Top 5 Characteristics of a Tennis Instructor
By: Bryce Cunningham
Whether you are new player to the game looking for a coach or a seasoned director of tennis looking to hire a new staff member, having a good pro to guide you along the way is critical to your success and for a tennis director it is key to running a successful club/program. Over the years of me being a Director of Tennis and Regional Director through Cliff Drysdale Tennis management I have had the pleasure of managing and overseeing over 60 tennis professionals during my tenure. Every professional has their strengths and weaknesses but I have listed a few qualities below that I look for when hiring new professionals onto my team. I believe all of these qualities are things that you continue to learn and develop throughout your career whether you have been teaching tennis for 1 year or 20 years.
One of the first things most clients/employers ask is if are you are a certified. In the United States the USPTA and the USPTR are the main bodies offering instructor certifications. Both courses require a few days of practical work then followed up by several days of theory work. On top of that a lot of coaches tend to have international coaching credentials as well which also are very beneficial to hold. You want to make sure that your coaches certifications are up-to-date and that they are current.
2: Past Experience
Coaches do not always have to be former world-class players, some of the best coaches I have known have been amateur players their entire lives but what is more important than their playing ability is their experience as a coach. Clients tend to request coaches with over 3 + years of teaching experience.
3: Playing Ability
This is the first thing that most players, adults and kids alike tend to look at. While the coaches playing ability does indicate their experience to a degree, from my past personal experiences the best players are not always the best coaches. You should always take a coaches playing ability into consideration but that alone should not be your only deciding factor.
4: Punctuality /time management
All good coaches must be professional time managers. First impressions are everything so coach’s must always be punctual, that means arriving to the court about 15 minutes prior to the start of each lesson to get set up every single time. Experienced coaches who are successful in managing their time and schedules efficiently tend to always be the busiest pros on staff.
5: Willingness to learn and develop
The game of tennis is ever-changing so a good tennis coach needs to be up-to-date and be able to change and adapt to give their players the best opportunity to accomplish their tennis goals. As a coach you must never stop learning and be willing to try new things.