Our First ITF Coaching Experience

It was my first time to attend an internationally-accredited course as a tennis coach. It was delightful to participate in the recently-concluded ITF (International Tennis Federation) Level 1 Coaching Course in Bangkok along with my co-coach, Martin Ramos, and another Filipino coach, Reymund Padigos. Even up to this day, we are thankful for the people who encouraged us to take it. Their support and prayers truly meant a lot. The PTT (Pinoy Tennis Trainer by Stephan Lhuillier) Coaching Workshop on September of 2016 held in PCA Manila, tutored by Mr. Roland Kraut, served as a launch pad for us to give greater value on continuous learning in the field of tennis coaching.

Click here for a video montage of our first ever ITF Coaching experience.

img_619016665254_918629571573463_4105650253147338281_oimg_6194

About twenty-seven coaches from the Philippines, Myanmar and different cities and provinces in Thailand came to attend the course. This made the experience even more versatile because we also learnt from other participants. Our lead tutor was Mr. Suresh Menon, the ITF Development Officer for Asia. He patiently guided us on-court and during classroom lectures, believing in us even though we would sometimes find ourselves struggling in and challenged by our practical activities. Even though each day lasted for four to eight hours (and most of the time spent under the scorching heat of the sun), I cannot remember a time I got sleepy or bored. Mr. Menon’s theoretical and practical wisdom in tennis and tennis coaching and his witty insights (with or without his morning coffee haha!) kept us focused and positive. We were also privileged to have additional tutors who are also known to be good and passionate in their craft – Coach Attapol Rithiwatanapong, Coach Pracharapol Khamsamman and Coach Orawan Lamangthong who are all ITF-certified coaches. They were also very helpful in achieving the objectives of the course.

I have never had a tennis coaching book before, so the first day of the course was pretty special. We were provided with books that we can constantly refer to in coaching beginner and intermediate players. Videos were also shown during lectures, giving us an idea of what a coach should bear in mind when planning and organizing programs/lessons for their students/clients. Taking down notes was also helpful for most coaches since there were so many valuable insights throughout the program. We were not only taught of what to coach, we were also taught of why we should coach with good-quality standards and sound professionalism.

img_6188img_6189img_6187

Everyone was so friendly, too! Even though they were usually tired from organizing and managing the course flow, the tutors were always willing to answer our questions. They would openly give us tips on how to do things better. The LTAT (Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand) organizers were also reliable in terms of arranging our lodging needs. And the coaches? They were so fun to be with, too! Even though some of them struggle to speak or understand English, they were all very accommodating. We were able to hang-out with some of them over lunch or dinner, and play tennis with most of them. In times when everybody is stressed out during assessments, the coaches were there for each other too – encouraging one another with high-fives and jokes.

There were only two other female participants in the course (both from Thailand), and I was able to hang-out with them the most. When we had our rest day, my roommate and her co-coach took time to tour us and drive us around the city. They brought us to Japanese and Italian restaurants (when we did not want Thai food anymore haha!). They also helped us in finding modified tennis balls and racquets that we would need for our upcoming camps in Manila.

16387081_1448789601806594_1852293199187619085_nimg_6191img_6199img_6200

If I have to choose one valuable lesson from the course, it would have to be the willingness to persist as a tennis coach and as a person. My heart was put to the test during the last two days of the course. I did not perform well in a coaching practice, which afterwards brought me to anxiety and weariness. I know that the situation was God-ordained for character-training reasons. I was given the chance to choose to complain or to keep going. During my next attempt for the said coaching practice, I chose the latter and my performance actually improved. However, I was so focused on reaching the coaching objectives that I forgot to put enjoyment in the activity. Though the kids I taught were able to learn a tactic, the progressions were too serious for them.

On our way back to our dorm, I was once again anxious of how I performed and even more anxious of the next day’s practical assessment. My roommate told me to just do my best and be joyful with the best effort that I gave and can still give. And this was echoed by God the next morning during my quiet time.

In Philippians 4:4-6, He says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”. The chapter even ends with “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (verse 13), and “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus” (verse 19). These encouraged me to do my best for God’s glory and to be joyful because my best efforts as a coach will only come from Jesus who strengthens me. The next day, I gave my all for the Lord and I found joy in favorable and even unfavorable situations.

I learnt that a great tennis coach is someone who continues to strive for improvement even in times when he thinks (or other people think) that he succeeded or failed as a coach. As Coach Suresh said, “Persistence is key in coaching and even in life”. And I am thankful I was able to learn this value from the ITF Coaching experience.

Click here for a video montage of our first ever ITF Coaching experience.

16487816_918691251567295_5885380687218369501_o16665872_918691271567293_6055941241051564829_oimg_6197

Advertisements

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s