A great tennis coach is someone who can continuously improve/develop the player’s abilities without injuring the athlete, since the best tennis player is the one that is healthy!
Unfortunately, many tennis players suffer from recurring muscular injuries, which could be avoided if tennis coaches, especially those working with junior players, would be more knowledgeable with respect to exercise science principles as they relate to tennis training.
A mother of a talented junior tennis player recently made the following comment:
My husband had to initiate their exercise program and insist on weight lifting. Lots of coaches don’t believe in it.
We even had one say that. He was working with high level players and a college coach as well.
Of course, as his top player got to the 16s and 18s in the juniors the body started to breakdown.
This comment illustrates one of the reasons why many tennis coaches are not great: they are unfamiliar with exercise science principles.
If tennis coaches were familiar with the areas of expertise of a quality tennis coach (human anatomy, exercise physiology, kinesiology, and sport nutrition) then they would know why weight lifting for tennis players makes sense and the body would not break down!
If the coach is in fact knowledgeable in the aforementioned areas then the coach understands the science behind it and can design or implement the training program (including on-court, resistance training, agility training, flexibility training, etc…) accordingly.
On the other hand if you don’t understand this stuff then you will fail.
Consequently the coach will constantly come up with excuses for why the player isn’t advancing and at the end of the day the coach will blame the player because the coach doesn’t want to look like an idiot but it has to be someone’s fault…blaming it on the player is easier than reevaluating oneself and the coach always knows everything best.
The coach’s lack of expertise can either cut a tennis player’s career short (e.g. Patrick Rafter) or inhibit the athlete’s performance – and income potential due to constant injuries, as seen with Andrea Petkovic or Tommy Haas, which must be avoided.