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Lack of Loyalty and Cherry Picking Coaches

Tennis is an endless search for the Fountain of Youth.  Ponce de Leon learned the hard way, venturing to Florida to only fail in finding the ever so famous Fountain of Youth.  As like Ponce de Leon, venturing to Florida to the world reknowned tennis coaches such as Nick Bollitieri or Rick Macci will not boost your tennis game overnight.  If it were that easy, I would recommend locking in a time slot with Nick himself at $800 a pop.  

The reality is tennis is a very tough game.  There are no magic pills, secret elixirs, or specific technical tips that will instantly make something click in your head.  One has never heard of a story who from a one hour lesson went on from nobody to somebody in a matter of weeks.  Tennis takes time, patience, and an endless amount of trial and error.  The best players are able to grapple with this fact sooner than later, accept their flaws and work within the boundaries placed before them.  Sure, you will always attempt to improve different aspects of your game, but when it comes time for the match of your life with money and pride on the line- you must do only things that will increase your chances of winning.  

Many parents and players have been guilty of cherry picking.  If you ever have gone cherry picking on a farm, your #1 goal is to find the plumpest, juiciest, reddest, most vibrant cherries on the stem.  By golly, when you see it, snag it.  Well in terms of searching for coaches, parents and players do the exact same thing.  They see someone is having a little success with one coach or they think they are in a rut, the easy solution is to jump ship and cherry pick a juicier coach.  I'm not suggesting one coach isn't better than another, but when one starts to seek a multitude of coaches on a frequent basis to solve their issues, one is not going to have the success he or she wants.  

The first problem is very few parents and players are willing to accept blame and responsibility.  With very little sense of loyalty in the world today, most are looking for the easy way out.  There will always be someone around the corner or at a tournament chirping the "grass in greener on the otherside" tidbit.  Those people are usually frauds, beware of them.  The good players who have some class, character, and substance don't look for the easy way out.  They refuse to cherry pick and try to work out the issue themselves.  

If you talk to good to great players who grew up before the 1990s, most played tennis because they had the "bug" for it.  They played because their parents played.  They played because their friends played.  In today's society, parents are driving the kids to lessons.  If the kid has poor results, lets find a new coach who can motivate the kid better.  The parents are always ready to catch the kids when they fall.  The coping skills needed to become a good player are not being developed as the parents are doing them a great disservice in finding them solutions to their problems.  

The ideal way to start and develop as a player is to limit your private lessons to one per week.  One per week is plenty.  Why?  The player needs time to digest the information.  The player needs time to work out the kinks whether be a new technique, strategy, or shot.  The player needs to spend hours on his own honing his skills through a series of trial and errors experiments, learning how to make adjustments on the fly without being told how to adjust.  The player might make a discovery on his own and stumble upon something amazing for his/her game.  Lastly, the player needs to test his lesson under matchplay pressure.  Play a couple sets before the next lesson and see what needs work.  A week later, the player now has some good information to relay back to the coach.  Do not overcoach the kid.  Let the player learn to adjust and adapt with no one else looking over their shoulder.  The best players have ultimately learned to become their own coach.  

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