In every field and industry, continuous education and the sharing of knowledge is a crucial component to advancement. The same principles can be applied to tennis, yet many coaches are reluctant to share the methods behind their success for fear of giving away their ‘secrets.’
Davor Dekaris, certified USPTA Elite Professional and former ITF and Future Tour player, discovered this problem in the early stages of his career as a tennis coach, which is why he opted to create the Tennis Haus platform.
Tennis Haus began as a small Facebook group with a pot of ideas, training concepts, teaching videos, education, links to books, videos and articles, and any other ideas for tennis coaches. Now, three-and-a-half years later, the group has transformed into a community of over 12,000 with conferences across the globe.
In 2019, Tennis Haus will host the inaugural Tennis Haus World Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio to help coaches connect, educate and inspire professionals and tennis enthusiasts through educational sessions. “It is a wonderful way to connect and build relationships that last a lifetime. You never know when you will need help or advice,” said Dekaris.
According to Dekaris, forging a sense of community is vital within the tennis industry. “I am a big advocate of coaches working together and supporting each other. Throughout my career, I could never understand why there were still so many coaches that didn’t like to share their great knowledge. This was one of the main reasons I started Tennis Haus three-and-a-half years ago. I wanted to build an online platform where coaches collaborate and help each other,” he explained.
Each individual brings a different area of expertise to the table, which is why collaborative coaching is the most effective method. “We as coaches are not experts in each part of the game, there are just too many areas where others are just more knowledgeable,” said Dekaris.
“For instance, in the field of biomechanics, Dr. Mark Kovacs will likely know more than me and it would be foolish of me to think differently, which leads me to the conclusion that I would be better off to implement his knowledge into my coaching. The same applies for many other areas in tennis,” he reasoned.
More often than not, the greatest coaches within the sport are typically the most humble and open with their methods as well. By sharing their knowledge both online and during speaking opportunities at conferences across the globe, these coaches help elevate the sport as a whole.
In order to grow the sport of tennis, Dekaris believes the industry is in need of more open-minded individuals. “It is a shame to see that there are still so many out there who do not let others be part of their amazing knowledge” he said.
Additionally, Dekaris urges the tennis community to create more opportunities for young tennis players. Unfortunately, the most inexperienced coaches are often relegated to work with children, which hinders their development as a player.
Just as coaches must be well-educated on how to coach young players, they must also learn how to work well with female athletes. In order to gain more knowledge in both of these areas, information sharing and attending conferences for continued education is crucial.
Not only does attending conferences help coaches enhance the experiences they can provide for their players, but it also benefits them personally as well. “If we as coaches do the same thing over and over again, we will burn out at some point. Steady improvement in knowledge keeps you fresh on the court and mentally as well,” explained Dekaris.