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Player to Player: Tennis Club vs. Private Coach

August 13, 2012 01:15 PM
Have a question? Receive advice from your fellow tennis players!
Real Tennis Players - Like You! - Asking For and Offering Advice on the Sport They Love  
Player to Player is USTA.com’s regular feature in which everyday tennis players are given a forum to ask advice on the sport they love – and their fellow players will dish out advice. We’ll post a number of the best responses we receive to our question of the week.
Player to Player:
This week's question from Amy:
I would like to know the different methods for dividing/selecting team members for adult recreational leagues. Currently, our club has a committee of five people who decide on the rosters and levels for approximately 80-90 players, all levels 2.5 to 5.5. This is always followed by a disagreement and disgruntled players and captains. There has to be a fair, unbiased, easy way to do this. I would love suggestions (detailed please) or information on how your club makes these decisions and what works/doesn't work.
Please share your thoughts by e-mailing Player@usta.com, and include your name and hometown.
Got a question of your own? Send that along, too!
Last week's question from Andria:
(Please note: There is no need to send additional responses to this question.)
What are the pros and cons of taking lessons either at a tennis club or with a private tennis coach? Are there aspects of being involved in a tennis club (teams, leagues, etc.) that benefit more than having a private coach?
Player Responses:
Coach Leonard, Concord, Calif.

From a player's standpoint, there are obvious advantages and disadvantages to having either a club pro or a private coach. Here are my observations:
Club Pro:

1) Club access. Big plus with lit courts, ball machine, lockers, rest rooms and other amenities. A private coach is usually restricted to instruct at club courts.

2) Orderly. Can set an appointment, guaranteed. Coaches often go to public courts where open courts and lighting can be an issue.

3) Certified. Most clubs have either USPTA or PTR certified pros. Some private coaches have regular full-time non-tennis jobs and coach as a hobby.

4) Activities. USTA teams, tournaments, flex leagues, social tournaments, drop-in clinics and play days.
Private Coach:

1) Personal. Club pros work with many students throughout the week. It is tough for them to stay focused on your particular needs and progress. Also, getting various club pros can create a clash in styles. Your coach will be more committed to your needs.

2) Time. Club pros are required to watch the clock since lessons shouldn't overlap. A private coach will stay with you since no lesson is after you.

3) Dedication. A coach can go anywhere to your matches. Club pros may be limited, due to either their schedules or club policies.

4) Flexibility. Last-minute tune ups are easier to set up without a scheduled appointment, though club pros may be more available during the day.
So that's it in a nutshell. Depending on your needs, the choice is yours. I suggest trying each and decide for yourself. Outside opinions have some weight, but personal experience is best. Have fun.

Nancy C., Highland, Calif.

There are definite advantages to belonging to a tennis club -- the availability of people to play against, league teams, clinics, to name a few. Clubs also have a variety of pros with different teaching styles. Watch the way they teach, and choose one based on what style works for you. Visit the clubs in your area, and find out what programs they offer. You didn't say what age group you are in, so you need to determine if the club you choose has the programs for your age and ability level.

Kenny S., Chicago

I missed last week's question, so I thought I would add a small bit on how to generate topspin. When you watch the pros on TV, you see the forehand and backhand at such a fast motion, it is hard to break down. In a group lesson at a club, it is very hard to get your basic technique on different shots and more advanced shots, like generating lots of topspin or underspin. In a private or semi-private lesson, the coach will be able to break down your strokes, maybe video them and show you what glitches you have. On the forehand, he or she might show you how to watch the ball coming at you, turn your shoulders and core, and hit the ball not straight on but a little under, then follow forward and across the body. On TV, it looks like the pros are whipping straight under and across, but you miss the thrust forward. Taking group lessons is great for cardiac workouts, fun, and you will learn, but not as fast as you can with a private lesson.

Nisal, Eagan, Minn.

You need them both. You need a private coach to learn strokes, as a group-lesson coach may not have enough time to work with you. Group lessons help you to practice strokes that you learn from the private coach. Usually good tennis programs don't favor their own kids since coaches are also good sports. When we are part of a club, we always look for recruiting outside good players to beef our team tennis roster.
*Please note that any advice given out in this forum should in no way be confused with actual medical advice. Before starting any new exercise regimen or altering your existing one, we strongly urge you to consult with your regular physician.
Click here for USTA.com's Player to Player Archive.


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