Bob’s Blog – January 11, 2016

“What should parents expect from their child’s coaches?”

If I had a dime for every parent that has walked into my office over the years, and asked advice about their child’s progress or lack of with a particular coach I would be writing this blog from somewhere in Kauai. I’m not sure what it is, maybe the age of internet and instant access to everything or the lack of patience that makes some parents believe that if their child is not a star within the first 4 to 6 months of working with a new coach or in a new program, that there must be a problem with the coaching.

I’m here to tell you that is an attitude that is doomed to failure for your child. As a parent you should be there to help your junior player choose a coach that works really well with them. All juniors are different, some need a hard disciplinarian as a coach that will hold your child accountable for reaching agreed upon goals, others need a coach that gets his or her ideas across with a bit more compassion, while still working to reach said goals. Either way it only works if there is a good strong trusting relationship between student and coach.

Once a coach has been chosen, the greatest advice I can give any parent is “let them coach”. Give them time. There are no miracle workers out there. It takes time to build a relationship that has to be based on great communication and trust. That doesn’t happen overnight. If you looked at all the top players of not only todays stars, but the great players of the past a huge majority of them had one primary coach for most of their respective junior careers and in some cases that person has carried over to their professional careers.

Now for the hard part. How to be a parent before and after matches. As much as you would like to believe you have become an instant tennis expert please don’t give your child any tennis advice prior to them walking on the court. Besides it being usually wrong, many times it contradicts what the coach might be advising them. Second and most important of all don’t pound them with things they did wrong after a match. No one knows better than your child what went wrong out there.

Finally, in summarizing the above. Choose a good coach for your child and then “LET THEM COACH.”