Monthly Archives: March 2013

Coach knows best

A couple of weeks ago my son got to a final of a grade 5 competition and for some unknown reason he began to double fault. It wasn’t on every service point but almost every second serve he hit went long and the result was he lost the final.

I discussed it with the coach and he suggested that the next competition, two days later, he used his slice serve and that in lessons they’d practice a kick serve. So over the last three weeks every lesson and my hits with him has seen him work on his kick serve.

Then there was my dilemma, two competitions are approaching and the kick serve isn’t working that well. Surely it was worth him going back to a flat second serve. Secondly my son was starting to get fed up with practicing the kick serve, especially when he played with me.

I spoke to coach and asked if it was worth taking a break. My son and coach discussed it and agreed that they would spend four more weeks working on the serve and if there wasn’t a break through by then, they would work on something different.

This morning we went for a hit and by the end of our practice, in sets of 6 serves he was regularly getting at least four kick serves in and sometimes all of them! Whereas I’d been tempted to say let’s practice flat second serves and give up on kick serves, coach has been right, with a little but more nurturing, he was almost there. (fingers crossed)

It highlighted that point to me that coach is interested in long term progress. He is aware of what will make the difference in the longer term and is prepared to take that view. Whereas I’m with my son at competitions and dealing with the emotional roller-coaster of winning and losing matches. It is easy to get sucked into the idea that winning matches is the most important thing and in that three hour slot on a Saturday or a Sunday it certainly seems like that to a child. However the reality is, that mini-tennis tournaments are just another form of practice. It doesn’t actually matter if they are winning competitions as long as the child is gaining something positive from the experience. The important thing, and as Steven Covey wrote ‘begin with the end in mind’ (Habit 2: Seven habits of highly effective people.) Surely the end in mind for mini tennis is the child enjoying playing and as coach is trying to ensure, developing an all round game for the future.