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What is the Tennis Coaches Toolkit?

Skills that will help you become a more effective coach
By: P.Dent K.Reynolds

The Tennis Coach's Toolkit

Paul Dent through his journey to become the successful coach and coach educator, he now is, has increasingly specialised in the primary factor of the four performance categories, namely mental skills.

The merging of the interest between coaching and applied mental skills has led him to become  an advocate of the importance of the coach taking on the responsibility of the player’s mental development, as opposed to delegating it solely to the sports psychologist. His belief is that  the knowledge of this expert needs to be used primarily to help the coach’s tennis improvement delivery skills and then secondly be used, if necessary, as an intervention by itself.

In an effort to give life to this philosophy he began writing the coaching manual he called the Tennis Coaches Mental Skills Toolbox.

During this time period he invited Keith Reynolds to join him as a co-author and their discussions led to the decision that if mental skills should first of all be delivered on court during the tennis  lesson then the purpose of the document should be aimed at integrating practical coaching with the flavouring of mental skills development and become a holistic approach for the coaching profession.

So, The Tennis Coaches Toolkit was born and because it has pioneered the integration of great coaching with tremendous mental skills development it is described as The Definitive Guide to Super Coaching.

Another aspect of its uniqueness is the way the coach is introduced into the learning content. It is Paul's belief that tennis coaches, like the rest of us, enjoy stories, a good read!

The methodology of the Toolkit arose from this idea.

1. The Story
Representational episodes from a coaching life are described in a manner that all coaches would recognize. The Toolkit covers those who are interested in performance, recreational adult play, work in a large commercial tennis Centre, small clubs, coach groups or only individuals,in fact the cross-section of coaching that we are all familiar with.

As The Toolkit is likely to be used by a wide variety of coaches as well as for different reasons it’s design allows the reader to use it on a ‘Begin at front cover to work all the way to the back page' basis or on a much more 'This little section captures my interest ' approach.

2. Your Review
The reader is invited to make their comments regarding the story content and the actions that may be necessary to either re address or progress the circumstances described. This is a moment of self reflection whereby you can ask yourself 'What would I do in this situation?’ This is where the reader’s analysis and recommendations for the story can then be compared against what comes up next.

3. Our Review
The authors go through the same process as the reader. The most significant parts of the story are highlighted and the exploration of their meaning and the potential consequences discussed.

Another aspect of the originality/uniqueness of the ‘Toolkit’ is our identification of what we believe are the three pillars of effective coaching. These determining factors are used in our analysis of the story.

Both during ‘Our Review’ and the next section below the reader is being invited to compare their coaching skills against those being offered by the authors and where appropriate use of the difference as an educational opportunity.

4. Coaching Tools
This is where you will find most of the tools of the ‘Toolkit’. The word ‘interventions’ is taken from the vocabulary of the sports scientist but we as coaches may more commonly use the expressions; drills, activities, practices, words of advice and instruction. The coaching tools are divided into; on court activities, off court activities and Super Coaching, all of them being pragmatic and ready to be taken off the shelf and used in your coaching life immediately.

For some readers this may be the stage where they put The Toolkit down, hopefully ready to revisit at a later stage, but for others their interests might not have been satisfied enough and they are ready and willing to take a little more!

5. Mind Map
The Story, Our Review and Coaching Tools are presented in diagrammatic fall/flow and hopefully act as a summary of the journey we have just all undertaken together. However in addition the second mind map is introduced which presents in a fictitious way the consequences of taking alternative decisions to those taken by Our Review and in some cases illustrating the undesirable results.

While reading the Our Review section and Coaching Tools, references will have been made to the last section of the Coaches Toolkit.

6. The Appendix
This is where the cross references lead to. It contains further information about the coaching tools that have been used earlier. Its aim is to broaden the background knowledge, for those interested, on the foundation concepts of mental skills development. Although the appendix contains powerful information it is not written in such a way that it is only accessible by the sports scientist but rather in terminology and vocabulary which enhances the understanding of all those who are intrigued by the coaching process.

The Tennis Coaches Toolkit is launched with eight stories. For those coaches who will have had their appetite whetted by this brief overview, please contact us on the email addresses below:-

Paul Dent
Keith Reynolds

 Mental Tool Kit

If you want to purchase a copy of the 'Tennis Coaches Toolkit', click here and contact Paul or Keith Directly


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