Monday, July 14, 2008

The "unsung hero" The Coach

Coaching in any sport has its "highs and "lows". Its a roller coaster ride at times as all top coaches have experienced.Be too good at your job you create a "tall poppy" syndrome.Do to much and you can be seen as controlling and obsessive,do too little and you can be seen as not devoting enough time ,getting the correct balance is very hard as a coach to get right.Tennis is such an individual sport and at times coaches need to devote more time to their players than others,as a player rises in rankings so does the commitment of the coach.At times the coach has to be a Physcologist,physiotherapist,nutritionist,surrogate parent and a friend.What Degree gives you these specialist attributes?.Then not only does the coach have to deal with the players its the parents also that sometime require special attention.A good coach will always be brave enough to tell their players and parents some things they don't want to hear.Coaches roles should aways bare this quote in mind "We cannot map peoples lives in advance but much can be done to make desirable outcomes more likely.Acquiring high abilities is one such outcome.We can and should act to make it happen more often.The individualism of the sport certainly does not help and each player you coach requires different needs and skills,each players mental and physical make up has its uniqueness and a good coach will be able to use this to their advantage in shaping their player.Look at the contrast of players in the Men's Final at Wimbledon Federer is certainly not a Nadal and Nadal is not a Federer.Good coaches need to identify 1.Traits in personality and 2. physical prowess and limitations. Its with interest I read the interview with Antoni Nadal ( uncle Tony) who refuses to take a pay check from his nephew and player Rafael Nadal and this is part what he has to say why he doesn't "If I earn money from him then he becomes my boss. For the player and for me it is much better that the player is not my boss. I think sometimes the problem with these guys is that they are the boss. "When his father told me 'you must do this' I told him I didn't want anything, because I want to be able to say what I want." and this quote "I worked on Sunday, Christmas day, if it is raining I go 50km to train elsewhere. Another coach maybe not do this .Its a very interesting interview, click on the highlighted link and you can read the interview from the Sport.scotsman