As we’re closing out the summer academy, it’s almost boys’ high school tennis season in Indiana. Each year, we send out a link to academy players, coaches and parents about our role with players who train at our academy as it relates to their high school team and coaching
High school coaches rely on our academy to offer training opportunities to their players. Our academy relies on high school coaches to help promote the love of the sport and offer a great team experience for our academy players. In many cases, we see frustrations with players, coaches and trainers in regards to the roles which both a coach and trainer should play in a players’ tennis career (whether it’s limited to high school or goes beyond).
Two very important points I want to stress to players and their families heading into every high school season:
- As a trainer, I’m not your team coach at the high school level. I do not set the guidelines or rules you must live by during your season. Listen to and respect your high school coaches as they play a very important role in tennis and they put in a lot of time for little pay to enable you to play for your team.
- On the other side, high school coaches are not your trainers. Unless they have taken on that role and are certified to teach proper technique through progressions on top of their role as team coach. You, as a player and family, have paid to train with our academy and families trust us to work for each player to set them on a path of improvement, toward their goals.
A good high school coaching staff linked to a good trainer offers the best possible pathways to advancing high school programs. However, there is also the risk of conflict which hurts players, coaches and trainers.
To avoid this situation, we ask parents, coaches, and trainers to take the time to communicate about players if issues arise. Coaches should coach, trainers should train and parents should offer support for their children and their programs, in order to make the players’ experiences in the sport smooth and enjoyable. Which is the most important goal any good parent, coach or trainer should seek to achieve.
Please check out these two articles on our site, the first which deals with a parents’ role in tennis. This was written when I was a high school coach:
Second, we have a guide for high school coaches who share players with our academy during their season. In this guide/article, we define / divide the roles of both coach and trainer for what we feel is the most effective outcome for the growth of players. Please feel free to send the following link to your child’s high school coach if a situation might arise.
Final Note to all players. If you’re not happy with your high school tennis experience, please remember one important thing: high school tennis is only a small fraction of your career, approximately 60 days of your entire year. Remember the bigger picture: tennis is a life-sport. In the grand scheme of your career, high school tennis is only a microcosm of the sport itself. If you’re training at our academy, we want our players’ to look at the bigger picture (not just college…UTR, USTA events, and recreational play throughout your life) as well as remembering that your tennis career can be far bigger than only four years in high school.
Shane Staley is the founder of Staley Tennis and a USPTA-certified trainer, Accredited Professional Coach and instructor.