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Role of a touring coach in Tennis

International travel, 5 star hotels and huge financial bonuses all paint a lavish lifestyle of the touring tennis coach. The reality is way different. First and foremost, the touring coach is a luxury for players playing on the ITF Junior/ Futures circuit. Many players cannot afford a touring coach and as such they carry an increased workload both on and off the court. For those players who can afford a touring coach, they can expect the coach to complete the following tasks

1: Scouting future opponents. Knowing your opponents game style, his/her strengths and weaknesses, patterns of play etc before a match can be a huge advantage for the player. 

2: Booking practise courts. In general you will want to practise on the court that you will be playing your match on. Most tournaments will have a practise court booking sheet that the coach will book.

3: Equipment. The touring coach will generally ensure that the players equipment, primarily restrings/grips are ready. Weather, court speed, altitude all play a role in what tension a played may string his racquet at. Even the time of the match (middle of the day Vs an evening match) will vary the court speed and potentially restring tension.  

4:  Organising practise partners. Being able to practise with a player that has a similar game style of your next opponent can be advantageous. Practising with a lefty prior to playing a lefty can help your preparation. 

5: Knowing the venue. Experienced touring coaches will understand the pace of the court, if you are playing in altitude, how the ball brand and court can possibly impact your tactics etc. All these small bits of information can give you the edge in a close match.

6: Nutrition, hydration and sleep time. If the coach is travelling with a younger, less experienced player, the touring coach may have to take on a policing role. Knowing what to eat, when to eat it what time the player should sleep etc will all play a role in performance. The touring coach will always eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with the player It is in this time that the coach/player relationship can grow over conversations at the dining table.

7: Pre and post match analysis. This is one of the biggest roles the touring coach will have. Giving the player a clear picture as to what he/she needs to do from a tactical viewpoint is vital prior to the match. After the match, getting valuable feedback both positive and constructive will ensure that the player enlarges their match experience and is aware of what they did well. A good coach will ask the player open ended questions with the player doing most of the talking. 

8: Travelling. The touring coach may be responsible to book flights and accommodation while on the road. Knowing when to arrive at the next venue, how to get to the next venue (bus, train, flight) and the player budget must be considered. 

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