One minute of silence


As a coach, I had to learn to be quiet! I had an imagination about the best forehand, or about holding the racket, playing a volley. I knew, how it is shown in the textbook or how it exists in my brain. I know a lot about motion analysis, and I thought, I should know, how it works. But this was only my special view. After some years of coaching, and after having a training in theory of systems and constructivism, I „saw“, that I can not see, what happens inside the player, and why he/she is doing, what he/she does.

There is an nice example. Once in a training session, Nicole played a rally with Stefanie, and I wondered, why she was playing the forehand with her backhand-grip. Instead of telling her about a „wrong grip“, I asked her: „Why are you holding your racket this way?“ She told me: „I want to play long rallies with Stefanie and it is easier for me with this grip!“ You see, she had an idea, which I would have destructed, „teaching“ her.

There are different ways to transpose systemic thinking into coaching:

  • ask questions
  • keep quiet
  • believe in the self-organization-ability of human beeings

Asking questions might give you a hypothesis of whats going on in the players mind.

It is hard for a tennis coach, to „shut up“. I always thought, my players wanted me to tell them, what is wright (the wright grip, the wright swing, the wright legposition, the wright position of the head, the wright body use, …) and what is wrong.

Beeing quiet is a very exhausting experiment for a coach. And it can be very exhausting for clients, when they think, they are depending on the experts opinion.

Try this and tell your player, why you are doing it: Set the task, explain the drill, but don’t talk while you do it and play!

Do it for 1 minute of your lesson. The next time, do it for 10 minutes in a 60-min-lesson, and so on. Wait, what happens with you and with the player!

It’s hard, but the experience and the result can be phenomenal!

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