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  • The Keys to Great Lessons

    Let's get your thoughts on Kyle LaCroix's article, "The Keys to Great Lessons"

  • #2
    Nice, and I'm sure this young man walks the walk...However, Id be leery about asking them too much about themselves and their games..unless you have a lazy boy handy.

    Comment


    • #3
      The Tennis Teacher…the Jerk of all Trades (sic)

      Originally posted by 10splayer View Post
      Nice, and I'm sure this young man walks the walk...
      …and I am pretty certain he has been cutting his teeth in these forum discussions. klacr is only scratching the surface if he decides to pursue this tennis thing as a career. By that I mean he has a vast potential…room for improvement. Truly great teachers are in their fifties and even beyond. One of "this young man's" greatest strengths is his mind…his Gold Mine. Open to old ideas.

      Tennis is an interesting game. It's beyond interesting actually. Tennis is a metaphysical pursuit. One foot based in science that the other in magic. The science is an old one and there isn't anything new under the sun and the magic is that mystical space between the ears that make us human beings with our relative strengths and weaknesses. It goes back to our roots as hunters and continues thru our status as "civilized" people. Currently we are sort of mired in "shock and awe". One only has to connect the dots and tennis does it for us. The game is rich in metaphor.

      Kyle actually gave us a heads up in the "The Body Fly" shot thread that he was going to begin to tackle these issues in his article. The issues being "Classic or Modern" and "Timeless Elements". In reality there isn't a question of classic or modern it is only a question of fundamentals…and these do not change. These are in fact timeless. It is the fundamentals that enable the tennis player to adapt. To survive in the world of tennis. As a teacher I am a student of the game. That being said…I study the modern game as it unfolds. I study the current players…the current fads and fashions. It only convinces me of one thing…that I am right. I never use that word…right. But in this case it is only the truth. No brag…just fact. Roger Federer is indeed the living proof.

      The keys to great lessons? Whatever it takes. Take to do what? To enlighten the student about their game…as it stands in the present and where it potentially can go in the future. It requires a road map to get there…one without a bunch of detours and traps or pitfalls. Great tennis teachers teach tennis…but can apply it to all things. He is the quintessential jerk of all trades. I mean "Jack".

      Kyle is making the argument in what will eventually become his thesis in life, that building something requires a solid foundation. In the case of building a tennis player's game that will require building it on sound fundamentals. You must assess each and every student individually and almost instantly be able to have a general idea about what they are capable of. The interview lasts a couple of minutes and from just a few questions you begin to get a handle on just what it is you are working with. Then you take a look at the actual strokes and begin to see the way forwards. What does the student hope to accomplish? That's the question. Where do they want to go?

      I love the article. I love the attitude…is a safe way of saying it. At his age he's hedging…just a bit. Politically he has too. There is no telling what is politically correct within the organization. These days this is a huge factor too. But he has a mind of his own. He listens then he draws his own conclusions. He's quite capable of connecting the dots…he just needs to see about a million more of them. Maybe two. It comes with age…and experience. After you've seen enough you realize everything is only repeating itself. There is in fact…nothing new under the sun.

      The book is William Tilden. The model is Richard Gonzales with the Don Budge backhand. Harry Hopman is the coach and Roger Federer is the living proof. Now that is a teaching paradigm…no more. No less.

      Thanks for sharing…klacr. I read you loud and clear.
      Last edited by don_budge; 03-10-2015, 02:16 AM. Reason: for clarity's sake...
      don_budge
      Performance Analysthttps://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...ilies/cool.png

      Comment


      • #4
        Just talk...no need to walk in this business

        Good article to learn how to be a model pro...like it.

        I have a more cynical take...

        Lesson 1:The general public is a very bad judge of a good tennis coach...hasn't got a clue.

        Lesson 2: It's all about personality. The busiest coaches are often awful (can't even play that well) but have shiny personalities, which attract people. Many such coaches are rich.

        Bottom line...you don't even have to know a thing and you can still call yourself a coach and make a mint. No walking needed...just talk, baby.
        Stotty

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by don_budge View Post
          …and I am pretty certain he has been cutting his teeth in these forum discussions. klacr is only scratching the surface if he decides to pursue this tennis thing as a career. By that I mean he has a vast potential…room for improvement. Truly great teachers are in their fifties and even beyond. One of "this young man's" greatest strengths is his mind…his Gold Mine. Open to old ideas.

          Tennis is an interesting game. It's beyond interesting actually. Tennis is a metaphysical pursuit. One foot based in science that the other in magic. The science is an old one and there isn't anything new under the sun and the magic is that mystical space between the ears that make us human beings with our relative strengths and weaknesses. It goes back to our roots as hunters and continues thru our status as "civilized" people. Currently we are sort of mired in "shock and awe". One only has to connect the dots and tennis does it for us. The game is rich in metaphor.

          Kyle actually gave us a heads up in the "The Body Fly" shot thread that he was going to begin to tackle these issues in his article. The issues being "Classic or Modern" and "Timeless Elements". In reality there isn't a question of classic or modern it is only a question of fundamentals…and these do not change. These are in fact timeless. It is the fundamentals that enable the tennis player to adapt. To survive in the world of tennis. As a teacher I am a student of the game. That being said…I study the modern game as it unfolds. I study the current players…the current fads and fashions. It only convinces me of one thing…that I am right. I never use that word…right. But in this case it is only the truth. No brag…just fact. Roger Federer is indeed the living proof.

          The keys to great lessons? Whatever it takes. Take to do what? To enlighten the student about their game…as it stands in the present and where it potentially can go in the future. It requires a road map to get there…one without a bunch of detours and traps or pitfalls. Great tennis teachers teach tennis…but can apply it to all things. He is the quintessential jerk of all trades. I mean "Jack".

          Kyle is making the argument in what will eventually become his thesis in life, that building something requires a solid foundation. In the case of building a tennis player's game that will require building it on sound fundamentals. You must assess each and every student individually and almost instantly be able to have a general idea about what they are capable of. The interview lasts a couple of minutes and from just a few questions you begin to get a handle on just what it is you are working with. Then you take a look at the actual strokes and begin to see the way forwards. What does the student hope to accomplish? That's the question. Where do they want to go?

          I love the article. I love the attitude…is a safe way of saying it. At his age he's hedging…just a bit. Politically he has too. There is no telling what is politically correct within the organization. These days this is a huge factor too. But he has a mind of his own. He listens then he draws his own conclusions. He's quite capable of connecting the dots…he just needs to see about a million more of them. Maybe two. It comes with age…and experience. After you've seen enough you realize everything is only repeating itself. There is in fact…nothing new under the sun.

          The book is William Tilden. The model is Richard Gonzales with the Don Budge backhand. Harry Hopman is the coach and Roger Federer is the living proof. Now that is a teaching paradigm…no more. No less.

          Thanks for sharing…klacr. I read you loud and clear.
          Glad you like it don_budge. Thanks for reading. Am I a tennis master or teaching guru, hell no! I don't need to see a million or two more students. Make it 10 million, or 20 million. Actually, you can't put a number on it because that number is infinite. We get better with each student and there is never an end point.

          My experience comes from being around amazing teachers, professionals and industry leaders. It comes from my position within an organization where I am subjected to observe, judge, grade and mentor others. I've seen some great ones, I've seen some not so great ones.

          And yes, the "modern" strokes debate is a fascinating one. How do you get to be advanced? By mastering the basics. Let's not get too carried away with modern until we can understand and execute the foundation. And then when we look at greatest strokes of all time, we suddenly realize those strokes will hold up in any era. Modern or not.


          Originally posted by licensedcoach View Post
          Good article to learn how to be a model pro...like it.

          I have a more cynical take...

          Lesson 1:The general public is a very bad judge of a good tennis coach...hasn't got a clue.

          Lesson 2: It's all about personality. The busiest coaches are often awful (can't even play that well) but have shiny personalities, which attract people. Many such coaches are rich.

          Bottom line...you don't even have to know a thing and you can still call yourself a coach and make a mint. No walking needed...just talk, baby.
          Nothing wrong with that take stotty. I'm sure many coaches feel that way. And to be honest, it's tough to argue against your point.

          But that's why it's important for the public to be educated about it.

          Personality certainly helps. You are not just trying to sell the steak, you are trying to sell the sizzle.

          Yes, you can just talk and not have a clue. Sadly, many do. But I think the coaches that a soul, moral compass and a true respect and passion for the game would not take that route. You haven't. Neither have I.

          But I do understand your points and witness them way more often than I'd like to admit.

          Thanks for reading the article stotty.

          Kyle LaCroix USPTA
          Boca Raton

          Comment


          • #6
            The best coaches have the best students. It's not so easy to place your body inside someone else's. Nor your mind. The best students make that irrelevant. They listen, and then they do.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GeoffWilliams View Post
              The best coaches have the best students. It's not so easy to place your body inside someone else's. Nor your mind. The best students make that irrelevant. They listen, and then they do.
              We all have some favorite students. maybe for different reasons. Great players can sometimes be fun, it may make you look good, but does it make you grow? The best students have a greater intrinsic value. They love to learn. They ask great questions. They give 100%. Give me a student like that and great things can happen.

              Kyle LaCroix USPTA
              Boca Raton

              Comment


              • #8
                99% of all students, people, players are in the you know what category. That is the unfortunate reality coaches/teachers face. It's the few that make life good and interesting and worth while, not the many.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The LOVE of the game…and the student.

                  Originally posted by GeoffWilliams View Post
                  99% of all students, people, players are in the you know what category. That is the unfortunate reality coaches/teachers face. It's the few that make life good and interesting and worth while, not the many.
                  I am not certain what the "you know what category" is that you are referring to. But it's a strange phenomena to me…I LOVE them all. Ok…maybe the 1% are annoying. But even they are my responsibility. I find myself emotionally involved to the point that it is a mission for me to help them…each and every one of them. To help them help themselves.

                  It can get a little dicey with the beautiful and comely ladies. Keeping that degree of separation. But you gotta love them all. The kids, the adults. The good players…the bad players. It's much more challenging to coach the bad players. Particularly if you make the bold statement that "I can teach anyone to play tennis". It's a wonderful job…and I take it personally when someone fails. So…failure is not an option. It's not about training the next world's number one. Although I am prepared to do so if the opportunity presented itself.

                  Most if not all of my hours are in group format. So the emphasis is on having fun which makes it difficult for my "technique" side to get engaged. But somehow I manage…particularly with the adults who are more inclined to be interested in learning how to actually play. Our program is not geared for development of great players. More social and family oriented. Small and modest. It's comfortable and minimal stress or pressure. It took some getting used to.
                  Last edited by don_budge; 03-10-2015, 11:57 PM. Reason: for clarity's sake...
                  don_budge
                  Performance Analysthttps://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...ilies/cool.png

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I coach a vast array of abilities, which is how I like it.

                    For kids, my club is primarily for grass roots and development. We retain performance kids who haven't the money to take things further as well as those who have decided to focus on their education...others move on to performance centres. To do this at a club to the degree I do it you have to be located in a densely populated area where you can run bucket loads of kids through the system. It cannot be done out in the sticks...it's a numbers game.

                    My favourite lessons are those with business men. They have things in perspective. They have a good workout, a chat with me, work on a few things...then back next week. I enjoy talking with these people because they are successful men on high incomes often with much to say and who are interesting, and there is no pressure on either their side or mine in terms of expectations. For these guys it's as much about getting exercise so they can live a little longer as the tennis. I really enjoy these lessons.

                    I also think it's important to pace yourself. You don't have to work your cogs off with someone who is never going to get above a given level or may not even get any better at all. It is very important to give 110% to talented children. For these, coaching can make all the difference, and it's cardinal sin to let them down in my book.

                    It would be interesting to see how other coaches view their coaching and coaching set up. And how the non-coaches on the forum view the coaches at their own club.
                    Stotty

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Nice post stotty.

                      and yes, the businessman lesson is always a nice one. I have an array of doctors, lawyers and executives I teach as well. You give them some great pointers in tennis and they are more than willing to give you great pointers on life, success, stocks etc. There is a mutual respect there between the two parties. You admire their business success and insights and they admire the fact that you can hit a fuzzy yellow ball and make it look easy, something many of them have not quite mastered. Fair trade

                      Kyle LaCroix USPTA
                      Boca Raton

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by licensedcoach View Post
                        Good article to learn how to be a model pro...like it.

                        I have a more cynical take...

                        Lesson 1:The general public is a very bad judge of a good tennis coach...hasn't got a clue.

                        Lesson 2: It's all about personality. The busiest coaches are often awful (can't even play that well) but have shiny personalities, which attract people. Many such coaches are rich.

                        Bottom line...you don't even have to know a thing and you can still call yourself a coach and make a mint. No walking needed...just talk, baby.
                        True, but there is another aspect as well: pride and enthusiasm in teaching. Love of the game as Kyle has.

                        At our club, we have only one teacher who has that passion, and is very knowledgeable. He is in his mid-60's and used to accompany Claudio Mezzadri, a Swiss ATP pro, 30 years ago on tour.

                        The majority of the female pupils just want to gossip, the majority of the male pupils just want to play sets ("I played against the pro and almost beat him" - not realizing the pro was holding back).

                        So, accordingly, you get tennis teachers who provide that service: gossip about club life (who is going with whom), playing fake sets. If someone is a rank beginner, then some initial basic lessons are needed, but when the pupil gets past that, the above mentioned pattern applies.

                        There are so many "watch the ball, next please", tennis teachers here. But, understandably, it is all market driven: they provide what is wanted.

                        Very few are passionate about the game, and want to make technical improvements.

                        Just look at this website: if there were really a great interest in improving one's game, there would be literally millions and millions of subscribers.
                        Regards, Phil

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Drinking beer and gossip is a greater draw than improving. Improving takes a lot of hard work. Play and fun are more in demand, regardless of the imperfection fun brings. It's not fun to customize your equipment, and spend money on pro stock frames unless you are driven and focused. It's a dead give away for those who are: equipment.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by gzhpcu View Post
                            There are so many "watch the ball, next please", tennis teachers here. But, understandably, it is all market driven:they provide what is wanted.
                            I think it's more complex than this. I stand by my key statement that the general public is a poor judge of a good tennis coach in the same way that you or I wouldn't have a clue whether our doctors are as competent as they should be...how would we know?

                            The wealthy coaches tend to have attractive personalities around where I am. The best pro is demure and gets little work, yet he's miles better than the rest. It's almost unfair. But people are vulnerable to flattery and being buttered up, and consequently are vulnerable to talkers. I am not sure coaching is "market driven", more "bullshit driven".

                            I have been hiring and firing coaches for many years now. I find out many things about them over their 3 months probation. Enough to know whether to continue with them or not. I have one girl at the moment who always comes dashing in five minutes late for her first lesson and then has the audacity to finish a few minutes early. Her pupils are too nice to complain but you can bet they notice. I shall have to deal with it, of course, but I can tell she's incorrigible. She's dishonest also...but that's another story.

                            I have only ever had one coach who was truly passionate and truly wanted to do the job. Do you know how I judged that, apart from the obvious? He gave extra time...sometimes 15 minutes extra time if he had no follow on lesson. If someone arrived late he would overrun for them, or charge them a lesser fee. If someone arrived early he would start early and give them extra time. All the other coaches I have had will not walk on that court until 10 seconds before that lesson starts...maybe some don't start out like that but after 6 months or so that's the mindset they slot into.

                            I lost that great coach. He struck out on his own and now makes a fine living. He was a Mexican immigrant by the way.

                            I have a cynical view of coaching I am afraid. Maybe it's just my neck of the woods. The LTA did a survey many years ago and found the general public's image of a coach was one of swashbuckling character in a sports car while the industry's (racket companies, etc) image of a tennis coach was akin to a dodgy second-hand car salesman. I wonder which is right....
                            Last edited by stotty; 03-15-2015, 02:41 PM.
                            Stotty

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by licensedcoach View Post
                              I think it's more complex than this. I stand by my key statement that the general public is a poor judge of a good tennis coach in the same way that you or I wouldn't have a clue whether our doctors are as competent as they should be...how would we know?

                              The wealthy coaches tend to have attractive personalities around where I am. The best pro is demure and gets little work, yet he's miles better than the rest. It's almost unfair. But people are vulnerable to flattery and being buttered up, and consequently are vulnerable to talkers. I am not sure coaching is "market driven", more "bullshit driven".

                              I have been hiring and firing coaches for many years now. I find out many things about them over their 3 months probation. Enough to know whether to continue with them or not. I have one girl at the moment who always comes dashing in five minutes late for her first lesson and then has the audacity to finish a few minutes early. Her pupils are too nice to complain but you can bet they notice. I shall have to deal with it, of course, but I can tell she's incorrigible. She's dishonest also...but that's another story.

                              I have only ever had one coach who was truly passionate and truly wanted to do the job. Do you know how I judged that, apart from the obvious? He gave extra time...sometimes 15 minutes extra time if he had no follow on lesson. If someone arrived late he would overrun for them, or charge them a lesser fee. If someone arrived early he would start early and give them extra time. All the other coaches I have had will not walk on that court until 10 seconds before that lesson starts...maybe some don't start out like that but after 6 months or so that's the mindset they slot into.

                              I lost that great coach. He struck out on his own and now makes a fine living. He was a Mexican immigrant by the way.

                              I have a cynical view of coaching I am afraid. Maybe it's just my neck of the woods. The LTA did a survey many years ago and found the general public's image of a coach was one of swashbuckling character in a sports car while the industry's (racket companies, etc) image of a tennis coach was akin to a dodgy second-hand car salesman. I wonder which is right....
                              Much is true about your statements stotty. Some great professionals out there that remain humble and quiet. Other pros who may not have the knowledge, experience or ability talk a big game and name drop. They try to sell the steak, with the sizzle.
                              As far as your current pro situation, I feel you brother. South Florida is a mecca for that type of behavior. "Bare minimum" and "just enough" is the status quo philosophy. Just before the lesson they arrive, immediately after the lesson they leave. That is one of the differences between a "pro" and a "professional". Surround yourself with great professionals and your program will flourish and the members will be happy. The trick is finding them.

                              Kyle LaCroix USPTA
                              Boca Raton

                              Comment

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