Ask The Experts
Dividing Coaching Responsibilities
by TennisRecruiting.net, 4 March 2013
|Share: || || |
College tennis teams vary in their coaching structure. Some schools have a single coach for both the men's and women's teams, while others have two or three coaches for each program. College tennis involves a huge amount of responsibility on the part of the coaching staff - from player development and game strategy to leadership and academic support... from administration and recruiting to player conditioning and practice sessions.
With so many areas of responsibility, there are many strategies for dividing responsibilities among coaches. Today, we put the question to our panel of coaches...
Q) As a college tennis head coach, how are responsibilities divided among coaches on your staff?
Andy Christodoulou, head coach, Siena Women
No matter how many coaches a team has, their main job function is to move the team forward, guide, teach, and help the team maintain focus to accomplish the team's goals - as well as the individual goals of each player on and off the court.
My assistant and I are responsible for the women's tennis team only. We work together, and we both do everything. We organize daily and weekly tennis practice sessions, conduct prospect evaluations, and recruit prospective student-athletes. We hold team meetings and attend department meetings. I believe if we both know all aspects of the job then everything will run the same, regardless of who is there working with the team or on some other project. Constant communication between the two of us and staying focused on the goals is the key, just like in any other job. We maintain consistency so the student-athletes do not receive mixed messages.
Tennis is just like any other academic class at Siena College, and we are just like any other professor on campus - without the credentials, of course. We communicate, teach, and challenge the student athletes to become better tennis players. More importantly, we help them become well-rounded individuals that can handle adversity and make smart decisions.
Adam Herendeen, head coach, Presbyterian Men
When I was an assistant, we had a system with one head coach and one assistant for both the men's and women's teams. The plus of this format is that there are two coaches out at practice to run drills. However, running two practices a day plus individual workouts leaves the coaches with less time to diligently recruit, fundraise, and meet with players. When both teams play at the same time, this also means that one of the teams goes without the services of the head coach.
We now have a system of one head coach for the men's team and one for the women's team. While you do not get a second coach out at practice each day, it is much easier for the coach to focus more attention on each individual athlete and how they need to develop. Under this format, the athletes are hearing the same voice each day - which prevents mixed signals and clarifies expectations.
When a team just has one coach, it is imperative that the coach has an excellent support staff that can take care of as many off-the-court details as possible. Athletic trainers, strength coaches, facility maintenance personnel, academic advisors, compliance officers, administrators and sports information directors help shoulder the load. All of these people ensure that I am able to spend as much of my time as possible meeting with players and on the court with them to ensure that they improve and grow as individuals as much as possible during their four years.
Gregory Wyzkowski, head coach, Seton Hall Women
It's all about time management skills. Each day I live by what we try to teach our students. As important as it is to have more wins than losses, we are also teaching them how to win in the game of life. As we become older, we understand it is not how much time we have - but rather what we can accomplish with the time given to us. Student athletes are faced with this task, and as they become better at it, they become stronger when facing the challenges of life.
As the head women's coach - and the only coach of our program - I try to teach by example. I am in charge of all program tasks. Add into the mix that I am part-time for the university, and I own my own business on a full-time basis. The words part-time and full-time are only words, and they do not fully represent the amount of time required to succeed. At many times during our season my part-time position as coach takes over my life on a full-time basis. This is the same experience our student athletes experience. During the season they might experience long hours training and competing, which makes it difficult to find time for other activities. These are instances where good time-management skills helps them become stronger people for life.
It is often said that tennis is a game for life. The beauty in that statement is that not only can you play it your whole life, but the skills learned can help us survive the ups and downs we all face in life.
Bobby Bayliss, head coach, Notre Dame Men
In assigning staff responsibilities I have always tried to utilize the strengths of our people to best influence team success. For example, for many years I handled the bulk of the individual hitting lessons for our teams, but now I am 68 years old and am fortunate to have an assistant [Ryan Sachire] who is still a strong player and who is excellent in the areas of both stroke biomechanics and tactics/strategy, so he has taken over most of that work. For almost all of my tenure I took care of the telephone calls to prospects, but I had my assistant call on occasion to discuss my own strengths and weaknesses. Now that I am retiring at the end of the current season, Ryan is handling all of the recruiting duties since he will be coaching these players next fall when they arrive.
There is endless paperwork - time logs, travel itineraries, scheduling, arrangements for prospect visits, etc. Once again, it is best to assign these to a person who is reliable and detail-oriented. Match responsibilities might include seeing that water is on each court, video capabilities are readied, scouting information is passed on to each player, checking with trainers, emcees, umpires, etc. There is plenty of responsibility to assign, so you need to have all of this set up in advance. Ryan puts our guys through a doubles preparation drill just before each match begins. I know that I have that time to check with our trainer, the opposing coach, ensure that our stringer is on site and available, and even to see that the other team's needs are met.
There are many other responsibilities - camps, hiring, working with promotions, NCAA ocmpliance, summer school arrangements, academic performance monitoring, etc. If a program is fortunate to have a strong volunteer coach, many of these other items can be assigned to a third party. The important thing is to have all of the bases covered. This is all done by planning and carefully assessing the abilities of each coach so that the team is the beneficiary.
Allison Swain, head coach, Williams Women
At Williams, we have a head coach for the women's team and a head coach for the men's team, but both teams share one assistant coach. Because [Head Men's Coach] Dan Greenberg and I work closely together with both our programs and share much of the same coaching philosophy, this structure works very well for us and our players. In some ways, it brings the two programs together and helps both our players and our coaching staff collaborate much more than if we had two separate staffs.
In terms of responsibilities, my goal is to have the strongest coaching staff possible in order to give our players the best experience that I can. Just as the women on our team work together well, I think or our coaching staff as a team. With that in mind, I work with my assistant coach to identify his or her strengths and areas of interest. From there, we divide responsibilities. For example, this year, our assistant coach has a very strong background in doubles tactics, so he spends a lot of time working with the doubles teams as well as helping develop our overall doubles strategy.
David Roditi, head coach, TCU Men
At TCU each team has a head coach and assistant, and we also each have a volunteer.
On the men's side we divide the responsibilities by matching our strengths with the tasks. My assistant [Mark Tjia] and I are opposite personalities and we have different strengths. We both spend a lot of time on the court with the players though. We work more as a team than as a head coach and assistant.
About Weil Tennis Academy
Weil Tennis Academy is proud to sponsor the Recruiting 101 series of articles at TennisRecruiting.net.
Weil Tennis Academy: Helping develop young champions - on and off the court.
Since 1997 in picturesque Ojai, Calif., the Weil Tennis Academy and College Preparatory School has placed 100% of its students into top NCAA universities and colleges like UCLA, Stanford, Duke, Brown, Yale, Pepperdine, Cornell, USC and many, many more, mostly on scholarship.
At Weil, our teachers and coaches, our players and their families are all focused first on college preparation and college placement. The goal for every one of our students is to gain admission, study and play college tennis at the most prestigious universities in America.
Our program here at Weil is founded on our belief in hard work and striving for excellence every day. Our players train hard and study hard to achieve great results.
Be a Winner; come to Weil, train with Champions and let us help make your dreams come true!
Contact Weil today and schedule your visit!
Leave a Comment
More Recruiting 101 Articles
Open Letter to Prospective Student-Athletes
The process of searching for the right college and the right tennis
program can be stressful. There are so many choices and variables, and
finding the right fit, making campus visits, filling out applications,
and taking care of your academics and tennis can be overwhelming.
Enjoy the process - but take it seriously.
Why Division I?
If you talk to most people about college athletics they think of
Division I sports. Even people who do not follow sports know about
March Madness and the BCS Championships. Top juniors dream of playing
Division I college tennis. So what do Division I college coaches have
to say about Division I tennis?
Fall Signing Week '13: Fall Scheduling in College - Part 2
In college tennis, fall competition normally focuses on player development.
Last month, we asked college coaches about their goals and philosophies
for the fall season, and we published answers from a half-dozen coaches.
Today we hear comments from more coaches on the topic.