Tennis is one of the sports in which the figure of coaching arouses controversy in its two main categories, the ATP (Association of Professional Tennis Players) which organizes men’s series and the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) which organize the women’s
=But before you take a look at it, we will tell you about the arrival of coaching in tennis.
New rules in tennis: coaching will be allowed
In the women’s series organized by the WTA, communication with the coach has been allowed since 2009, an experiment that continues today. So this new rule in tennis is only a novelty in the men’s categories organized by the ATP. This incorporation into the regulations has been in force since July 2022 and its continuity for the following season is still pending evaluation. Is it here to stay like in the WTA competitions?
This active participation of the coach is also known as coach on court. On circuits organized by the WTA, it also allows coaches to enter the court and give advice to their players on the pitch, with a microphone through which to communicate. This communication has been described as aggressive and uncomfortable for the tennis player on many occasions, due to the distraction it entails. However, opting for direct communication in timeouts without hindering the game is the most appropriate.
But this appearance on the court by the coach is eliminated in the competitions organized by the ATT and this only allows communication from the stands, from the seat assigned by the tournament. The WTA experience has made it possible to give much more visibility to the coaches as important figures during the set, and not only during the previous training.
Allowing the coach’s instructions during the match is subject to a series of conditions collected by the ATP, which are summarized in the following rules:
- Verbal and non-verbal coaching will only be allowed if it does not intervene in the game, both for the player receiving the instructions and for the opponent. They should be cautious indications that do not alter the game.
- The coaches must be in the seats assigned by the tournament, without entering the track.
- In order to perform verbal instructions, verbal coaching, the coach and the tennis player must be on the same side of the court.
- In verbal coaching, the coach must be cautious and direct and avoid long conversations as only simple guidelines such as words or short phrases are allowed.
- Non-verbal coaching will be allowed at all times, that is, gesturing to give instructions to the tennis player.
- If a player leaves the court, the coaches will not be able to talk to their players.
Importance and benefits of coaching in tennis
Implementing the coach on has been an experiment in the 2022 season. Currently, a clear conclusion has not yet been reached to determine if this rule will also be in force during the 2023 season, or if it will once again be a rule applied only in the series feminine.
Without a doubt, the establishment of this regulation in the men’s series has set a precedent for detractors and defenders of this type of coaching. The greatest benefit offered by the coach’s participation in the match is the possibility of offering advice to his tennis player in real time, so that they can be applied during the match and thus change the course of the match.
However, despite being a beneficial weapon for the tennis player, it can also play against him and his coach if the tension of the match or temperament play a trick. For arbitration, it can be difficult to distinguish between giving encouragement or instructions, so it is necessary to regulate what forms of communication are allowed.
Any breach of the regulations can lead to a sanction, so the coach/player tandem must know each other very well and create their own coaching tactics on. After all, it is the coach who knows the tennis player best and who should know when to interact with him and when not.
Regulating the communication between the coach and the tennis player equalizes the conditions of the field of play, since controversial interactions between the coach and the tennis player have often resulted, with which a significant advantage has been achieved.
Although there are still many detractors of the coach on, since they consider tennis as a very mental discipline in which any external interaction can decenter the tennis player. In addition, it is also often added that in minor categories tennis players often travel without a coach due to lack of budget, so this player would be at a disadvantage.
Another of the benefits most commented on by professional tennis players and coaches of this sport is the spectacle that it offers to the public, improving their experience as a spectator. Offer a new show with more coach involvement, give fans something different and enhance their experience. Undoubtedly, the moments of intrigue and the closeness between the coach, tennis player and public increase.