Coach-player relationship

            Coaching any tennis player is not an easy task. We have to deal with different players moods, approaches, problems, excuses and many others. A lot of complex parts of successful communication have to be achieved to get answers to all these obstacles. We have to remember that effective cooperation between coach and player is possible only if it is based on mutual respect. In this article, you will discover how to build a healthy relationship with a player.

            Good relationship between partners is a necessity to have a chance for fulfilling dreams. It doesnt matter if we look at coach-athletes relationship or at company relationship because people have to understand and trust each other to fully exploit their potentials. Creating a good relationship is not as easy as it looks like because there are many different factors which can affect it for a long time. We, as coaches and parents, are capable of doing many things in areas like communication or mutual trust to make this relationship better. Lets see which situations we have to care of and stay focused on.

 

Communication

            Many tennis coaches and players think that communication means talking to somebody. However, whole process of communication is much more complicated because it consists of listening, speaking, reading and confirming. Coach, as a listener, has to remember to listen and dont interrupt a player. As we all know, coaches spend more time speaking than listening so this new habit has to be learned.

            Speaking is an another part of successful communication but we have to be careful about small details like tone, pace or altitude. All these little things can take players attention away from coachs goal and communication can be ineffective.

            Coaches have to also watch a player while communicating and try to read as many clues as possible. Among helpful clues, we can find facial expressions, body posture, eyes fixation, body parts motions and many others. Being able to read and understand these indicators can help coaches realize what player thinks and whether he/she gets information we were intended to provide.

            The last part of successful communication is confirmation of the message delivered when we are unsure if a player understands fully what we wanted to put in. Gently asking „Do you think you understand what I had in mind?“ is a great way to do if player cant perform given task in a proper order or she/he looks confused after drills explanation.

 

Trust

            Players tend to thank own coach after a won tournament with words „You are my family. If anybody calls coach „a family member, this player has to trust his/her coach frankly. Trust is an another component of a healthy relationship between two parts cooperating with each other. How can we earn trust of our partner? Being honest and taking care of people is what can give you trust of a player. Telling the truth and keeping promises are always appreciated by everybody. Nobody likes to be lied so as a honest person, you should have a great relationship with most players.

            Next thing we have to show anytime we can is taking care of a player. If your coachings goal is to work with top 100 ATP/WTA player but right now you have opportunity to play with a great 15 years old boy who trains 2 times a week, you cant change your approach only because this particular player has really small chances to be the top 100. Showing that you care by planning, analyzing and using your best skills can build a great relationship for a whole life. You never know when it can pay off.

 

Friendship     

            When coach and player are friends, it can make the whole development process much easier and faster. However, before we move on, I would like to explain what friendship means. Being a friend to somebody is all about trust, honesty, 24/7 availability and support. If coach is a friend with a player, it doesnt mean he/she will allow for everything. Players well-being is the most important even it has to be achieved by saying painful truth or ejecting from practice. Honest relationship is a fundament to build a friendship so even the worst things must be said frankly. We have to remember that coach-players cooperation will have to deal with many magnificent but also terrible times. Cooling down during a winning streak or cheering up when things go wrong is also responsibility for a true friend. Friendship is the most difficult aspect to obtain between coach and player but when it comes to it, close relationship makes the tennis way much better.

 

Fun     

            People do things more often when these activities are fun. Everyone knows how it feels when we are happy and whole learning process comes easier and faster. Funny atmosphere should be incorporated on and off the tennis courts. Tennis coaches can achieve it by playing players favorite drills or by spending free time on tournaments in a nice way. We have to remember that road to the victory can be made with fun but coaches have to decide when the appropriate time is.

 

            To sum it up, relationship with player is one of the most important aspects in a successful process. Being close and understand each other makes the learning path smoother. Applying information from this article will help coaches understand what they can do to build a bond with their players.