My tennis lesson this week was a reminder in coaching. A reminder on how important it is to understand what level you are coaching, and to coach to that level. Don’t assume that all your players know what you are talking about, especially if they are new to your program, or camp, or training. Be sure to ask questions and explain the little things.

Make sure that everyone is on the same page.

When using sport specific vocabulary take extra care. Yes, kids and adults can usually figure out what you’re talking about on their own. I figured out that the service line was not the line that you serve behind this week at tennis and when I was a kid I eventually learned what sideout meant when I joined volleyball in high school (though this one took me a while), but help your players out, build their knowledge. When coaching, try to read your players, if you notice a questioning look, address it. There may be others who learn from that teaching moment.

Take care not to bore player with long explanations. There is nothing worse. Eyes will glaze over and players will tune out. I know what I am asking is not an easy task, and I was not perfect at it (you can ask some of my players). Just do your best to keep explanations short and to the point, but get them in there, and then keep your practice moving.

Remember knowledge is power.