I began my journey in this sport as a social player and progressed all the way to the professional level. Many people would find it difficult to believe that I didn’t feel qualified to play the role of ‘coach’ for a very long time. Upon request, I would take a look at a friends swing from time to time and give them some pointers, but that was all. It was only after years of playing hundreds of tennis matches in varying conditions, fitness and mental training, dietary planning, research, attending tennis clinics, workshops and working with club coaches, that I began to feel as though I had enough knowledge to begin a coaching career. Even after all that, there is always more to know.
I do find the current trend of former tennis champions beginning to take on the role of coach to current professionals quite interesting. Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario and Martina Navratilova are the latest former champions to jump on the coaching bandwagon, working with Caroline Wozniacki and Aga Radwanska respectively. I wrote an article a few months ago with further details on this current trend, beginning with Andy Murray’s partnership with Ivan Lendl (see: https://alisonshemon.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/andy-murray-slicker-than-your-average-tennis-player/).
In my opinion, the club coach is going to suffer big time. Our game is driven by the actions of the current WTA and ATP players. Almost every coach that is in the players box did not actually ‘develop’ that professional. That is what a club coach does and more. Without the examples of dynamic duo’s such as Uncle Toni and Rafa, Carlos Rodriguez and Justine Henin, Nick Bollettieri and Monica Seles/Mary Pierce/Andre Agassi, Robert Landsdorp and Tracy Austin/Lindsay Davenport, Peter Carter and Roger Federer, the hiring of a club coach at the highest level could soon be a thing of the past.