When selecting a tennis professional that's right
for you there is a lot to be considered. Several aspects,
including teaching experience, playing background, certifications,
personality, and many other factors determine the quality
of a tennis professional. When looking for a tennis professional
that's right for you, don't settle, do your research.
When evaluating a tennis professional don't
be fooled by an impressive playing background. Just because
you had personal success in the game of tennis doesn't mean
you're cut out to teach it. If you look at Darren Cahill and
Brad Gilbert, two of the most successful coaches in the world
of tennis today, you quickly realize that coaching success
depends on more than playing experience alone. While a successful
playing background generally indicates a sound knowledge of
the game, an efficient tennis professional requires both understanding
of the game and the ability to edify it.
Teaching, just like competing, gets better with
practice. When searching for an instructor, look for one with
experience. A professional who has an extensive teaching background
and has worked with many different levels of players is typically
more efficient in developing a player's game than a coach
with a sparse teaching background. An instructor with a solid
teaching background has seen and fixed different problems
in many students' games and as a result has become familiar
and efficient with fixing these problems when faced with them
in the future.
A client taking from an instructor with a strong
playing background but minimal teaching experience often experiences
what I call "guinea pig syndrome." Good players with minimal
teaching experience tend to use more of a trial and error
procedure when fixing problems that can often leave the student
feeling like a guinea pig in an experiment. Since the instructor
is unfamiliar with certain problems in his clients' game,
he uses trial and error to come up with a solution. This rudimentary
form of teaching often leaves students confused and doubting
their professional's credibility. Over time as the professional
sees a broader range of problems and works through his trial
and error procedure to fix them, he becomes more efficient
in solving a variety of problems when faced with them again.
In other words he learns and gains experience.
Fortunately there are some steps aspiring tennis
professionals can take to expedite the learning process of
how to be a more efficient instructor. The United States Professional
Tennis Association (USPTA) is the world's oldest and largest
association of tennis-teaching professionals. Their goal as
affirmed by their mission statement is, "to elevate the standards
of tennis-teaching professionals and coaches." As stated on
their website the USPTA "offers unequalled opportunities for
tennis-teaching professionals to improve their teaching skills
and increase their business knowledge." A USPTA certification
indicates that a professional has been trained to teach and
that a well renowned organization is willing to not only endorse
their teaching skills but to provide millions of dollars in
on-court insurance to cover this professional. When a legitimate
organization endorses and trusts a professional with the responsibility
of teaching a safe and productive tennis lesson, it's a safe
bet that you can too.
While a certification can tell you a lot about
a professional it is also important to realize that a different
skill level requires a different level of expertise. Don't
waste your money on the top junior instructor on the east
coast for lessons for your four year old. Beginners need more
technique work which often times requires less knowledge than
coaching an advanced tournament player. For younger children
just starting out, personality and the ability to keep it
fun might be more relevant than years of experience working
with top ranked juniors. Again experience and success with
the relevant skill level is what to look for when trying to
identify the instructor that is right for your level of play.
Although a sound knowledge of the game, experience,
and a certification are all parts of a successful resume,
personality plays an equally important role in a tennis professional's
success. The ability to identify with a client on a personal
level is a skill that helps to break down the barriers of
communication and makes it easier for the student to learn.
An instructor that can put their client at ease in a fun and
relaxed lesson environment is typically more successful in
relaying instruction. Admittedly, this is a skill set that
you may not be able to evaluate before your first lesson,
but if you quickly realize there's no chemistry and it's affecting
your learning progress then its time for a change.
There are many factors and qualifications that
you should look for in your professional before booking that
first lesson. A reasonable playing background, teaching experience,
and certifications are things to look for that will help ensure
you are satisfied with your tennis professional. With as many
good professionals as there are out there, there's no excuse
for dissatisfaction, don't settle, do your research.
Scott Baxter is the Founder/ CEO of PlayYourCourt.com.
provides tennis lessons where you want them. You choose the
court we'll send the pro! Go to PlayYourCourt.com
to book a lesson on your court today!