There are a lot of great tennis coaches in each country. They have solid experience, huge knowledge and desire to be the best they can be. There we also have great tennis players. Skilled, motivated and willing to sacrifice a lot of things to achieve own dreams. Looking at these facts we should see a lot of champions from all countries but we know that it doesn’t happen. Why? There are several answers but one that we can’t omit is communication.
Tennis coaches have to play a lot of roles. They are teachers because they have to provide instruction on how to hit forehand or where to return 1st serve. They have to be psychologists because dealing with emotions and coping with loses are frequent situations that all players have to go through. Nutritionists? Of course. Proper energy intake, eating well-balanced meals and recovering quicker are steps that can be achieved by choosing right products.
What about being a friend? Coaches can’t get too close to players because they risk losing respect but having strong relationship with a player is a must to gain trust and talk about everything without any secrets. These and many others roles all coaches have to play to make sure that players develop at the fastest possible pace. But without one skill all these areas mentioned above can’t be successfully reached.
Communication. If you want to be successful at coaching you have to be firstly successful at communication. Your job is based on delivering information in proper way. If you want to correct flaw in backhand stroke you have to provide information on how to do it. If you want to educate your players about healthy nutritional benefits you have to deliver knowledge. If you want to analyze match during the tournament without communication it is not possible.
Focusing on how much you know is the first step to fail at coaching. Smarter approach is to focus on how can you pass your knowledge to player so he/she understands your message perfectly. Remember that coaching is about player. Player is in the center of attention. That is why we should always think how to make our communication simple and effective so our actions are not wasted.
There are many examples of coaches who have exceptional knowledge but they don’t have results because their players don’t learn from them. Communication is a process that can be easy or hard so coaches should pay attention to own actions to make sure that information they want to provide is easily accepted and understood by their players.
Everyone makes mistakes. Coaches. Parents. Players. It is not a shame to make a mistake – shame is when you don’t try to correct them.
Below you will find 3 common mistakes related to communication. Improve these areas and you will see that coaching can be easier and can bring good results much faster than you expected.
1. Wrong perception
While communicating anything we have to remember that there are 2 sides: coach and player. Too many times coaches take own perception based on own experiences and don’t take into consideration what player can feel, think, and finally do. This is mistake that can make coaching really ineffective. Coaches should always try to understand own players and focus on different factors that had impact on player’s personality. Person from rich neighborhood will act differently than player whose parents struggle with money. Always try to take your player’s perception before you say anything.
2. One style
Another mistake that many coaches commit is communicating using only one style. Delivering information can happen while using different methods. Words are the easiest and most popular way but not often they are the best. We can also communicate using our body language. If you want to teach proper serving motion instead of describing all steps you can just show them. Many players have better visual perception than auditory so what they see is easier to transfer than what they hear.
Don’t forget that your communication can also be successful while being a model. Many coaches try to make own players eat healthy but words don’t make the job. If you will eat healthy on your own every time you eat with your player you can be surprised that soon enough your student will also change eating habits.
3. Not listening enough
We are all guilty of that. We love to talk. It shows how much we know. People appreciate when they hear good tips. But real coaching is effective if you listen more than you talk. It is not about quantity of your words – it is about quality. Always listen to your players before you start because what you think can help can turn out to be totally off. The best communicators are also great listeners so practice your listening skills to talk less and achieve more. Again – it is about your player so firstly focus on your student. Only when you have feedback you can use your knowledge to help.