Finding the right tennis instructor has never been an easy task. Even on the ATP World Tour and WTA, players are constantly switching coaches in order to find that “right” fit. In order to remedy this issue across the board (regardless of your level of play) PlayYourCourt CEO Scott Baxter has created the perfect online player/coaching site that caters to the needs of everyone’s tennis.
In the Q&A below, we sit down with former WTA coach Lillian Rios, who is now one of the most sought after coaches in the US through the PlayYourCourt network.
Rios breaks down what every player should be looking for when searching for a new coach; how she made the transition from Touring coach to working with recreational players; how PlayYourCourt has already changed the game of tennis in the US, and finally why she continues to support the sport of a lifetime.
If you live in the US and are finding it difficult to locate the right tennis instructor to help you improve this summer, then the Q&A below is a must read.
1) How did you get into coaching?
A) I got into coaching when I injured myself as a player. A friend of mine worked at a Country Club in town and needed help with his 6-8 years old students. I started helping him and realized how much I liked to entertain them as well as teach them the game of tennis, but most importantly I realized that whatever I said to them could impact them for the rest of their lives! I discovered that one positive response can really build up their character. This factor made me decide to start coaching. I ultimately want to make a deference in peoples lives and give them the belief that if they set their mind to something and work hard enough, that anything is possible.
2) What is your teaching philosophy?
A) My philosophy is that not everyone will become a professional tennis player but that they will become a professional in life and this sport will give them the tools needed in order to become successful in whatever profession they choose.
3) What are your strengths as a coach?
A) My strengths as a coach have to do with my passion for wanting to make whomever I’m teaching the best player they can be. My players become technically sound but mostly the mental side of the game intrigues me. People often say that I should be a life coach. The mind is amazing and given the right information one can accomplish anything.
4) Describe how the knowledge of working with WTA caliber players transitioned well to more recreational based players?
A) Coaching a player on the WTA was a 24/7 job mentally and perhaps even more taxing than the physical aspect. Transitioning back to recreational players from the Tour was quite smooth. The knowledge gained at such a high level gave me the insight to be really successful at all levels of the sport. That being said, you can be the best coach on the planet but if you’re not coachable then it makes it a lot harder. It’s definitely a team effort regardless of the level.
5) Why did you register with PlayYourCourt?
A) The founder of PlayYourCourt Scott Baxter sent me an email out of the blue. Still to this day I’m not sure how he found me but it was perfect timing! I was taking a little break from coaching tennis and was reflecting on my life. I was thinking about going into other ventures but everyone I spoke to kept telling me to stay in tennis. Thanks to Scott that’s exactly what I decided to do!
6) Why is it so important to have the right tennis coach?
A) It’s unfortunate that in our professional anyone can basically go teach without credentials. It’s equally as important to find the right coach as it is to find the right doctor. Learning correctly from the get-go is so important otherwise you’ll have to relearn everything all over again and that can be frustrating. That’s where PlayYourCourt comes in handy. To be able to go online and find high-caliber, appropriate coaches is the best thing ever.
7) Without someone taking a lesson with you, what’s the best coaching advice you can give them?
A) Feed your mind with the right formula and all things are possible.
8) How important is growing the game of tennis for you?
A) Growing the game of tennis is important to me because it’s truly a sport for lifetime and a sport for everyone. It helps develop key factors we all need in order to stay successful throughout our lives.
9) How do you think PlayYourCourt has impacted taking lessons in the US as well as improving the profile of their instructors?
A) PlayYourCourt has made it very convenient for students to take up the sport of tennis and provides coaches with the opportunity to work under their own schedules. What more could a player or coach ask for? PlayYourCourt has made a huge impact on assuring the continued growth of tennis throughout the US.
Lillian Rios has over 25 years of experience as a WTA Coach, Director, Head Tennis coach and Racquet Technician. Certifications: WTA Touring coach, United States Professional Tennis Registry P1, United States Racquet Stringers Association. Coached Mashona Washington to WTA world ranking of 50 in singles and 55 in doubles as well as at all 4 Grand Slam events.