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What one should look for in "a Coach"?

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    Posted: 08/29/2013 at 11:21am
If one wants to get a TT "Coach" for oneself or for one's offspring, what one should look for in that "Coach"?
 
(It probably has been discussed long time ago.  With so many new members joined since then, it just may be worthwhile to re-visit this subject.)
 
Thank you very much for your thoughts.
================================
 
Update (after seeing a few replies):  Your thoughts could include but not limited to the following.
The prospective "coach's" skill level, sportsmanship, character, etc.
 


Edited by skip3119 - 08/29/2013 at 11:46am
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Knowledge
Experience
ability to teach
affordable
committment
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Yes, it's worthwhile to revisit especially in light of the flaming going on over a purported coach's attitude in another recently-closed topic here. 

I've hired a coach to work with some of my boys when we make it to the big city in our state.  The reason I go with him is because he's patient, was very good (albeit not world class) as a player back in his prime, still has solid fundamentals and can hand most serious players' heads to them in a match even though he may be 2 or 3X their age, and doesn't beat his students down to prove his own superiority.  He's a good role model as a sportsman.  I want my boys to develop as human beings as well as players. 


Edited by BizLawProf - 08/29/2013 at 11:36am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote skip3119 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 11:39am
Originally posted by pingpongpaddy pingpongpaddy wrote:

Knowledge
Experience
ability to teach
affordable
committment
================================
 
Do "knowledge & experience" imply "skill level", in that, the coach must have certain "minimum skill level"?
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Originally posted by skip3119 skip3119 wrote:

Originally posted by pingpongpaddy pingpongpaddy wrote:

Knowledge
Experience
ability to teach
affordable
committment

================================
 

Do "knowledge & experience" imply "skill level", in that, the coach must have certain "minimum skill level"?


What do you think?
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Help their students to think on their own, outside the box. So they can come back even though down 0-2 in a match.
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Available (date and time that is convenient for me), and affordable (a few hour lesson is not going to help, so I need to be able to afford long term), after a few lessons, if I don't feel the Coach is right for me, then I move on, but any Coach I work with is good for me so far.  Not every one has the luxury of playing in LA, where there are many Coaches, and rich enough to afford to hire any Coach you want, so you can not be too picky.  Note:  The most important part to improve is to apply yourself, instead of expecting too much from the Coach.  I was told that for every hour of lesson, I need about 6 hours of practice (what I learn), and 3 hours of playing game (apply what I practice).  The only problem is I normally don't have 10hrs/week to do so Smile.

Edited by mhnh007 - 08/29/2013 at 12:10pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jt99sf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 12:13pm
Originally posted by mhnh007 mhnh007 wrote:

Available (date and time that is convenient for me), and affordable (a few hour lesson is not going to help, so I need to be able to afford long term), after a few lessons, if I don't feel the Coach is right for me, then I move on, but any Coach I work with is good for me so far.  Not every one has the luxury of playing in LA, where there are many Coaches, and rich enough to afford to hire any Coach you want, so you can not be too picky.  Note:  The most important part to improve is to apply yourself, instead of expecting too much from the Coach.  I was told that for every hour of lesson, I need about 6 hours of practice (what I learn), and 3 hours of playing game (apply what I practice).  The only problem is I normally don't have 10hrs/week to do so Smile.


You should take videos of your training sessions so you can go over them at a later date. I always encourage my students to do that.
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Originally posted by jt99sf jt99sf wrote:

Originally posted by mhnh007 mhnh007 wrote:

Available (date and time that is convenient for me), and affordable (a few hour lesson is not going to help, so I need to be able to afford long term), after a few lessons, if I don't feel the Coach is right for me, then I move on, but any Coach I work with is good for me so far.  Not every one has the luxury of playing in LA, where there are many Coaches, and rich enough to afford to hire any Coach you want, so you can not be too picky.  Note:  The most important part to improve is to apply yourself, instead of expecting too much from the Coach.  I was told that for every hour of lesson, I need about 6 hours of practice (what I learn), and 3 hours of playing game (apply what I practice).  The only problem is I normally don't have 10hrs/week to do so Smile.


You should take videos of your training sessions so you can go over them at a later date. I always encourage my students to do that.
I was traumatized for a month after looking at the Video my Coach made for me during game Smile. But you are right, the problem was GONE afterward (I am too scared to make another video to confirm though).

Edited by mhnh007 - 08/29/2013 at 12:23pm
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A good coach should not bend to your will, should be a little scary, should watch you closely, should be action oriented and not talk a lot, should be unnervingly honest about you, should give short clear direction, should love teaching fundamentals.  Pick an older coach if all other things are equal.

Most of this is from 'The Little Book of Talent' by Daniel Coyle.
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First, you should figure out what kind of student you or your offspring are. 

Are you in it for the long haul (meaning wanting to be a frequent student over a long period of time)?
Are you in good health?
Will you skip training for every little "important" event that comes along?
Do you take direction well?
Do you have realistic goals defined for yourself that your coach can bring you to?
Do you know your current level? (honestly)

Being honest with yourself about who you are, can make it easier to pick a coach. For example, Bojan Tokic came to the US for a training camp this summer in Atlanta. We had a 50 year old female 1100 player who only plays casually, travel halfway across the country to this and get coaching from him and I couldn't help but roll my eyes a bit. Talk about overkill. Total waste of her money and his time in my opinion.

The bigger your goals, the bigger the qualifications needed for your coach, but also, the bigger the commitment needed from you the student.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote skip3119 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 1:26pm
Do the prospective coach's "sportsmanship" & "character" count for anything beside the minimum skill level? Or, they are non-factors.
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a slightly different perspective:

do the students (if they are children) - truly want to play tt?  do they have a desire to want to improve and learn?  one of my big pet peeves is former or current tt parents who automatically assume their kids want to play tt also, the kids are subsequently dumped off on a teacher/coach - who is willing to teach, however the kids/students are not willing to learn.  the worst thing as a coach is expectation that the students want to learn tt, when in truth all you are doing is baby sitting.

a student will only improve if they themselves have the desire to want to learn and improve.

some kids/students thrive at the beginning in a group setting, using peer group pressure to improve (kid A hit 20 fh's in a row, i want to try to beat that...).  some kinds/students want or need one-on-one coaching.

it really is about individual desire and the ability to use that desire to extract successful skills.

if a kid/student doesn't want to learn - it doesn't matter how good the coach is

conversely - a good coach will be able to create the enthusiasm and "spark" necessary to attract that willingness to improve and learn.  the actual playing ability of the coach is not as important as recognition of what level the student is at, and how to make the student improve, and gain ability to understand, grasp concepts and improve

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The most important thing in my mind is to ask people their experiences with the coaching from the coach you might be interested in hiring. 


Its a business and you should treat it as such, meaning get referrals.  In this case, referrals would be asking students, or parents of students what they feel are coaches strengths and weaknesses.  In my area there are 3 different coaches, and various people have used them, so I can ask around in a constructive way what are there thoughts on the differences.  This is a polite way of asking Smile 

When you looking for help with a jr, the best situation is group instruction, its cheaper and more fun for the child.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 2:05pm
Originally posted by skip3119 skip3119 wrote:

Do the prospective coach's "sportsmanship" & "character" count for anything beside the minimum skill level? Or, they are non-factors.
Yes, if you are 5yrs old, and likely do what the Coach does.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 2:07pm
Originally posted by in2spin in2spin wrote:

a slightly different perspective:

do the students (if they are children) - truly want to play tt?  do they have a desire to want to improve and learn?  one of my big pet peeves is former or current tt parents who automatically assume their kids want to play tt also, the kids are subsequently dumped off on a teacher/coach - who is willing to teach, however the kids/students are not willing to learn.  the worst thing as a coach is expectation that the students want to learn tt, when in truth all you are doing is baby sitting.

a student will only improve if they themselves have the desire to want to learn and improve.

some kids/students thrive at the beginning in a group setting, using peer group pressure to improve (kid A hit 20 fh's in a row, i want to try to beat that...).  some kinds/students want or need one-on-one coaching.

it really is about individual desire and the ability to use that desire to extract successful skills.

if a kid/student doesn't want to learn - it doesn't matter how good the coach is

conversely - a good coach will be able to create the enthusiasm and "spark" necessary to attract that willingness to improve and learn.  the actual playing ability of the coach is not as important as recognition of what level the student is at, and how to make the student improve, and gain ability to understand, grasp concepts and improve

:)
One of the skill as children coach is to get the kid to like what they are doing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 2:10pm
Originally posted by N.Cali PLayer N.Cali PLayer wrote:

The most important thing in my mind is to ask people their experiences with the coaching from the coach you might be interested in hiring. 


Its a business and you should treat it as such, meaning get referrals.  In this case, referrals would be asking students, or parents of students what they feel are coaches strengths and weaknesses.  In my area there are 3 different coaches, and various people have used them, so I can ask around in a constructive way what are there thoughts on the differences.  This is a polite way of asking Smile 

When you looking for help with a jr, the best situation is group instruction, its cheaper and more fun for the child.
Does not hurt to ask, but very likely the one you ask can only say good thing about his own coach, so how do you compare?  You still need to make your own judgement.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 2:48pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote frogger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 2:56pm
 I have coached high school kids and young club players. The problem is them not wanting to learn, the problem is they have an attention span of a rock, easily getting distracted by external things like girls, talking, boys, basketball in the next court, IPhones, electronic messages, can I go to the bathroom?, I'm tired, he is cheating, do I have to play with a girl? Wacko
 
 The biggest attribute a coach can have coaching kids is PATIENTS!
 
 Mid Level and advanced players need experienced certified coaches but there are exceptions. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 3:20pm
Find the right balance between talking and playing:
Too many coaches have a hard time to explain complex ideas about strokes and are not prepared well enough to express in a minimum amount of words what they want from their coachees so the coachee may be frustrated to stand and listen with 'respect' to long explanations that eats up too much time out of the hour of training.
Those who do not talk at all don't bring the best of themselves either and the coachee keeps doing the same thing for too long without progressing as fast as (s)he could.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 6:15pm
In some parts of the country, the biggest challenge in finding a coach is simply finding a coach -- any coach! When I was a kid growing up, after we moved back to the US, there was precious little coaching to be had where I was living.  Probably still true there.  Hopefully you have choices, but you may not.   If you have lots of choices, maybe you could watch them coach a bit.  Depends on your level, kids ages, goals, etc.  No one size fits all.  Maybe the best coach for your kids is not the best coach for you and vice versa.  There is a person here who is an absolute genius with small kids and it's not like she's bad with adults, but with kids she is amazing.  And there is a guy here who is great with under-2000 middle aged players.  He really helps people get better but he pretty much refuses to coach kids.


Edited by Baal - 08/29/2013 at 6:17pm
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A coach like a teacher in general can only guide, not learn for the student, and teachers who aren't cognizant of this are responsible for many failures in serious teaching. They often look for "disciples" or even their protege, which can lead to worse results than you would think for the effort put in.

When the relationship is slight like in large classrooms, both the responsibility and failures are more in the students' hands, yet the product here is often just as good as private tutor. Worth thinking about for a min.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AgentHEX Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 7:20pm
More specifically, at low level it really is like baby sitting. You're looking more for and motivating basic enthusiasm. Once the student can get over the hump of doing some disciplined work (ie teachable) simple basic skills go a long way. Anyone who can read the manual can do this, which is why autodidactic types can get pretty far. The most important thing here which some experience can help is avoid bad habits. Only at higher level is some advanced understanding of the subject really necessary.

However, the way basic economics works, when the market is saturated people naturally go for better players to teach them at similar rates even when it's pretty unnecessary. More specific to TT, some play ability does matter in drilling/practice partner more than coach.


Edited by AgentHEX - 08/29/2013 at 7:22pm
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I have introduced many people to the game as a coach and each time I was never forgetting to underline that whatever I was saying was not arguable, accepted as dogma by all coaches; that I liked to talk about the game and was just giving food for thoughts; that it was his or her responsibility to do some research and assemble all info gathered from me, other players and the web (youtube, forums...) to build his or her own game.
That way I never had any problem that comes with the master-disciple relationship; it was more like 2 new tt buddies meeting each other and enjoying time together doing what they both like a lot.
They ALL came back after the introductory hour; my record is 1.5 hour/week at his home for almost 2 years.
Since it works so well I keep doing it that way even though I am not motivated to coach anymore.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jt99sf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 10:23pm
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

I have introduced many people to the game as a coach and each time I was never forgetting to underline that whatever I was saying was not arguable, accepted as dogma by all coaches; that I liked to talk about the game and was just giving food for thoughts; that it was his or her responsibility to do some research and assemble all info gathered from me, other players and the web (youtube, forums...) to build his or her own game.
That way I never had any problem that comes with the master-disciple relationship; it was more like 2 new tt buddies meeting each other and enjoying time together doing what they both like a lot.
They ALL came back after the introductory hour; my record is 1.5 hour/week at his home for almost 2 years.
Since it works so well I keep doing it that way even though I am not motivated to coach anymore.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote smackman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2013 at 10:36pm
a coach must be min 2650 level and have a youtube vid of himself
 well that's what most posters ask
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SeeReed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/30/2013 at 2:44am
Originally posted by pingpongpaddy pingpongpaddy wrote:

Knowledge
Experience
ability to teach
affordable
committment


Armed with above guidelines go to your local TT tournaments. Look how the coach interact with their student(s). If you have chance, go talk to the parents, player or club member about their coach. In most cases, you will have chance talk to the coach too.

If you interest in some coach and want to find out their rates. Go talk to the coach or club manager.
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Originally posted by skip3119 skip3119 wrote:

Do the prospective coach's "sportsmanship" & "character" count for anything beside the minimum skill level? Or, they are non-factors.


Of course they're huge factors, especially if it's a child who's being coached.  If I throw my kids into the hands of some frustrated, embittered ex-playing pro who never quite got to the level he/she wanted and now has a general contempt for the world, why would I not expect that attitude to affect my kids?

Anyone want this guy coaching your kids?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kr24G8jQpM
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote frogger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/30/2013 at 1:16pm
Originally posted by smackman smackman wrote:

a coach must be min 2650 level and have a youtube vid of himself
 well that's what most posters ask
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Leshxa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/30/2013 at 1:21pm
In my mind good coach will:

1. Have knowledge of the game and the sport - must know what it takes to "build a player"
2. Understand technique and its history - including new trends and must have ideas where the next trends might be
3. Have patience
4. Be a mentor and educator - need to teach other things besides technique
5. Be a good motivator committed to driving player's development. If the player stagnates because he does not trust the coach or believe in what the coach teaches, the relationship will not work, so its best for both player and coach to part.
6. Be capable of thinking outside the box. Each player will need individualized attention with different strengths, and different methods necessary to let the player develop technical, mental, and physical skills.
7. Know how to teach material and coach in a match without negative pressure, negative emotions, but with positive objective instructions
8. Will be committed to the player during the lessons as well as outside the lesson, phone, email, etc. Players need support and input outside of the court and sometimes they are very important.
9. Will know how to keep player's interest in the game, making lessons interesting, insightful, and fun.


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