How good of a player must a coach be in order to be successful?

Discussion in 'College Tennis Talk' started by tennisballer, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. tennisballer

    tennisballer Rookie

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    With the controversy with the hiring of the women's coach at Wisconsin I want to get everyone's opinion on a subject matter. How important (or not important) do you think it is for a coach to have a strong playing background? It's pretty obvious the people at Wisconsin valued her playing background much more than her coaching background which I think is just plain crazy. Personally, I think you need to be atleast a solid player in order to get certain players to follow and respect you, but do not think its necessary that the coach be a world class player.
     
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  2. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    I never understood this jack of all trades approach to 'the coach' that some have.

    I mean you need someone who is good at teaching technique, strategy and giving feedback, you need someone who can setup and monitor a good training regime, you need someone who can give the proverbial 'kick on the butt' and then you need someone who keeps an eye on the logistics of things.

    Now why does this have to be the same person?
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    First and foremost, a head coach needs to be an administrator, able to keep up the logistics, travel, upkeep, and care of the team's personel.
    Then, they have to understand the BASICS of tennis, the basics of each stroke, and the basics of a winning strategy (not always just pushing over and over).
    Then they have to be able to delegate tasks to other players and assistant coach's, who have to answer to him.
     
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  4. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    Any college program coaching more than a modicum of technique is a program on the way to club status. Bring on the hate.
     
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  5. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I agree completely. A college coach shouldn't have to build strokes. Their role is to help a player discover ways to use their skills and create strategy. If a college coach is overhauling a players' ground strokes...not a good sign.
     
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  6. on the line

    on the line New User

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    Florida tennis dude you are completely clueless and obviously don't understand college tennis, as a mom of a NCAA singles champ and now a winning head coach, I can tell you that unless you are tweaking or re-building strokes you are not really coaching and any administrator can do your job! Your crazy theories are the reason why so many head coaches fail, they just don't have the expertise and rely entirely on recruiting complete players....just how many of those players do you think exist outside the top 5 programs?
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Strange post 6, as Florida Dude is saying a coach of a D1 school does NOT need to constantly watch over strokes whatsoever.
     
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  8. Gut4Tennis

    Gut4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    ohhh this touched a deep nerve

    let the games begin
     
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  9. roman40

    roman40 Rookie

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    I don't think it's possible to improve your strokes much at college age. It usually takes years to develop consistent and reliable strokes, and presumably you've already played tennis for many years before college, so if you start tweaking and re-building, you're more likely to make things worse.

    At college, coaches should focus more on psychology, physical training, health, strategy/tactics, and similar, and for that, the coach doesn't have to be a good tennis player, or even own a racket :) However, more likely than not, coaches at college level have experience playing at college level.
     
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  10. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    * Claps hands *
     
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  11. tennisballer

    tennisballer Rookie

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    While I agree with mostly everything Roman40 said, I do believe that tweaking of strokes (i.e. reducing a huge backswing on a stroke, getting the player to keep his/her head down through shot, etc.) should take place in college if it is deemed necessary for the overall improvement. This is part of the job of a coach, atleast one who has a strong technical background and can help facilitate this change. While I agree it does take some time to develop consistent and reliable strokes, as a coach, if you know that you can help your player by tweaking your player's stroke, you would be copping out by using the excuse "it will take too long". Thus you would be doing your player a disservice and probably should be coaching at a low level D2, D3 or NAIA school where being an administrator are the only skills necessary.

    On a related side note, basketball players shooting strokes are tweaked all the time when they into college? Why should tennis be any different?
     
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  12. on the line

    on the line New User

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    Reading the responses I see on this board its obvious that many folks commenting have no real experience to back up their assumptions about college tennis. You would need to have been around a lot of college teams and players at both top programs and unranked programs to know what you are talking about. Without question even the top players need technical help…sometimes a stroke just goes off for no apparent reason or sometimes there is an injury forcing a player to adjust a certain shot. The lower ranked or unranked teams have their own challenges as they can't attract top players so they need to recruit "projects" that have winning attitudes but maybe have a few issues to overcome be it movement, fitness or stroke production.

    That being said, I have witnessed players who come to college with unorthodox shots and I have seen great coaches get them to believe in that shot and actually develop it to use as a weapon. My point is that most college coaches can't recognize when a stroke has potential and when it is actually holding back a player from winning and even if they could recognize it they still lack the expertise to make the necessary adjustments.
     
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  13. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    Well if someone got to be really good tennis player they know what it takes to get there thus they can give the players tips to get on the path to great tennis.



    As far as how much they should be changing strokes. I mean a good coach may be able to teach minor improvements without re inventing the wheel.
     
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  14. roman40

    roman40 Rookie

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    I don't think it's the job of the head coach to deal with those issues, there is already a lot to deal with. If a player needs personalized instruction, then they should pay for private lessons, or if college has the funds, they should retain a good tennis instructor for that purpose.

    Take a look at what head coach is responsible for, and tell me, does he really have time to fix technique issues? Personally, I don't think so.
    http://ncaamarket.ncaa.org/jobs/5528569/head-men-s-women-s-tennis-coach
     
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  15. on the line

    on the line New User

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    With all due respect Roman40, I don't need to read the want ads to see what head coaches do. But if you do that’s fine…just so we're clear, the job description you picked was for a Men's & Women's coach at a small Division II school in NY hardly a good example of the type of programs discussed on this board. The truth is most Div I programs have a separate men's & women's head coachs, one or more assistants, graduate assistants and top programs or state schools even have admin. assistants who handle travel & hotels. At many schools the Assistants do much of the day to day recruiting tasks, oversee travel, help run practice and training, travel to events and order equipment etc. The yearly schedules for conference matches are usually determined by each conference so head coaches only schedule the out of conference matches. Head coaches have plenty of court time and those who want to win are using that time to work on tennis skills including technique.
     
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  16. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Don't they have do all of this to keep themselves on the radar?
     
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  17. roman40

    roman40 Rookie

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    No, I don't think that's what head coach should be doing, there are plenty of more important, higher profile tasks to do. If they have all those people, then they should have someone else focus on technique, in the form of private lessons.
     
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  18. on the line

    on the line New User

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    "they should have someone else focus on technique, in the form of private lessons."

    Are you insane? Only a few players at the very top are using outside private coaching, this is a college tennis....not the juniors!
     
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  19. springfieldalum

    springfieldalum New User

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    Of course a college coach works on strokes with players... Believe me, mine got a lot better during the time I played Division I tennis. The new woman's Wisconsin coach has head coaching experience at the Division I level in addition to playing at a high level. Every school is entitled to choose whatever coach they see fit to hopefully better their program.
     
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  20. roman40

    roman40 Rookie

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    How many college players have you seen who haven't had a lot of private lessons? I haven't seen any actually. If there are any, they are an exception.
     
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  21. roman40

    roman40 Rookie

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    Exactly, that's a more rational approach. If coach wants to spend time improving strokes, that's fine, but that shouldn't be a requirement, because that's one of the least important aspects of coaching a college team.
     
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  22. tennisballer

    tennisballer Rookie

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    @Roman40. I don't understand how "fine-tuning" your players strokes is one of the least important aspects of a college coaches job. Granted recruiting and scheduling are important as well, but having a talented and knowledgable coach who can help improve your strokes and overall game is the difference between a well-rounded "coach" and an administrator.
     
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  23. roman40

    roman40 Rookie

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    Well, I just think that strokes take a long time to improve, require one-on-one instruction, and the improvement will be marginal after a lot of effort (and could potentially make things worse). I think team instruction, that focuses on strategy/tactics/psychology/etc. and well structured practice sessions will yield much more benefit. In addition, there is a lot of administrative tasks that impact funding/recruiting/etc. that take precedence. Coach has limited amount of time, if he can get all the important stuff done well, and still has time to do personal instruction, that's great, but I don't think that's a requirement for a great head coach.
     
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  24. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Many programs that have an asst. coach provide individual workouts for their players. Video stroke analysis and tweaking for improved mechanics is common at many programs. Sometimes the head coach does the stroke analysis and tweaking, sometimes it's the assistant. Your point about making stokes worse is unlikely, even at the lower levels, unless the coach does not know what the heck he is doing. Respectfully, to say that stroke improvement is marginal is very short sighted. Slight improvements are often the difference between winning and losing. Any good program and coaching staff is looking for an edge and to improve in all areas. What's prioritized for one player may not be for another. The big picture is made up of many individual components. Coaches who do not have a grasp on all moving parts will be exposed or be subjected to limited success.
     
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  25. roman40

    roman40 Rookie

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    I mostly agree with what you're saying, my point is that stroke development is low on a priority list. If you have an assistant coach, that's a different story. If you have time to do everything, then yeah, it should be done. I just think that a great head coach doesn't necessary have to be a great player, which is what this thread is about.
     
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  26. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Stroke development would be low on the priority list for a player who is technically sound. Stroke development could be one shot, such as volleys. In todays game even at the highest level volleys are often some of the least developed strokes for incoming freshman. Even great college players will have one shot that could improve.

    Many programs have an assistant. They could be full-time, part-time, volunteer or even a graduate student.

    Agreed, a great coach does not need to have been a great player. A great player does not necessarily by default have the background or ability to teach strong stroke mechanics.
     
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  27. on the line

    on the line New User

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    Almost every great college coach I know was a great player, but remember not every great player can be a great coach....look at Gigi Fernandez and a few others that shall not be named. These former pros without college experience don't make great college coaches because the college tennis is a team sport and vastly different from the pro circuit. Also, this notion that College tennis coaches just need to be efficient administrators is frankly BS, it takes a someone who knows how to win at the college level to get the job done.
     
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  28. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Our college coach was maybe 45 and as expected got stomped by the kids. Yet I don't think he needed to be a great player or needed to win sets against us to do his job effectively. He was a teacher for 20+ years and that certainly contributed to him being a decent coach.

    Now what if a coach were 70 years old - would you expect him to be a "good" player? Most likely his ability to move around the court would be poor and he'd never beat any of his kids. Yet he may have a lot of smarts and experience to pass along.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
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  29. on the line

    on the line New User

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    I'm not saying a coach has to be an great active player now but it's important that they were once an exceptional player with a history of excellence and top level experience on the court... the truth is the confidence of a stellar playing career has built the foundation of many of this countries best college coaches. It turns out winning is a habit and so is losing!
     
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