Coachable

“I’m a table tennis coach. To save time let’s just assume I’m always right.” I love the cup but can’t really endorse the sentiment. All coaches make mistakes. Some might be wrong more often than right. Sometimes coaches are guilty of trying to put a square peg in a round hole.
Obviously coaches aren’t perfect, but some players end up short changing themselves by not being receptive to coaching. Most coaches won’t hit you over the head to improve your play, at least not in in the United States. They should encourage you to stay on a mutually agreed upon path. They should be open to your feedback and ideas. Good coaches wear many hats and know each player has unique needs.
Assuming that you are generally happy with your choice of a coach, there are some steps you can take to get the most out of your training. Communicate but don’t prescribe. Just like when you go to a medical doctor, it’s important to describe what is going on and how you feel, but let your coach take the lead in coming up with a training plan. Don’t stray from the goals for the day. Some players tend to forget that they are trying to learn new and better ways to play. Falling back on old and familiar habits is a major roadblock to long term improvement. Continue to work on newly learned skills between training sessions.
Your coach wants to see you improve and may have a clearer idea than you of what it will take to achieve your goals. Regardless of a players goals or abilities, some players are just more coachable. Really good coaches may be able to take the less compliant player and make their stubbornness an asset. Realistically however, many coaches will not stand up to their less coachable students, or in the case of younger players, their parents. A good coach is a great asset. The best players tend to have good coaches that they have built a relationship with. It’s a team effort even in a individual sport like table tennis. Try to get a good coach, but then make sure you’re coachable.

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