Understanding the Female Tennis Coach – Part 2 of 3

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Understanding the Female Tennis Coach

The Power of Positive Environments

Positive female coaches can be enormously influential in the development of female players. I recently worked alongside a great role model that certainly did this. I was privileged to be invited by Fed Cup Captain Judy Murray, to assist her in the development of female coaches during a tie against Sweden. Amongst many roles, Judy has a clear aim – to promote the development of female coaches and players in the UK.

We were integrated with the support staff to learn the professional trade and also sat with the team to act as supporters, waving with great pride our GB flags. Yes, the modern tour knowledge about stringing, conditioning, scouting, warm ups, cool downs, team building, tactical match plans was fantastic, but as the trip unfolded, it soon became apparent to all the coaches that the “soft skills” that Judy possesses within her coaching armoury are a critical part of her success in the role. They observed how Judy gave the players a positive, character building experience – not just to become “major league players”, but to become “major league people”.

Judy exuded high levels of emotional intelligence

When mentoring the coaches I found that some of the best work was done during the informal times when eating, waiting for matches and chilling in the evenings. It was vital to listen empathetically about their work, aspirations and barriers. We enjoyed reflecting on the day and capturing their most powerful experiences. Moments that will ultimately change their future direction.

The coaches developed most when they felt relaxed and safe to learn

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