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Where Tennis Instructors Fail As Teachers

February 28, 2017

It's not our fault but there is a natural disconnect with a tennis pro and the student. Unlike in a traditional classroom, tennis relies on feel to explain how to perform well in tennis. This creates the gap of communication that makes lessons sometimes inefficient.

When teaching a group of players, regardless of age, there are some players that understand what I'm trying to show while others are having a harder time translating the tip into performance. This is due to many factors but I argue a main one is that the players who struggle cannot feel what we are saying to them. For example, I might tell a player to have a light grip with their racquet but that can feel differently for everyone.

What concerns me most about this as an instructor is the fact that if the muscles that are important in the tennis swing are not firing, this can lead to injury. So what I've been working on is trying to communicate feel through experience. See this video for an example:

So this leads me to two tips. First, make sure you can communicate in more than one way with your instructor to ensure you are getting the right information. My other tip is more important. Take the time to incorporate the right movements in tennis, including the firing of the right muscles while you play to avoid injury and enhance your tennis performance. Most often this will require you to do these movements in an isolated environment such as a weight room to focus solely on the movement itself. By doing this you should be able to avoid injury but also see an increase in endurance as you are being more efficient with your strokes.

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