Leaders create leaders. Tennis coaches are leaders of tennis development if each one is taking ownership of their proper continuous learning process to manage more opportunities to create growth in our sport.
Us like tennis coaches, we need to be aware that that process is a never-ending platform to understand the deep meaning of our sport as a bridge between people, you and your team.
In that sense, I believe we have multiple chances to develop our profession to a new stage of development, recognition, and success. For that, it is necessary to start to talk about what we need to be focused and start to work with more attention on how tennis coaches are valued and recognized all over the world-
For that, curious like always I started to write a 4 articles series about what I consider are some of the challenges we are facing looking to take advantage of the present opportunities that we have to our future.
Let’s talk about new ATP Coaching rule put in place in professional tournaments since a couple of month ago approving having coaching already open and with regulations on how to do it. This is a great step forward for our sport.
I celebrate that finally it was approved. why? Because coaching already exists at any level, since more than many decades. Could be signal, body language, key words, applause rhythm, and many other as your creativity can suppose that was used. If we are not aware of that, probably we should be a little more honest about our behavior. The quality of our sport, the values which tennis predicts, need TRANSPARENCY and to BE CLEAR like one. Two great principles which now are on spotlight. Before, we lived in some hypocrisy state. Now is over, with some rules and adjustment to do probably, but more honest.
Second point about it. I hear some people said about “tennis is 1 to 1 sport”, other commented to me same consideration for which they did not agree with the new rule. It´s valid statement if something is changed. But nothing changes, still is one to one, even coaches can talk some key words or signals, (Which in most of the cases they did it anyway in the past without this rule and breaking the “not-coaching one”) the decision always is taken by the player. How many times a coach did an instruction, and the player did exactly the opposite, millions of times. Tennis coaches are like a consultant, you proposed something, and your client is taking the final decision, as they want. Always was like this. It will remain in the same pathway now and in the future. The player (Your client) is in charge.
Of course, tennis coaches as tennis leaders must create an environment of responsibility, commitment, and growth with our sport to protect how they will use this new rule.
Third point who someone commented, this rule helps who has money to hire a coach. In top professional level, (Top 100 players) everyone has enough money to hire a tennis coach. In actual some case, there is a player who doesn’t want a coach. This is an option. But you know, as I said before, it was always like that. Some top players can have 2, 3 or even 4 coaches on his team seated on the coaches’ box. Others only one. As coaching already existed in the past, in all categories and situations someone is doing coaching. It happens in regional, national, local levels the same, since many, many decades. Money is not an excuse to be more clear, transparent, and positive like sport and something related to this rule.
I really prefer that tennis organization regularize the situation allowing coaching only for coaches and tennis specialist with valid and legal international or national certifications, like any other profession. (I will write about it in the next article) This is a really mess in tennis.
Final point is to Generate Visibility, creating Tennis Coaches Press Conferences in tournaments, events, and key conferences. We need to create a connection with the person, the tennis specialist, the coach. Somebody who has made the tennis journey coaching others. That voice is important to be heard, to have visibility.
Each coach who reaches a higher level with a solid tennis project has built something significant, has made a long and committed journey to achieve it. In this sense, we already created a project “The Tennis Talk- Coaches Voices” which have like one of our main purposes to generate awareness of who they are. As this idea, tennis organizations can develop others to contribute to making them known and to know more about each tennis development process and matches explanation. More knowledge better understanding, probably more wise decisions.
It is optimistic, positive, and constructive to generate a connection with each of the top tennis coaches and people in a meaningful way, learning something from everyone.
Generating visibility is a channel to connect with people and provide knowledge, ideas, solutions, developing inspiration and awareness in others, contributing to the self-development process of each one.
There is more to consider as we improve the path of growth, recognition and continuous improvement for tennis coaches at all levels. It is our responsibility, among all of us, to generate more solidity, commitment, seriousness and relevance in our profession and how it is appreciated.
Coaches must take care of coaches themselves. That is, to be focused not only on the day to day, but to build a space that year after year generates growth in the structure and the respect that is achieved for who we are and what we do like professionals.
That is part of the challenge. Coming soon article 2.