Tennis Coach's Guide to Teaching

No matter what you think, I have never found two students who are exactly the same; and I've coached and worked with tens of thousands of students.

With this in mind, coaches and educators must find a way to be successful that will often differ by student.

Coaches vary in the way they teach the game, the most productive method is based somewhat on their ages.

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Example: Age 5-10
  • You must talk slowly
  • You must actually have them watch you demonstrate what you are teaching them
  • Go through it segment by segment with simple language
  • Have the student watch you and then copy every move that you do
  • Do it together as a team, but also add simple tips of advice
  • Repeat this process over and over again before you go into live ball
  • When the exercise breaks down, go back to the basics by giving simple tips

Don't hesitate to stop here and listen to your student's questions. Oh yes, at times let the students come forward to show the group how they do the drill.

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This will give them confidence and let them be the pro. This will be fun and is the beginning for children to gain confidence and learn to speak up.

Point of reference: In China, huge numbers of people are now playing tennis. They never strike a ball until all variations of visualization drills are completed. In some instances it can be several months before they strike a ball. 

It's almost impossible for you to see yourself unless you use a video or take a few pictures on your camera. During a break it will be a lot of fun for the students to actually see what they look like.

Example: Boris Becker was a very interesting player. He helped me learn why certain players reach high levels of excellence. He once explained his Boom-Boom serve. Before serving, whether in practice or during actual play, he would go through his entire serve motion before serving. By doing this, he had four serves to the other player's two.

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How so?

He actually saw and felt his entire serve within his mind and because of this repetition including serving 60 balls at the end of each practice (10 down the tee, 10 jamming the opponent, 10 outside from each side) enabled him to do it during his match.

Keep in mind that you must find a way that is successful for you and then repeat it over and over again until it becomes a habit of success.

Don't copy someone else because different groups will have a complete different swing pattern. Unless you feel that your player's style is very similar to Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, or Maria Sharapova, you shouldn't try to copy them exactly.

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About the Author

Nick Bollettieri

Nick Bollettieri has coached 10 players who have reached No. 1 in the world, including Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and Martina Hingis. To learn more, visit
Nick Bollettieri has coached 10 players who have reached No. 1 in the world, including Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and Martina Hingis. To learn more, visit

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