First high school coaching job

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Bdarb, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    I've been doing private lessons for a couple years now. Ive worked a bit with teams loosely but this season I will be coaching my first high school tennis team. I'm pretty excited but a bit nervous as team tennis is a whole other animal from privates.

    A little background info. Tennis here is fairly low level, relatively low on the sports totem pole here as it is at many schools in the area.

    Any tips/suggestions, words of wisdom/caution. Really anything at this point.


    Thanks gang.
     
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  2. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    Congratulations.
     
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  3. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    My main advice is to create some sort of system of challenges to determine positions on your roster. Also, it is best if you create a ladder board and allow frequent challenges to determine the ranking and order of play.

    Dave Smith's coaching book is really good on this subject, and is helpful for a coach on a lot of different topics.
     
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  4. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Question: What is your student-coach ratio? 4:1?
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    From my limited perspective, more like 12-1.
    Most tennis coache's teach nothing, but do organize practices, matches, travel, and maintain a system for rankings.
     
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  6. Devil_dog

    Devil_dog Semi-Pro

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    Congrats. Hopefully you have a good group of players that want to compete and thus will make it fun for everyone involved.

    I recall growing up on my junior team that the coach was not very good about making us feel cohesive as a team. It was mostly every person for him/her self. Thus, most of the time during school matches there was very little enthusiasm for supporting one another. Hopefully, you won't make that mistake and really build everyone up on the squad from 1-6 and even the JV squad. That's usually how winning programs work. Everyone has a stake in the success and growth of the team.

    Good luck!
     
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  7. BigBlueYanks

    BigBlueYanks New User

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    This pretty much sums it all up, for my HS coach too. However, he took care of our stringing needs as well, since it was a private boarding school.
     
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  8. BigBlueYanks

    BigBlueYanks New User

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    As a side note, our school's ratio was 6:1
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Assistant high school tennis team coach?
     
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  10. kingcheetah

    kingcheetah Professional

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    As someone that recently played high school tennis, I'd say to actually be different from the majority of coaches, and not have the players run the challenge system... here's my reasoning:
    On my team the rule was that anyone 8-15 could challenge up to two spots up, and one victory got them the spot. Numbers 7 and 8 could challenge six, but they had to win twice in a row to take his spot. The rest of the top 6 could only challenge one spot up. What this ultimately led to was players constantly ducking each other's challenges, whining behind each other's backs to the coach and dividing the team... sure we were successful with raw talent, and ended up eventually winning a state championship because of it, but we were lucky to get to where we did. Player-led systems lead to division of the team and complacency amongst the top players.

    Say that players will earn their spots. You can arrange matches between players to determine the ladder, but you should maintain that you always have the final say when it comes to lineups. This is what the girl's coach at my school did and she turned a program that had been a 1st round regional team into a state semi-final team in one year by building team chemistry and making people work hard at practice to earn their place.

    Look at all of the best teams in college tennis... the coach has the final say. Players are competing to contribute to a team, rather than dividing themselves from the rest for self glory.
     
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  11. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the input!

    Looking like about 18 girls going out for the team. I would expect to keep about 14. Seven to play varsity, seven for jv and practice. I don't imagine much individual teaching will go on. Like lee said, it's a lot more chaperoning/organizing etc. the month of April is all practice then may there are matches m w f.

    Very busy very quick, need to maximize on the practice this month as a rain out or two and were wayyyy behind. Plus with the long winter here in Maine, it's slow going. A lot of other programs are practicing inside but this program is a tighter budget.

    Either way, exciting stuff. I think the team comraderie is going to be one of the biggest things. As the level around here isn't very high, good athletes who get along and are willing to learn can be the winning combo. The serious players are at smaller schools oddly enough so competition isn't too high relatively speaking.
     
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  12. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    No assistant. Might get a hand a couple practices from some pro friends but I'm not holding my breath.
     
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  13. kingcheetah

    kingcheetah Professional

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    Individual teaching is almost non-existent in my experience, I would find basic skills, such as hitting through the ball more, that you could have the girls work in pairs on while you supervised and did some correcting.
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I'd not cut the 4 on the bottom.
    It's too few to dispute.
    Maybe it would give incentive for the uncut 4 to play more tennis, to build the team for next year.
    You can decide later if they are detrimental to the team.
     
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  15. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    Very much agree kingcheetah, thanks for the input. Exactly what I was looking for.
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    No assistant, it would behove you to have a couple of the girl's do feeding, at 1 feeder for 3 hitters ratio, taking up very few courts with 2 feeders per court, feeding to 6 hitters. They can switch up later. Need a few balls, though.
    Even the top pros get hand fed, but this is racket fed feeding, baseline to baseline.
     
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  17. kingcheetah

    kingcheetah Professional

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    As far as the cutting goes, I think it depends on the talent disparity. When I was in school, we were an extremely deep team (Our B or C team could have won the district handily.) Those years we'd keep 17 players and there may have been one or two that were of equal ability to the lower-ladder guys that were cut due to match results in tryouts. After my class graduated (8 of the top 9) the coach kept the roster at 17 and there was a very distinct drop off in talent after about #13. Depending on court space, you could keep everyone, but I think what it ultimately comes down to is if the less talented players are going to be holding others back significantly.
     
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  18. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    Very much agree kingcheetah, thanks for the input. Exactly what I was looking for.
     
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  19. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Hey Bdarb,

    Let me know if you have any questions via email. I've seen first hand tons of team experience that might be helpful if you need it. :)

    The one thing I'll say for sure is that make sure not a single player gets special treatment. No matter if they are your best or your worst player. Keeping the same standard for every player is absolutely key to forming good chemistry on a team.

    -Fuji
     
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  20. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Fuji ill keep that in mind. Ill probably shoot you a message later this week if you have some beginner drills in mind that could not only help them with skills but display them for me so I have an idea where to start with the pecking order.

    Again, thanks everyone for the feedback!
     
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  21. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I wouldn't cut anybody. I also wouldn't go crazy with setting up challenges like some coaches do. Challenging is the most fair way to set up a lineup, but I feel you as the coach should have the final say. That being said, if a player disagrees and wants to challenge somebody within reason, it is your job to allow the challenge to happen and count. I would work with the players on skills that translate into winning matches like keeping the ball in play in singles and learning how to take over the net in doubles. Try to keep the environment team-first; in other words, if a player is a bad apple, she has to be disciplined appropriately no matter how good she is. Hopefully your players will want to learn and get better and you can have a good time out there. Also, if an opposing team is acting like jerks, you have to stick up for your players. Be very nice about it, but don't let opposing players/coaches get away with stuff. Few things will sap the morale of your team more quickly.

    From somebody who served as an assistant coach for the girls' varsity and JV teams while in high school.
     
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  22. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Definitely! I for sure have some drills that could be useful in establishing some sort of order in skill level. I run quite a few beginner-intermediate adult camps, and there are a couple drills I use to determine where people are skill wise that might be super helpful.

    -Fuji
     
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  23. kingcheetah

    kingcheetah Professional

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    I agree on this one... players will gain or lose a lot of respect for their coach depending on how they react to opponents blatantly cheating. You've got to protect your players.
     
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  24. MyTennisTools

    MyTennisTools New User

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    No cut!

    17 or 18 doesn't sound like a very large group - in my high school we had 35 at least, so I'm all for "no-cut" policy. You work with the top 14 players equally and the rest can play challenge ladder matches to see who's moving up if another player is needed. That way your time isn't compromised and all the kids get to experience the thrill of being on the team - something they'll remember all their lives if my experience is any gauge.
     
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  25. Europe123

    Europe123 New User

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    Maybe we call all become virtual coaches for your team :0) You can keep us informed of how your progressing and restuls etc on this thread.

    Im not too familiar with how the matches go against other teams in the US. Im assuming there is a misture of singles and doubles played.

    The key for sucess will be having a good team spirit especially in doubles and im sure we can provide some fun drills to help bond the team.

    How many courts do you have access to ?
     
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  26. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    all good advice.

    I don't think I'll have to make cuts. I find that the players who don't want to be there kind of cut themselves and if anyone else wants to be there, it's fine by me. We have five outdoor hard courts which is pretty good, most schools around here have four, so we should be able to get plenty of hitting in.

    The format is 1-2-3 singles and 1-2 doubles.

    From what I remember about my high school tennis, doubles wins and loses matches. If you can win the doubles matches, you have an outstanding shot at winning the match. So finding some doubles players who can be proactive at the net will be huge. It's a big basketball school so I'm hoping to grab a couple power forwards to own the net game :twisted:

    I'll keep you guys posted. It's still up in the air at this point whether it is the girls team with 20 players or the guys with 14 who I'll be coaching. Should know tomorrow.
     
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  27. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    From my 28 years coaching team tennis at the high school level, (in addition to directing and managing tennis clubs and gyms), I'll offer some advice that helped me and my father develop one of the most successful high school tennis teams in the country.

    1. DON'T cut! I can't tell you how many kids who didn't SEEM to possess the skills or talent to make the varsity ended up being some of my most prolific and most successful players.

    2. Teach your players how to drill each other. There are hundreds of drills that you can do that they work with a partner, (toss and block drills are the most effective.) Teach your players to feed balls the first few days of practice; you can have six to ten players on a court doing various drills

    3. You can indeed TEACH a large group of players, (contrary to some of the advice offered here), if you know how.

    4. Hopefully, you are going to be around for a few years. If so, then look at the long-term picture: teach advanced stroke progressions; teach advanced strategic patterns; develop drills that efficiently address these two concepts.

    5. Obviously, your personality, the way you motivate, etc., will have a lasting effect on your players desire to work hard for you.

    6. Use rainy days to improve; where most coaches send players home, we ALWAYS loved rainy days to do several things: a) Use the gym if available to work volleys and footwork drills. (Again, toss and block drills work great in confined places.) Go into the hallways and do these drills; Take the kids into a classroom and watch videos or YOUTUBE clips of players; analyze what the pros are doing, how they are moving, how they set up a point and finish a point. Watch training videos; take tennis magazines and have your players read an article and write a summary; Have them pick a favorite player and have them research the player's strengths, history, and playing style.

    7. USE CHALLENGES OFTEN: We challenged at least half our team every day. We had an average of 45 players each team/season with only two coaches; Challenges offer the best pressure situations for kids to learn to fight for their position.

    8. Train your kids on how to chart: with large teams, lower kids charted the varsity and JV matches; this helped them actually WATCH the upper kids play with a purpose and the upper kids gained value from the lower kids charting their matches. (Find a charting sheet on google if you don't know how to make one.)

    9. Make your LADDER BIG! Make sure every kid can see their position.

    10. Create opportunities for kids to play challenges on the weekend or set up practices or mini tournaments for your team. (See if your local adults can come on weekends to play your kids...awesome experience for young kids to play experienced adults. And, the adults usually like to play young kids and then they will like to follow their progress...setting up opportunities to gain some financial support from your community.

    11. Read my book, COACHING MASTERY....yes, it is here at Tenniswarehouse. It documents all my coaching concepts that I've accumulated from my 35 years teaching.

    Good luck and thank you for helping kids get better!
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Great stuff, a good high school tennis teacher.
     
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  29. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    Wow coaching mastery, thank you for that thoughtful response.



    Love this site.
     
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  30. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    So start on Tuesday. I got the varsity boys team.

    Pretty stoked.
     
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  31. 10s talk

    10s talk Semi-Pro

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    is there any snow on the courts ?

    What part of Maine ?
     
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  32. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    Tennis in an education setting, or any sports or any activities in an education setting. A true educational setting and not a disguise for money making (see NCAA basketball, football), is about using the activity to teach the student how to be a better person, to learn to deal with life lessons via their activities.

    So that when they lose,they know that Obama was to blame or illegal Mexicans or both.
     
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  33. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    Southern Maine. This week is the make it or break it week for most schools around here. All courts are dry, just a matter of getting nets up. Most schools have them or will by the end of the week. Practice five days a week until our first match 4/28, then it's a match ever m w f for the next four weeks with practice in between and the season is over! So quick. Plus with a rain out here or there, the practice is almost done by may.

    Here goes.

    And thanks Dennis10is, I agree.


    Especially about Obama lol
     
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