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Player Parent Coach Meeting PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Junior Tennis Player and CoachAs your child progresses through junior tennis, you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed with all of the information there is to keep up with, from finding the right coach and program, to which tournaments he/she should play and what long term goals should be set for your junior. The most important resource for guidance in this journey is your child’s coach.

Together the three of you – parent, player and coach - form a team. You as the parent know your child the best; however, the coach has expertise in development, training, traveling and scheduling. The success of this team is dependent on open communication between all members, with each person knowing his or her particular role.

A parent-player-coach meeting is the best way to make sure everyone is on the same page. The most important reasons for this meeting are for goal setting, technical development and rankings goal setting. "The success of this team is dependent on open communication between all members, with each person knowing his or her particular role. " You might be surprised at what you will find out at this meeting. When you start discussing long term goals, you could find out that your child wants to earn a Division I scholarship, while you as the parent were thinking he was happy playing two days a week and playing on the high school tennis team. From his point of view, the coach might think the goal lies somewhere in the middle: playing 3-4 days a week and hopefully playing on a club team in college. Such revelations are great examples of why this meeting is important and can lead to further discussions. One of the ways to have this meeting is schedule it as you would any other “parent/teacher” conference.

The best time to have this meeting is annually, preferably in the months of September or October. Winter is the time for intense development of a junior’s game. Having all three team members in agreement about the direction for the year will aid the coach in mapping the pathway for the player’s development. Come spring and summer, your child will be most prepared for the competitive part of his schedule.

One of the ways to have this meeting is schedule it as you would any other “parent/teacher” conference. Remember, even though you as a parent think you have a quick question for a coach, you should always try to find a better time and place to ask him than right after your child’s lesson as the coach is preparing for the next lesson. A regularly scheduled meeting will ensure that both you and the coach put in the time and thought needed to discuss your child’s development. Planning a meeting allows everyone a chance to prepare. A formal venue works the best. Sit down over coffee, lunch or dinner away from the tennis courts.

There are many things you should hope to accomplish at this meeting:

  • Reflect on the previous year, making sure to highlight the positives and also what didn’t go so well.
  • Discuss goals for the upcoming year. The goals should include long-term goals (3-4 years), short-term (1-2 years), developmental (both mentally and physically) and emotional. In defining these goals, you and your junior might find yourselves using numbers and rankings. That is good, but is just one component of the goal.
  • Discuss how you are going to obtain these numbers. You child might say that he/she wants to be top 25 in the South, but you need to ask him how he is going to realize that goal: by hitting a basket of serves after practice, by running lines after a private lesson, or by working on keeping consistent and positive body language whether winning or losing.
  • Plan the year’s tournaments and travel budget. These work hand in hand. Letting the coach know your budget allows him to specifically plan which tournaments are the most important to help in achieving your junior’s goals. Knowing how far you are willing to travel and how often are keys to planning the tournament calendar. The number of tournaments out there today is daunting. Does your child play at the state level, sectional or national level? Does he play level 1, 2, 3 or 4? You should ask the coach as many questions as you can about tournaments. Chances are he knows about the tournament; whether it is well run, has a good history, and will provide a good environment for your child to succeed.
  • The last area to discuss with the coach is development – i.e. when he is expecting your child to peak. As mentioned before, the coach uses the winter months to work on development. Knowing the time line the coach has in mind, will help in monitoring your child’s progress through those months and having a sense of when he should be in prime form for the upcoming tournament season. For example, the coach might completely break down the mechanics of your child’s serve. You and your junior might be getting nervous as the winter months come to a close. However, a good coach knows that he must break something down in order to build it back up to be stronger at the right time. Trust in your coach becomes a highly important factor.

The key to a successful meeting is for the player, parent and coach to all be completely honest about their goals. Your child should feel comfortable expressing what he expects out of the coming year. Remember that this is a way to open the lines of communication and to understand what the player is hoping to accomplish. Try to listen to your child’s thoughts. You might not completely agree with everything he is saying, but you can stress how he must be held accountable for his goals. Lastly, all plans change. Your child might get injured, hit a rough patch and lose confidence, or progress faster than expected and reach his goals after 6 months. You may need to sit down and tweak your plan; the key is for your team to do this together. Communication is key!

Last Updated on Friday, 16 October 2009 02:33
 
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