Online v On Court Coaching

Published: May 13, 2014

I subscribe to a few online coaching websites as it’s a simple way of seeing what other coaches are doing all over the world. Some of them are good & some not so but I’m left wondering about the relative merits of online & on court tuition.

I’ve spent almost 40 years, coaching on court & I have to say its tough going, even when the weather’s good. Unless you stand hitting from a basket all day, 6, 7, 8 hours of hitting tennis balls takes its toll on your body (&mind!)

As a coach, I like the idea of online coaching as it’s never affected by the weather & you can determine your hours to suit but does it work? Judging from the plethora of positive testimonials cited, it can but how does it compare to group or 1:1 lessons on court?

You can certainly pick up some good tips on technique & get an understanding of basic tactics online but to learn effectively you need more. You need to ask lots of questions make sense of the replies & then ask more questions. You also need constant feedback on what you’re doing well & not well. If this doesn’t happen the learning process will stall.

The best person to give you this feedback is your on court coach. They are the people who know your game & know you as a person. It is they who have a real interest in your development as a player & are best equipped to help you make decisions regarding your game. You also need some very accurate feeding in order to practise what you’re learning. You can’t get that online, not yet anyway!

So all tennis players need an on court coach, even Andy Murray who appears rudderless since Lendl’s departure. Go online by all means & get some ideas. I often ask my students to go online so they can see that it’s not just me that’s suggesting a chopper grip on the serve!

In fact, I am about to launch an online coaching site so that I can reach many more players than I do currently. However I will never advocate online tuition as a viable alternative to on court tuition although I do feel they can be used in tandem.

Watch this space!