Understanding tennis without being a good player?

daddy

Legend
Good nick. ;)

Being a great coach although you were a crapy tennis player ? Possible ? Hell yes, then its possible to understand tennis but not play exactly at t highest level.
 

Tempest344

Professional
you can teach others even though you may not be the best at it
up to a certain point

eg Kick serves...it is harder trying to teach them if you can't do one yourself

as long as you can pass what you know onto others
 

Rhino

Legend
Nobody on these boards is a great player (unless there are some undercover atp posters!) and yet everybody here seems to be an expert. :)
 

Vision84

Hall of Fame
Nobody on these boards is a great player (unless there are some undercover atp posters!) and yet everybody here seems to be an expert. :)
I would certainly consider the 5.5s or higher here a great player. Probably the 5.0s to. However it is relative.
 
just to understand tennis, not to be a great coach :)

I'm asking you this, cause in an italian forum every 'good' player (not a pro player anyway) seems to say that only who play well can understand something about tennis. So I just would like to know if, how can i say, here it's the same ore there are different strokes for different folks ;-)
Thank you for your replies.

c.
 

daddy

Legend
Nobody on these boards is a great player (unless there are some undercover atp posters!) and yet everybody here seems to be an expert. :)
I can only imagine most of the people who watch tennis in stands or on tv are actually pretty poor players or not playing at all. Only certain percentage of people watching are tennis players. This means that basically tennis would not exist without people who do not play it but do watch it. So be thanfull for the existance of such !
 

daddy

Legend
just to understand tennis, not to be a great coach :)

I'm asking you this, cause in an italian forum every 'good' player (not a pro player anyway) seems to say that only who play well can understand something about tennis. So I just would like to know if, how can i say, here it's the same ore there are different strokes for different folks ;-)
Thank you for your replies.

c.
You have to play to be able to know things about tennis - to understand what it feels like and how hard is it and how every detail and half an inch here or there with racquet or feet - is so important in determine whether the ball will be a winner or a mishit. You do not have to be a great player. I imagine if you play tennis as a pro you are above the scale we are talking about.
 

Moz

Hall of Fame
I'm grappling with this one in my head.

Great coaches can certainly understand how to impart knowledge to make someone a great player. But, unless they were a top player, I don't think they fully understand what it's like to play top class tennis and therefore don't truly understand completely first hand.
 

daddy

Legend
I'm grappling with this one in my head.

Great coaches can certainly understand how to impart knowledge to make someone a great player. But, unless they were a top player, I don't think they fully understand what it's like to play top class tennis and therefore don't truly understand completely first hand.
Maybe you underestimate the role of the coach in sports ? I mean it is not unheard of, look at Federer - he does it for years now. Also one example, uncle Tony - Rafa and Marjan Vajda - Djokovic .. So we have 2 couaches of top 3 pros today who were not pro's or who did not have exactly top notch careers and nr1 without a coach. This says it all, everyone thinks diferently on this matter. ;)
 

Moz

Hall of Fame
Maybe you underestimate the role of the coach in sports ? I mean it is not unheard of, look at Federer - he does it for years now. Also one example, uncle Tony - Rafa and Marjan Vajda - Djokovic .. So we have 2 couaches of top 3 pros today who were not pro's or who did not have exactly top notch careers and nr1 without a coach. This says it all, everyone thinks diferently on this matter. ;)
Yes, but I would argue that although they are talented enough individuals to coach they do not truly understand world class tennis.

Not sure what you meant by your Federer example.
 

yourmom08

Rookie
to me you can be something of a student of the game (watch a lot of matches and generally learn everything you can about when where and why certain things work in tennis or why they don't) but there really is no substitute for actually being a competitive player. In other words reading repair manuals and knowing how to take apart a car engine doesn't make you a mechanic. If that makes sense lol. That being said i know some extremely knowledgeable fans that know a great deal more than some good players i know.
 

Gemini

Hall of Fame
I don't think all of the pros who are good/great players have an "understanding" of tennis. It's kind of automatic for them. Pure muscle memory and instinct for a lot of them. But then again...elaborate on what it is to "understand" tennis?
 

daddy

Legend
Yes, but I would argue that although they are talented enough individuals to coach they do not truly understand world class tennis.

Not sure what you meant by your Federer example.
I ment that by not having a coach for a long time, Federer actually shows his thinking. Probably that there is not much he could learn from coaches at this point of his career. Imo this is very wrong but he still does not have a coach. Either he can not find the right coach, or he thinks he does not need one. I find the first statement hard to believe.
 

Loco4Tennis

Hall of Fame
i believe this to be possible up to a certain level, i can teach someone to play tennis, but i cannot teach to a pro level
i am teaching my sister everything i know, and she was able to use what i thought her to be a top 10 player in her high school team, also something i did not get to do when i was in high school
I’ve read countless steps and techniques online on proper form to be able to follow myself and also show someone, this is how I was able to learn to hit a backhand myself, I now know why it works as oppose to before, im sure I can improve on it by paying a pro $75 an hour, but its not always financially possible
 

Moz

Hall of Fame
I ment that by not having a coach for a long time, Federer actually shows his thinking. Probably that there is not much he could learn from coaches at this point of his career. Imo this is very wrong but he still does not have a coach. Either he can not find the right coach, or he thinks he does not need one. I find the first statement hard to believe.
Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification. Good point.

I suppose it really depends on what it means to 'understand tennis'! Ah, it's a message board I'm not going to get too hung up on defining it! :)
 
I think one can understand tennis and not necessarily be an outstanding player oneself. But I am strictly answering the question asked, not bringing in coaching or being a teacher of strokes which are quite different things than understanding mechanics, game play, rules, regs, mental discipline, etc. and among other things.
 

PROTENNIS63

Hall of Fame
It is possible to be a bad player but understand tennis. It is possible to be an excellent player but be a horrible coach.
 

rafan

Hall of Fame
I believe there are many excellent players out there but they do not have the finacial resources or inclination to take their game to a higher level. It could be quite a threat for our pro's if this was not so!
 
It's possible to understand virtually any other sport without being a 'good player' in those, so I don't see why not. NFL would have no fans, commentators, etc if only people who played competitive football were in the stands.

And I've seen so many fights where the color commentor(i.e. a former boxer) gives virtually no good insights into the fight while the play by play guy(a broadcaster who probably last got in a fight in the 2nd grade) makes great observations, & sounds like he could go into the corner & help the losing fighter turn the fight around.

I've played & watched tennis(& many other sports as well) for a pretty long time, & have to say that tennis fans/players draw far bigger snobs on average than other sports. I've been guilty of this attitude in the past myself(watching tennis with casual fans that offer an opinion, & then me being like, "You don't know what you are talking about, I won the Springfield 12 & unders, I know all about tennis!"

Bottom line, if you watch enough of it & read enough about it, you can understand it pretty darn well, without being much of a player. Maybe well enough to develop some all time great champions(Richard Williams, Stefano Capriati, Pete Fischer, Mike Agassi, the list goes on & on)

I've heard Andre talk about just how bad his dad was as a player, yet he is most responsible for Andre's tennis success.

And I've seen interviews with Mike Agassi, he sounds like he understands the game quite a bit, more than say, James Blake does.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
When I was 24 I played a bunch of Open Tourneys and got my ranking in the top 50 in the East. My Coach was the best student of the game I'd ever encountered. Even though I could beat him 3 & 3, I learned TONS from him. (Thanks, Jim!)

Although "good" is a relative term, I don't believe being an excellent player is necessary to be able to teach, coach and help make more good players.

- KK
 

caverick

New User
I think anyone can understand the game of tennis, but I admit it is kind of confusing with the scoring, faults, etc. I do think that you have to play tennis to appreciate it. For example, I will be watching a match on TV and my brother will come in and say, "how can you watch something so boring?" but if he actually played he would realize how difficult it is to make the kind of shots these pros are making. Most people that don't play tennis and see it on tv think its boring and easy because all they are doing is hitting a ball back and forth, but if they played they might understand it and it would be entertaining.
 

christos_liaskos

Professional
In a word, yes. I am not sure what you mean by 'good player' or 'understand tennis'? Do you mean someone who is capable of hitting all types of shot as in, slice, topspin and flat on all the different shots (forehand etc etc) and is capable of hitting 100+ shot rally and no more or a pro ranked say, 400 or higher? The first option doesnt have to be anyone more than a 1st team club player (myself).

I myself am a coach and feel comfortable coaching players from beginners, up to the 1st team club player. I also feel I have enough knowledge to help players of a much higher ability but this is where coaches encouter problems. The player will start to think 'if I am better than you then what can you teach me' or 'if you cant do it then what makes you think you are teaching the right thing'. Personally I was let down by mental side of my game when I play matches but that doesnt mean I cant offer other players help in this area. Lets not forget that the best player in the world, however that may be at any given time, usually has a coach. Is that coach better than the player themself? Obviously not, otherwise the coach themslef would be sitting at the top of the rankings.

I know there are plenty of things though that I can improve on as a coach but I dont think I personally need to become a much better player.

Edit: Seems I made a big error in my last post lol. I have changed my opening statement to 'In a word, yes'.
 
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"Although Collins has described himself as a "hacker", he is an accomplished tennis player in his own right. He won the U.S. Indoor mixed doubles championship (with Janet Hopps) in 1961, and was a finalist in the French Senior doubles (with Jack Crawford) in 1975."

from wikepedia
 
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daddy

Legend
Moose & Co, you are posting in double thread. The OP made two exact threads at the same time, just the other one has around 20ish or 25 replys.
 

tacou

G.O.A.T.
there's a difference between understanding and teaching. teaching anything is the hardest thing in the world.

I'm no pro but I have a very firm understanding of the game, but I doubt I could teach anyone.
 

tacou

G.O.A.T.
It's possible to understand virtually any other sport without being a 'good player' in those, so I don't see why not. NFL would have no fans, commentators, etc if only people who played competitive football were in the stands.

And I've seen so many fights where the color commentor(i.e. a former boxer) gives virtually no good insights into the fight while the play by play guy(a broadcaster who probably last got in a fight in the 2nd grade) makes great observations, & sounds like he could go into the corner & help the losing fighter turn the fight around.

I've played & watched tennis(& many other sports as well) for a pretty long time, & have to say that tennis fans/players draw far bigger snobs on average than other sports. I've been guilty of this attitude in the past myself(watching tennis with casual fans that offer an opinion, & then me being like, "You don't know what you are talking about, I won the Springfield 12 & unders, I know all about tennis!"

Bottom line, if you watch enough of it & read enough about it, you can understand it pretty darn well, without being much of a player. Maybe well enough to develop some all time great champions(Richard Williams, Stefano Capriati, Pete Fischer, Mike Agassi, the list goes on & on)

I've heard Andre talk about just how bad his dad was as a player, yet he is most responsible for Andre's tennis success.

And I've seen interviews with Mike Agassi, he sounds like he understands the game quite a bit, more than say, James Blake does.
I'd say this a perfect reply.
 

David L

Hall of Fame
Understanding tennis without being a good player, it's possible?
One can have a practical or theoretical understanding of any discipline, but one without the other is going to be somewhat deficient. The more you can do on a court, the better your practical knowledge will be. The more you have thought accurately about the game, the better you theoretical knowledge will be. It's not necessary to be a pro, but if you have good technique and have experienced what it is like to play under pressure, in any capacity, I think you'll have a better idea of what pros in competition will be experiencing. A theoretical understanding with no practical competence whatsoever, is a bit like fantasy. Everything becomes possible and doable, which is not realistic. Practical experience provides the reality check. It's pretty much the same in all disciplines. In music for example, one gets the musician, the musicologist and the audience. Each will perceive the same musical experience with different degrees of understanding.
 
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2 Cent

Rookie
those types of people can only understand tennis to an extent. much like how i love watching NBA basketball, and i understand it to an extent. but if you break it down to the coaching aspect, i get lost. like, i still don't know how to determine when a team runs a particular set offense or defense. or being able to read the defense, etc.

now, on the other hand, i'm a very experienced and knowledgeable tennis player, so i feel like i understand nearly every aspect of the game. even moreso than certain other good players, and even coaches/instructors. there's more to tennis than just knowing how to hit the ball.
 

saram

Legend
just to understand tennis, not to be a great coach :)

I'm asking you this, cause in an italian forum every 'good' player (not a pro player anyway) seems to say that only who play well can understand something about tennis. So I just would like to know if, how can i say, here it's the same ore there are different strokes for different folks ;-)
Thank you for your replies.

c.
I think it is totally possible to understand the game without performing at a high standard. Like mentioned previously--being a great coach without playing well has its limitations (the example of explaining and demonstrating a kick serve was a great example previously).
 

heftylefty

Hall of Fame
I don't think Richard Williams was a great player, yet he coached two slam champions.
Very interesting point, but I wonder if he a son would he have the same success. I don't think so. I men's game is so advanced I can of only one parent that coached a men's champion; and that was Gloria Conners. And even she had help.
 
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