About coaches...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by lidation, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. lidation

    lidation Rookie

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    I have a coach since I started playing tennis 5 months ago. I have met him like 10 times so far. He was really good in getting me onboard this game in developing proper forms. However, the past few lessons I don't think I need him that much. During our lessons, we basically just play games and then he will point out my errors. I know all the errors he points out because from time to time I video myself playing and then watch myself in my computer. I have invest close to $300 in buying coaching DVDs so I know where I went wrong mostly. It just takes time to get me to the correct form through practice.

    My coach is good but now I'm wondering whether it's worth the cost of the lessons.
     
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  2. Vision84

    Vision84 Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps you should cut out lessons for a while and get a hitting partner about your same level or a bit stronger to play matches against.
     
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  3. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    I second this.
     
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  4. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    If you are able to identify the wrong mechanics you are doing and able to correct it yourself, you probably can forgo the coaching until such time as you need it again. Much like anything else you pay for, if the perceived value is lost, you will have second thoughts about why you continue to pay for it.
     
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  5. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

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    Done With Your Coach?

    Knowing what you are doing wrong from a video and having someone see it and correct it in action are worlds apart. There are many times you will be making mistakes that you won’t be aware of. Why do you think playing pros (and even advanced amateurs) have coaches? For companionship?

    10 lessons and you’re done. I understand you’ve advanced to the point where you feel better about your game, but it’s hard to believe you don’t need more help. Then again . . . maybe you could be done with that particular coach.

    MG
     
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  6. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    IMO your problem is that you are using a tennis coach. If you are 5 months into it you would benefit more from a tennis instructor, not a coach.

    Once you have your strokes down, then get a coach.
     
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  7. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    How come one doesn't hear about, say, "basketball lessons"? But you hear all the time about "golf lessons" and "tennis lessons". The two country club sports promote the belief that you can't learn the game unless you have expensive lessons. But...could it be that basketball is no easier to learn, it's just the stereotype that people who want to play golf or tennis, have money, and can easily afford lessons, so teaching pros go after them? While basketball enthusiasts just learn by practicing and from talking to each other.

    This bogus belief that you have to spend tons of $s just to be a recreational player is a big part of why tennis is not doing well in the U.S. Just find someone to hit with. A pro is too expensive to simply be a practice partner.

    BTW, when I started tennis, all the players at the club who took lessons were weak players, the best players were mostly self-taught. The ones taking lessons didn't show progress either. I always thought that must be embarrassing to the pros.
     
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  8. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    But shouldn't an ethical coach tell him this? Or should we assume that they always think, "Hey, if somebody's writing checks, I'll just tell them that more is better"?
     
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  9. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I don't know the guy and I know the coach even less, so I have no idea. If you know them about as much as me, then you are essentially guessing. With a little added biased opinion thrown in, no extra charge...
     
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  10. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    First, traditionally, many more folks started learning golf and tennis as adults (compared to, say basketball which is usually learned on the schoolyard) so yes they had the means to get a little extra help when playing against those opponents who started as kids. Later, when they had kids, they didn't want their kids to struggle as they did (learning as adults) so they arranged for lessons for their kids (which they could afford).


    As you know I agree that a coach is a waste for this guy. Although I was not aware that there is a widespread belief that Rec level tennis "can't" be learned without lessons. Public courts seem to be pretty full of folks who (from the looks of it) have never had a lesson in their lives.


    You know your club better than I, but there is no doubt that the very best tennis players (Pros) have all (I mean 100% all) taken lessons. Maybe from their parents (who are often better than teaching Pros) but lessons nonetheless.
     
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  11. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    Basketball lessons? Isn't that what kids get when they go to basketball camps? The same is true for any other sports camp, clinic or what ever else they call them. All the participants expect to learn something from the lessons they expect to get. It is not just Tennis or Golf. In addition, just like any other sports enthusiasts, there are lots of tennis players or golfers who are more than happy to impart their knowledge of the sport to other people for free. Tennis players and golfers can also just learn by practicing and from talking to each other. Not sure where you got the belief that Tennis and Golf promote the belief that both can't be learned unless one goes through with expensive lessons.
     
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  12. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    You didn't know the coach either when you said,
    "IMO your problem is that you are using a tennis coach. If you are 5 months into it you would benefit more from a tennis instructor, not a coach."

    I took your word for this as you seem to be an instructor. When I raised the question about the ethics of this, suddenly new ground rules came about and I should know this coach. Since I based my opinion on yours, if it's wrong, so's yours, if you're right then I'm right. But you can't have it both ways.
     
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  13. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I truly find this to be a minor issue, but since you brought it up... I fully stand behind my comment that IMO someone 5 months into tennis is going to benefit more from an instructor who will hone strokes, than a coach who would work on tactics and strategy. I would say the same regardless if the coach (or instructor for that matter) were male, female, tall, short, blond, bald, ethical or unethical.

    As to whether the OP's coach is unethical. Personally I would only feel comfortable labelling someone thusly if I had more knowledge than the OP provided.

    I am not saying nor implying anything more than that.
     
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  14. MooreTennis

    MooreTennis New User

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    Wow, here is Australia a coach (what we call them) would work on honing the strokes and also tactics and strategy.

    Interesting that there is 2 different jobs there.

    Anthony
     
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  15. tbini87

    tbini87 Hall of Fame

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    my suggestion would be to simply see your coach less often. if you see him once a month right now, maybe see him once every 2 months, to keep costs down, but to make sure you are making progress and he can correct parts of your strokes that aren't up to par...
     
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  16. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    If you've told your coach what your goals and specific needs for development are, but you're only playing points and reviewing them, then you've got a one way relationship on your hands and you need at least a break from this person. If a coach or a teacher isn't actively seeking your input and feedback, I don't think they're really trying to help you out.

    Since you didn't mention any of your discussions with this coach of yours, I have to ask whether or not they're even happening. You have a responsibility to tell these people what you think you need and talk it over so that you're on the same page. If you haven't run your objections by your coach, you're not helping yourself by sharing them with us. I want you to have a positive experience out there, but make sure that you're doing what you can to make it happen.
     
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  17. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    Good basketball players received a lot of coaching. The tennis pros at your country clubs, same as any other clubs are looking for someone to feed them balls, etc...

    A coach is someone who will be tough on you, and tell you like it is, whether you like it or not. You don't get this at country clubs. Also, many people are not good students, be it in life, in classroom or on the courts.
     
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  18. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Modern basketball developed in the inner cities of the U.S. without interference from coaches. Watch players from the 50s sometime, they shot using two hands, they didn't try jump shots. The coaches hated all these developments until they were forced to notice how well they worked!

    In tennis I've seen the rise of the two-handed shot (coaches said that was all wrong), wristier groundstokes, and swinging volleys, and so on. Instructors have been fighting these developments all along. Seems the teaching establishment impedes the sport more than advances it!

    But I do agree with you that a good instructor has the potential to help alot. Usually teaching pros are former tennis phenoms who got a good local reputation. Now they're bored and frustrated working with hackers. If you're looking for a pro, I'd say look for one with enthusiasm, not trophys. They need to get excited about turning a 2.5 into a 3.5 and not be looking for the next Andy Murray.
     
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  19. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    I don't know where you are getting these bad impressions about coaches. These generalizations sure makes coaches look like money-hungry people who only care about where to get their next buck!

    Some pros may not agree with the new developments in tennis but that is just their personal opinion. Nothing wrong with that. I don't agree with your statement about the teaching establishment impeding the sport. USPTA for one is pretty much up to date with the current trends.

    I also don't agree with your statement about teaching pros usually being former phenoms who are bored and frustrated working with hackers. I'm assuming you equate being a phenom as being talented. Actually, phenoms or talented players have a harder time teaching/coaching because they typically have a harder time explaining things because it all comes naturally to them. It makes them wonder why their students can do things that they find very easy to do. So, in that sense, you are right, those phenoms who turned to coaching may get bored and frustrated. However, teaching pros are not usually phenoms. There are a lot who just understand the game.

    In addition,there's a lot of us who just have a love for the game who find satisfaction in teaching/coaching. I have turned down offers to get paid to teach/coach players who do not show effort and determination. I've also taught/coached players who do show effort and determination for free. Teaching/coaching isn't a livelyhood for me. I have a regular day job. For me, getting paid to do what I love to do in my spare time is just a bonus. Seeing my student experience a eureka moment from our session is payment enough for me.
     
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  20. Serve em Up

    Serve em Up Rookie

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    I don't think playing games during lesson time is a good thing. Lessons should be for stroke mechanics, Footwork, and learning a new shot. Drilling and repetition are needed to get to the point where you can do it correctly on your own after the lesson.

    Save the games for other opponents outside of lesson and practice time. Those games will help you measure your improvement.

    My .02
     
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  21. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    There is nothing wrong with playing games during lesson time. Playing games can be a progression to playing actual points. Used correctly, it reinforces the concept being taught.
     
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  22. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I got these impressions from 6 pros at 5 clubs over several decades. I took lessons from some, others I just observed interacting with their students. What they had in common was that all of them were doing this full time, and in each case the club had a flier telling what a good player they were. If I ever took lessons again I'd try to find someone like you; who has another job and who can take an interest in my game. What I described, however, is what I've actually experienced, glad to hear there are people like you.

    P.S. I agree that being a good or even great player is little reason to suppose that person will be a great instructor. A good instructor needs a whole new set of skills.
     
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  23. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I sure hope it was just a case where those pros where sending the wrong signals. Sadly, there are pros that are really as you described. Also, a lot of players tend to gravitate to pros who have a lot to show for in terms of achievements thinking that those will automatically translate to being a good pro. That is why most advertising are focused that way.

    I am not denying that there are pros who are exactly as you described. I just had to say something because of the generalization. If anything, my pet peeve is the general bias that a lot of coaches have in investing their free lessons on juniors. I have nothing against training juniors. In fact, one of my goals is to develop a junior who makes it to the pro tour. I don't care if I get paid or not. All I want to see is the determination and the drive from the kid. The thing I'm peeved about is older players are almost being left out unless they pay for lessons. I was already out of college when I started playing tennis. None of the public park coaches bothered to show me anything when I was still learning. Being over 20 at that time, I was too old. Sure I realize I had zero chances of making the pro tour at that time but it doesn't preclude me from wanting to be the best I can. Not having money, I had to learn everything on my own. This is the driving factor behind why I am more than happy to share the little that I know to anyone who wants it without expecting to be paid. Hey, if you happen to be in the San Francisco area, look me up. I'll be happy to hit with you or share what I know.
     
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  24. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Thanks. I took up tennis at a late age too, (22!). I thought just a couple of lessons would make a huge difference. (Ever see that commercial on TV where the woman goes from hacker to "A" player after a single lesson?) When I found out it would cost lots of $s, learned thru books and magazines.

    I'm surprised that tennis isn't more popular in the U.S. It's cheap, and most of us need the exercise. Once you're decent enough to play "drop in" doubles, it's alot of fun. And no one there is an ace, but we have a good time :grin:
     
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  25. spc9999

    spc9999 New User

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    You think inner city kids don't have coaches? What next, no running water?

    Ever heard of AAU, PAL, or Catholic Schools?
     
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  26. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Sometimes I go over to the "Y" and play hoops. There are no flyers around recommending that you sign up for lessons with the basketball pro. But at the muni tennis courts everywhere you look there is a flyer or a sign telling you to take lessons with the tennis pro.

    Golf and tennis are the "lessons" sports. People also take piano lessons and french lessons. Never heard someone say "I'm taking basketball lessons" or "baseball lessons". Lessons, in sports, are for the country clubs. Is it because golf and tennis are more difficult? Or is it because people aspiring to learn golf or tennis are perceived to be more affluent?
     
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  27. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think one reason people turn to tennis pros whereas someone learning basketball might not seek instruction is that tennis is awfully hard to learn by yourself. Even hitting against a wall is tough for a beginner unless you can find an awfully high and wide wall.

    Also, tennis isn't much fun if you can't keep the ball in play, and that is easier to do with a bit of instruction to get you started.

    Basketball is a team sport. There are presumably other players on the team who help along the weaker ones, thereby providing instruction. Tennis is individual. It isn't easy to find anyone who will take a newbie out on the court and hit with them or teach them.

    I have to admit that I've never played basketball competitively, but I think the fundamentals of basketball are easier than tennis, meaning the learning curve for tennis is much steeper. A beginner in basketball has to dribble and shoot. If they miss, the game goes on, although the player lacking skill will undoubtedly lose. In tennis, every mistake causes the game to grind to a halt. So it pays dividends to try to get a decent foundation in tennis.

    Here's a questio for Steady Eddy: how come so many people spend big bucks on musical instrument lessons, yet many people who sing are self-taught? Is it some sort of scam run by music teachers, or is it that the learning curve for piano is much more steep than for singing?
     
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  28. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    At the risk of getting far of field, I'll try to answer it, as it was put directly to me. First of all I did not even know that it is more common for singers to be self taught compared to other musicians. I can see that it might be so and perhaps that has something to do with humans being "pre-wired" to know how to operate their vocal chords, but playing, say piano, is unnatural.
     
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  29. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

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    Singing Lessons & Tennis?

    SE is right. Singing is an ability everyone is naturally born with. It’s when they get old enough to question their own abilities, usually when someone tells them they’re not so great, that they clam up, stop practicing, or worst of all, start trying to compensate for inadequacies they DON’T have and screw up their natural mechanism . . . and flow.

    As for more people taking musical instrument lessons than voice lessons, certainly in the beginning it’s the unnaturalness of learning how to manipulate a man-made instrument, but in reality even that apparent disparity is only a phenomenon of lower levels of “play.” Every singer serious about performing or recording usually takes voice lessons. I was a voice (music) major in college, and later took many years of voice lessons from an amazing man who taught some very famous singers. His main chore in my situation was to break me of my self-inflicted emotional and mechanical bad habits that hindered my natural “instrument.”

    Tennis requires instruction for a completely different reason. None of us were born with a tennis racquet attached to our hand, and we must learn a finely-tuned and not-so-natural technique to control it effectively. That’s where the term “hack” comes from . . . it describes a more primitive (“natural”) method of whacking the ball.

    I see much more “natural” ability in untrained players doing things that involve only a player and a ball . . . basketball, soccer or throwing a baseball.

    MG
     
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