Josh’s Fresh Take: October Edition

Finding That Passion

Coach and Communications Lead, Josh Martin, weighs in on topics in the world of tennis and shares his two cents.

If there is one thing I’ve learned coaching tennis for the past three years, it is that coaching kids and coaching adults are completely different animals. For one, adults are less likely to misbehave during a lesson. Rather than hounding students to listen or stay on task, you can simply coach the actual skill and technique that you are trying to get across. Most of the time, in my experience, adults with some level of hand-eye coordination can apply that skill and leap frog ahead in their development in a single hour. It is amazing how fast I’ve seen adults start as a beginner and one or two months later are hitting 10-ball rallies from the baseline. Perhaps this is possible for the few outlier kids that grow up playing tennis, however it is not nearly as common. After all, kids are still growing mentally and physically and perhaps still figuring out if tennis is for them – which can be a major factor in development.

When coaching kids, one of the key learnings is building hand-eye coordination and reception skills, but most importantly the love and desire for the game. Without the latter, kids will not stay interested long enough to care about how to get better. They have to like the sport and have a passion for the game and then, and only then, can they buy into developing at a successful rate. They will not work hard or take it seriously if they do not care about the sport. As much as this sounds like a burdening task, it is where the coaches at the Centre come alive; where they inspire a culture that becomes a part of an individual’s life.

Greg Macken and Aneesa Heatherington are two coaches at the Centre that I’ve personally had the privilege to coach beside and learn from. I cannot think of a better example of coaches that grab your attention from the beginning of a lesson and hold it right to the end. Time and time again I’ve seen students that have never played tennis before walk into their class and completely buy in on day one; they are hooked. It is an are to help kids and adults alike find a love and passion for the game of tennis. This is something that I’ve taken in stride and tried to adopt in my coaching as well. It is a great feeling to see an individual find the passion and make a breakthrough on their development. Finally making that perfect set-up, snapping a serve 100 miles an hour, or getting the hang of the famous “loop”, which fellow coach Bob Exell has taught so many individuals. Oh yes, it is a wonderful sport. One that is on the rise in Canada, thanks to some great coaches across the nation and especially here at the UBC Tennis Centre.

Josh’s Fresh Take, signing off.