March 7, 2011

How To Fire Your Tennis Coach

"What do you mean I'm fired?!"
This is part 6 of a series on getting the most from your tennis lessons.

Is it time to fire your tennis coach? Here are a few clues that it might be time to let him or her go:
  • Your tennis lessons have become stale, boring and unenjoyable.
  • Your lessons consist of you going through the same drills, over and over.
  • You can't recall anything new or challenging you've learned lately.
  • Your coach isn't interested in talking about your matches or your on-court problems.
  • Your coach is often late or cancels lessons at the last minute.
  • You are often late or cancel lessons at the last minute.
  • You dread going to your tennis lesson.
If you've experienced any of these scenarios, its time to take a good, hard look at your tennis lessons and your coach and think about moving on.

Firing your coach can be a very touchy issue for many players, especially women. Although we love confrontation on the court, in our personal life, we tend to avoid it. And "firing" someone has confrontation written all over it. Plus, our tennis coach is our buddy and pal, right? We can't just fire someone who we're such good friends with, can we?

We not only can, sometimes we should.

So how do you handle this delicate situation? Well, I've parted ways with at least three coaches, one of whom I've returned to several times. So, I'm speaking from experience when I tell you there's a way to do it that will leave you and your soon-to-be ex-coach on good terms. Here's how I've parted ways with my tennis coaches:

1. Address the issue head-on. This might be the hardest part - just broaching the whole topic. But you're the one paying for these lessons so you need to get a handle on what's happening and address your perceived lack of progress with your lessons. This means having a direct discussion, face to face or by phone, with your coach about your decision to quit your lessons. This means NOT avoiding the situation by failing to show up to lessons and refusing to return calls. Evading the issue will only make it worse and more uncomfortable for you and turns you into the bad guy.

2. Be honest. Communicate why you've decided its time for you and your coach to split. By letting him or her know your reasons for ending your lessons, you provide a chance for your coach to correct the situation, maybe even resulting in your deciding to keep up your lessons. You also help your coach improve his or her teaching style or methods for other students, which doesn't help you much but is a great benefit to your coach and the tennis community out there.

3. Don't burn bridges! I promise you - the coach you fire today is the coach you return to in six months. So end your coaching relationship on a positive note. Don't be a jerk to him or her (even if he or she is a jerk to you). Why? Perhaps you're really just taking a break from private lessons for a while and may return at a later date when you have more time. Or more money. Or more interest in private lessons. And any of those reasons would be great reasons to quit your lessons and communicate to your coach.

Follow these simple steps and I promise you, you'll feel good about how you fired your now ex-coach. And - bonus - when you bump into him or her around your tennis club, you won't feel like running in the opposite direction.

Want to read other posts in this series? Just click on these titles and find out how to get the most from your tennis lessons:

Part 1 - Federer Hired A Tennis Coach - Should You?
Part 2 - Where, Oh Where, Can I Find A Great Tennis Coach?
Part 3 - Eenie, Meenie, Miney - Tennis Coach!
Part 4 - Get A Goal And Get More From Your Tennis Lessons
Part 5 - Make Every Lesson Your Best Tennis Lesson Ever!

This post originally appeared on Tennis Fixation's blog page on the Tennis Now website. Click here to read this and other great Tennis Fixation posts on Tennis Now!

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

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