Learn before you teach! Six principles to opening the door when teaching girls!
There are many reasons that we started the journey that led us to creating Girls Tennis Network. Being a coach, father of a daughter, and boyfriend, I have come to realize that the only thing I am 100% sure of in this world is that in all those roles I have so much to learn. The challenge is often not what I know but acknowledging what I don’t and this creates a dilemma. There is always a question mark above my head, being a better coach means realizing I am incomplete and for a while this created a lack of confidence. That was was until I understood that the journey is the part I am looking for that taking a walk is not about getting to a destination but providing a chance to look around and see more.
Sounds a little deep I know, especially for me but that is how we feel about Girls Tennis Network. It’s evolving with some great people providing input and energy. (One of the greatest advocates on our Team is Rufus Keown and GTN would not have evolved without his passion and drive to know more!) It has a structure but the most exciting thing is seeing how is develops.
We know you may be reading this wanting more answers than questions and our workshop on Aug 25th in NYC will provide many. Of course we want you to attend in order to share what we have developed but more than this we want you to attend so that you can be part of it’s evolution, join the journey and get involved. Even after 30 years of coaching GTN started with a thirst to learn!
But this is a blog so just to tempt you to attend here is an excerpt from the course manual explaining the principles that we will be practically covering on the court through games and practices.
GTN Program Principles – Introduction!
All human beings have needs. By participating in sport they receive an emotional return on what they invest. If this is not the same as what they expected or doesn’t match their motivation for participating then they will quickly leave that activity in search of another one. You may think you are selling tennis as just a sport, but actually you are selling an arena to have these needs met. To help us identify how we can meet the needs of young girls in tennis and therefore retain them we have developed the principles that follow. There is more information on these in each individual module, but essentially everything about the GTN is about helping you to meet these needs. The six principles are…
|Security||To feel safe, be treated consistently and trust those around you. Players need to be sure that the coach will not embarrass them or threaten their position in the group / community. The use of sarcasm should be avoided at all costs.|
|Connection||To fit in, belong and be part of something. Players need to build friendships /relationships with those around them. The coach role is a delicate position where you need to maintain the relationship with the player but not overstep the line.|
|Learning and Development||To increase skill, capacity, knowledge and understanding. Players need to feel that they are making progress and gaining competence. For some girls the improvement of skills may be valued over competitive results.|
|Individuality||To be listened to, treated and respected as a unique individual. Of course we are all different but girls especially do not like comparisons to others. The challenge is that they wish to both fit in and stand out.|
|Creativity/ Variety||To be stimulated, engaged and participate in creative play. Play is a vital part of learning, it helps provide the adaptive environment that is so essential for the development of skill in an open sport like tennis.|
|Helping and collaborating||To support and mentor others, contribute and give back to the community. The need to nurture others is a very worthy and valuable attribute, but equally it provides the player with a great deal of self-worth and confidence.|