10 Tips to Being a Better Tennis Coach

The following tips are for tennis coaches to connect with their students, gain their respect, and, as a result, get more clients:

1) Do not wear sunglasses when meeting your students for the first time or greeting them as they come to your classes. They should be able to see your eyes. You’ll make a good connection with them.
IF you wear sunglasses, as they approach you, taking them off shows that you care for them.

2) Have a positive attitude.
Your students should not have to know that your newborn baby was keeping you up all night and you could not get any sleep (like it happened to me). Even if you had a tough previous lesson with another client, you should reset and put on a smiling face for the next student or class.

Keep it positive and show that you are excited to see them every time.

3) You should always remember your students’ names and say it a few times during their lessons. Everybody enjoys to hear their name mentioned; it is a form of respect from your part.

4) Never pick up or talk on the phone during your tennis lessons. Imagine you are a parent who is paying for their child’s lesson but you see the coach talking on the phone when they should be in fact interacting and giving instructions to your child. Put yourself in the shoes of your clients; they want your undivided attention during the time they employ your services.

5) You should never be late for your lesson, otherwise, it should be free for your client. If you know you will be late, definitely find a way to let your student know ahead of time. My advice for you is to always get on the court at least 15 minutes before your lesson so you have enough time to get the court and any teaching aids that you will be using for the class ready.

6) Do not gossip!
Don’t talk negatively about your other clients, fellow coaches, or competing tennis clubs/organizations. If you don’t have anything positive to say, better not say anything at all. The negative talk will reflect on you and your clients will associate what you say with the feeling they have towards you. So keep your actions and words as positive as possible.

7) Show respect for your tennis students and especially for those who have stopped taking lessons with you. Even if they are not your clients anymore, your former students can be great ambassadors to promote your services to their friends and families.

8) Once in a while you should offer free lessons to those who cannot afford them. In addition to that, you could organize weekly get-togethers where your students and their friends can play together. It is a great way not only to offer your players a chance to get extra practice but it is also an excellent way to meet their families and spread the word about you and your services.
(I used to organise a 1 hour games-and-play session every Thursday evening inviting all my students to come and play. I would match them up according to their skills and parents would be participating in feeding balls to start the games or picking up balls, etc. It was fun!)

9) Look clean and smell nice.
We coaches sometimes have to rally with our students, therefore, it is important that we have spare clothes and a way to take care of our appearance before and after each lesson.

10) Find ways to constantly improve your knowledge about the latest teaching techniques, and share what you know with your younger fellow coaches. Be available to share your experience not only with your students but with their parents or anybody who is willing to learn. Knowledge should not be kept a secret. It should be shared so that others benefit from it.

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.

Into the Final for the First Time

When my older daughter turned 10, I knew it was going to be tough to split between the green and orange level tournaments – my younger one was still determined to win an orange tournament before joining her sister in the full court / green level competitions.

During the indoor season, we unsuccessfully tried to participate in several tournaments – the distance impeded the fact that my two daughters had to play on different days due to their separate levels.

When Spring came and the outdoor season kicked in, we finally managed to book our spot in a tournament that would host both levels (green and orange) on the same day and just a few hours apart. Which meant less wait between matches and less travel for all.

My older daughter, Cezara, was first to play beginning at 12:30 pm. Even though a day before she caught a bad cold she decided to take part in her first green level competition anyway.
I could see in her movement and body language that Cezara was far from being fit enough to concentrate and compete… Nonetheless, she played all her 6 matches (round-robin, first to 7 point tie-break) winning two and losing four. A good performance considering the health issues she had to deal with and her first time competing on a full-court and against tougher opponents.

At 3 pm, the time came for orange-level matches. My younger daughter, Bianca (8 years and a half), blended among the players during the warm-up. She was the last in line and visibly the shyest one.
Nothing could tell that she would end up within a couple of hours getting everybody’s attention and admiration…

They were divided into two groups of 6 players who were going to play in a round-robin format (every player against each other in a game to a 7-point tie-break). The top 4 players from each group would go on to the quarter-finals: first player vs. the fourth from the opposite group, second vs. third player, and so forth.

Bianca had won 4 out of her 5 group matches and went on to be the top player in her group.

Before the quarter-final began, I went to the fence and told her that she would be playing elimination matches from now on meaning she should erase from her memory whatever happened before and focus only on how to win the next matches. I suggested to Bianca to not be satisfied with the past performance (a big mental trap) and keep her mind busy in the “now-and-next” mode.

(Some of the pieces of advice I gave my daughters before the tournament were the following:
– during the warm-up, they should keep their feet moving to get the blood flowing and resist hitting the ball hard;
– make mental notes of their opponents’ possible weak shots – e.g. backhand, serve spin, etc.
– use more slice serves because some kids are not familiar with handling spin serves;
– mentally they should keep their focus by always knowing the score and visualizing winning the next point.)

To my satisfaction, I saw that Bianca followed most of the advice I gave her in regard to the warm-up and strategies.

daughter serving in tennis tournament

She won the quarter-final in a heavily contested line calls and long rallies match. The umpire made some mistakes on both sides. Eventually, Bianca prevailed 7-3.

Again, I went to the fence (while she was resting and waiting for the next match) to help her stay focused on the present and what was coming ahead. She told me that this is how far she had gotten in previous tournaments – 4th place was the highest achievement.
After giving her a few tips on staying loose and focused, I left her on the bench, alone.

To our surprise, her semi-final match was going to be against, what we considered, the best player in the tournament. This girl, who traveled from out of the country to participate in this tournament, had a beautiful technique (great backhand, nice slice serve) and looked very confident.
We still don’t know how this happened, but Bianca marched to victory and sent her opponent to play for the 3rd and 4th places…
All I could say is that Bianca kept her focus from the beginning to the end, played steady shots, and ran for every single ball. That, in the end, paid off.

Our delight was immense: not only for her victory against one of the best players she’d ever played but also for the fact that for the first time she’d be in the final and so close to winning a tournament.

The final match put her against a player who lacked the technical elements but who was very persistent and smart in hitting a lot of balls in.
After a good start when Bianca was leading 3-0, she found herself contemplating the win and very certain of a first place in the tournament. This is the mental trap that is hard to get out of the head afterward…

Bianca found herself slowly beaten and denied the first place.

Even so, by playing with confidence, focus, and persistence my daughter made us all proud to see her getting a medal and recognition for her achievement.

We, after all, celebrated with a pizza and some of our close relatives waiting for us at home to congratulate both sisters. 🙂

Even though every tournament that we go to means a lot of pressure for both parents and kids, in the end, the fact that we dare to get out of our comfort zone is what matters.
Experiences, bad or good, are what make life worth living and sharing.
It is not the winning or losing in tournaments that matters; it is the fact that we meet new people, get good exercise, and make a difference in the world by giving a good example of hard work and respect for others.

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Teaching Professional

Visit the Training, Coaching and Kids Tennis sections at WebTennis24 – lessons, tips and drills for players, coaches and tennis parents.

“Silly Balls” Tennis Drill

Here is an exercise idea that I call “Silly Balls”, which is great for developing great ball tracking, quick reaction, and feel…

As a coach, I sometimes carry with me a basket containing mixed types of balls: some bouncy (new or old), some “dead” (that lost their inside air), some “spongy” (the oversized sponge ones for little kids), etc. This basket I take out on the court when I want to work with my students on quick reaction, footwork, and feel.

I feed those mixed balls to my student and challenge them to hit them all over the net. The benefit of this drill is that I make the player get out of their comfort zone by not having to deal with the same bounce and speed of the ball all the time. They also develop a quick first step reaction by having to adjust quickly to the bounce and depth of the different types of balls.

If you are a coach or parent of a tennis player, try doing this drill at times, but make sure they warm up very well beforehand.

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.

The 10 Commandments For Tennis Coaches

1. You shall not wear sunglasses when talking with your students or greeting anyone.

2. You shall always have a positive attitude.
3. You shall always remember your students’ names and greet them as soon as they enter your tennis court.
4. You shall not pick up, talk, or text on your phone during tennis lessons.
5. You shall never be late to your tennis lesson otherwise it is free for your client.
6. You shall not speak poorly of your fellow tennis coaches (or any clubs or tennis organization affiliations) regardless of their teaching methods.
7. You shall show respect to your clients and make them feel welcome even after they have stopped coming to you for lessons.
8. Once in a while you shall give free lessons to those who cannot afford them, and spend extra time with your clients who need more help.
9. You shall always look clean and smell nice.
10. You shall always look for ways to improve your tennis knowledge and share it with your students and younger fellow coaches who seek guidance.

Cosmin Miholca

Cosmin Miholca

Certified Tennis Coach

Check out my work at WebTennis24 where I share with you my best video tennis lessons, drills and tips for players, coaches and tennis parents.