Updated: Sep 3
“Swing low to high, turn your shoulders, get your feet behind the ball....”
God, Tennis Coaches, love to talk!
But do we and I include myself in this talk too much? Do we overload our players with information under the pressure of trying to improve performance?
I think so.
As Tennis coaches, our primary job is to improve performance. To make players play the game more effectively, we do this on the practice court. We set up drills or games and generally tell the player:
🎾What they are doing wrong
🎾What they need to do
🎾How they need to do it
Once we explain the game or activity, we are were generally given a running commentary on what we see.
“Swing low to high.”
“Now, finish with your elbow higher.”
“Ok, now, rotate your hips.”
“Brilliant, now rotate your shoulders.”
And so on and so on.
The issue with this is how much information can we process at one time?
How can we process all that information, watch the ball, get into position and send the ball back?
Well, we can't
How often do you hear your players (and coaches) say, ‘stop overthinking!’,
Well, that overthinking is coming from the coach—every instruction we give causes interference with the players learning process.
We are creating noise, and the more instructions we bark, the more noise and interference we cause.
Our job should be to cut out that noise, and create an environment where the player is relaxed and focused on just one thing, the ball.
But why do coaches bark out an audio commentary? A coach on a recent course stated that he felt under pressure to give out lots of information as he thought he had to justify being paid.
The pressure came from within, but he felt that the players were paying for his expert knowledge, and he had to give as much information as possible in that time frame.
The pressure may also come from the player. They may feel they need to know the entire ins and out of technique in the belief it will make them a better player.
Again the issue is information overload; I often compare players to glasses or cups. Each player has a specific capacity to take in information based on their learning style. As coaches, we need to place the water in the glass or cup carefully. If we pour in too much, we overload the cup and waste a lot of water.
But how do we teach? How do we get information across without over filling the cup?
We let the player fill the cup themselves.
I DID WITNESS THE WORST TENNIS LESSON EVER 😮
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