The “coaching carousal” is something we have seen at all levels of tennis. Whether it’s beginner or pro, sometimes a split is inevitable. For coaches, it can often be emotionally difficult to hear that your athlete wants to seek out other instruction. But even in a distressing situation, it’s important to understand that relationships drive coaching partnerships. If a player feels they need to go in a different direction, understand that it is a natural course of life and be supportive of their decision as an athlete.
A difference of opinion in the direction of the player’s development can be a complex situation to understand. What works best for you as a coach may not be what a player feels works best for them. If a player decides that they need to go in a different direction and seek out other instruction, understand the athletes needs and what they feel is best for them. While you may think that the player-coach connection is going great, sometimes athletes need to see if the grass is greener on the other side. This situation should not lead a coach to lashing out or becoming offended by the player’s decision, but to a coach understanding the decision of the athlete. Handling the situation in a positive manor is crucial to both the coaches career and the players career.
In today’s age, we often see people turning to social media during difficult times. If a player tells you they would like to explore other mentors, it is a personal matter that should not be highlighted or discussed on social media. Turning towards online attention can often hurt and jeopardize the players career. The best course of action is to have someone close to you who you can trust and talk to.
Coaching is the most important component of any sporting performance. As a mentor for the athlete, it’s your job to not only give lessons on the court, but to also give lessons in life. Handling a situation negatively, specifically a situation where the player feels they are doing what is best for them, can be detrimental to both careers. Do not take offense to a player and their evolution as an athlete. Instead of pulling away, pitch your emotions in a positive light and let the player know that you wish the best for them. The tighter you hold onto an athlete during this decision, the more they can get away from you.