What is the role of a coach?
To give knowledge. To encourage effort. To assist in forming pathways for goal acquisition. To be a positive role model.
Being a tennis coach means being a mentor and an example, not just to kids and their parents but also to the other adults you serve. If you have become a coach for the right reasons you enjoy transferring your knowledge of tennis to pupils and assisting them with forming a pathway and plan to achieve their goals. As with anyone in a position of authority over athletes a tennis professional is expected to have a thoughtful appearance, be punctual and to not be abusive to students. We all have our flaws and vices however as a tennis professional you’re expected to demonstrate the same attributes that are required from athletes to reach goals and be a productive member of a program. Here are some expectations of all tennis pros serving in this company…
Keep Yourself Well:
“Clothes don’t make the man. But once he’s made they greatly improve his appearance.” – Arthur Ashe
Being “well kept” isn’t about a dress code or a specific style. It’s about having a hygienic, sporting and effortful look about yourself. Patrons of a facility as well as students are astute to a professional who has put little effort into preparing themselves for the mission of mentorship.
“Being “On Time” is a 30 second window. You’re either going to be early or you’re going to be late.”
As previously stated; the characteristics we strive to instill in our students we must also demonstrate ourselves. Being on time helps things run smooth and allows athletes to get the full value of their time.
Non-Abusive Coaching Style:
“The more positive you can be with your players, the better they’re going to play.” – Doc Rivers
Although coaches will have a myriad of different styles, personalities and methods, it’s vital that your style not consist of berating, demeaning or treating any student disrespectfully. By setting goals and putting together a plan, every student should be accountable to only themselves. A coach can always be truthful that a player might not be implementing the steps necessary to reach their goals however yelling, screaming and berating have long since been determined to not be as effective as truthful concern.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
Again as you would expect your students to have their racquet, water bottle, shoes etc…you should have your plan and the equipment necessary to assist a player in achieving their goals based on the plan you have put in place.
Knowledge of appropriate boundaries:
You should be familiar with appropriate boundaries in your interactions with adults and children. Knowing what is and what is not allowed in terms of social media, contacting, touching and speech.
Accidents can happen on court. However some accidents are preventable by knowing how to organize drills and games as to reduce those chances. For example: When conducting group drills make sure kids are spread out and that you have communicated to them not to swing their racquets around erratically or hit balls recklessly. Also avoid tag or other running games that involve not looking while running on hard, concrete surfaces. Try to educate people/kids on the importance of moving balls from the playing area. Basic common sense rules in regards to what is and isn’t safe go a long way to avoiding injuries. Additionally, less “careless” accidents will happen when students are aware of their expectations are and that the coach supervising them holds them accountable to those expectations.
The preceding list doesn’t cover all expectations but should serve as a guide to common sense decisions made by tennis professionals.