word "players" revers to a mass of players as a whole. One player shows another player how to serve or to serve better. Another shows one how to hit with more topspin and this is passed on. There is a migration of learning that started when tennis first appeared and is lead by professional/outstanding players and good instructors.
-SF

I like this part dealing with migration and really how coaches (which are usually players too) are a big part of that process.

Ultra2HolyGrail
11-19-2009, 01:32 PM
I'm starting my soon-to-be 8 year old son on weekly lessons in order to refine his technique. I've gotten him pretty far over the past 2 years, but I'm not a formally trained player and I feel he's at the age/ability to benefit from formal training.

I'm torn between two pros at our club. One has been teaching for 30 years and is well respected and while he's a nice guy, he can be a little intimidating. The other is a young woman just out of D1 college tennis. She's outgoing, fun, and teaches the kids groups at the club. They are both excellent players and seem to be good teachers, but with different styles.

Do you think it is better to choose a coach based on teaching experience or their rapport with kids?


Technically you are not choosing a coach but just a club instructor. I would go with your instinct. Females can make great teachers. Group lessons can be fun but there is not alot of personal instruction unless you honestly get lucky and the teacher pulls students aside and helps them. Personal instruction gurantees this but more expensive. Probably more fun and cheaper with group lessons though.

Bungalo Bill
11-19-2009, 02:10 PM
I do not need an electrician to wire a house. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to screw myself doing it. I can watch an electrification wire and learn something that I can apply to doing it myself; however, a problem occurs when I think I'm seeing one thing and it's really another thing that is going on. Just becuase I can do it on my own doesn't mean I can't make it easier on myself, saving heartache, and finding a professional.

Can someone teach themselves? Yes. But understand that everyone has someone who teaches them some part of tennis. It has always been this way. Yes. Players are, in my opinion as well, the innovators. But the word "players" revers to a mass of players as a whole. One player shows another player how to serve or to serve better. Another shows one how to hit with more topspin and this is passed on. There is a migration of learning that started when tennis first appeared and is lead by professional/outstanding players and good instructors.

Good instructors are watchers, recorders, experimenters and educators. We see and record the better technique that is migrated through players and bring it to greater masses by finding ways of explaining it and ways for it to be integrated into other player's games. Any player can show how they preform a stroke; a good instructor can show how a player can preform the stroke.

You appear to see instructors as either lazy crooks or a bunch of mouth pieces who specialize in miss information. Honestly, some are guilty of thievery and ignorance. But do not judge us all on the actions of some.

-SF

Tennis is an interesting sport to study. No other sport dismisses coaching than any other sport I know. In other sports, coaching is vital to a players success.

Nobody questions whether they need coaching in volleyball or other sports. Basketball you have a coach. Baseball you have a coach. Football you have a coach.

And in all of these sports, fundamentals, footwork, conditioning, and the technical aspects are taught and adhered too or you wont play. If you double-dribble they call it. If you bump the ball with two arms not together they call it. Or, your opponents call it.

Yet, tennis players will have an incredible amount of errors and will dismiss their errors to random chance vs. realizing their technique, mindset, and movement suck wind and are forever stuck at the 3.5 level.

But hey, who am I, tennis players don't need a coach.

mike53
11-19-2009, 02:31 PM
But hey, who am I, tennis players don't need a coach.

Adult athletes don't need a coach. That's because they aren't planning on getting any better. Seriously. And if you drive by a bunch of adults playing basketball or volleyball, they probably don't have a coach with them either.

Here in this forum, we have adults offering their opinion from their perspective, for kids. That is the disconnect. I assure you that very few parents and no kids at all have any problem understanding the value and desirability of good coaching.

Jagman
11-19-2009, 03:37 PM
For the kind comments, generally, thank you.

BMC9670: It sounds like you have a sound plan for helping your son reach his aspirations. Don't worry, I'm sure he'll be testing dad soon enough. My oldest son had a mental block he couldn't get over for the longest time about playing me, even though he had the skill and youth to easily put forth a challenging game. I made the mistake of laying out one day just how to beat me, during a discussion of weaknesses and stratagems. It's extremely difficult now, for me to get on top of him, even though our matches are usually close. Never easy to accept defeat, but there's something profoundly gratifying about having the son eclipse the father. Unless they rub your nose in it, of course! :shock:

Cheers!

TennisCoachFLA
11-19-2009, 08:43 PM
I'm starting my soon-to-be 8 year old son on weekly lessons in order to refine his technique. I've gotten him pretty far over the past 2 years, but I'm not a formally trained player and I feel he's at the age/ability to benefit from formal training.

I'm torn between two pros at our club. One has been teaching for 30 years and is well respected and while he's a nice guy, he can be a little intimidating. The other is a young woman just out of D1 college tennis. She's outgoing, fun, and teaches the kids groups at the club. They are both excellent players and seem to be good teachers, but with different styles.

Do you think it is better to choose a coach based on teaching experience or their rapport with kids?

To answer the original question......flip a coin. Seriously, you never know how a coach will click with a specific kid. I have seen some odd couples work together with amazing results.

You said both are good teachers, but they are totally different ages and genders and experiences.

So use your Dad instincts and pick one. That is about the best you can do when faced with this choice. Good luck.

KenC
11-20-2009, 12:25 AM
Well, answer the following questions:

1. who came up with the forehand? the coach or the player?
2. who came up with the 2hbh? the coach or the player?
3. who came up with the swinging volley? the coach or the player?
4. who came up with the kick serve? the coach or the player?
5. who came up with the windshield wiper forehand? the coach or the player?
6. who came up with the open stance? the coach or the player?

most of these were at once considered unconventional and ineffective and coaches were likely teaching kids not to do at least some of these.

no one can dicatate what counts as a proper technique. players invent new strokes as needed, not coaches. so, if anything, it's the players who innovate, not coaches.

again, it isn't that coaches can't teach your proper grips and stances etc. it is that they are not needed to do that. innovation will always come from the athelets themselves; hence, they know better. the underlying premise is the existence of natural abilityi.

Those questions are ridiculous. How many people got to number 1, or even turned pro, without ever having a lesson? Whether you agree or not, this is a sport and it has certain ways of getting injured. Inventing your own form seems like a good way to injure yourself. The process of trial and error before one naturally discovers a good FH can take a long time, or a couple of lessons with a coach.

Its obvious you are adamant against lessons/coaching. Do you give advice to players? Should they listen to you? Or should they tell you that you have no idea what you are talking about and they want to learn how to hit a forehand all by themselves. What would you think of that person who refuses your advice?

Lastly, coaching doesn't stop with tennis. It carries on long into life. Seeking a good coach in whatever you want to take seriously can save a lot of time and money, especially when it comes to work. The culture of coaching has enormous benefits for those who know how to use it wisely.

Bungalo Bill
11-20-2009, 07:32 AM
Those questions are ridiculous. How many people got to number 1, or even turned pro, without ever having a lesson? Whether you agree or not, this is a sport and it has certain ways of getting injured. Inventing your own form seems like a good way to injure yourself. The process of trial and error before one naturally discovers a good FH can take a long time, or a couple of lessons with a coach.

Its obvious you are adamant against lessons/coaching. Do you give advice to players? Should they listen to you? Or should they tell you that you have no idea what you are talking about and they want to learn how to hit a forehand all by themselves. What would you think of that person who refuses your advice?

Lastly, coaching doesn't stop with tennis. It carries on long into life. Seeking a good coach in whatever you want to take seriously can save a lot of time and money, especially when it comes to work. The culture of coaching has enormous benefits for those who know how to use it wisely.

And a lesson comes in many forms. So does coaching. If a player gets advice (considering it is good advice), he was just coached.

If a player buys a book, DVD, or reads an article on how to do something better, they were just coached.

You can be coached for a minute or an hour. You can read Braden, Smith's, or Yandell's information and when you do, you are receiving knowledge transfer so that you can go out and play better or understand something better.

A good coach is valuable to any player and in any sport. It does not matter what the age is, all of us can do something better.

It is also ridiculous to think that adults don't want to get better so they don't need a coach. When someone says that they are including all adults which automatically makes their comment full of nonsense.

sureshs
11-20-2009, 07:42 AM
Lastly, coaching doesn't stop with tennis. It carries on long into life. Seeking a good coach in whatever you want to take seriously can save a lot of time and money, especially when it comes to work. The culture of coaching has enormous benefits for those who know how to use it wisely.

At work, it is called mentoring. Unless you are talking about "life coaches" who are outside people, usually psychologists. I have not heard of the term "coaching" in the context of work. Training of course is a different thing. "Grooming" is sometimes used in the context of senior management, like the CEO is grooming someone to succeed him/her. Sometimes the grooming is almost a corporate responsibility to ensure a successor for transition.

Putting aside the terminology, the mentoring at work is not without controversy. It is often the case that there is an unhealthy bond between senior and junior and an unspoken guarantee of advancement in the corporate ladder, to the exclusion of others. Sometimes, it is a tactic to make a couple of people feel good or superior. If you need to "learn the ropes" from someone for an extended period of time in today's world, it often means that the organization is poorly managed, and relies heavily on specific individuals than a process which will survive while people come and go.

ttbrowne
11-20-2009, 07:52 AM
Babymaker, Our club pros all teach a different way. I know some facilities have their instuctors teaching the same but not here. Unless they fill in for someone then they get the rundown on what is being taught. This is what I like about our club.

It doesn't really sound like you know anything about this sport. You're just trolling.

mike53
11-20-2009, 08:11 AM
And why are you here in a site for tennis instruction/tips? To help the children? LOL


Well yeah. We don't really have many adults in my town taking tennis lessons or even playing at all, but we have plenty of athletic families that are interested in helping their kids learn the game. And this site is definitely entertaining.

jrod
11-20-2009, 09:40 AM
....It is also ridiculous to think that adults don't want to get better so they don't need a coach. When someone says that they are including all adults which automatically makes their comment full of nonsense.


I'm 53 years old and have been playing tennis on and off for roughly 40 of those years. The first time I sought professional coaching for my game was like 6 years ago, with a specific goal of addressing issues on the BH wing that was leading to TE. At the time I was probably a 3.0 player.

I've been working with coaches ever since then. Every single aspect of my game has improved dramatically. I'm now a solid 4.0 singles player and play 4.5 level doubles. In addition, my fitness has improved as well, primarily to allow me to compete with younger players.

Regardless of age, anyone saying coaching cannot dramatically improve your game is clueless.

To the OP, you are absolutely doing the right thing by seeking coaching for your child. I did the same thing for my son when he was 9 after getting him started. He's now 15 and can beat me on occassion. I'm pretty sure he'll start beating me on a regular basis once he turns 16.

5263
11-20-2009, 09:46 AM
Adult athletes don't need a coach. That's because they aren't planning on getting any better. Seriously. And if you drive by a bunch of adults playing basketball or volleyball, they probably don't have a coach with them either.


Good observation as a whole. We realize you are talking about most adults, not every individual. Most adults, even on this board, are not really willing to change to get better. Sure some will, AND some DO. But not most. They may have some kind of plan to, but are not committed. If you teach at some weekend resort for awhile, you might get the idea that people are really looking to improve, but go to most of even those visitors clubs 4 months later, and they are right back to the ole habits, even if what they learned was better. Most don't even bother to get lessons or go to a clinic to any real extent.

BMC9670
11-20-2009, 10:57 AM
I'm 53 years old and have been playing tennis on and off for roughly 40 of those years. The first time I sought professional coaching for my game was like 6 years ago, with a specific goal of addressing issues on the BH wing that was leading to TE. At the time I was probably a 3.0 player.

I've been working with coaches ever since then. Every single aspect of my game has improved dramatically. I'm now a solid 4.0 singles player and play 4.5 level doubles. In addition, my fitness has improved as well, primarily to allow me to compete with younger players.

Regardless of age, anyone saying coaching cannot dramatically improve your game is clueless.

To the OP, you are absolutely doing the right thing by seeking coaching for your child. I did the same thing for my son when he was 9 after getting him started. He's now 15 and can beat me on occassion. I'm pretty sure he'll start beating me on a regular basis once he turns 16.

Cool. There is hope for my son AND me! I've taken lessons here and there to improve on certain things and plan to do more when I'm back from shoulder surgery. I started playing three years ago, am 39, and am a solid 3.5. My goal is to reach 4.5.

jrod
11-20-2009, 11:10 AM
Cool. There is hope for my son AND me! I've taken lessons here and there to improve on certain things and plan to do more when I'm back from shoulder surgery. I started playing three years ago, am 39, and am a solid 3.5. My goal is to reach 4.5.

The gap between 3.5 and 4.5 is enormous in my view. The 4.5 players I know are almost always ex-college players, and a few of them are teaching pros. They are ALL younger than me.

The biggest problem I have in getting to 4.5 singles is with movement. The strokes are there, but if I can't get set up properly my consistency falters, even with excellent conditioning. For dubs, it's much less of a problem and I am able to hang with the 4.5 guys.

Bungalo Bill
11-20-2009, 01:49 PM
I'm 53 years old and have been playing tennis on and off for roughly 40 of those years. The first time I sought professional coaching for my game was like 6 years ago, with a specific goal of addressing issues on the BH wing that was leading to TE. At the time I was probably a 3.0 player.

I've been working with coaches ever since then. Every single aspect of my game has improved dramatically. I'm now a solid 4.0 singles player and play 4.5 level doubles. In addition, my fitness has improved as well, primarily to allow me to compete with younger players.

Regardless of age, anyone saying coaching cannot dramatically improve your game is clueless.

To the OP, you are absolutely doing the right thing by seeking coaching for your child. I did the same thing for my son when he was 9 after getting him started. He's now 15 and can beat me on occassion. I'm pretty sure he'll start beating me on a regular basis once he turns 16.

Good post JRod, thanks for giving this thread some balance.

user92626
11-20-2009, 04:25 PM
I'm 53 years old and have been playing tennis on and off for roughly 40 of those years. The first time I sought professional coaching for my game was like 6 years ago, with a specific goal of addressing issues on the BH wing that was leading to TE. At the time I was probably a 3.0 player.

I've been working with coaches ever since then. Every single aspect of my game has improved dramatically. I'm now a solid 4.0 singles player and play 4.5 level doubles. In addition, my fitness has improved as well, primarily to allow me to compete with younger players.

Regardless of age, anyone saying coaching cannot dramatically improve your game is clueless.

To the OP, you are absolutely doing the right thing by seeking coaching for your child. I did the same thing for my son when he was 9 after getting him started. He's now 15 and can beat me on occassion. I'm pretty sure he'll start beating me on a regular basis once he turns 16.

jrod,
That's interesting. So, you were 3.0 for some 34 years? I would need serious coaching, too, if that was me. :)

You know I was playing crappy, painful (but fun) tennis for 2 or 3 years (the kind you see a 6 years old plays) and then one day a guy showed me the meaning of grips. My tennis seemed to improve 10x over the course of few days. I always suspected the odd looking handle was for something but couldn't figure out. LOL.

jrod
11-20-2009, 04:41 PM
jrod,
That's interesting. So, you were 3.0 for some 34 years? I would need serious coaching, too, if that was me. :)


Not exactly. I never received any coaching until about 6 years ago. I played on and off over the years without any formal training. In HS, I played guys on the tennis team but I wasn't on the team. This was in the days of woodies and the infamous T2000. I didn't play again until graduate school where I picked it up again and played recreationally with my classmates that were into tennis (using a Donnay woodie). After grad school, I played for another stint before falling prey to tennis elbow (I used a very stiff Yamaha frame at the time) and giving it up until "recently". At the peak of my stints, I probably was at best a low 3.5 player.

The real improvement in my game came from learning the basics and refining my game. The biggest problem I faced was un-learning bad habits developed over the years. It took me nearly 18 months to re-learn the BH. I'm still adapting my 1HBH to be more like a 2HBH by setting up with a more open stance. I re-learned the serve and refined my FH and volleys. I also refined my footwork and continue to do so.

It's amazing to contrast the speed at which it has taken me to re-learn compared to my son who is learning for the first time. The progress for him has been lightning fast compared to my progress. My goal is to be able to beat him for as long as possible, but I can tell you my days are definitely numbered. There is an upside however, namely I'll have developed an excellent hitting partner in my son.

BMC9670
11-20-2009, 04:49 PM
The gap between 3.5 and 4.5 is enormous in my view. The 4.5 players I know are almost always ex-college players, and a few of them are teaching pros. They are ALL younger than me.

The biggest problem I have in getting to 4.5 singles is with movement. The strokes are there, but if I can't get set up properly my consistency falters, even with excellent conditioning. For dubs, it's much less of a problem and I am able to hang with the 4.5 guys.

Yeah, I know. But it's a goal, something to work towards. I played college basketball and my movement is still good. Not what it was 10-15 years ago of course, but still good. I feel if I can get more consistent and develop my serve some more, 4.5 could be in reach. I'd like to get there before 45. Ha - 4.5 by 45!

If I don't make it, the important thing is working on getting better and staying competitive.

KenC
11-20-2009, 11:38 PM
At work, it is called mentoring. Unless you are talking about "life coaches" who are outside people, usually psychologists. I have not heard of the term "coaching" in the context of work. Training of course is a different thing. "Grooming" is sometimes used in the context of senior management, like the CEO is grooming someone to succeed him/her. Sometimes the grooming is almost a corporate responsibility to ensure a successor for transition.

Coaching in the work context is more sharply defined. A supervisor is much like a coach. There are a lot of consultants out there that serve as "coaches" for managers who need to quickly gain experience or knowledge. Whatever the term used, it's when you enlist someone more experienced than you to help you learn or accomplish something quickly rather than go on with trial and error.

My original point was, there are those who understand the value in coaching and use it to maximize their time and money. Then there are those who really just don't like or trust anyone who is an authority.

5263
11-21-2009, 08:13 AM
Yeah, I know. But it's a goal, something to work towards. I played college basketball and my movement is still good. Not what it was 10-15 years ago of course, but still good. I feel if I can get more consistent and develop my serve some more, 4.5 could be in reach. I'd like to get there before 45. Ha - 4.5 by 45!

If I don't make it, the important thing is working on getting better and staying competitive.

If you were a good basketball player and still move well, only negative data and lack of court time (almost anyway) can keep you from reaching 4.5 level. Should be a given for you with good information on this game and some good practice.

jazzyfunkybluesy
11-21-2009, 04:51 PM
Experience 7 days a week.

KenC
11-21-2009, 11:13 PM
with all the information that coaches have, with all their expertise, why is it that not a single stroke (the most fundamental aspect of tennis) has been invented by a coach?

You seem to think coaches are there only to develop new strokes for players. I, for one, don't want a coach experimenting with my game. I want a coach who understands the quickest way to get reproducible, quality results on the court.

Coaches are just teachers that help people accelerate their development.

junbumkim
11-22-2009, 10:05 PM
I don't. sometimes I use one grip, sometimes another. it all depends on what i want. and i know how one grip impacts the trajectory of the ball based on my OWN observations. i didn't need a coach to charge me $40/hr.




So what grip do you use for your serves? Why do you use those grips? Care to explain? Or, do you just know they work based on your observation and experience?

Do you also know that you can hit all serves with continental grip?

MakeSenseNotBabies
11-23-2009, 09:33 AM
So what grip do you use for your serves? Why do you use those grips? Care to explain? Or, do you just know they work based on your observation and experience?

Do you also know that you can hit all serves with continental grip?

i know what works based entirely on my own experience. in fact, the only grip i know by name is the continental. i still don't what a wesern/eastern grip is! though im' sure i've used them all at some point, and probably do so througought a match. i've never had an interest in looking up terminology. if you have eyes and you are dleiberate about noticing how the ball reacts to your rackts and swing, you can teach yourself tennis. it's idiotic to compare scientific disciplines with sports. beyond the obvious (hit ball to make it move), there is very little actual evidence of claims made by coaches.

Bungalo Bill
11-23-2009, 01:26 PM
i know what works based entirely on my own experience. in fact, the only grip i know by name is the continental.

So I guess everyone should go back to the caveman days and reinvent the wheel for however many players they are? Throw away all information from tennis and other sports, research, study, etc...and just do what you say to do?

We don't even have to have names for anything, well, except for you.

But what happens when just one person says that they benefited from a coach? Doesn't that juse shoot your wad out the window????? Doesn't that make your claims and argument fool of nonsense?

i still don't what a wesern/eastern grip is! though im' sure i've used them all at some point, and probably do so througought a match.

So there you go. Mr. MakesSense has used a Western grip and an Eastern grip, doesn't know he is using it but just thinks he does in a match at some given time that he is oblivious too.

Does anyone buy this load of crap?

i've never had an interest in looking up terminology. if you have eyes and you are dleiberate about noticing how the ball reacts to your rackts and swing, you can teach yourself tennis. it's idiotic to compare scientific disciplines with sports. beyond the obvious (hit ball to make it move), there is very little actual evidence of claims made by coaches.

I say we throw out coaching in football, baseball, and any other sport and do what Mr. MakesSense tells us to do. By the way, what hack rating are you? 3.0?

So, everyone, this board comes to an end. So does every other way of learning tennis. Even other sports like football, baseball, and basketball come to an end. We don't need it anymore!! Hallelujah! Praise Mr. MakesSense for saving us from those evil coaches of the past, present, and future!

For all sports, and all players, he has liberated us!! All we need to know is the obvious! According to Mr. MakesSense we just need to "hit ball to make it move." We can hit just like he hits. Think just liek he thinks. Play just like he plays.

Thank goodness for his coaching in that he liberated us all to do it his way.

jrod
11-23-2009, 01:28 PM
^^ BB- Why waste your time? It's clearly a lost cause and a total waste of energy to invest another nanosecond in humoring this moron.

Time to move on.

Bungalo Bill
11-23-2009, 01:41 PM
^^ BB- Why waste your time? It's clearly a lost cause and a total waste of energy to invest another nanosecond in humoring this moron.

Time to move on.

I am just having fun. I like reading his stuff actually because it makes me laugh.

Sometimes I get a bit bored around here, so players like these add an extra delight. I am going to toy around with this player for a little while longer. :)

papa
11-23-2009, 06:34 PM
You know, Mark Twain once said "the only problem with common sense is that it isn't that common".

This isn't the case with advice, its everywhere and about the most common thing known to mankind. Its one of those things that even if you don't ask for it or even want it, you're going to receive plenty from everyone most of the time. I get advice from people I don't even know about things I really don't care about - its amazing.

At one time I was in charge of a large athletic complex at a major college and people would give me advice about things that they knew absolutely nothing about. Did I get some good advice, absolutely but at times it was well hidden.

The trick in life, and I still don't have a firm grasp on it yet and its getting rather late in the game, is to recognize/harvest the good from the bad.

Rambler124
11-23-2009, 07:32 PM
Does anyone buy this load of crap?

I do. I bought this just now as well: https://www.getsnuggie.com/flare/next

:grin:

Bungalo Bill
11-23-2009, 08:23 PM
I do. I bought this just now as well: https://www.getsnuggie.com/flare/next

:grin:

Hahahahahaha! ROFLMAO! Very funny.

cl76
11-23-2009, 08:45 PM
Pick the coach that makes it the most fun for the kid.

I actually agree with MakeSenseNotBabies. I've had coaching and I think most coaches are clones repeating verbatim what they've been trained to say. Rather than have any true insight into the learning process and how that applies to tennis, it's more about messing people's heads up with technical details they don't understand, yet pay good money for.

I believe good coaches (or teachers) are rare to find because they're the ones who know how to pass on knowledge by letting the student discover it for themselves.

Bungalo Bill
11-23-2009, 09:20 PM
Pick the coach that makes it the most fun for the kid.

I actually agree with MakeSenseNotBabies. I've had coaching and I think most coaches are clones repeating verbatim what they've been trained to say. Rather than have any true insight into the learning process and how that applies to tennis, it's more about messing people's heads up with technical details they don't understand, yet pay good money for.

I believe good coaches (or teachers) are rare to find because they're the ones who know how to pass on knowledge by letting the student discover it for themselves.

Well if a good coach is rare, why would you even recommend the OP to pick one? Sounds like you are recommending the purchase of a lottery ticket.

Bottom-line is coaching is coaching. It isn't the magic elixir to a players dreams to go pro. Many players which you ignorantly failed to mention are simply bad or lazy students. Many of them fail to practice what was learned in a lesson much like someone not doing their homework after class? Should we blame the teacher?

This is why people lke you have no clue what you are talking about. Not one single clue.

A coach can work on something during an hour lesson, but if the player doesn't work on it himself with determination, is that the coaches fault? I can bet you also failed to practice what you were taught and blame the coach for your failure.

cl76
11-23-2009, 10:35 PM
"Well if a good coach is rare, why would you even recommend the OP to pick one?"

I said a good coach is rare, I never said coaching is useless.

"Many players which you ignorantly failed to mention are simply bad or lazy students. Many of them fail to practice what was learned in a lesson much like someone not doing their homework after class? Should we blame the teacher?"

I never said anything about players blaming coaches for not improving. You jumped to this conclusion, I did not "ignorantly fail" to mention this.

"This is why people lke you have no clue what you are talking about. Not one single clue."

And we should all just believe your opinion because you're always right? We should never disagree or have a different opinion?

"but if the player doesn't work on it himself with determination, is that the coaches fault?"

No it's not the coaches fault, I never said nor implied this.

"I can bet you also failed to practice what you were taught and blame the coach for your failure"

Bravo! You know everything about my tennis background? I failed what exactly? Failure to go pro?

Maybe you could simply disagree rather than attack other's opinions claiming that it's "fun" when clearly you can't handle a difference of opinion that's out of the norm?

BMC9670
11-24-2009, 06:13 AM
Hi - OP here! Wow, has this thing gone off the cliff! I did get some really good input, though, so thanks.

So, I decided to drop my 8 year old off at a tournament and just say, "go for it, you'll figure it out"..... HA!

Actually, funny story, I asked him which pro he wanted to take lesson from, and he picked the young woman. I asked why and he says "because I'm almost as tall as her." Go figure....

Bungalo Bill
11-24-2009, 07:21 AM
Hi - OP here! Wow, has this thing gone off the cliff! I did get some really good input, though, so thanks.

So, I decided to drop my 8 year old off at a tournament and just say, "go for it, you'll figure it out"..... HA!

Actually, funny story, I asked him which pro he wanted to take lesson from, and he picked the young woman. I asked why and he says "because I'm almost as tall as her." Go figure....

Hahahaha, "go for it, you'll figure it out", yeah boy. That's the way to get him going. :)

I now see why the other coach can appear a bit intimidating. One of the things we learned at Vic Braden's is to lower yourself to a kids level so your eye-level is even. That way they don't feel like you are talking down to them.

Funny, how those subtle things a coach needs to know can have a huge impact on how knowledge is transferred for skill development.

Good luck to you and your son.