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View Full Version : Good coaches in UK are so hard to find!!


Move Your Feet
02-16-2012, 08:23 AM
How difficult should it be to find a good/excellent performance coach in and around London for my 13 year old son, someone who is a technician and throughly understands the mechanics of strokes...enthusiasm would be welcome....
Son is a good county player who imo has excellent potential to do something with his tennis (no not RF). His technique is good but needs proper coaching to master his strokes.

Most of the coaching sessions I come across I see technically bad shots being played, bad positioning and coaches still continuing with their ball feeds...whats the point as all they are doing is reinforcing bad habits. Surely you have to be continually correcting. Every lesson should have at least one valuable insight.
I find it hard to believe how poor their depth of knowledge is (the ones I've come across). Coaching must go beyond reading a few books and hip current phrases. Its a proper vocation which requires a lot thought and effort.... and 'responsibility'.

How do you find a good coach anyway, LTA's qualifications are hollow and the supposedly good ones are too busy with the best. Yet I see a lot of the best players in his age group with poor technique.??...and once they start playing adult tennis they'll surely hit problems.
The best coach my son came across was in a camp in Spain (surprise surprise). I'm sure there are genuinely good coaches in the UK (and he's seen some with supposedly very good reputations) but how do you find them.... at first they all seem to talk a good game. Lots of jobbing basket feeders and coaches who like working in exclusive clubs.
Any advice appreciated

djoko4thewin
02-16-2012, 08:55 AM
Hi, intresting read. I'm from the uk and not far from you. I am a coach myself and find this subject very frustrating as the amount of coaches are over populating the market therefore alot of average coaches who are just in it for money and so do alot of basket feeds and don't care as much. So i agree with you. The best thing is to join a well established club with a reputation of producing good players. Then try and get involved in their set up as find the best coach not always the head coach or one who's rate is highest. If that doesn't work try some research on the lta website for coaches in your area who have been recognised for their work. Good luck, it's not easy to find what you're looking for.

Ash_Smith
02-16-2012, 10:31 AM
Move Your Feet.

Feel free to drop me an email. I can point you in the right direction.

Cheers

Seany
02-16-2012, 02:15 PM
David Lloyd Raynes Park has a couple of top notch coaches, it's a good place to prosper on the national level, if your son moves on to the international stage then perhaps even better coaching will be needed. Generally stick to the south of London, it's where the highest quality of tennis/coaching is anywhere in the UK. Sutton Junior tennis centre also has excellent coaches, and of course Roehampton (National tennis centre) is not far from either of these places.

However in my opinion, coaching in the UK is generally poor, if you really believe in your son send him to spain for a while and see how it goes. In the UK, there is so little emphasis on matchplay and diversity, coaches just do fitness drills then fire balls from baseline to baseline, it looks pretty and sounds great, but if you start feeding those juniors some short angled slices they suddenly don't know what to do.

TheCanadian
02-16-2012, 02:35 PM
Have you thought of coaching your son? The best coaches tend to be parents.

courtking
02-16-2012, 02:41 PM
it's not only in UK.. it's same thing in the US too.. There are many many coaches in the US but man, it's so hard to find a good coach to teach your kids today modern games, techniques, mental toughness as well as point construction.. I have seen many many terrible coaches around south bay/Los Angeles area.. They can't even hold the racket correctly so how do they teach a good forehand/backhand strokes.. specially for the kids.. Beside, it's so easy to obtain a USTA certificate to teach....

TERRASTAR18
02-16-2012, 03:57 PM
it's not only in UK.. it's same thing in the US too.. There are many many coaches in the US but man, it's so hard to find a good coach to teach your kids today modern games, techniques, mental toughness as well as point construction.. I have seen many many terrible coaches around south bay/Los Angeles area.. They can't even hold the racket correctly so how do they teach a good forehand/backhand strokes.. specially for the kids.. Beside, it's so easy to obtain a USTA certificate to teach....

3 words- morris king jr.

djokovic2008
02-17-2012, 01:56 AM
After wasting my time with a few rubbish coaches I went to dukes meadow and got some higher performance technical coaching. You will have to go to a high reputation academy as the independent coaches are technically inferior.

sureshs
02-17-2012, 05:54 AM
it's not only in UK.. it's same thing in the US too.. There are many many coaches in the US but man, it's so hard to find a good coach to teach your kids today modern games, techniques, mental toughness as well as point construction.. I have seen many many terrible coaches around south bay/Los Angeles area.. They can't even hold the racket correctly so how do they teach a good forehand/backhand strokes.. specially for the kids.. Beside, it's so easy to obtain a USTA certificate to teach....

You mean USPTA?

Move Your Feet
02-17-2012, 06:30 AM
Thanks for your replies.

Occasionally you might come across a good one but because they are good they become popular and usually have too many clients, then coordinating a long term plan becomes difficult.

I do find it fascinating the diversity and approach from coaches with similar qualifications. There’s no target or short term goal setting, no sitting down and devising plans to build relationships. If I hear cross court cross court down the line once more I think I’ll just weep or there safety first policy asking you “why are you hitting a high risk shot when you’re not in perfect position”. …well why not?! Everything is so formulaic. I know it needs to be to a point but still…some originality would be welcome.

If that morris king jnr is to believed (not that I would trust him!!) then pro’s are finding it hard as well….which is surprising (but maybe not) as they surely have the pick of the best.

Ash_Smith
02-17-2012, 06:47 AM
^^^Have just replied to your message.

Cheers

Chas Tennis
02-17-2012, 07:21 AM
If you have not done so already I suggest that you supplement any coaching that you are able to find with a high speed video specialist for your son - you, and maybe your son also.

Of course a coach cannot accurately see some of the faster parts of the strokes such as impact because they are much too fast for vision. You can check out you son's developing stroke techniques by comparing your son's strokes to pro strokes.

The cost for a high speed video capability is under $500, about the same as 6-8 private lessons.

The <$500 cost estimate assumes that the high speed video camera is the type with full MANUAL exposure control for setting fast shutter speeds and minimizing motion blur, not AUTO control cameras which will result in more motion blur. The new Casio Ex ZR200 is supposed to offer MANUAL exposure control once again as did a few earlier models, F1, FH20, FH25, FH100, but the fastest shutter speed of 1/2,000s is slower.

dominikk1985
02-17-2012, 12:08 PM
it's not only in UK.. it's same thing in the US too.. There are many many coaches in the US but man, it's so hard to find a good coach to teach your kids today modern games, techniques, mental toughness as well as point construction.. I have seen many many terrible coaches around south bay/Los Angeles area.. They can't even hold the racket correctly so how do they teach a good forehand/backhand strokes.. specially for the kids.. Beside, it's so easy to obtain a USTA certificate to teach....

fortunately this is different in germany. the german tennis federations hands out three levels of licenses.
the C-level is very easy to obtain but for the A-level you nearly need a PhD:D. if you have an A-certified coach he is nearly always very good in technique, teaching, drills and conditioning.

so we have a lot of good coaches here and usually our players do have great technique (unless our no.1 florian mayer;)). of course they are still unable to win tennis matches but they lose in style:).

crosscourt
02-17-2012, 01:04 PM
I don't know where in London you are but Naim Lalji and his colleague Nick at Paddington Sports Club are very good coaches. You may though be hoping for too much. An emphasis on technique rather than tactics, conditioning and game play is one approach but you are putting the emphasis where others might not. In my experience Spanish academies tend to focus on physical conditioning and match play rather than technique. My experience may not be typical. I am told that Germany and the US tend to put more emphasis on technique. Of course these may be unhelpful generalisations.

Playnice
02-17-2012, 08:07 PM
Any advice appreciated

Please e-mail me for a referral (see my profile)

tennis_balla
02-18-2012, 03:17 AM
Have you thought of coaching your son? The best coaches tend to be parents.

I hope that was sarcasm

Playnice
02-19-2012, 12:20 AM
Mark Cunningham
playzennis
Greenwich Park Tennis Center, London

Torres
02-19-2012, 06:21 AM
Tennis coaching isn't any different to any other professions, whether it be doctors, lawyers, butchers, bakers or candlestick makers - you get good ones, bad ones, and alot in between.

You don't say what your son's exact circumstances are or how much money you're looking to invest in your son's tennis development but most of the good coaches tend to work at or in and around the larger private clubs. You just have to try a few out and see who's the best fit. The DL coaches just reflect the general coaching population in my view - good, bad and everything in between.

Sometimes the coaches you don't expect to be good coaches eg. new starters turn out to be very good, great players might not make great coaches or get bored of dealing with what they don't consider to be a high level player, coaches who can be good can come across as jaded due to the hours they work. You'll also find that coaches move on, some get worn out from having to do a minimum number or too many hours - and lets not forget, unless they're at Roehampton, they'll be coaching all sort of players - anybody from 'ladies who lunch' to complete beginners, to running multiple kids sessions etc as their 'bread and butter' all of whom will be draining. I've found that different coaches tend to be good at different things. Also different people have different ideas as to what makes a good coach. It's amazing how much just trot out stuff from tennis books or just ramble on without a clear focus. Riverside in Chiswick used to have really good coaching setup when it first started but that was about 15 years ago, and I've no idea what its like now.

You'll just have to try a few out and see what fits, but I think your son will need to be at one or more decent clubs just to make the coaching contacts.

Henmans-Backhand-Smash
02-27-2012, 11:58 PM
Hi,

Where exactly are you based in London?

Federerkblade
02-28-2012, 01:55 AM
Torres , I Think youre spot on

agalloch
03-01-2012, 01:32 PM
You mean USPTA?

no wonder u have 20k post,s

sureshs
03-01-2012, 01:39 PM
no wonder u have 20k post,s

I don't :-)

diamondie1
10-22-2012, 03:27 PM
Depends where you are in London but why not try out Tennis Avenue in New Malden Surrey.
My 3 kids are really happy with it.

KenC
10-22-2012, 10:39 PM
Sometimes the better coaches happen to be upper level players who are giving lessons on the side for extra money. The local club coaches are usually better for teaching tennis school to those who just want to play recreational tennis. You want to find a coach who specializes in creating competitive level players. I suggest finding a younger coach who is serious enough to have gotten the requisite qualifications and still plays competitively. One way to find them is go to local tournaments and watch the better players and see who is guiding them along.

tennis600
10-25-2012, 06:44 AM
Try Farhad Tadayon, he coaches at Wendover Tennis Club in Bromley.
He is an excellent coach.