Should A Tennis Coach Be Realistic Or Think Big?

Should A Tennis Coach Be Realistic Or Think Big?

Hello, I have been playing tennis on and off for a few years, but now I want to start playing with more decision.

My goal is to win a “class 4″ category in Italy this summer. I have already written down all the dates and I have been practicing every day.

I still have not found a coach with whom I really get along with. Don’t you think that a coach should help his student to “think big” rather than just “being realistic”?

Yesterday I asked my coach what I have to do to win a class 4 tournament. He told me that to win a class 4 tournament you have to be a 4.1 or 4.2 ranked.

I am not even ranked because I have never played any tournaments. In everything I do I think big.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Interesting question.

I don’t know what level is the class 4 tournament so I cannot judge that.

Whether a coach should be realistic or think big?

The reality is this: NO ONE knows everything for sure. Except in extreme cases…

I know for sure that you cannot play ATP tennis. But whether you can play a level 4 tournament, that can be different.

The reason why a coach is realistic (in general) is because he wants to protect you from disappointment if that happens.

And there’s something you need to consider from our – the coaches – point of view: 99% of serious tennis players that we coach achieve less than they hoped for.

Read that again please. 😉

In other words, 99% of tennis players are disappointed after a few years (or 15 years) of training tennis.

Their wishes of becoming something end up only as wishes.

The competition in the International tennis field is so tough, that someone who hasn’t been in the International scene (either as a player, coach or a parent) for a few years, cannot imagine it.

So your coach may have assessed your skills and the skills of players at level 4 tournaments and concluded that you probably won’t make it.

If someone asks me (and this happens very often) whether they can make it in the International tennis, then I tell:” I think that … (has chances or doesn’t have chances or …) BUT this is only my opinion. It’s NOT the fact.

I have been wrong in the past with these predictions and have realized that I cannot predict the future.

“So my opinion is this and this but if you wish to pursue your goal (of winning a level 4 tournament, being ATP top 100, …) then I will give my best to help you REGARDLESS whether I think you can make it or not.”

That’s the whole point of coaching.

If someone asks for my services and I decide to accept their offer, then I give my best no matter whether they are realistic or not. If they later realize that they are not realistic, they will adjust their goals or quit.

I accept both these outcomes.

And if they make it, then even better. 😉

So in summary: should a coach be realistic or think big? The coach should give you their honest opinion if asked. But the coach should give 100% effort regardless of what are your goals.

When I coach on the court, it doesn’t matter to me what you want. I am just trying to improve your game the best I can.

I cannot control the outcome – how well you will play and how well you will use my instructions. I can only control my effort – giving my best.

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This entry was posted on Friday, April 4th, 2008 at 2:57 am and is filed under Tennis Coaching. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Should A Tennis Coach Be Realistic Or Think Big?”
David Contois Says:
April 5th, 2008 at 6:36 am
A coach should on average, think conservativly. Most players-recreational ones, are not highly talented, or motivated. It is such a low percentage.
One would liek to think big…
David Contois


Arturo Hernandez Says:
January 15th, 2010 at 2:43 pm
How about another approach? Keep the big goal in mind and then setup a bunch of mini-goals to reach on the way there. Make the mini-goals realistic and then just let things happen. At some point the player will either stop improving or just keep getting better. This allows the coach to be conservative but at the same time let’s him or her map out the road to the bigger goal.