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WTT On Court Coaching Tip

By: MARIAAN de SWARDT

I played World TeamTennis for 12 years and have coached the Delaware Smash for the last four years.  WTT has always been part of my schedule the past 16 years, but who's counting.  One of the many exciting aspects of WTT is on court coaching.  It is important as a coach to know your players and how you can draw on their strengths.  Every point counts, so it is important that you get your players to stay in the moment.  I try to keep things simple on the court with regards to strategy.  WTT is too fast to make it complicated!

Mariaan de Swardt Coaching Venus Williams
Former WTT coach and player, Mariaan de Swardt, coaches
Venus Williams during a Delaware Smash WTT match.
(Photo: Fred & Susan Mullane/Camerawork USA)
Technical errors should be 10% of your focus, whereas team involvement in every point, energy, strategy and court positioning are the most important to me.  As a coach, you have to keep track on what is going on during matches.  What are our opponents doing that hurts us?  How can we expose their weakness and play to our strengths?  Figure out opponents’ strengths and weaknesses fast!  I encourage my team to be vocal and show lots of energy on the bench.  If you don't feel it, fake it!

I always involve my whole by asking them, "What do you think,” “Where should he/she serve,” or “What would you do?”  As the saying goes, "there is no 'I' in team."  If all else fails on court, go down the middle and run!  Making every team member feel they are the most important asset on the team is a goal every year.  Make sure that you mean what you say and don't try to fake that you believe in your team, they will know it.  Live it every day on the practice court and during match play.  Mean what you say and take action!

I currently work at Huber Tennis Ranch in Cypress, Texas.  Working with a wide range of players – from five-year-olds to college age to professional players – is, at the end of the day, all the same!  Every player needs to feel that you believe in them 100% and that you’ve got their back.  On court coaching is the best and I hope that it will be utilized more regularly on the ATP and WTA Tours.  Make sure to take full advantage of it during your WTT matches at the upcoming USTA Campus Championship - Section Events and the USTA National Campus Championship!

For more information on:

    • World TeamTennis

    • Delaware Smash

    • Huber Tennis Ranch

    • USTA Campus Championship - Section Events

    • USTA National Campus Championship

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