Best player - bad attitude/determination?

Best player - bad attitude/determination?

I have a learner that is super talented, he gets the game, he handles pace, power and depth well. He is aggressive and tennis just comes naturally when it comes to this kid but he lacks determination. I am really struggling to keep him motivated not to loose focus or to let one mistake make his shoulders hang for the rest of the lesson. Footwork is unfortunately a big problem and when he loses a point it's even worse, this kid is just draining me mentally every session, its a mental thing but i'm having trouble defeating it. If i'm too hard on him, he closes down and might as well stop and if i play too much and don't push him, he plays with no effort and just hit very sloppy shots. I do know that his situation at home is not good and i think it has a lot to do with his bad attitude on the court but i really need some advise, this is my hardest lesson to plan, what is most important about my lesson with a student with a bad attitude, no temper but just unmotivated and i don't want to give up because this kid really has the talent...he really can be the next junior champion in Africa if he really wants to. Would really appreciate some tips from the professionals that dealt with this before.

Tennis CoachCoach
Oren HoltzmanCoach, England

Hi Malanie

Sometimes the most talented athletes have the worst attitudes and are very difficult coach however I am very big on creating a positive environment with a CAN do attitude. If his home environment is negative then you and the club/ centre need to provide an environment that is positive and where it is ok to make mistakes, learn from them and come back stronger.

When he comes for his lessons start speaking in only positive phrases and get him to analyse himself with positive talk and phrases : I can't move my feet should be turned into I CAN move my feet and get around the ball.

It would also be interesting to know the following ; Why does he play Tennis? What are his goals and what are your goals for him - very important to see if they match up and then you can plan a pathway forwards together? Does he only play individual lessons or does he do squads as well - squads could be good for him as the spotlight is not only on him and he gets the social aspect as well.

In the past i have got these players to help out in my mini tennis program - giving something back to younger kids - which opens their eyes to how great Tennis is and sometimes gives them the motivation to improve.

Please try the above, give it time and let me know how it goes.

If you have anymore questions or would like to discuss this further please drop me a line.

Teach Tennis

Todd OaksTeacher, United States of America

A tennis court can be a sanctuary, maybe he just needs to hear something along those lines. Tennis is also a privilege, and not a right.

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