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Putting it in simple terms: the level of junior tennis worldwide is sad! And who is mainly responsible for this sadness? The national federations and their coaches! Designing and implementing a concept for success is the national federation’s responsibility but even the biggest tennis federation of the world , Deutscher Tennis Bund (DTB), has no concept for player development whatsoever that makes any sense. 

Are there any objective criteria for becoming a high performance tennis coach at the national federation like there is in other sports (e.g. football)? No! In other sports, coaches must:

  • Have a license granted by the national federation
  • Commit to an internship program where the interns assist successful coaches
  • Start their coaching career by working with junior  teams or amateurs
  • Show results before they can work with the pros.

In other words, there are objective standards that need to be met; simply being a former national team player is not sufficient qualification to become a coach! Not so in the world of tennis! Most tennis federations are full of cronies who keep their well-paying jobs even though they are unqualified und unsuccessful.

According to Germany’s Davis Cup team chef, Patrick Kuehnen, 10 factors are important in improving one’s game:

  1. Observe the tennis ball; focus on the ball
  2. Work on your foot work and fitness
  3. Find your rhythm of play and tempo
  4. Write down your goals
  5. Prepare like a pro (equipment etc.)
  6. Practice safe ground strokes (secure execution)
  7. Improve your serve
  8. Improve your return
  9. Improve volleys
  10. Always stay positive

Go to the next national junior championships and take a look at the players’ stroke production capabilities, which is the responsibility of the coaches who most of the players worked with for years.  Compare Patrick Kuehnen’s recommendations with the players’ abilities. One will notice that most players have been poorly developed by their coaches with respect to proper technique; simply look for the following:

  • How many girls can volley properly (e.g. single-handed backhand volley)?
  • Can they differentiate between a kick-serve and a slice-serve?
  • How about a one-handed backhand slice?
  • How come they cannot play doubles at the net (e.g. girl’s doubles)?
  • Do they have “weapons” (e.g. big serve)?

One will notice that most players have essential limitations, even the national champions. They certainly are good players but even the top 10 juniors in the world cannot win a set against a top 100 ATP/WTA tour player…but that is the goal, isn’t it? Only one youngster (18 years), Australian Bernard Tomic, was able to take a set off a top 10 player, Novak Djokovic, at Wimbledon. On the other hand, Canadian Eugene Buchard(18, ITF top 10), was not able to compete with a top 10 player, Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, losing 2:6/2:6.

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Finding your Tennis Coach:

  1. Level of Education
  2. Work Ethic
  3. Personality
  4. Career Achievements
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