Irrespective if you’re a tennis player, coach or parent there is a lesson embedded in here for everyone — including the non-sporting individual. Mistakes do not discriminate, rather it is a part of being human and inevitable that mistakes happen. It is how we ‘learn’ from these mistakes the separates us. This learning is our core focus here and how inside the coaching environment this can be shaped to benefit player performance now and in the years to come.
First and foremost it is absolutely critical that coaches are equipped with the tools to share feedback in a way that addresses these mistakes — from errors to unforced errors and more specific game-play discrepancies to mindful practices. All in all, there are a multitude of areas to address where mistakes may occur and it really comes down to what the player understands and their capacity to follow these instructions. But remember…
…a player cannot follow instructions that he/she does not understand. Rather, they may very well be performing ‘perfectly’ in their eyes from what they understand is required. This is critical for coaches to understand themselves to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Feedback is individual and how this is delivered is dependent on the player and their core learning style — think personal characteristics and how they best receive instruction. For those who deliver a ‘one size’ approach for all, this is where mistakes are bound to happen at no fault of the player/athlete. Get it right and you’re aligning with optimal performance practices and setting up that player to embark on The Pathway.
It is key to remember that mistakes are a part of life and it is how we are conditioned to respond that makes a difference. To the coaches, helping your players better understand their errors to unforced errors and carving a action-reaction response is another key metric that not merely allows the player/athlete to develop this aspect of their game, but during competition they’re more readily able to move on to the next point and ‘re-set’ after a mistake.
To learn more about Learning from Mistakes: Tennis Players, head on over to Beyond Top 10 Tennis and head to Episode 30. More? Catch up on our Tips over on TikTok, Twitter, Threads or Instagram for quick snippets to apply in your game, today.