Short of Staff?

How About Some Parents

By Denny Schackter, UPSTA Elite Professional: Palatine, IL

The other day I ran into a very fine teaching pro who does some coachin at a nearby high school. He’s the JV Coach. The season had just completed for his program and he was very proud of the progress of his girl’s team. I asked him, “Did you have any help?” “No” was the reply. I know this happens a great deal and I certainly sympathize for both coaches and the kids. That’s a large number to manage.

Very good teaching professionals and coaches can handle 24 kids. I say, handle but, really, the kids, many times, do get shortchanged. There is standing around, lack of focus, and above all, not lots of balls struck.

In many school situations there are not many quality coaches for all the sports offered. Like my bud, he was asked to coach because no one else took the job.

This is a problem in many schools, but I do think there are some candidates out there that can fill the void.

  1. There are former college players, both Varsity and Tennis on Campus, who might live in the areas, have some extra time, and might love to give back to the game.
  2. Many times there are former coaches who are idle who might like to be asked to come back and help. Those coaches might have coached at a school nearby or moved into your area and are looking for some fulfillment.
  3. I know of two retired teaching pros in my footprint that would be great volunteer high school coaches. Check out the roster of nearby clubs or call Tennis Directors in your area and see if there are candidates from that pool.
  4. What about a stay at home parent? Travel team women might have some time to devote especially if their child is on the team. A stay at home Dad might have time to devote to their child’s team. Obviously, a parent/child on same team can be a challenging dynamic, but if handled correctly, could be the answer to getting that pupil-teacher ratio down to workable numbers.

Let’s face it. It’s a lot more fun when you hit lots of balls. Any of my suggestions might work to give that JV or Frosh players a chance to really develop and add to the retention of players.

A follow-up article in Tennis Industry Magazine by Denny:

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