Helping You Coach – New ‘Two Pronged’ Series

The first is through this eZine and will be exploring the role of player motivation in coaching. What does this have to do with the usual topics we deal with you ask? It actually becomes the foundation for your entire development pathway.  I have talked to numerous coaches who are expert in their tactical/technical coaching but have a challenge because there can be a miss-match of the level of skills a player has and the motivation they display. 

In our Canadian coaching methodology we have always had the key principle of ‘Learner-centred’. This series will explore a number of themes related to providing learner-centred sessions and specifically, the role of the player’s motivation in the whole journey.

The second series we will be doing at the same time is going to be pointing to articles and posts on the new upgraded website. We will feature a link each month to an article from the series called: ‘Coaching Feedback’.  What, when, and how a coach delivers feedback can make or break the effectiveness of players learning.  


In this series, I am going to propose something very ‘radical’ but something that the majority of coaches actually know inside: The motivation level of your players is actually the most important foundation for their development.  For the majority of coaches however, what they are all about is delivering the skills. Program curriculums and plans are fully focused on the progression of skills, checklists for moving levels are all based on skills, etc. 

What if there was a thread that ran parallel with the skill progression? What if we incorporated motivational goals and elements into our curriculum just like we do with the skill? 

Integrated Approach

One of the other pillars of the Canadian methodology is coaching with an ‘Integrated Approach’. For a more detailed treatment of this concept, please click this link as it will give you a good background foundation for our series:

In this approach, all the 4 Performance Factors (Psychological, Physical, Tactical, Technical) are woven together. However, the priority is to develop the ‘person’. The goal being to coach who they are while coaching what they do.  This is relevant to the Learner-centred Approach discussion as it includes the motivational levels of the player.    


There are two critical elements needed for players to learn and progress in tennis. Repetition and feedback. The majority of things we do as a coach is to create environments to maximize these elements.  

If the above is true, then coaching feedback is a ‘power tool’ required by coaches. Therefore, coaches need to be masters at the art and science of feedback. 

Take a look at the introduction article to the series:


Coaching in a Learner-centred approach will ensure all our coaching is directly driven and connected to the true needs of the player. It takes into account their values, attitudes, mind-sets and behaviors. 

Feedback is an art and skill that every coach needs to become masterful at to be a truly effective coach. This is the very heart of what coaching is.  

Next issue: More learner-centred discussion and article #2 in the new feedback series.  This will be featured in the July ONcourt Edition

By Wayne Elderton, visit ACE COACH


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