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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: Coaching High School Teams

From: Joe Rill <>
Date: Tue 21 Nov 2000 11:19:19 EST

Mike, here's a start on your questions related to coaching HS Tennis:

You will quickly find out that your understanding "that coaching a high
school team is a lot more than lessons," is the biggest understatement that
you have ever made :-) There are so many things involved that I couldn't
list them in this e-mail. Just a few include: Coordination with School
Hierarchy, teachers, bus drivers, and parents; Physical Conditioning; Player
evaluation and cuts; Personal relations and counseling; Diversified
individual skill development (not a group lesson on the back hand...); First
Aid; Development, application, and last minute revision of player tactics and
strategy; Psychology of losing (and winning); Diet; Sports administration
(e.g., letters and end of season awards); etc.

The best book I have seen is Successful Coaching by Rainer Martens, USTA
Special Edition, Leisure Press. The main book deals with the broad subject
of coaching all sports. The Special Edition focuses on coaching tennis. But
it still doesn't cover all the aspects of coaching HS tennis that you will

Our favorite team activity that teaches and trains, but is fun and not
toil--Maybe an end of the practice activity that leaves them wanting more is
Queen of the Court (If you are coaching Boys, it would be King of the
Court...). Two players at the net are the Queens who hit volleys. The rest
of the team are challengers who form two lines behind the baseline and hit
groundies. Lobs are not permitted, but the challengers have to chase
MIS-hits. The first player in each line stands on the base line. Coach
feeds a ball to one of them and they play out the point. If the Queens win
the point, the challengers are replaced by the next two in line. If the
challengers win the point they stay and the coach feeds a second ball. They
play out the point and if the challengers win the second point, they run fast
to the other side of the net where they become the new Queens and the next
two challengers step up to the base line. Coach feeds a ball without waiting
for the new queens to get set and the competition continues (I know its not
fair--but its fun...). When the drill ends (usually when practice is over),
the reigning queens are declared the Queens of the Court for that practice
(you could have a prize but we didn't because the prestige of winning was

The way we decide who plays No 1 is via a tennis ladder, When the season
starts, we conduct a mini round robin the results of which determine the
position on the ladder. I have ladder rules and if you want I will send them
to you separately. The tennis ladder will eventually compete to the point
where the positions are stabilized. There are good reasons to cut off
challenges at some point so that your line up becomes fixed (usually before

Take the following things with you to all practices and matches: Team First
Aid Kit; Giant thermos full of ice water (ice for injuries and water to
prevent heat injuries); Snacks (have captain coordinate a schedule to share
the cost and bother among the parents); an extra racket or two (or make sure
everyone has a second racket); USTA and HS League rules and regulations; a
notebook containing team related documentation; Either the individual player
emergency notification forms or an emergency notification roster based on the
info in those forms (to call parents in case of injury)--this roster or your
book should also have the telephone number of the Activities Director and the
Principal); a mobile (car or cell) phone (yours, a borrowed one, or a
player's) to call 911; and warm up balls in case you arrive early or the host
school doesn't provide them. We take other things but they are not essential.

Hope this helps. Good luck and congratulations--you are in for the most
challenging, gratifying and rewarding experience of your tennis career

Joe Rill

Received on Tue Nov 21 2000 - 14:05:58 CST

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