Hi Luis De Sousa, it’s a pleasure to have you here today!
Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us about your career to date within the tennis industry?
Firstly, thank you very much for this opportunity to share with you some of my tennis experience which has spanned more than 40 years.
I am a Portuguese citizen and Lisbon Sports University graduate (High Performance Master’s degree). As a young man, I played in Portuguese Junior and Under 21 national teams and was pre-selected to play doubles in the Davis Cup team. This led me to start my career as coach at a very young age (20 years old). At 25 years old I became Davis Cup Coach and captain (still today the youngest in Europe!).
For the last 20 years I have been in the Middle East on request of the ITF to help the tennis development as National Technical Director. I have also been ITF Technical Expert! So, you can see I’ve had a wide ranging and varied career!
See more of Luis’ career on his SPC profile >>>
1976 Portugal Nº1 Portugal Under 21
Thanks Luis, you certainly have had a very interesting career in tennis!
Today’s topic for conversation is ‘Choosing the right tennis coach.’ Can you tell us why this is an interesting topic for you?
See this table which I prepared which goes into depth on the levels of coaching and the coach profile that is best suited to that level.
Click here to download and save as a PDF.
What do you think about CV’s? Are they not enough?
The CV gives employers the work experience of each coach, but never mentions personality or ways of dealing with millions of situations that may happen in tennis sessions (with players, parents, board members, press etc).
So, in my opinion, there are no perfect coaches, as nobody have the skills to work well in all of these situations.
Luis de Sousa Tennis Academy in Vilamoura Marinotel in Algarve Portugal | 1999- 2002
This is interesting. Please explain further.
I always give myself as an example: I am a coach with over 40 years of experience in all levels and types of coaching. However I do not do a good job running a program for 10 and under. Why not? Just because of my personality and likes; I am not able to teach well at the lower age ranges!).
So in my opinion, with more or less experience the coach should be chosen initially by their CV, but also according his or her personality. It is why the employer should first identify for which group (ages, abilities) they need the coach and find the right coach according to a certain profile for each age group.
2021-2022 Mauritius DNSS- ITF Program
What do you think are the key skills that all coaches need?
There are some skills that are essential in all the potential positions as coach: Commitment, determination, passion, communication skills and willingness to improve.
I believe that Tennis Directors, Technical Directors etc should generally have been experienced coaches, with organisational and leadership skills that they can transfer to these more senior roles.
Before I say goodbye, please could you ask your readers to have a look at my website?
I found this to be such an interesting discussion – not all tennis coaches are a fit for all roles, and it’s important for coaches and recruiters to be aware of all the skills needed for each job. What’s your views on this? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next week,