Last year I did a Level 1 tennis coaching course. Level 1 is the starting point for everyone, which can be a bit frustrating if you don't really see yourself working with young children. For me, the purpose behind doing the course was to be able to work with adult beginners rather than children. But that's the way it has to be done. Once I'd qualified I then discovered that the LTA didn't recognise my first Aid qualification and I was rather frustrated by the whole thing.
A year on and I'm actually doing a bit of coaching! I have 3 juniors and 3-4 adults. I'm not making my fortune, but it's enjoyable, more so than I imagined it would be. I'm not an extrovert, and most of the coaching practice on the training course seems to require you to be one! The truth is that you have to find your own way to communicate and it does come if you make the effort to engage with those you are teaching.
Probably the most challenging parts of coaching involve working out what the student is doing and what they need to focus on to make an improvement. The second hardest thing is not showing your frustration when you ask them to do something and they don't get it!! I have an increased respect for Neil who coaches me!
Hopefully next year, once the rugby season is over, I'll be able to do my Level 2 certificate, not just in order to be "qualified" to teach adults but with some extra skills to do that. I was once told by a tennis playing friend that anyone could coach and you didn't need a qualification to do it. He's right in one way, no one tends to ask to see your credentials, but he's also quite wrong. Doing the initial course gives you so much information that helps you understand how to get started and how to coach. Something you don't just pick up along the way as a player.
What was interesting was that over the summer we ran a sports week in the village and I was heavily involved. I was able to apply the coaching skills I'd learned to another sport (bowls), not realising how transferable those skills were.
Maybe I'll look at some rugby coaching next!!