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Learning from Mistakes: Coaches

Mistakes happen and they’re readily made by the best of us. But this doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Rather, far from it. From being conscious enough to notice mistakes and to have the capacity to reflect — instil regular reflective practice sessions, allows every coach irrespective of their calibre to build new skills and to become the coach they desire to be. Now this may take the form of a Top 10 tennis coach or an exceptional developmental coach — each coaching level serves a purpose in The Long Game and it is paramount to be mindful of how these levels intersect in building the best players to coaches in the world.

But first, it’s about those mistakes and the grey area that edges towards negligence. A scary word outside the coaching landscape and thus of greater concern when used within this environment, coaching negligence is a concerning reality players/athletes to parents need to be aware of and coaches incredibly mindful of to ensure they do not succumb to these pitfalls. One such preventative measure is the aforementioned practice of reviewing your own practices and if they’re working, if they need to be modified and/or if the time has come to update these older practices into more accommodating ones that take into consideration the individual player/athlete and their set needs i.e. that one size does not fit all and nor does a tennis drill and/or lesson fit all players/athletes.

To ensure you do not succumb to and/or fall victim to coaching negligence education is key and the willingness to uphold widely known ethical practices to codes of conduct in safeguarding all players/athletes — including from developing an injury.

This change of focus flips the script towards a coaches responsibility in their continued education to ensure outdated practices that have been identified as contributing towards the onset of injury in children to younger adolescents are removed once and for all. The same applies for the player close to the end of their initial 10 Years of Play and about to transition into their second decade of play towards their next peak performance with this cycle continued towards the Top 10 with further infusion of the 7 Keys into their game. However, if the initial decade leaves the player/athlete highly susceptible to the onset of injury then their second decade becomes derailed before it even starts.

Unfortunately this is seen all too often on the WTA and ATP tours when a player is in their later teenage years to early 20’s — early in their second decade of play, to then succumb to an injury that subsequently results in their rankings ascension regress and undoing the past 1-2 years of peak performance cycles. This is stoppable. It is preventable with the right practices and education around newer practices that align with the progression towards a Top 10 tennis ranking. But it starts with the ability to acknowledge that some practices may very well be outdated and change is warranted opposed to avoided.

When it comes to education it is important to be mindful of what was taught last year may not be as applicable as it once was and the same applies to what was taught twenty years ago may very well be outdated.

Sadly, there are a lot of coaches who rely on knowledge and/or education ascertained decades prior — whether that be one, two or more and avoid keeping pace with new knowledge and education. By all accounts, education one, two or more decades ago is still relevant and serves a purpose, just as important as knowledge from one year ago is to two weeks ago — it all serves a purpose. What is most critical is the ability to remain open minded to new knowledge — new education to ensure this can be integrated into your coaching practices opposed to being avoided and/or oblivious of new research that may very well uncover how to develop a Top 10 tennis ranking.

Times are changing and coaching negligence is a real thing and can be called out. Likewise, coaches need to be held accountable to these gaps if they remain void of up-skilling on a regular basis. And this definitely does not need to include courses and/or presentations from the same cohort, rather it is what’s external to your regular go-to source to see what else is available that may not be being shared within this context. To ensure this remains true this is where reflective practices comes into play and that level of consciousness on how you can review your own performance and do better — from safeguarding your players/athletes from injury to acquiring the knowledge that can see these players/athletes benefit from The Pathway to ascend towards the Top 10. All of this becomes possible courtesy of your own coaching practices — open whilst challenging the status quo to adopt new practices and leave the older ones where they belong — with the former generation of players opposed to the new and next generation of play that demands the winning edge afforded by science.

To learn more about Learning from Mistakes: Coaches, head on over to Beyond Top 10 Tennis and head to Episode 45. More? Catch up on our Tips over on TikTokTwitterThreads or Instagram for quick snippets to apply in your game, today.

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Fair Play and Ethics: Win or Lose

Everyone has played someone who has broken the rules. Everyone knows that feeling when their ball is called out by their opponent when it was clearly inside the line. And everyone knows what it feels like losing to that kind of opponent. Needless to say, it isn’t nice. And if you’re one of the lucky ones who hasn’t played against someone who breaks the rules then I hope this remains to be true and you continue to lead by example. For those of you who have, you’re not alone by a long stretch and it’s so incredibly important to share with you that you’re on the right side of optimal performance and the right side of reaching that next peak performance cycle. How do I know? Quite simply, those who choose not to abide by the rules do not have the moral compass needed (i.e. internal ethics) to follow The Long Game.

Ascending towards the top of the game takes work. And a lot of work. My three favourite “D’s” that I have honed into any player/athlete I have worked with over the past near twenty years is this: Discipline, Dedication and Determination. It’s that simple. You need the discipline to show up even when it gets hard. You need the dedication to continue to fine-tune your craft. And you need the determination to see it though. This combination of “D’s” is lethal in the right hands and places you on the trajectory of The Pathway towards the finale of your initial 10 Years of Play. As for the following decade of play, these three “D’s” will be in your DNA as habitual behaviours that you’ll be at-the-ready to ascend towards the Top 10 with the 7 Keys becoming solidified within your game.

Of course you’re asking, if only it was that easy? The irony, however, is that it’s pretty close. But those who do not abide by fair play will eventually stumble as these three “D’s” do not agree with those without ethical standards. As such, when it comes to ethics it is as simple as whether or not it is ethical to lie or to tell the truth. Hopefully you’re following along and agree with the truth. The same applies for that ball inside the line. By conditioning these behaviours in the initial 10 Years of Play these players/athletes are raising the bar for the next generation of play alongside each key raising the level of play.

At the highest levels of play on both the WTA and ATP tours, fair play is a must have and players are bound to these terms per the code of conduct.

Sadly, some players at this level will still break a rule or two from time and others even more so. These behaviours are not attributed towards a Top 10 tennis ranking and as such players who do not maintain ethical standards are scarcely positioned to ascend towards the Top 10. And for the one that does every so often, fair play soon enough takes over. Then there are those who quickly fall into line. Why?

There’s something about the Top 10 that threatens your rankings hold if you step out of line and rightly so with fair play on the line. The same applies for ethics with both the WTA and ATP tours championing both principles.

By all accounts it is incredibly sad when these players do tarnish the name of our game. But for those who uphold these values and lead my example, they’re the ones who have harnessed the three “D’s” and used these behaviours to amplify their game. Meanwhile, those who make the choice not to play fair and/or by ethical standards, they’re also the ones who oftentimes are battling an inner turmoil that needs addressing to balance their personal and professional agenda.

There is one thing for sure when it comes to fair play — those who play by the rules have nothing to fear. And at the elite echelon of play, there are a myriad of hoops to ensure they’re all considered and adhered towards. These behaviours set not merely help your performance but they also ensure you’re eligible to continue to play the game you have grown to love. As for ethics, they go hand-in-hand with fairness and by upholding the values of the sport and respecting your status as a role model — once you’ve crossed the threshold into the Top 10. By doing so raises the bar again for the next generation after and by upholding these values reestablishes the importance of this cycle and fundamental behaviours in that initial 10 years of Play that builds key behaviours of which can later be attributed towards more readily processing the 7 Keys and more easily transitioning from one peak performance cycle to the next. And all it takes as an added bonus is a moral compass bound by healthy ethics and fair play.

To learn more about Fair Play and Ethics: Win or Lose, head on over to Beyond Top 10 Tennis and head to Episode 44. More? Catch up on our Tips over on TikTokTwitterThreads or Instagram for quick snippets to apply in your game, today.