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Traits of Great Coaches (Part 4)

Here is Part 4 of a series written by contributor, Aleksey Zharinov. Click here for Part 1. Click here for Part 2. Click here for Part 3. Click here to listen to my 2018 podcast with Aleksey.

4. Ability to transfer knowledge to the student

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

Every child is different and it’s not effective to try to teach every kid the same way. The concepts and methodology may stay similar but the approach would slightly differ from student to student. It is the coach’s job to find the right approach to every student he/she works with.

There have been many studies done on how different people learn. Some learn verbally, some visually, some experientially or combinations any two. A good coach should be able to see if their approach isn’t connecting with the student and try something different. For example, explaining verbally might not work for some kids, but watching Federer do it might just click, and all the explanation you previously did will suddenly make sense to them.

I have also found that combining a few different methods is very effective. I always explain it first as clearly as I can using visual examples like, “This should look like a straight line,” or, “Think of it as a big circle.” Then, after hitting for some time, while we are taking a water break, I’ll pull up a picture of a pro and explain to them again what they are looking at and why we are working on it. I found that, in doing that, they trust you with their game a lot more readily, which helps you to coach them more efficiently and accelerate their progress.

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