I guess I should rename my blog “life as a tennis coach” instead of “life as a tennis player.” But before I do that, I really want thank all my supporters and fans who have been there in good and bad times. Being a professional athlete is a privilege, and I am very lucky that I had the opportunity to represent my country and equally important all my fans through out the world. I always gave it my all, and now it's time to pass on my experience to the next generation. I believe that professional women tennis needs coaches who can help players not only to develop as tennis players, but also as human beings. To many times over the years, I have seen coaches and parents who control their players and children in the wrong way. Tennis becomes an unhealthy obsession that controls everything. In my opinion tennis is the microcosm of life. In most cases the personality, upbringing and outside influences of players are clearly visible between the lines. Coaching to hit the right tennis shot is the easy part, but coaching them to become a complete human being, hence making them a more complete and better athlete and person, that is and will be my number one goal as a coach.
It's interesting that everything you knew as a player, now multipliers by 2 as coach. (as a coach of a Russian player it multiplies by 6, lol) As a player we have it pretty much straight forward. We go to our practices or matches and we do pretty much what we have done as long as we remember. Now as a coach, besides of course the tennis part you become the mediator between parents, significant other, nutritionist, psychologist, and motivator. The goal is is to bring all these important parts together, in the most harmonious way possible. There will be good times and bad times as a player as well as a coach. My responsibility as a coach is to pass on my experience and teach them the best I know. The rest is up to the player on how she/he wants to use the information you give her/him.
Ok, so now a little on my actual coaching. As many of you know, I am working with Galina Voskoboeva for less than a month now. Galina is coming back from a 7 month injury timeout. She had shoulder surgery last year. For those of you who ever had any surgery, I am sure you understand how hard it is to recover. Especially when you are a professional athlete, and your job and livelihood depends on it!
So far it has been a great experience for me. But as everything you do for the first time, I was a bit nervous at my first practice as a coach. Particularly, someone who I know well and played against as a player just about a year ago. It's also strange, that now as a coach. I am the one who picks up the balls and hands them to the player compared to the times when I was given everything I needed to do my job as a player. I guess the roles have changed, but I am up for it, and I love the new challenge.
Our first two weeks together were quiet good. She played two tournaments and finished 10-2 in singles. Come on!!! In American football I would be a big time winning coach with this record, lol. Joking aside, it's just the beginning and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. As a very talented player who was in the top 100 prior to her injury, and is trying to come back, it is hard to set your mind on your current ranking, and accept losses to players who you used to beat before. My obligation as a coach now is to explain to Galina, that her number one goal is to work on her game, be patient and don't pay attention to her first results. I am very positive that with a positive attitude and hard work she will be back at the highest level of tennis.
For now we are in Thailand where Galina is playing Fed Cup for Kazakhstan and then we are on to Pattaya for the WTA tournament.
So wish us luck! Me, as a coach and her as a player!