What do you look for in a pro?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by dizzlmcwizzl, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Over the last three summers I have been taking lessons with a local pro. I like him and really think he has helped my game. We both use excessive course language and bust on each other constantly ... which I enjoy.

    However, he is not that good of a player. I can (and have) beaten him in tournaments. Also, my friends are often surprised when I share how much he has helped me. They think that he is a good coach for beginners but lacks the ability to move me much further along.

    So this is the question: This is the only coach I have ever known. Is the relathionship and trust we have developed more important than his ability. Or should I value the opinnion of my friends that think I should look for a new coach to help me improve faster?
     
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  2. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    there is really only question you should ask - does he continue to help your game and improve you as a player? If yes, then really, why change for someone who might not be doing that?
    perhaps you use him because its fun, you are friends, and you accept a little tiny improvement as satisfactory, in which case you might be able to improve faster with a "better" pro.

    i wouldnt worry about playing level too much, though one of the things i appreciate is a pro with great technique and consistency, and who can completely control the kinds of rallies i need, whether they are just ball feeds, or gentle rallies in my wheelhouse, or to make me practice certain footwork ie hit it to a certain place so i have to move, or control his speed and spin on shots according to what i need. In that way he is a coach and a hitting partner who doesnt make mistakes, that is really worth it.
     
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  3. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    the coach doesnt have to play but then you need hitting partners. as you get past just focusing on technique you will need live ball drills not just fed ball drills. for that you need someone who can control things as mentioned above. best way to tell if a new coach would be better is to take a lesson with another one. let us know your experience.
     
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  4. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    The most important thing is his KNOWLEDGE of the sport. Are you progressing to learn how to play tennis or do you feel stuck because you have exhausted your coach's knowledge?

    Does he have a complete knowledge of the technique for stroke production,starting with all the grips, Eastern, Western, Continental, Aussie., etc? Does he tech proper stroke technique, the loop, can he teach the one handed back-hand?

    Does he have a thorough knowledge of strategy and tactics?

    Footwork, timing?

    Has he competed? Pro-Tour, how many years?

    Had he accompanied you to tournaments to observe you play?

    He doesn't have to play well today, but he certainly should have played well at some point and played competitively, tennis is a competition and not a performance.

    If you already have a deep knowledge of the sport, then you can afford a coach like a Bolleteri or Mark Spitz the Olympic swimmer's coach, Norm Chavoor--who didn't even know how to swim! At that level you need a coach who acts as a psychologist who knows how to push your buttons --or when not to--to make you compete better.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
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  5. groundbreaker

    groundbreaker Rookie

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    Can't give you an opinion, but...Never change a winning strategy.
     
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  6. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    I don't think this is a good habit he should be instilling in you. When you get to tournaments, traditionally quiet affairs, it may be a habit that is difficult to squelch. It may cost you conduct penalty points from officials and you won't be endearing yourself to the players on the adjoining courts either. He should know all the unwritten traditions and etiquette of the game, so, if you ever play at Monte Carlo with the princess you won't embarrass yourself.
     
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  7. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    If you had confidence in him, you wouldn't be here asking the question or paying attention to what your friends are saying. If he has become a friend he would direct you to a coach who could teach you what he doesn't know.
     
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  8. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    I think first and foremost it is important to have a good idea of my own goals: What do I need and want to get out of these lessons?

    Examples include: learn the basics of the game, have fun in leagues, have a sectional ranking as a junior, be a state semifinalist in H.S and/or get a college scholarship.

    Next I look for a few things:

    1) Someone who others recognize as successful at what I am looking for.

    Examples:

    If my goal is to get a college scholarship, I'm looking for the coach nearby who has a winning record in college in the division I'm looking to compete in.

    If I want to do well or have fun in leagues - who is the local coach who either has some success (fun and winning might be different goals) in that space. E.g. If you care about winning - who is the coach with most trips to nationals nearby?

    2) Someone who has some degree of success as a coach/teacher.


    Great you found people who've done it themselves. You are looking to learn from them though. Who did they teach who achieved that goal?

    In the college example - who are students who they've coached who got scholarships?

    3) Effective Student:Teacher chemistry.

    Coach can communicate things in a way you can understand and learn from.

    This is something you have to evaluate with that person.

    4) Someone who meets above criteria and has enough time for me in their list of priorities and can work with my schedule fairly well.


    At least that's what has worked well for me,
    K_I
     
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  9. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    That's good advice Kick It gives!
     
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  10. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Well at 42, a PHD in physics, 2 little kids and professional responsibilities of all kinds ... I tend to appreciate the situations where I can behave like a long shoreman and let loose. Trust me, I can keep it in the holster when I need to.
     
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  11. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    This is the root of my query ... We really have 3 & 4 but I am unsure about his ability to get me further along. I feel like I get a little better after our series of lessons, but the improvement is plodding and methodical. Maybe this is just a factor of my age.

    My goals are simply to get better with the time I can commit to playing (3-4 two hour sessions per week). Having no frame of reference I asked the question should I stick with a guy that I like and is available for me, regardless of the possibility that I could be getting more else where.
     
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  12. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    If you've got that much time to commit - I'd say you are lucky; I'm 43 and am lucky to get out 2x a week this year.

    Depending on your experience - it may be harder to overcome some past liabilities if they are well ingrained.

    I'd say try another pro on for size and see how it goes. Be up front with them what you want to get out of it though.

    There's always something to be said for hearing the same thing from different points of view.

    I worked with two different coaches when I was competing in national age group tournaments (35s and 40s) - each had a different strong suit, but most importantly it worked.

    Good Luck! K_I
     
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