Coaching Philosophy

“Interviews on Tennis-Coaching Excellence”

Source: Coaching Tennis, ’97

Author: Chuck Kreise

The Gluch Interviews by Paul Gluch


Develop the People First

In describing the relationship with his athletes, basketball coach John Wooden said “I often told my players that, next to my own flesh and blood, they were the closest to me. They were my children. I got wrapped up in them, their lives, and their problems.”

The coach-athlete relationship is another fundamental aspect of excellence in tennis coaching. However, not all coaches agree on how close this relationship should become. Some believe it is a mistake to be friends with the players they are responsible for. Others believe it is because of a friendly relationship with their players that they are successful. Each of the three coaching levels (juniors, college, and professional) will be distinct in the amount of authority necessary to facilitate moving people towards their own excellence. However, what is clear from the coaches’ responses is that common to all successful relationships is a sense of compassion and caring for the person, not just the athlete. A juniors level coach had this to say:

“I think the biggest thing is caring about the person, and not just what the player is accomplishing, caring for them and not just for yourself as the coach. Of course you take pride in your work. But sometimes it can become more important to you that your player wins so that you can look good versus what’s best for him. And there can be a lot of that in coaching…the result is putting undue pressure on the kids. The players sense that, and it doesn’t produce positive results. The key is bringing something from within (them) and getting the person to perform because of what’s inside. It can start because of responding to you because they know you care. You don’t want it to be “Well, he’s going to be angry or upset if I don’t produce.” So instead of pushing it from outside onto them, it’s bringing it out from within them. That’s much more important because they learn what they can accomplish, whereas the other (way) all they’re doing is knuckling under pressure.”

Bob Pass – USPTA Professional