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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Coaches Q and A: Should I help coach my child?

Andy Brandi, who coached at the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has taken a position as a USTA National coach, so Harold Solomon is now responding to your questions. Take advantage of the opportunity to have one of the best American players of his generation and one of the nation's most respected coaches answer your questions about junior tennis and player development.

Q. When watching my daughter play at tournaments, I notice things that I think she could do better as far as strategy goes. What is the best way to talk to her about my observations? Or should I leave those conversations for her coach? He doesn't travel to tournaments with her.

Harold responds:
Unless a parent is the player's coach, I think it's important for the parent to operate as the parent and let the coach take care of the coaching responsibilities. There have been way too many disasters when parents attempt to step into the coaching role on a temporary basis. I would suggest that all communication about tennis be channeled through the coach.

If you have thoughts, ideas, or suggestions for your child's tennis I would recommend having the conversation with the coach and allowing the coach to then have the appropriate discussion. The parent can easily relate to the coach what took place on the court and then the coach can decide the appropriate way to bring up the subject and can relate it back to the work they have been doing on the court.

In my experience, the happiest families for the most part seem to be the ones where the parents stay in their role as parents and allow the coaches the leeway to get the job done on the tennis court. Usually it is very hard for kids to hear about tennis-related issues from a parent and can cause a great deal of resentment which can get in the way of the parent-child relationship in the future.

Do you have a question for Harold? If so, please send it to clewis[at]zootennis[dot]com with the phrase Coaches Q and A in the subject line.


Mary said...

Overall, probably sound advice but I think it also depends on the relationship between the parent, child, and coach. As a parent who has also been my sons teacher for his entire academic career until this year (11th grade) he expects feedback from both myself and his coach.

bullfrog said...

I'm not sure how to reconcile this advice with the fact that so many pro women players throughout Top 100 have parents as their coaches (Williams, Wozniacki, Dementieva, Lepchenko, just to name a few). Few of these people started out as professional coaches.

Ken Kingston said...

I agree with the first 2 posters. Totally depends on the kid-parent relationship. My girl will only take advice seriously when it comes from me and not the coach. Other kids are the total opposites.

The Dude said...

I had been coaching my child since the 14s when his coach moved to TX. I stepped in because almost all coaches are baseline grinding coaches and he was an attacking player from the beginning. He wanted to always move forward and coaches wanted him to stay back and hit inside out forehands. I agree that it depends on the relationship between the player and his parent.