How to Choose a Coach?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TennisFan436, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. TennisFan436

    TennisFan436 Rookie

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    Hello all!

    After years of being an avid tennis fan I am now getting around to hiring a personal coach. But I am one of those newbies/beginners that have no clue on how to buy a racket, let alone what to look for in a potential coach. Does any one have advice on what are requirements I should use before I pay anyone? Any particular certifications he/she should have?


    Thanks!
     
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  2. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^Where are you based TennisFan?

    Certifications vary from country to country and some carry more weight than others in respect of what they involve having to do to achieve them. Technically as tennis coaching is a non-regulated industry you don't have to have any certification at all to call your self a coach, but you should at the very least look for a coach with certification from a recognised awarding body and public liability insurance. At least you know you're are getting somebody with a recognised teaching ability (even if it is to a low level) and are protected if something negligent happens.

    Best bet is recommendation from friends/colleagues or checking out the area and seeing which coaches work with which types of players - some coaches are better with performance kids, others better with beginner adults - generally their cliental will give you an idea who they are comfortable coaching.

    cheers
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
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  3. TennisFan436

    TennisFan436 Rookie

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    NYC/NJ environs.
     
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  4. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Okay, so you're probably looking at USPTA or PTR certifications, but you might be able to get someone with RPT certification (if so, you have your answer - the RPT programme is hands down the best coach education programme in the world)
     
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  5. TennisFan436

    TennisFan436 Rookie

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    Thanks Ash. Between USPTA and PTR, which is better to have in a coach?

    Also, how do I search for RPT certified coaches in my area?
     
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  6. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ This is where my limit of US coaching systems starts to fail! I'm a USPTA Pro 1 level, but by association. The PTR over here was regarded as a bit mickey mouse, but I believe the franchise is now run by a different team and I'm have no recent record to go on. Might need some others with a better working knowledge of how things work over there to chime in!

    RPT certs are hard to find as they would either have to have qualified in Spain, the UK or gone to Naples to take one of the A-SC Florida courses. Probably not that many relatively speaking.
     
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  7. TennisFan436

    TennisFan436 Rookie

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    I wish this forum had a "Thank You" button.

    Thanks, Ash. It looks like I'll have to settle for a PTA/PTR coach here. I think I found someone who is affiliated with a tennis academy but he is PTR. I hope it works out.

    Thanks again for your contributions and advice. :)
     
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  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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  9. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    As with any and all professions, there are good examples of the representatives of those associations and there are bad. Do your homework: study the nature of skilled tennis, (if that is what you want to become), and understand what you want to move towards. There are so many free and low cost web sites, (this one included), that you can learn a great deal about the game.

    Forums like this one, (which in my opinion is one of the best in terms of quality of postings and diversity, even if there is a great deal of disagreement too!), can give you an idea of grips, strokes, and strategies that you will want to learn. At the very least, you will be able to ask the right questions, know more about what you are looking to achieve, and overall, have a better chance at getting more out of any lesson.

    Of course, there are a gazzillion DVD's and books out there. Some are indeed better than others. I won't discuss any here as it would take too long. However, as a teaching pro for 35 years, I can tell you that nearly all books and DVD's offer something you can gain from.

    Finally, make sure you communicate what you hope to achieve from your lessons. A good pro will ask, too. Then, be prepaired to learn some things that might come hard or are more unfamiliar. A good pro will understand this and give you drills and exercises to overcome these and master the proper patterns for progressive improvement. A bad pro will simply provide affirmation at the wrong time. For example, if my student stroked the ball with the right grip, swing pattern, footwork etc., but missed the ball completely, I would most likely complement the attempt. However, if you somehow made contact with bad form but the ball went towards the target, I would not applaud that at all. In other words, a pro looking for improvement towards a goal will not be satisfied with "instant gratification' of hitting a target if it was done with poor mechanics that won't equate into more sustained learning. (It usually was more luck than skill if this did happen!)

    Hope that helps!
     
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  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Right after MTM anyway. :)
     
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  11. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    how many MTM coaches are there in the U.S. approximately?
    are there official certification courses or programs or exams that you can take?
     
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  12. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    No, the MTM coach ed programme is based on technique, it does not address the fundamentals of how to actually teach, how to organise lessons, how people learn, aspects of physical or mental training etc etc. As a technical information programme it has many merits, as a full coach education/training programme it is lacking in that sense. Maybe the USPTA coach ed programme does this too and just evaluates rather than educates (and maybe the USPTR too, i don't know), but that's not the same as actually teaching coaches to teach, which is what you have on the RPT certification courses (and LTA, FFT etc) :)
     
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Is on-court evaluation a requirement for MTM certification?

    Is there a minimum required NTRP level?
     
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  14. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I would suggest an alternative to the OP - get a high-level player, like a college player, to hit with you. The cost is much less. By carefully observing him and asking the right questions, you can learn a lot.

    For example, I am learning how to handle side spin by hitting with a poster on this board (who is not a college player, but a high level rec player). I am also observing how he adds the side spin - which I can then correlate by watching the pros on Tennis Channel.

    There is no way a coach who himself plays 4.5 or below is going to be able to give you that kind of experience.
     
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  15. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    everything but a coach:)
    i know at least of one coach who was below 4.5 and took a player to no.1 in the world.
     
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