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Q&A with Coach Roy Coopersmith

Over the next several months, I will be doing Q&As with tennis coaches from around the globe.  I hope you will find these articles useful as you navigate the world of junior tennis.  For me, it’s helpful to hear how other coaches do things and what their philosophies are regarding competing, training, parental involvement, college, the pro tour, etc.  Each coach is so different and has a different set of experiences to share with our children and with us.

Today, I’m so pleased to introduce Roy Coopersmith.  Roy played tennis in junior college – spots 1, 2, and 3.   He  played professionally while stationed in Europe in the Army, having two very impressive wins over the number 25 and 38 ranked ATP players.  He was also on the All Army team for 7 years, winning the interservice tournament.  Roy was ranked #1 in the Middle States USTA section in singles and doubles 35-and-overs and ranked 21 nationally after playing only 3 tournaments.  He has coached many top WTA players, including Christina Singer (who lost 6-3 in the 3rd set in the Wimbledon quarterfinals to Chris Evert), former world #1 Jelena Jankovic, and Jamea Jackson, as well as many ATP players ranked 100-200.  Roy also coached ATP player Phillip Kohlschreiber when he was in the juniors.  He gave up coaching on the WTA and ATP tours to settle down as the Tennis Director at Pine Bluff Country Club in Arkansas.  He now coaches his daughter, a top USTA junior, as well as other aspiring young players.  A big thank you to Roy for taking the time to share his thoughts with ParentingAces!

Roy with Jelena Jankovic

PA:  How do you think junior tennis training and development in the US compares to that in other countries where you’ve coached?

RC:  The major difference between USA and Europe and Asia where I have lived (Spain, Germany, Croatia,Turkey, India, Vietnam, Philippines) is college scholarships are secondary to trying to become a pro player.  Training in Europe is much more demanding and much more physical.

PA:  What are some of the worst parental behavior faux-pas you’ve seen and where were they?

RC:  The worst?  In Asia I saw a boy beaten with a belt and in the head with a belt buckle [see photo below].  My friend had to pull one dad away from beating his son with wire while I was coaching in India.  In the USA it’s more just parents showing displeasure when their child loses or plays badly.  I have seen a few fisticuffs here though.  I saw a dad take his son to the doctor and the doctor told the dad the 14 year old boy shouldn’t play tennis for 4 weeks.   So the dad made the doctor give the boy 2 cortisone shots just to play an adult tournament.  Needless to say, this put the boy out for more than 4 weeks.

Welts from being beaten with a belt and belt buckle

PA: What is your biggest challenge being both Dad and Coach to your daughter?

RC:  Hmmm . . . Biggest challenge?  I guess making sure I get back in time to pick up Niki when her match finishes and still ask the right coaching questions about her game and her thoughts on how she played and what happened.  This is because I let her play her match all by herself and leave the facility.  Niki and I discussed how she likes me to observe, and we decided best to let her play free without judgement – meaning her coach is not watching and neither is her dad, so she doesn’t have to worry about what either of them is thinking when she is playing.  Then I revert to Dad role and drop tennis talk and go get a Sonic shake.  Niki loves the whipped cream on the top.  At home I “try” never to talk tennis with Niki unless we study it on the computer.  My wife, a former top 100 WTA player, has to remember Niki has one coach and my wife’s role is as a sparring partner for Niki only.  We prefer she only reminds Niki what I have said.  Too many voices can confuse a player, so we try to keep it to only my voice.  Although our son who is 4 and loves tennis will yell out coaching tips as well!

PAIf there is one thing you want tennis parents to know, what is it?

RC:  I want to educate the parents of kids I coach about technique and tactics.  I tell them what to look for and what to tell their child if a tournament match goes 3 sets because they are allowed to coach during the break.  I explain that I cannot nor will I be at all their child’s matches but they probably will.  This being said, I do request parents not to coach their child while their child is on court with me.  They parrot my coaching phrases without a clue as to why or when I use them.  So best to let the coach coach, and I will allow the parent to parent.

Again, a big thank you to Roy!  If you have questions you’d like to ask, please put them in the Comments box below – I will be happy to forward them to him.

Sweet Victories

There’s something really special about seeing your child develop such that he’s suddenly beating players that he had routinely lost to in the younger age groups – seeing the process in action, so to speak.  Those victories are especially sweet when your child is just coming back from an injury.  My son had one such victory this past weekend.

In the semifinals, my son had to play a boy he had lost to in his first year – first month! – of the 14s.  That 14s match was extremely contentious, so much so that my son ended up getting a point penalty in the third set on his opponent’s match point after the boys had argued repeatedly over line calls and let calls.  It was a horrible match to watch.  My son’s behavior, as well as that of his opponent, was atrocious.  Both boys were acting like total jerks out there.  The opponent’s younger brother (who was also playing in the tournament) was sitting next to me during the match, trash-talking my son the entire time, which only added fuel to the fire.  Truth be told, I was relieved when the official ended the match, even if it meant my son got a suspension point – I just wanted to get the heck outta there!

Fast forward 2 1/2 years to this past weekend . . . my son had won his quarterfinal match earlier in the day and was not looking forward to playing this boy again.  I went into Mom Mode and offered up words of encouragement like, “Maybe he’s matured since y’all last played?” and “Your focus is so much stronger now.  You’ll be fine out there!”  You know, stuff like that.  To make things worse, the boys were playing at the facility where the other boy now trains, and the boy’s coach was running the tournament desk, so my son’s biggest concern became making sure he got a fair shake if either of them decided to get an official during the match.  Again, going into Mom Mode, I suggested that my son just go out there and play his game – the other stuff would work itself out.

The first set lasted all of 19 minutes – my son won it 6-0.  There were no disputes, no questionable calls, and no need for an official.  Both boys, it seemed, had indeed matured since their first meeting in the 14s.  Thirty-four minutes later, the match was over.  The boys shook hands in a gentlemanly fashion at the net and made their way off the court.  My son had won 6-0, 6-2 and was now poised to play the younger brother in the final the next morning.

The final match started off pretty rough.  Neither boy could hold serve in the first three games.  Finally, my son held to go up 3-1, then 4-2, then 5-2 but was broken when serving for the first set.  Thankfully, he broke back to close out the set 6-3 and then went on a complete and total rampage.

Something happened on my son’s side of the net in that second set, and he just couldn’t miss.  He was hitting winner after winner, driving his opponent nuts – you could see the frustration as his opponent threw up his hands after my son hit a particularly blazing forehand pass on the run, closing out the match in just 53 minutes, 6-3, 6-0.  It’s the best set of tennis I’ve ever seen him play – he hit 9 winners in that set (to his opponent’s zero) and only had 3 unforced errors (to his opponent’s 6).  I was beaming and so was my son!

The match wasn’t completely free of gamesmanship, though.  There were some misplaced “C’mons” from his opponent – like when my son netted a serve return or made an unforced forehand error – but, overall, both boys behaved themselves on court.  It seems the younger brother has matured, too.  The boys walked off the court together, talking about whatever teenage boys talk about at the end of a good battle.

Sweet victory.  Sweet victories.  That trophy is going in a special place on the shelf!

By the Numbers

About a year ago, I got an iPod Touch which, for someone without a Smart Phone, is kind of the next best thing.  And then I discovered the world of Apps, specifically tennis apps.

My favorite is one I happened to download for free called TennisStats.  It allows me to track my son’s matches in terms of first and second serve percentages, winners and errors, percentage of net points won, and aggressive margin.  And, it tracks the stats for both players so you develop a player history and profile of opponents.  Mostly, though, it gives me something useful to focus on while my son is on court.

This past weekend my son played in his first tourney in 8 weeks.  Before the tourney, his coach emailed me and asked me to report back on my son’s performance.  There were three things, in particular, that he wanted to know:

1. How well is he competing?
2. 1st serve percentage?
3. Any obvious or significant visible weaknesses?

The first and third item are subjective.  They required me to pay close attention during each match and watch my son’s body language, movement, and facial expressions.  The second item, though, is entirely objective, and my little stats app came in quite handy.

After each match, my son asked to see his stats so he could see where he performed well and what needed work in his next match.  I emailed the stats to his coach who was able to text my son with any necessary tips or advice.

The stats programs are pretty simple to use once you get the hang of them.  For me, it’s helpful to be able to focus on the objective elements of my son’s matches so I don’t get caught up in the subjective ones.  If you have a favorite stats app that you use, please share in the Comments box below.  If you haven’t tried keeping stats yet, I highly recommend it – it’s healthier than Xanax!

And, p.s., my son won the tourney!

My Tournament Packing List

It’s been several weeks since my son’s back injury, and he and his coach feel like he’s finally ready to play tournaments again, so we’re off to Alabama this weekend.  As I started thinking about getting ready to head out of town, I figured some of y’all might be interested in what we take when we hit the road.  Of course, if you’re flying somewhere, the list might look a bit different, but here’s what we take with us for a weekend tourney within driving distance of home:

  • Portable tv, DVDs, and XBox – we only take this on road trips longer than about 6 hours, just so my son has a way to stay busy instead of bugging his mother by asking, “Are we there yet?” a gazillion times.
  • Power strip for the car – this comes in very handy when your cell phone dies or your iPod needs a charge.  It also serves a very necessary purpose when we bring along the tv and XBox.
  • iPod speakers – these are for ME!  While my son is off in Headphone Land, I can listen to MY music.
  • GPS – self-explanatory!
  • Blanket & pillows – keeps the passenger cozy!  Plus, I prefer my own pillow to those in most hotels.
  • Coffee maker – I’m a coffee snob.  I admit it.  I don’t like hotel coffee, and I don’t like coffee from that chain that starts with star and ends with bucks, so I bring my own coffee maker and my own coffee.  It ensures that tournament days start off on the right note!
  • Soy creamer & Splenda – see above.
  • Kindle & crossword puzzle book – keeps me entertained while my son is doing his thing.
  • Folding chair – it’s nice to have a familiar place to sit in unfamiliar places.  I recently invested in a folding chair with a canopy which is AWESOME in the middle of the summer!
  • Camera – I like having the option of taking a few shots during the tournament, especially of my son with his buddies.
  • Chargers for all electronics (phones, iPods, camera, Kindle, etc.)
  • My racquet bag and racquet – just in case my son can’t find a hitting partner, I can substitute in a pinch.
  • Grips & tape
  • Extra string
  • Ball hopper & balls
  • Cooler & water jug
  • Chilly Towel – I’m talking about those chamois-type towels that stay cooler than the outside temperature.  We only take these when it’s uber-hot outside.  I always pack one for my son and one for me – spectating is hard work, too!
  • Extra Blankets & Beach Towels – I typically keep two or three heavy-duty blankets in my trunk, just in case.  I have a special one that is waterproof on one side and polar fleece on the other – it’s perfect on cold windy days.  The beach towels come in handy for covering hot car seats, drying off after an on-site shower, or throwing on the grass for an impromptu picnic.
  • Yoga mat – my son uses it sometimes for his warm-up, but mostly it’s for me to use so I can stay centered all weekend.  Ommmmm . . .
  • First Aid bag that includes Advil, Aleve, Tiger’s Balm, Epsom Salts, first aid tape, Bandaids (including the new blister ones), eye drops, extra contacts, reusable ice packs, Immodium, Sudafed, ACE bandage, Mylanta, Epi pen, and Benadryl
  • Food bag that includes Powerade, chocolate milk, pretzels, peanut butter, bread, fruit, bagels, cream cheese, plastic cutlery, napkins, and small Ziplock bags to pack snacks in the on-court cooler
  • Garbage bags – these come in very handy for those wet, smelly tennis clothes between matches.
  • Quarters – I usually end up having to do at least one load of laundry at the hotel  during tournaments, especially during the hot summer months.
  • Print out of the tournament web page & draws – it’s good to take along a hard copy of this stuff, just in case.
  • My tennis binder – as further evidence of my Type A control-freak personality, I keep a binder that includes all tennis-related information.  For the cities we visit often, I have lists of restaurants, practice courts, and favorite hotels.

Do you have any other must-have items?  Please share them in the Comments box below!

Q&A with Coach Yvonne Gallop

Over the next several months, I plan to do Q&As with tennis coaches from around the globe.  I hope you will find these articles useful as you navigate the world of junior tennis.  For me, it’s helpful to hear how other coaches do things and what their philosophies are regarding competing, training, parental involvement, college, the pro tour, etc.  Each coach is so different and has a different set of experiences to share with our children and with us.

For my first foray into the Q&A world, I’m so pleased to introduce Yvonne Gallop.  She is a USPTA/USPTR certified high performance coach who works in the San Mateo, California, area.  Yvonne competed on the women’s pro tour from 1975-1980 and currently competes on the senior tour.  Her specialty is teaching proper bio-mechanics and technique to players ranging from beginners to pros.  She taught at the Evert Academy in Florida before moving to Northern California.  I had the pleasure of  speaking with Yvonne at length about her coaching philosophy and her background – her immense passion for the sport of tennis shines through in everything she says and does!  A big thank you to Yvonne for taking time out of her busy coaching and law school schedule to share her thoughts with ParentingAces!

 PA:  When you were playing tennis as a junior, what do you remember about your parent’s involvement?  Did they take you to practices?  Come watch your matches?

YG:  As a junior, by the grace of God, my mother KNEW NOTHING!!!!! Of tennis that is. I was discovered by a college player who began perfecting and fine-tuning my strokes. My Mom would take me to tournaments but did not know enough to get involved. She watched many of my $7.50 an hour lessons from Andrea so only knew enough to say things like, “It didn’t seem like you were bending your legs very much,” or “You were not loading or preparing as Andrea had suggested.”  That was about it. When it came to practice she NEVER watched. She dropped me off at the courts in Coral Gables and would pick me up at the end of the day. She would have to beg me and yell at me to get off the courts to go home. When she would take me to the courts, I would bring my lunch etc…and stay all day. I would hit with ANYBODY that was willing to hit with me. So obviously I had a love and passion for this game beyond ANY possible imagination!!!

PA:  What is your philosophy on coaching junior players?

YG:  My philosophy about teaching AND coaching are similar. First off, you can NOT coach what has NOT been taught. So I will give a child 150% of my time and energy but the child must match it. Now that does NOT mean I will not teach the child if they do not give the same thing. It just means that the relationship will be a bit different.  I take the child OUT of the sight-line of the parent, and the child must look into my eyes and convince me how badly he/she wants to learn, otherwise he/she is only learning for Mommy and Daddy. Again the amount of energy I put out depends on this issue.  When I get tunnel vision (which every pro in the world does, despite their denial), I give a few suggestions as to where to go to another pro, for that one particular thing (forehand, backhand slice, etc.). Usually I personally take my students (the tournament competitors) to my coach, Mary Hill, to insure that I am in fact on track with this player. She will teach and coach them for a 2 hour block while I video and take notes. So she is helping me to help them. I am always open to hearing other perspectives that I may have overlooked.  The Pro should try to build an entire young man/woman, develop the whole person through tennis. Through tennis these kids learn life skills.

PA: What is one thing you would like today’s tennis parents to know?

YG:  Keeping this simple – PARENTS STAY OUT OF IT!!!!  The parents watch some lessons, some many hours and some very little, and all of a sudden think they know it all. It is always easier said than done so stay out of it … OUT OUT OUT. Stop babying the kid. Because of the parent, more often than not, these kids change teachers and coaches like they change their underwear. If the Pro really cares about the child you will know.  Parents…. STOP buying into the pros telling you that your kid could play pro tennis!  One out of every 5+ thousand make it. It is a grueling lifestyle. No one except those of us that have done and do it know that. Never sleeping in your own bed or eating your own foods. There is so much to be said about familiarity. Different courts every week etc.  GIVE your child the Myers-Briggs Personality test! It will tell you what kind of a player they could be as well as what type of passions they have. Buy the book called Please Understand Me. In my humble opinion, it will help for EVERYTHING!!!  College tennis all the way……Unless they are No.1 in the WORLD in ITFs by the time they are in the 16s.  At dinner one night I had a debate with [golfer] Lee Trevino as to which sport was the most difficult to play in the world! BARRING NONE … it is in fact tennis!!! Give your kid kudos for even trying to do this.  If through all of the development the child turns out to have something special, which you will know by the time they are about 16-17, then great, they can start college and then the USTA will jump in. Let the children decide for themselves, but do NOT shut down their dream.  If the kid wants to go pro, here is a suggestion – take that kid to one of the big academies for 2-3 weeks straight. Tell the Academy Director what the kid wants, and if you trust that person and they are willing to put the kid through the ringer, then the kid gets a real taste of what it is like.

Again, a big thank you to Yvonne!  If you have questions you’d like to ask, please put them in the Comments box below – I will be happy to forward them to her.

Is It Time for a New Coach?

As we parents make our way through the world of junior tennis, we can sometimes feel a bit like Lewis and Clark trying to navigate through the Rocky Mountains to get to the Pacific Ocean. One of the easiest , or so it seems, decisions is who is going to coach my child. There is always a coach who can find room in their program for a newbie.  “Just come join our beginner class on Tuesday afternoon, and I will take care of everything that has to do with your child’s development as a tennis player. We have a proven method that has worked for many  youngsters over the past decade, and we are sure your child will fit right in here.”

As time goes on we can sense that our budding young superstar is not so happy with the coach or class.  After asking a few questions we begin to wonder,  “Is it time to change coaches or programs?”  Texas coach Dean Wright reminds us that, as the parent, we have every right to investigate the methods being taught, how they’re being taught, what notes if any the coach is keeping on our kid’s progress,  and most of all, we have the right to be present during lessons. It’s our child.  So the question arises,  “When is it time to fire my child’s coach?”

Dean offers up some warning flags and words of wisdom for us all:

  • Has your child stopped developing as a player?   Ever heard of hitting the wall? Seems when your kid first started playing, they progressed quickly, picking up every instruction with ease. There is a time, which is normal, when every beginner hits the wall.  Improvement isn’t as evident – getting better comes slowly now rather than quickly as it was before. This is normal,  no time to panic. I would suggest that you let at least 4 months pass after your child has started in a program or with a coach.  Then if the unhappiness continues, do a little investigating.  Has the coach taken time to find out what type of personality your child has?   Has he taken time to find out how your child learns?  Has your child bonded with the coach?  What’s their relationship like?  Does the coach get the maximum effort from you child?
  • Without going into too much psychology, can the coach keep the child constantly engaged, has he figured out what keeps your child from getting bored?  It is every coach’s responsibility to learn their student, and there is no excuse for them not to. When a child learns to trust you as a person, only then will they trust what you are teaching. Trust is the basis for a coach- student relationship.  Without it, learning slows or even stops completely, and it’s time to look elsewhere.
  • Has your coach laid a solid on-court foundation for your child’s game?  Attending lessons is one thing I insist that the parents do, especially at first. What is about to be built must have a solid foundation or else it will crumble later. Parents also need to know what’s being taught so they have an understanding of what the coach is trying to accomplish with stroke production.

For many kids, changing coaches is such an emotional decision – at least it was for my son.  My son had a deep bond with his coach.  They had worked together for six years, and my son looked up to his coach as sort of a big brother, someone to give him advice both on and off the tennis court.   And even though my husband and I saw the need for a coaching change several months earlier, my son is so dang stubborn that he needed to buy into the move or else it was doomed to failure.  Something really drastic had to happen before he was ready to admit he needed a new tennis home.  Once he was able to see it, though,  it was a quick and simple move to the new coaches – a great decision for all of us.

The bottom line is that we parents (along with our players) are the consumers here, and we are also the best judges of what our children need.  It’s easy to get lulled into tranquility with a coach or academy, especially when that coach is a skilled salesperson.  But, as Coach Wright has shown us, there are some very clear tell-tale signs pointing to the need for change.  Pay close attention to those signs so your child is in the best position possible to achieve tennis success.

For the flip-side of this issue – players who change coaches too often – please read The Tennis Mom article published in February 2011.  Be sure to read the comments, as well – great stuff!

NOTE:  I’ve posted a single poll question on the right side of this page – please click on it and answer to help me with a future post I’m working on for y’all.  Thanks!

Energize Your Child’s Tennis Game

Today, I welcome Coach Frank Giampaolo as our guest blogger.  If you like what Frank has to say, please consider purchasing his new book, The Tennis Parent’s Bible.

Educated tennis parents are the most crucial factor in the development of a tennis champion.

Do you know your child’s learning preference?  Teaching within the guidelines of the specific characteristics of each person’s preferred intelligence has been proven to accelerate learning.  By identifying your child’s preference, a whole new whole of excitement and success will open up on and off the court.

As children of the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s, we were taught to accomplish tasks the exact way that our parents accomplished those very same tasks. So as parents we expect our children to follow that same exact protocol.  Luckily, today’s parents have the opportunity to improve their guidance skills by understanding that each child has his/her individual learning style.

The old school methodology tennis coaching  required that every player enter into the coach’s world. However, I have found that it is much more successful to get into the player’s world. The “one style fits all” approach is obsolete in developing successful children and champions.

So why are players re-energized and performances accelerated at my Mental Emotional Tennis Workshops? As a coach, I first identify the player’s personality profile and learning preferences. I then customize their lesson accordingly. Tennis parents can ease the difficulties of their child’s tennis development with the same principles. Energized learning occurs when the player is coached in their preferred style of learning. This accelerates their progression and generates more smiles.

The following is a list of some of the more common learning preferences. Can you spot your child’s ?

  • The Linguistic
  • The Logical-Mathematical
  • The Elegant -Kinesthetic
  • The Musical-Rhythmic
  • The Spatial Brainiac
  • The Interpersonal
  • The Intrapersonal

Let’s review the characteristics of each style:

Linguistic oriented players have a preference for verbal and written directions. These children use an expanded vocabulary and usually prefer detailed explanations for tasks at hand.

Positive ways to engage language-oriented players on court include:

  • Have them repeat lesson plans back, such as strategies and patterns. Ask them to reverse the roll and to explain the reasoning for the drill.
  • Ask them to write down their lesson review in the last 5 minutes of every training session.
  • Ask them to complete match logs after each match as well as daily focus journals.

Logic Minded players prefer structure, order and closure for each drill set. They want to successfully complete an exercise before moving on. These learners demand knowing not only how to hit a specific shot, but where and why. They enjoy working with numbers and facts. They are no-nonsense players who prefer quality over quantity when it comes to training.

Great ways to engage a logical minded player on the court include:

  • During training sessions, require them to close out drills while employing negative scoring. This keeps them accountable for unforced errors.
  • At each tournament, ask them to classify other competitors into their preferred playing styles and list the patterns used to beat that style.
  • Teach them how to chart the top seeds at tournament sites and then compare those charts to their own.

The kinesthetic player gives meaning to the word graceful. These players possess excellent core balance and can easily master elegant looking strokes. Give a gross motor skilled kinesthetic player a ball into their strike zone and “lights out.”

Profound ways to assist an elegant player on the court include:

  • New developmental programs such as strokes or patterns should be slowly started by asking the player to shadow an instructor. Also, ask them to stand behind a graceful player with smooth strokes and mimic and shadow their movement.
  • They prefer dress rehearsal repetition so they can simply recreate those patterns during match play. Pattern repetition is crucial.
  • Flexible skills training is mandatory for the kinesthetic player. Take them outside their predictable comfort zones to simulate actual match play conditions.

Musically in tune players thrive with rhythm. They enjoy playing opponents who hit the same ball speed, spins and trajectory. These players find the zone when they sing their favorite song during play. Training with an I-pod or music on the court is like heaven to this type of intelligence.

Perfect ways to engage a rhythmic player on court include:

  • Employ cadences and dance steps. For instance, to them, learning a serve motion may have a 5 count rhythm. An approach shot volley pattern may have a 3 step, split step cadence.
  • The best way to engage this type of player is through a consistent rhythm of a clean rally. Grooving is what they love to do best.
  • Train this type of player to handle players who have mastered the art of mixing the spin, speed and trajectory of their shots. Junk ball artists frustrate rhythmic players to death.

Spatial players are often not the most naturally gifted athletes. They have to work extra hard and are usually prepared to do so. Brainiacs are great tacticians. They have an uncanny ability to dissect opponents accurately and create a detailed game plan. They enjoy spotting strengths and weaknesses. They easily master the anticipatory skills found in the use of broad vision.

Positive ways to assist a spatial intelligence on court include:

  • Purchase a weekly planner. Structuring all the mandatory components into a detailed, organized plan rationalizes the lesson/instruction for this type of intelligence. Follow the plan day by day.
  • In practice ask them “What was the cause of that error” versus telling them what they did wrong.
  • Video analysis of tournament match play is right up their alley. Developing the art of winning versus simply “how to stroke a ball” truly fits into their frame of mind.

The Interpersonal ( Myers-Briggs) personality profiling calls this intelligence “Extrovert- feelers.” These children have an emotional connection to almost everything and everyone. If there are 50 players in a group and 48 love them only 2 don’t like them, their day is ruined. They enjoy harmony and are highly sensitive to people and relationships.

Great tips to engage the interpersonal player on court include:

  • These types enjoy group clinics with plenty of interaction with their peers. Gentle reminder: Group workouts don’t always offer accelerated learning, just social interaction.
  • Problems commonly arise in tennis match play due to their short attention span. They often have an inability to focus over the long haul and of course, they get bored with a commanding lead. Closing out practice sets is tenfold more important than rallying back and forth in a group.
  • These sensitive people need to design a protocol for handling cheaters as well as opponents who apply gamesmanship.

Intrapersonal (Myers-Briggs) personality profiling calls this intelligence “Introvert-Thinkers.” This preferred intelligence is remarkable at controlling their own feelings, emotions and attention span on the tennis court. Since tennis is an individual sport by nature, these players have a genetic advantage when it comes to distraction control.

Profound ways to assist the Intrapersonal players on the court include:

  • Since they prefer to reflect and think things through before making rash decisions, they need detailed explanations as to why? “Because I said so” doesn’t cut it for this type.
  • They enjoy working alone in private lessons versus stressful group settings.
  • Attacking the net isn’t in their genetic design. They have to buy into the rational and be nurtured to spot a vulnerable opponent. They have to truly understand that rushing the net at the opportune time is in their best interest.

In Conclusion

Identifying and embracing your child’s personality profile will energize his/her tennis game as well as improve family dynamics. Encourage your child to embrace his/her preferred learning style and to approach the game (and the world) on his/her own terms.