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10 Tennis Coaching Tips To Keep Your Players Motivated

April 26th, 2016 by Do It Tennis

filed in Tennis Lifestyle, Youth Sports

10 Tennis Coaching Tips To Keep Your Players Motivated

Whether you are a professional tennis coach pushing around a full-size tennis teaching cart all day or someone lugging a bucket of tennis balls trying to get a youngster or partner to develop a love for the game, here are a few tennis-coaching tips to make your life a little easier.

1. Deliver results fast.
Tennis players are paying for lessons or at minimum using their time and deserve immediate results. Make sure everything you teach can, even in small way, show results for your students.

2. Over communicate.
Students are on the tennis court to learn what you know. The more you verbalize and communicate tips, advice and feedback the more productive the lesson. You don’t need to talk fast just often. It will help players internalize instruction and make adjustments during a lesson or tennis drill.

3. Don’t be afraid to use unusual drills.
Create or use drills to maintain attention and interest. For example “Throw the racquet.” Sounds outrageous but a good way to practice basic overheads and serves. Get off tennis court and onto a large grass field with old racquet. Mime tossing a ball high and then really throw the racquet high and hard. It’s a good mimic for basic correct arm movement for those two shots.

4. Teach the mental game.
Beyond proper technique and shot execution tennis like all competitive sports has a large mental component. Discuss that component with players. For example, former ATP pro and top tennis coach Brad Gilbert has tips for beating nervousness. They include acting like you have asthma-forcibly convert breathing to something more smooth, rhythmic and more deep; getting happy feet or bounce on toes like a ballet dancer between points; trying to read the label of the ball as it approaches to refocus; and even singing little song to yourself.

5. Use tennis equipment rewards.
Nothing works to motivate tennis players—adult or children—like a reward. They can be small like a new colorful tennis racquet overgrip or for a bigger achievement a bucket of tennis balls.

6. Take a break.
It’s easy to get caught up with a lesson or drills and forget both you and your player is sweating and tired. Take a break for drink, power snack or a shirt change. Sit for a moment and discuss what techniques are being attempted.

7. Kids are different.
Adjust lessons for children under 10 years old. Tennis coaching legend Nick Bollettieri told some techniques that are required for kids:

  • You must talk slowly
  • You must actually have them watch you demonstrate what you are teaching them
  • Go through it segment by segment with simple language
  • Have the student watch you and then copy every move that you do
  • Do it together as a team, but also add simple tips of advice
  • Repeat this process over and over again before you go into live ball
  • When the exercise breaks down, go back to the basics by giving simple tips

8. Use specialized tennis equipment items.
Make your job easier and maximize playing time for the person you are teaching by investing in ball hoppers, tennis ball mowers, low cost ball feeders and other purpose built tennis court equipment.

9. Stand strong.
Never sit down on the court or lean against fences or poles while players are practicing. Keep moving and giving instruction. This includes when students are picking up tennis balls. Remember, this is one of the best times to coach. It’s one of USPTA member Jimmy Royalty’s ten commandments for tennis coaches and it doesn’t require any special tennis expertise.

10. Keep it fun.
For 99%+ tennis players this is still a game-not a profession. Use games, a positive attitude and humor to make any lesson or practice session entertaining and informative. It will motivate them and you.

What’s your view?

What tennis coaching tips have worked for you? What is the craziest tennis tip you have heard?

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