How to choose a tennis coach-top ten tips
1. A difficult process
Finding good Tennis Coaches is difficult: many are former college or school players who look reasonably good hitting a ball, but have little actual teaching experience. Even at beginner level it is a good idea to employ a good coach who can give the learner a good foundation. A good Tennis Teacher is absolutely worth the price. A poor Tennis Teacher simply wastes your time and money.
2. Qualifications and courses
Always ask your potential Tennis Coach their LTA qualifications, make sure they are DBS (this is the criminal records check) checked and registered. They may have equivalent qualifications with other bodies such as the RPT, USPTA etc. Ask how long they have been teaching, what ages and what kind of results they have had in working with players. If they are teaching children unsupervised they must be licensed, or registered.
3. Teaching ability
And, while you're talking to your potential Tennis Coaches, try to gain an understanding of their level of professionalism, dedication, level of maturity, type of personality (personable; gregarious), and their ability to communicate clearly and effectively.
4. Expect RAPID results
You're paying good money to take tennis lessons, and you've got a right to expect good results soon. If you have difficulty understanding your Tennis Teachers during your tennis lessons and have been progressing slowly, stop crossing your fingers hoping you'll one day have a magical epiphany and suddenly improve.
5. Be clear about what results you want
You need to help your coach understand what you want to achieve, if you are a mature player you may not want to re-engineer your game, you may be looking for quick wins and tactical tips, do you want to be able to play well at social tennis, beat your friend, win the league or club tournament? Tell your coach so they can help you plan what you need to do on the court with them, and outside of coaching. It can be frustrating for a coach to have an adult standing in front of them who has no idea what they are having coaching for!
6. Their playing standard and experience
It's very difficult for a Tennis Teacher to teach you to do something he/she cannot already do him/herself, regardless of what he/she might think or claim. It is useful if a coach is also a competing player and has an overview of all the things you need to do to prepare for competitions.
7. Years and kind of experience
There's no substitute for experience. But, tennis teaching experience can be gained in a variety of settings. These include year-round indoor and outdoor facilities, as well as outdoor summer-only institutions such as adult and junior camps, recreation department programs, and country clubs. The tennis teaching experience a Tennis Instructor gains at a summer kids' camp is greatly inferior to that gained teaching year-round. This will impact directly on the quality of your tennis lessons. Has your coach produced Club Champions, County players or even national level players? Have they been recognised for their achievements?
8. Experience and results teaching different ages, levels, and groups
Different ages and levels require different approaches and techniques when it comes to tennis instruction.If your potential Tennis Instructor has spent the bulk of his/her time teaching children, he/she will be hard-pressed to provide proper tennis instruction to you as an adult. The skills required to teach privately to a single person are very different and more demanding than teaching a group. Always ask your potential Tennis Instructors how much time they have spent teaching people of your own age and level, as well as whether they have taught group and private lessons. And crucially ask them about the results their clients have achieved and for references. If you are seeking a coach for a child who has special needs make sure that you discuss this beforehand, a good coach can really enhance a child’s confidence and bring out the best in them and this can have an impact on them off court as well as on.
9. Expert knowledge of good technique
Knowledge is critical, and a great Tennis Instructor gains it only from the great effort he/she has made to educate himself/herself. He/she needs to have read a large quantity and variety of tennis instruction books, viewed a sufficient number of instructional videos, and attended many salient courses and workshops on proper stroke technique. There are no short-cuts. Always ask your potential Tennis Coach how he/she has gained his/her knowledge.
10. Communication ability and personality
Regardless of the depth of your Tennis Coach's knowledge of proper technique, this information is useless if he/she is unable to communicate it to you clearly and concisely. When you speak with your potential Tennis Instructor, always listen to the manner in which he/she expresses him/herself. If you are unable to clearly understand him/her during your initial discovery process, chances are you will be just as bewildered while on court. Is he/ she able to use equipment such as video analysis which can speed up learning by visualising technique for you. Although Personality is presented here last, it is by no means less important than the other considerations. Coaches have different personalities and styles, and different approaches which get different responses depending on the personality of the person being coached. When you have your initial conversation to discuss tennis lessons, always remember to look for the traits which might suit you or your child.