Do tennis coaches hate coaching adults?

#52
^^This is BS.

@TimeToPlaySets is correct. Serious adult players are fun to teach. I coached for about 15 years and loved working with anyone as long as they came out on court committed and wanting to get as good as possible.

I never had an adult player that wasn't motivated. Contrary to what sureshs said above, adults can easily improve. I've taken guys from 3.5 to 5.0 and it's really fun to see.
Agree entirely. I've coached little kids, talented and aspiring juniors, college players and adults. I've been happy and successful coaching all groups; now I focus on adults, almost all of whom I find are eager to learn and improve. Because nearly all of them play league tennis, they are able to track their improvement via their increased quality of play and, of course, results. While it is true that, for example, a senior 3.5 level player will not likely improve to 4.0 (and, in my experience, generally does not want to), they can certainly improve within the 3.5 level via better shot selection, more awareness of basic strategy and court positioning, and better teamwork with their partners. Beyond all this, I've made some lasting friendships with my players. Anyone who believes that coaches generally prefer juniors to adults is incorrect, IMO.
 
#53
I second @time_flyMaybe also a lot of them are jaded by adult students who take lessons but never practice so they never improve but blame the coach..
I was a personal trainer for years and this was exactly why I preferred working with athletes with goals. You’d get these older adults and develop programs for them for workouts and diet, and go through it for a month and they would complain they were‘t losing weight. You’d review their diet and home workout routines and they’d say things like, “Well, it was busy this month and I could only get the two workouts with you during the week, but I did eat well most the week”. Then you’d ask about what eating well most the time is and it turns out they might have a light breakfast or lunch and be chowing most the day, or have one day of moderations and two days going out to eat.

But really, it was your fault for not developing a program for them to properly improve.

Ffs.


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#54
If you want your pro to work with you, you have to work. So that means get in shape, practice, and above all, do what they say. Deep down, any decent instructor finds it rewarding when a student improves.

I have seen so so so many adults just refuse to do something because they think their way is better. Like, they insist on volleying or serving with the wrong grip. You do that, and the pro isn’t going to take you seriously.
I do appreciate that, but it is definitely frustrating as an adult when you come up against a coach who wants to tinker with servicable strokes because of the latest craze.

Case in point - about 10 years ago, I had a coach convert my perfectly acceptable, mostly neutral-stance forehand into an open-stance windscreen wiper. When I came back to tennis after about 6 years off, I was promptly informed by my new coach that this was an Americanised fad that has largely gone by the wayside. I'm now back to hitting a forehand that is much closer to the shot I started with.

I think it's a really underrated quality in a coach to be able to effectively tune strokes and gameplay that don't match up with modern best-practice (and sometimes even predate the coach's birth). It's a very different process to coaching kids, who are easily adaptable (and often a blank slate anyway).

Some coaches see that as a challenge and a nice change of pace. Others see it as an annoyance.
 
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#55
If you want your pro to work with you, you have to work. So that means get in shape, practice, and above all, do what they say. Deep down, any decent instructor finds it rewarding when a student improves.

I have seen so so so many adults just refuse to do something because they think their way is better. Like, they insist on volleying or serving with the wrong grip. You do that, and the pro isn’t going to take you seriously.
Honestly I don't get this? Why should a coach care, he's still making money.

I've consulted people professionally, knowing that they weren't going to listen to a word I said. If they are willing to pay, it's not my problem.
 
#56
I do appreciate that, but it is definitely frustrating as an adult when you come up against a coach who wants to tinker with servicable strokes because of the latest craze.

Case in point - about 10 years ago, I had a coach convert my perfectly acceptable, mostly neutral-stance forehand into an open-stance windscreen wiper. When I came back to tennis after about 6 years off, and was promptly informed by my new coach that this was an Americanised fad that has largely gone by the wayside. I'm now back to hitting a forehand that is much closer to the shot I started with.

I think it's a really underrated quality in a coach to be able to effectively tune strokes and gameplay that don't match up with modern best-practice (and sometimes even predate the coach's birth). It's a very different process than coaching kids, who are easily adaptable (and often a blank slate anyway).

Some coaches see that as a challenge and a nice change of pace. Others see it as an annoyance.
Interesting experience. There has to be a middle ground where the coach respects what you want to improve, and what you don't want to change. Not everyone is trying to become a pro, some just want to learn and practice.
 
#57
Interesting experience. There has to be a middle ground where the coach respects what you want to improve, and what you don't want to change. Not everyone is trying to become a pro, some just want to learn and practice.
I think the main thing is both parties being realistic about what the benefits of a particular coaching approach is. To take an extreme example - Stefan Edberg's probably not going to improve as a player by trying to change his continental forehand at this stage in life.

More than once I have seen a coach try and turn a solid classical forehand into a solid modern forehand, when aiming for a great classical forehand is probably going to be more achievable (and more enjoyable for the student).

That's not to say that older students shouldn't rebuild their games if they really want to. I mean, we're all playing for fun.
 
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#58
it is definitely frustrating as an adult when you come up against a coach who wants to tinker with serviceable strokes because of the latest craze.
Yah, same experience recently, was on vacation and just wanted to do a hit so hired a pro through the resort's club for a half hour hit-up. He wanted to remake all my strokes a la' the "moderne game"--i.e; Rafa's windshield wiper bh --my strokes are like Fed's--but not my mobility. I went along with it just for grins, like learning a 2hbh. They all feel like ****--Rafa can hit his ww bh because he practiced it for eight hours a day--if a rec player tries to emulate him, good luck. Be wary of young pros who want to remake your game to resemble the "moderne" one--ka ching, ka ching--especially if they're young and need to build up a client base and looking for a career in finance after graduation.
 
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#59
Of course it is more fun to teach young and athletic kids then middle aged, usually unathletic adults. But if you pay for it you can expect to be treated well and with motivation.

Also make your expectation clear as the coach might assume you only want some social tennis and something to do like most adult players. Tell him you are motivated to improve and not just looking for a weekly evening date.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
#61
Maybe it's just the private lessons I've had but I always get the impression coaches really only want to coach juniors. Is this the case? Seems tough to find a coach that is invested in improving adult rec play.
Yes. you only make a name for yourself coaching a junior to a national level. Sadly, there's no glory or status in getting a middle-aged 3.5 player to 4.5.

I personally think there's a lot of money to be made in coaching weekend warriors but you have to show them respect.
 
#63
Practice makes permanent. Doesn’t make you better.

If I work on my serve in a practice match, how is that worse than hitting a basket of serves on your own? I’m still working on things, it’s just someone hits it back.
Mmmmm, I can't get on board.

One important reason to practice is muscle memory. You cannot develop muscle memory in a practice match because you do not have the opportunity to hit the same shot over and over.

Back when I was newer to league tennis and wanting to improve, I played a lot of matches. So many matches, both practice and league. But it was not until I started drilling did I actually improve.

Right now, I am devoting the summer to improving my tennis. I will be taking weekly private lessons and hitting with the ball machine. Trouble is, I need a practice partner, but I cannot seem to find anyone who wants to practice *and* knows what the word "practice" means.

It's weird. Almost everyone I know is ambitious, defined as "wanting to be bumped up to 4.0." But practice? Nope, not interested.
 
#64
Honestly I don't get this? Why should a coach care, he's still making money.

I've consulted people professionally, knowing that they weren't going to listen to a word I said. If they are willing to pay, it's not my problem.
I suppose some of the coaches here can weigh in, as I only know what my coach has said.

He seems more energized and engaged when he has students who are willing to work hard, and he really seemed to like it when the ladies in our private clinic got better. It meant he got to teach more interesting drills and formations and shots.

And, well . . . don't we all need to be getting something out of our jobs besides a paycheck?
 
#65
I suppose some of the coaches here can weigh in, as I only know what my coach has said.

He seems more energized and engaged when he has students who are willing to work hard, and he really seemed to like it when the ladies in our private clinic got better. It meant he got to teach more interesting drills and formations and shots.

And, well . . . don't we all need to be getting something out of our jobs besides a paycheck?
I guess that makes sense. Personally I'm not a big fan of the "do what you love" mantra, and all I want out of a job is a paycheck. I seek fulfillment elsewhere. But you don't want to hate it. And I guess the kind of person who chooses a career as a coach is likely to have a different perspective.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#66
I suppose some of the coaches here can weigh in, as I only know what my coach has said.
The better and more established you get as a coach the more you can pick and choose your lessons/hours. If you have already been on court for 12 hours, have only choked down a few kind bars and bananas and don't need the money to make the bills then why would you want to teach a 50 year old 3.0 who wants to argue with you from 8-9pm instead of taking a shower and eating dinner and going to sleep when you have to be up at 5:30am the next day?

J
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#67
The better and more established you get as a coach the more you can pick and choose your lessons/hours. If you have already been on court for 12 hours, have only choked down a few kind bars and bananas and don't need the money to make the bills then why would you want to teach a 50 year old 3.0 who wants to argue with you from 8-9pm instead of taking a shower and eating dinner and going to sleep when you have to be up at 5:30am the next day?

J
But the same thing goes for kids, miserable kids are just as bad as miserable adults.

J
 
#69
You know I agree with almost every post you write .... but not on this point.

One cannot efficiently practice in a practice-match or any match.

For serves, it is definitely worse than hitting a basket on your own.
When I practice I am going to hit 50-75 serves at the bare bare minimum and I am really going to get that rhythm and make small tweaks until I am hitting my spots 9/10 times, varying pace and spin

You simply cannot do that in any match situation .... at most you will have a monster deuce game and hit 10-12 serves with other stuff in between .... then wait until it is your service again, relatively quickly in singles, could be a long time or never in doubles depending on the match. You will never get the reps in.

Same with absolutely any other stroke.
Depends on where you are on the learning curve of the stroke. Once you get proficient, bringing it to a practice match is the natural evolution. I'd agree that if you are breaking down a stroke and re-developing it, you should absolutely practice it with a ball machine or a coach or on your own. But once you've developed proficiency, you need to game proof it.

We do this with animal training. Once they've got the command down, you start throwing distractions in to proof it. Once you've learned your stroke in a controlled environment, you've got to learn to do it when you only have one shot to do it right.

I've got a buddy at the club that has lessoned himself into great strokes... against feeds and a ball machine. But in a match, it totally all breaks down and he misses a ton. I'd argue he needs a lot more match practice where he has to hit against someone hitting away from him and not to him.
 
#70
You are correct that you have to take a stroke and use it in practice matches. Clearly true.

But keep in mind that the very best players on the planet practice and drill. They are proficient with their strokes, so why isn't it enough to only play matches?

'Cause tennis strokes, like many other skills, are perishable.

So even though I know how to hit my BH, I have to drill it to retain it and avoid losing my timing or developing funky habits. And of course, league players who are only 3.0-4.0 have lots of things that are not committed to muscle memory. That alone is a very good reason to drill and drill and drill proper form.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#71
You are correct that you have to take a stroke and use it in practice matches. Clearly true.

But keep in mind that the very best players on the planet practice and drill. They are proficient with their strokes, so why isn't it enough to only play matches?

'Cause tennis strokes, like many other skills, are perishable.

So even though I know how to hit my BH, I have to drill it to retain it and avoid losing my timing or developing funky habits. And of course, league players who are only 3.0-4.0 have lots of things that are not committed to muscle memory. That alone is a very good reason to drill and drill and drill proper form.
If I play too many matches I lose my strokes; if I practice too much I lose my match toughness. It's kind of like playing whack-a-mole.

J
 
#72
I suppose some of the coaches here can weigh in, as I only know what my coach has said.

He seems more energized and engaged when he has students who are willing to work hard, and he really seemed to like it when the ladies in our private clinic got better. It meant he got to teach more interesting drills and formations and shots.

And, well . . . don't we all need to be getting something out of our jobs besides a paycheck?
As usual, I am in agreement here. For many years, I worked my business career diligently and received enough of a paycheck to allow me to retire fairly young. Now I teach tennis, not so much for the money (although I would certainly not do it for free in most cases) but because it fulfills me, and it particularly fulfills me when I can help my players be energized, engaged and depart our clinic or lesson looking forward to their league match, and our next clinic/lesson.

One caveat though Cindy: I never say "working" to refer to effort in tennis. I say "playing". We don't "work" tennis; we "play" tennis. Perhaps it's a small distinction,,,
 
#73
You are correct that you have to take a stroke and use it in practice matches. Clearly true.

But keep in mind that the very best players on the planet practice and drill. They are proficient with their strokes, so why isn't it enough to only play matches?

'Cause tennis strokes, like many other skills, are perishable.

So even though I know how to hit my BH, I have to drill it to retain it and avoid losing my timing or developing funky habits. And of course, league players who are only 3.0-4.0 have lots of things that are not committed to muscle memory. That alone is a very good reason to drill and drill and drill proper form.
3.0-4.0 players just have the wrong things committed to muscle memory. And frequently when I see them practicing, they are still practicing those wrong things. Breaking down faulty muscle memory takes far more effort than just pulling out a bucket of balls and repetitively hitting. It is a significant process of taking several steps back, extensive coaching, video analysis, drills and feeds, etc. Can be done in the motivated, but most players just want to make their poorly encoded muscle memory more consistent.

I agree all strokes are perishable and should be practiced. My practice sessions with my wife go like this: Warm up, hit CC mini tennis, hit CC groundstrokes, hit volleys, hit overheads (which works as lob practice too), hit some serves, play a set of singles, play a set of one on one doubles. Through it all I'm working on fundamentals. In that session there is cooperative hitting to get things right and uncooperative hitting to proof it. It strikes a balance.

But in my mind, you still need a process-oriented approach and a teachable spirit to get anything out of any practice and if you have that spirit, all encounters with a racket in your hand are useful practice.
 
#74
And, well . . . don't we all need to be getting something out of our jobs besides a paycheck?
Ding, ding, ding!

I didn't go into teaching to make tons of money. I did it because I found out I really loved teaching. Teaching someone that is willing to learn and work hard is way more fun than teaching someone that doesn't really want to get better. There are of course pros that don't want to teach adults, and pros that won't go near little kids. I just want someone that listens and learns, and is willing to make it a collaborative process.
 
#75
The better and more established you get as a coach the more you can pick and choose your lessons/hours.
It always seemed to be a self-selecting thing with me. After a while you get a reputation, so the people that didn't want to work hard just didn't take lessons from me. I always tried to make my lessons mentally and physically challenging. The people that didn't like that didn't come back and word gets around. Once I got established I didn't get tons of new lessons, but I always had the highest retention rate of any of the pros I worked with. I would occasionally recommend another pro for someone if my schedule was full or they were looking for something else though (I just want to hit/don't change anything).
 
#76
One caveat though Cindy: I never say "working" to refer to effort in tennis. I say "playing". We don't "work" tennis; we "play" tennis. Perhaps it's a small distinction,,,
Me, i think of taking instruction/drilling to improve as "work." I don't mind working for something I want badly enough. But when it is 90 degrees with humidity, the sun is beating down, my feet are sore, and we are working approach shots . . . that's not "play." :)
 
#82
I have not yet found a pro who can improve serves in adults.
Really?

One pro I used for a while taught me a kick serve in about 20 minutes. I was a 3.5. At 6'4" tall, he stood on a folding chair to guide my swing path so I could get the feel for it.

Was it a Sam Stosur kick serve? Nope. Was it great to have as a change-up in ladies doubles? Yup.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
#83
Really?

One pro I used for a while taught me a kick serve in about 20 minutes. I was a 3.5. At 6'4" tall, he stood on a folding chair to guide my swing path so I could get the feel for it.

Was it a Sam Stosur kick serve? Nope. Was it great to have as a change-up in ladies doubles? Yup.
That seems to be one sincere pro.
 
#84
Yes, Captain Obvious, you need to practice to improve at tennis.
That's not my point.

I said that it is almost impossible to find hitting partners who practice tennis.
1 in 100 people practice tennis.

What am I wrong about?
Almost no one practices tennis.
Almost no one has a plan.

1 out of 20 players even take lessons.
Even fewer players will drill with a partner with a hopper feed.
Maybe in 1 in 1000

99% of tennis players never get better.
That's because 99% of tennis players never practice.
They only play.

At 3.5 and 4.0, maybe 1 in 20 players will agree to practice drills with a Hopper. Maybe less.
These hitting partners are gold. 19 out of 20 want to play tennis, not practice

totally wrong on the 99%, Mr abstract statistical analysis. about 50% of my partners like practicing and drills etc. Obviously , you are hitting with the wrong group.
 
#85
Exactly, practice makes permanent.
That is why people play tennis for 40 years and stay at 3.0

You are not getting corrective feedback during a match.
You only rep your current strokes in a match.

You also have no idea what you are actually doing, only what you THINK you are doing.
If you're not using video, you are basically living in a fantasy world of tennis.

There is a reason ATP players hire coaches for millions of dollars.
A lot of people stay at 3.0 when they should be a 3.5 is to win at league tennis. tennis will do whatever it takes to win.
 
#86
3.0-4.0 players just have the wrong things committed to muscle memory. And frequently when I see them practicing, they are still practicing those wrong things. Breaking down faulty muscle memory takes far more effort than just pulling out a bucket of balls and repetitively hitting. It is a significant process of taking several steps back, extensive coaching, video analysis, drills and feeds, etc. Can be done in the motivated, but most players just want to make their poorly encoded muscle memory more consistent.
.
+1000

Most people in clinics are getting worse.
They are grooving their broken strokes
It's a black hole that 1 in 1000 ever get out of
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
#89
But the same thing goes for kids, miserable kids are just as bad as miserable adults.
IME, sometimes miserable kids can be worse. One good reason? It’s not (usually) their own money that’s being spent.

But I think it also comes back to the strengths of the individual pro. Some of my colleagues, for example, are masterful at keeping the attention and engagement of the little kids. It’s truly amazing to watch. The kids’ faces are glued to the pro, like they’re watching a Spongebob cartoon. (This is a talent I do not have, and thus little kids get bored with me pretty quick).

Not surprisingly, I prefer to work with adults and tournament level juniors.
 
F

FRV

Guest
#93
TW, where 3.0s tell people they don't need coaches.

J
And I changed my mind. I'm probably 3.5 even though I haven't played a match in over 5 years (except for two doubles matches with friends) and have only hit around at most a few times per year since. I will admit, you give good advice on here, and this is probably a misunderstanding.

Edit: I actually am 3.0
 
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J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#95
And I changed my mind. I'm probably 3.5 even though I haven't played a match in over 5 years (except for two doubles matches with friends) and have only hit around at most a few times per year since. I will admit, you give good advice on here, and this is probably a misunderstanding.
Cool, do you play for fun or exercise or just like working on your game?

Nothing wrong with not playing matches.

J
 
F

FRV

Guest
#96
Cool, do you play for fun or exercise or just like working on your game?

Nothing wrong with not playing matches.

J
I just like playing tennis. None of my friends play though. Most of my friends I used to hit with ended up moving or we just lost touch. I actually pretty much quit the sport, but just picked it back up last summer for the purpose of attempting to hit as big a serve as I possibly could. I also joined a club this year, and probably could have started playing matches again there, but decided against it. I think for me, this sport is just a phase.
 
#97
One thing I do find very frustrating is lack of discipline among many parents. I had this fairly talented kid who just got really upset and he started to bounce his racket and even tried to hit the other kid with his forehand, kind of like Lendl used to do to Macenroe. I asked him what the heck he was doing and he thought the other kid cheated and called a ball in middle of the baseline Out thus giving him the service break. So he thought he was justified. So I told him ,, "you saw the ball clearly on the baseline from noman's land where you were standing ??" NO WAY, plus it doesn't matter even if he did cheat, you don't behave that way. I told him you need to control your emotions and that is all part of improving your tennis and life.

Anyway, I told his father what went on and I told him it might be a good idea to ground him for 2 weeks, it is just long enough to get the point across. But then the father said,,,, "well,,, other kid made some questionable calls, so he had right to be mad",,,,, I said What,, are you kidding me ? That is not the point... and his father just shrugged it off.................... WOW....
Can you come to the UK and coach my kid - no way would any UK coach dare to question a childs behaviour like that!
 
#99
That D1 UTR13 college player thats been playing tennis for 15 years and was coached since early by experienced coaches and developed using a systematic and long term development plan throughout many many years....

He wouldnt even be UTR9 if he had no coaching and no development plan, but simply played matches lol....

But nevermind, TTW 3.0 players say coaching is a waste of time and money, just play matches and you will develop into the best player possible, gg lol...

Some people here truly are completely nuts
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
You need to look harder.

Almost every adult that I have ever taught has eventually transitioned to a proper serving grip and added a spin serve. It just takes patience.
That is a very low threshold. I am talking about a threshold of 80 mph first serve with a 75% rate, and a second serve of 65 mph at 2000 rpm with a 95% rate.

And no foot faulting please.
 
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