Relatively speaking, I have not been coaching very long. While I have coached sporadically for about eight years, it’s only in the last two that I have had many students training consistently. It’s easy to get players to do structured drills and to look good warming up. This is usually accomplished in the first few sessions. Seeing results in matches can take quite a bit longer.
Sometimes the improvement is so slow that it’s hard to see. Recently several of the players I coach have made noticeable improvement. Some are winning league matches on a more regular basis. Some have had good results in tournaments and their opponents are noticing their improvement as well.
As a coach you can’t take too much credit for your students hard work but it is extremely rewarding to watch them play well and see the results of their training kicking in. Perhaps the most obvious sign is how much harder I am having to work. The intensity of training is increasing as players are making more consistent and higher quality shots. Coaching beginners can be demanding in it’s own way. Training higher level players can start to be physically demanding.
The results of training are unique to each player and some progress faster than others. They are however progressing, which is something some of their opponents can not say. It might take a year or two to see significant results, but eventually quality training does kick in. One reason more players don’t train is they don’t realize how beneficial it can be. They don’t know what they don’t know. When you watch otherwise decent players make the same mistakes every week, you begin to wonder if they realize that many of those mistakes could be eliminated.
Mistakes usually can be attributed to problems with timing, footwork, and ball placement. Old habits sometimes need to be broken, but there are plenty of drills and approaches to address all of these issues. Some improvements can be made quickly. Some show up over time and there are benefits to training beyond improved play. There are times, sometimes when you least expect it, that the results of your persistence do in fact, kick in.