Player/Coach Relationships Require These Traits (Part 2)

In the last post, we discussed six things every coach/player relationship should have. However, those were not the only six things you should look for in your relationship with your coach. Today, we will add six more items to the list.

6 Things Every Coach/Player Needs

Today we are going to go over the last six of the 12 important things you need to have a good coach to player relationship.

  1. Good communication

You have to know how to communicate with your coach, but just as importantly, your coach has to know how to communicate with you.

There are several areas where communication is important.

• When you are out on the court, you have to be able to understand his or her cues and comments even while you are playing.
• When you aren’t playing as hard as you usually do, your coach has to know your body language well enough to know when you are being lazy from when you are hurt from when you just are physically exhausted.
• When your coach talks to you, he or she has to know how to say things in ways that you will understand.

Once you get the communication thing down, then everything else will be a lot easier. In fact, when you are looking for a new coach, this is likely one of the most important items you should have on your list.

  1. Good listening

It does not matter what a good communicator your coach is if you do not listen to him or her. In order to develop a good relationship with your coach, you need to learn how to listen.

Listen can mean different things.

• It can mean to actually hear your coach and understand them. When your coach is talking to you, give them your full attention. Do not daydream about what is going on in your life tomorrow. Make sure you know and understand what they are telling you.
• It can mean listening to their body language. You need to recognize the unsaid things your coach is communicating to you. When they are mad, disappointed, happy, sad, or any other emotion, you should be able to tell even if there are only subtle differences between them.
• It can mean actually obeying what they say. Even if you don’t understand why they want you to do something, if you want a good relationship with your coach, you need to know how to listen and follow their orders.

Lindsay Holmes, a writer for the Huffington Post, wrote on aspects of a good listener’s personality. Good listeners are present, ask good questions, and are not on the defensive, among other qualities. Learning to be a good listener is an important part of any coach/player relationship.

  1. Honesty

A good coach is not going to sugarcoat things for you. If you played poorly, then they are going to tell you that you did and make sure you work extra hard before your next match. If you had a bad match, they are going to tell you all of the things that you did wrong.

A good coach is tough, but fair. If they yell and point out all your flaws, do not get upset. If they always tell you that you are great and perfect, how will you ever improve? A good coach needs to be honest with you in order to make you a better player.

On the other hand, a good coach should not only point out your weaknesses. When you do well, they should point it out. When you have a strength, they should recognize it. Complete honesty is pointing out the truth both good and bad. Too much one-sidedness can be bad. Either you won’t improve if the bad isn’t recognized or you will be demoralized if the good isn’t.

  1. Consistency

A good coach will be consistent. If you never know what they will say or do from one day to the next, then you will just be confused.

Consistency means that you will have a little bit of predictability in your coach, instead of having Dr. Jekyll one day, and Mr. Hyde the next. If your coach says all that matters is winning, they should not be yelling and screaming at you when you lose.

  1. Talent

A good coach does not need to have been on the pro circuit in order to teach you how to be. However, they do need to know how to play the sport. If your coach doesn’t know how to play, then how will they teach you?

Think about this example. Let’s say you are looking to find an incredible coach to work with you on your tennis skills, so you get the best football coach around. The coach may have all the attributes of a great coach that you want, but how does it help you if they know nothing about tennis?

  1. Networking

A good coach will either have connections or know how to get them. You might need someone to help you get your foot in the door. A good coach can do this for you. They might know how to get a recruiter out to watch you or be able to hook you up with an incredible partner for doubles. It does not matter what type of networking you need done, a good coach will be able and willing to help you.  

Ready, Set, Go

Now that you are know what to look for in your relationship with your coach, get out there and start ‘coach shopping.’ Just because someone is a good coach, does not mean they are the right coach for you. So make sure you do not settle for just anyone.

Think about people you have taken lessons with, mentors from tennis camp, and recommendations you have heard for other. Find the coach that is right for you, and it will make playing a lot easier.