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Tennis Book Review
The Art of Coaching High School Tennis
88 Tips, Tricks, Skills and Drills for a Magical Season
By Bill Patton
Reviewed by Rich Neher

According to the author, "The Art Of Coaching High School Tennis" was written to help coaches take high school tennis to the next level. Patton mentions that the high school coach certification attainable at USATennisCoach is based mainly on his book. His goal is to provide a better experience for the team, better organized and more fun.

Patton is addressing the three main groups that could benefit from his book as follows:

  • Coaches - use it as a consultancy for thoughts about high quality coaching.
  • Parents - use it to gain an inside look at a tennis program from a coaches point of view.
  • Players - study the teaching but also check out the chapter that helps you see the bigger picture to decide if high school tennis is right for you.

The author is asking the reader to consider the following:

  • What if coaches who are pressed into duty by the school were to reach out and collaborate with other tennis enthusiasts in the area?
  • What if parents lobbied hard to have a highly skilled coach hired, and also did some fundraising to augment a salary, making the program worthwhile for the coach who can then give up other work?
  • What if everyone worked together, coach, school, parents and players to make the high school tennis team the best experience that could happen at that school? Then a high school team becomes a junior development program as it is the case in almost every other sport.

Patton covers the following subjects in "The Art Of Coaching High School Tennis" -

  • Where do high school tennic coaches fit with the school, athletic director and educational pecking order?
  • Developing a coaches style from a management perspective
  • Running meetings
  • Planning a periodized schedule for any ability level of team
  • Goal-setting for the team and individuals
  • Key strategic principles for the high school player
  • Adding a new tactic to your team's repertoire
  • Conditioning on limited time
  • Realistic stroke improvement in 10 weeks
  • Managing injuries
  • Adjusting your plan to fit the team
  • Team unity
  • Mental training for groups and individuals
  • Game day mantra
  • Dealing with problem players
  • Develop leadership in team captains
  • Time-saving tips, setting the tone
  • Planning a schedule
  • Observing energy level of your team
  • Precious moments
  • Showing anger or disappointment
  • Post-season preparation
  • Fun games and activities, using stories to teach
  • Celebrating the season and the players













If I wanted to start a career in teaching high school tennis I would use Bill Pattton's book as a roadmap that could save me time and money. I enjoyed reading about all those seemingly little things to consider in dealing with a high school tennis team, which, in reality, are not so little at all. Just the chapter on the 7 Deadly Sins alone is probably a huge advantage for every new coach and probably has some new information for existing coaches, as well. I was amazed to read how devastating it could be for a team when their coach plays favorites or focuses too much energy on too few players.

All of Patton's teachings in reference to strategy and tactics for singles and doubles teams was highly interesting to read even for me, the seasoned senior player. And who would have known that there are ways to end cheating in high school tennis and that a coach can actually pro-actively manage cheating? I also liked all the drill plans and game day preparation regiments. Every chapter like this added value to me, the reader, whose knowledge of high school tennis is limited but who is ready and willing to adopt much of it for his own game.

It was good to read the acknowledgement from PTR International Master Pro, USPTA Master Pro and USA High Performance Coach Ken DeHart: "Bill is very insightful and authentic in his Art of Coaching High School Tennis. It is a great read for coaches, pros and parents. Go buy it... it can only help you and your students/child." Amen. Here is a coach who's seen it all and who's done it for decades with tremendous success. I agree with Ken, the "Art Of Coaching High School Tennis" is a great read!

The book is available in paperback on Amazon.

Bill Patton is a USPTA Elite Professional, PTR and MTM certified, and is currently coaching his 7th different high school with 25+ years of experience in the field. He has coached at several schools and says that players had a great time maximizing their games, and playing on the teams.

Most recently Bill is utilizing his vast knowledge of our sport as owner of the Patton School of Tennis (in its 28th year), as Lifecoach (for over 5 years), as High School High Performance Coach, and as Host of 720 Degree Coaching, a coaching platform that includes a regular Internet based Radio Talkshow.

Bill Patton is also the Official Distributor USA and Canada for a brand new Brazilian based line of tennis wear called Bones Original.



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