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Fundamental Roles of an Effective Coach in Player Development BY CARLOS CANO & ANDRAS PUTYERA


ennis is one of the most difficult sports to learn and master. The range of skills required to successfully guide the ball into a constrained area, while under pressure from an opponent, means that a lengthy period of practice, training and development is necessary for each individual student. The additional complexity of the game in terms of decision-making and the constant challenge of being in the right position to intercept an incoming shot in a balanced manner increases the difficulty of the learning process. Despite the widely-held acceptance that it takes a long time to learn how to play tennis, there seems to be a very common perception that it does not require much effort to teach this sport, let alone becoming an effective tennis instructor. Those who truly understand the nature of this profession know that coaches play a critical role in the development of tennis players. Anyone who desires to help players grow and develop as individuals needs to possess a diverse array of skills, expertise and specialized knowledge. In order to achieve higher levels of coaching competency, one must not only understand the characteristics of tennis as a sport, but also know how to apply that knowledge to the benefit of the players. While being a knowledgeable coach does not necessarily guarantee effectiveness on the court, it 38

is certainly a step in the right direction. So if knowledge alone is not enough, how does one become an effective tennis coach? Effective coaches are capable of integrating a wider range theoretical and practical knowledge into their training sessions. Effective training is very detailed and specifically designed to meet the needs of each individual student. Coaches who use effective methods to plan, organize, conduct and evaluate training sessions have significantly greater success at helping people learn tennis skills, improve performance and reach their potential. When it comes to planning and organizing a lesson, one must know who they are working with, why a particular skill is necessary for the player, how the teaching concept is best introduced, and the most beneficial sequence of the instruction process. Once this has been established, conducting the lesson must be done through a series of progressions, initially presenting the exercise(s) in a closed environment (isolate the skill being developed), and eventually, directing the flow of training in an open setting (practicing/competing with the already established skill). Evaluating what has been taught is the last stage of an effective training. A fundamental attribute of successful coaches is their revision of the teaching cycle, in other words, the assurance behind a stu-

New York Tennis Magazine • September/October 2017 •

dent’s comprehension of the technical areas and application of those areas in tactical situations. In essence, effective coaches develop tennis players in a similar way as engineers build computers. An engineer first constructs the hardware in order to make the computer operate. In tennis, that would equate to building the motor skills and technical foundation of each player. Without this order, the software, which uses the hardware to interact with the user, would simply not function. Just as in tennis, no matter how good a player’s strategy and decision-making may be, limited ranges to execute efficient strokes and movement techniques will hinder the player’s ability to fully compete, reach their potential or achieve extensive success in the sport of tennis. Carlos Cano is Director of Coaches and one of the founders of CourtSense Tennis Centers. Throughout his career, Carlos has worked with world-class players like Dimitri Tursunov and Todd Martin. Andras Putyera is a Project Associate at CourtSense Tennis Centers. Prior to joining CourtSense, Andras worked for two years in coaches education at the International Tennis Federation, where he managed the ITF’s Web site and social media platforms, as well playing a key role in content creation for Tennis iCoach.

New York Tennis Magazine September / October 2017  
New York Tennis Magazine September / October 2017  

2017 U.S. Open Edition