7 Comments

  1. That is what tennis coaching should be: a partnership between coach, parents, and player. All must be involved and informed, or they are just individual pieces frequently operating at odds with each other. We only had four coaches for my player's junior career. I choose carefully each time, and believed in the competencies for each. At the inception of the relationship, I sat with each and outlined a relationship where they would drive the train, but were to provide me with a quantifiable goal chart, and path to achieve it. This would consist of an initial analysis of strengths and weaknesses, methods to maximize strengths, remediate weaknesses, projected timelines to accomplish these goals, and a training/tournament schedule that would provide for development and match exposure. At set intervals, we were to sit down and discuss achievements, and revise the plan going forward... as a team. All of them said they would do it, and none did. They each had strengths to bring to the table, and were unwilling to consider the parent as a partner. Past experience had exposed them to unreasonable, psychotic tennis parents, and they were either unwilling to try again, or were worried that any disagreement would lose them a revenue stream. Mr. Giampaolo is doing exactly the right thing, and I would bet that if he encounters any intransigent parents, he simply lets them go. What he's offering will achieve results. Not every player will be a champion, but it will get the most from all of them. He also seems focused on determining what strategy/tactic will maximize the individual player's strength, instead of trying to force all of them into the same mold. That takes a lot more work, and most coaches won't put in the time. Cookie-cutter training is a lot easier. Tough to try to mold a Radwanska when the player is all Cibulkova, but lots of coaches will try, and then blame the player when it doesn't produce success.

  2. I think this tennis parent is going to be a real problem, does anyone think that feeding balls to their child for two hours a day (I am assuming that is outside other coaching/training sessions) is a good thing? Treating your 10 year old like they are going to be a champion sets up a lot of expectations and pressure for the child. Most tennis champions that were raised by crazy tennis parents (agassi, bartoli, dokic, capriati, pierce, lucic...) don't end up with healthy relationship with those parents, and you don't here about all those crazy tennis parents whose kids don't end up goinig anywhere in tennis. A ten year old is going to have technical flaws that will not be fixed with a coaching change in two months. You need a long term development plan. If the parent doesn't know tennis, then they should pick good coach and drive them to training and tournaments, and stay out of the way. You certainly want to look objectively if the child is improving, and decide if the child has outgrown the coach, but medling parents who can't play above a 4.0 level need to let the coach be a coach. Sorry but this tennis parent seems to me like they need to get their own life and back off

  3. j bish - Maybe you're right, but it's impossible to tell that in a flyover, such as reading an article, or post. There are many tennis prodigies that weren't subject to psychotic parenting, and are putting forth the effort to satisfy themselves, because they love the sport, competition, and achieving their best. For all those you cite as examples of poor parenting, there's a Djokovic, Federer, Roddick, Murray, Raonic, McEnroe, Sampras, Evert, Austin, Davenport, etc.. where the player has excellent relations with their parents. If the child's welfare and happiness is paramount in the equation, there is nothing wrong with the article's intent, which is to build a synergy with the player, parent, and coach. When there is dissent between any two of them, the dynamic is much more likely to result in a poor outcome for the player. Until I see something to the contrary, I choose to believe they are doing the right thing by the child.

  4. The parents of those champions did not feed balls to their kids for 2 hours a day. My point is just that the if the parent is over involved in the child's tennis things can go badly, even if not to the extreme like the cases mentioned above. I am blown away by parents at my club who watch tennis/swimming sessions for hours, go to the gym and workout for your self. There was a great article recently how Taylor Fritz fired his farther as his coach, was over the negativity. His farther was a qualified coach, but its a very hard balancing act to coach and be parent.

  5. All true. Again, it comes down to what works best for the child. A parent spends a lot more time with the player than the coach does, and is privy to insights that the coach will never see. Especially if the parent is the one who travels to tournaments. If the parent can remove themselves emotionally (as it pertains to the tennis portion) and speak with the coach about what they see, the coach can then determine if there is validity to the observation that could be influence the direction that training should take. I'm certainly not saying that all, or even most tennis parents are capable of this. Anyone who has been around junior tennis for any length of time, has several books worth of experience with the wrong type of parent, and coach. I'm just not willing to throw stones without some evidence that there is an issue.

  6. Where is the advice on how to play an opponent on PEDS?

  7. Great article.

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