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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: Coaching Question

From: Edward Fagen <>
Date: Thu 15 Apr 2004 10:43:52 EDT

Darn Peter, you would mention doubles. Now that is a whole different ball
game. I guess you just have to do a little experimenting. We started out with
our # 1 and # 4 singles players playing doubles together. (They were partners
for the last couple of years.) They lost their first match so the # 1 said he
wanted to play with the # 2 singles player. OK, so # 4 teamed up with # 3.
They challenged # 1 and # 2 at doubles and promptly blew them off the court.
The # 3 doubles team challenged the team made up of the # 1 and # 2 singles
players and promptly beat them. It is a classic example of getting to the net.
The only way our # 1 singles will come to the net is if someone drop shots him.
 I think in doubles a coach sometimes just has to use his best judgment and
try to get the best blend of playing styles, personalities, and abilities.


You said, "The harder you work them, the more they will respect you, and more
pride each kid will take in his or her effort to make the team," really
doesn't apply to JV HS tennis or HS kids in general. Boot camp will not make them
better players nor will it garner you respect from 98% of them. Remember you
have a very short tennis season (especially if weather is a concern). You need
to get them to get in shape in the offseason (workout program or playing
other sports) and focus on tennis during the season.

Point well taken. I hope I did not sound too harsh. What you have to
remember is that most of the kids who play tennis, at least on our team, are kind of
specialist, they don't play other sports. Well, one of the guys plays on the
golf team (I don't even consider that a sport. Yikes!) and we have one girl
who plays on the basketball team. They don't show up in tip top shape. Your
right, some kind of workout program would be great. All I can say is that when
I watch them play, the number of points that a lot of our players lose
because they are one half to a full step slow is scary and I know that with a little
more emphasis on quickness and acceleration they all could be so much better.
 As Norman said, "You have to show that you are in control, show them that
you have authority, and you call the shots." I think you do this by being
structured and having high expectations of them. That way I think they will feel
better about themselves and you. Along the lines of control, I hit with some
of the kids from another tennis team last year and I made some suggestions to
the coach. He said, "Gosh, if we did that half the kids would quit." Guess
who was in control of that tennis team?

You said, "MECHANICS!!! Do your best to seek out someone who can provide you
with the ability to focus on both the basic and advanced mechanics of tennis."

Absolutely, We have some seniors who played of the team for 4 years and
their mechanics are horrible. We have a couple who are pretty good athletes and
are condemned to being 3.5 players (unless they change their mechanics), when
they have the potential to be 4.5 or even 5.0 players with a little instruction
and encouragement. What a shame. In defense of most high school coaches, my
gosh, it is all they can do keep things organized and running smoothly and a
lot of them don't have a tennis background. That is kind of what I do on our
tennis team, help with mechanics. I am really into the grips, swing paths,
contact points, whatever. Kids will come up to me and ask me to help them with
some aspect of their game and I am greatly honored. I am sure I probably give
them some incorrect, archaic advice and I always preface it with, "You might
want to try this to see if it helps." I think the important thing is that
they see you are truly interested in them and there is nothing you would like
better then to see them improve their game. I have seen a lot of improvement in
the play of a lot of kids on our tennis team and I will be the first to tell
you that is not because of my advice but more likely in spite of it.

You got to love the game.

Best regards,


Tennis Geometrics Company
1844 Walker Valley Rd
Charleston, TN 37310

Phone: 423-336-3953
Web Site:

Received on Thu Apr 15 2004 - 10:11:34 CDT

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