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How to Choose the Best Tennis Coach for Your Child: 8 Crucial Factors to Consider

Finding the best tennis coach for your child can be a time consuming task. With over 500 registered AITA coaches, finding the right coach for your child can be a daunting task. Should I get an older more experienced coach or a younger motivated coach? Should I get a male coach or a female coach? Should I get a coach who has played on the professional circuit or a coach who has consistently produced National level players? There are several factors that you should consider before committing to a coach.


Coach Type - what type of tennis coach does my child need? Certain coaches will be more suited to coaching beginners while some coaches may be more skilled at working with tournament level players. 


Coaching Style - Some coaches may be classified as an authoritarian coach (high on discipline) and at the other end of the spectrum the coach may be very personable, almost casual in his coaching style (younger students tend to gravitate to this coaching style).


Philosophy – what does your tennis coach believe in? Does the coach focus most of his attention on having fun and being in a positive environment or does he/she prioritize hard work, sacrifice and competitiveness? Does the coach’s philosophy agree with what you want for your child?


Experience – how long has the tennis coach been coaching for? Working with a coach that has been in the industry for many years is always a plus point however, it is also important if the coach is upgrading themselves continuously in their career to ensure they are up to date with new introductions & developments of the sport. 


Results - what results has the tennis coach attained? If I am looking for a coach for a 16 year old tournament player, I will be looking at which other tournament players the coach has worked with, the results that he has attained and potentially will the coach travel with the player to tournaments. Please remember results do not only mean tournament results. A result can be acquiring a new skill, setting a personal best in a fitness activity etc.


Qualifications - does the tennis coach hold some form of recognised coaching qualification? Qualifications offer the customer some reassurance that the coach has spent some time becoming formally educated as to how to coach the game. Many of these courses require the coach to maintain a certain number of course credits. These credits are gained by the coach continually educating themselves. The coach may attend a coaching conference, do a specialised course, participate in a tennis fitness course in order to attain course credits.


Does the coach genuinely care about his/her students? It becomes very obvious if a tennis coach is primarily coaching for money (we all need to make a livelihood) or if the coach will go out of his way to do that little bit extra for the students. Attending tournaments, calling the student to see how the player performed and/or showing an interest in the player's other activities/school. Remember they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.


Dedication – does the tennis coach have a plan for each of their players? Does the coach provide tournament schedules, updating parents with player reports, fitness programs for the player? Does the coach speak to parents on a regular basis keeping parents informed of the player's progress/areas of concern?


In my 25 plus years of experience I truly believe that the majority of tennis coaches care for their students, they want them to have fun while learning and genuinely care for their student’s development. As a coach we all have our shortcomings however if you can find a coach who meets the majority of your needs and shows an interest in your child, you are well on the way to ensuring that your child will have a memorable learning experience playing tennis. 


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