Solving Puzzles: Alone or with Help

Working Alone:  Ego Satisfaction

When I am working on a puzzle or solving a problem, I like to own it. When a problem seems really tough, that’s when I like to bear down with a lot of determination, and then I get a lot of satisfaction when I solve it myself. Then someone comes and looks over my shoulder alerting me a piece that fits with another piece, and I am having mixed emotions. I did not fix that one myself, and now I have to say thank you. They made it easier, but I may have wanted the additional challenge. In a similar way coaching and mentoring can have the same mental and emotional impacts.

Some coaches don’t seek direct mentoring for the same reason that I don’t really want help with the puzzle. It’s THEIR puzzle. Which reminds me of a book review for one of my books that is borne from 28 years of coaching experience. “There isn’t anything in it you couldn’t learn yourself.” Hey wow, that’s amazing, and my easy retort is “Yes, in 28 years, and I am trying to save you some pain.” I find that amusing, now.

Getting Help in Private

In the stages of getting help, there is the privacy of reading a book at home, or watching some videos online. There is minimal interaction most of the time, so the puzzle is really still owned by the coach. However, those presenters do not know which pieces might fit, and you find more of the 30 piece puzzle set coming from the very general coaching education found in the books and videos. That would include The Art of Coaching High School Tennis. It’s general, but the aim of the book is to create a template that a coach can then use to formulate their own program.

Getting Help in Public

The next higher stage of specificity is a workshop, or a specialized online course, that may meet a certain need. However if the coach is working on a 1,000 piece puzzle in his program and needs some specific ideas, and the presenters are giving out pieces from their 500 piece puzzle, then the fit will be curious, although the two could switch puzzles. This would be like the video series on Getting Your Players to the Net, or Discovering the Ideal Two-Hand Backhand Style. It’s more specific but the coach still has the work of honing the pieces to some degree.

Getting Help Personally in Private

Finally, when a mentor comes along and helps a coach to take a close look at the state of how the pieces of the puzzle are coming along, then a lot of time can be saved, with a very targeted approach that can be customized to the program. With any of the products or content that USATennisCoach offers, from books to videos, to one on one coaching, we can better help when we get on the phone with you.

A USATennisCoach Breakthrough

In the past few weeks before yesterday, between Styrling and I we spoke to just under 20 tennis coaches on the phone for 20 minutes each. It’s remarkable that as we were asking for some donations to help us get to Hilton Head, South Carolina for the PTR Symposium, yesterday I got on the phone with three different coaches, spending well over an hour talk to them combined. It was mutually gratifying to hear that these coaches value the efforts of myself and Styrling to deliver some great content to you, but also to talk with each coach and to take a look at their puzzle, making a few suggestions for the next piece to place, then waiting and wondering how it might go. I know I speak for Styrling that we are encouraged by the way people are getting on the phone with us. Our next step is to get folks on Skype or FaceTime, because that face to face interaction is irreplaceable.
This all comes on the heels of our reiteration of one of our major objectives from 2016, that will continue into 2017 and beyond. We are available, we communicate quickly, and we will give our people 20 minutes on the phone based on availability. When you become a member, you can count on a 20 minute talk per month, or more if you are really facing a tough challenge.

We are currently 29.1% of the way to raising $1,400 for the trip and to help with some technology.  Thank you to those reading this who have already helped.  $5, $10, $20, or $50 are great amounts.  If you send $20 that’s a year dues to the Organization.  If you send $50, you also get a signed book sent to you.

Feel free to call or email.

Thank you,

Bill Patton

(510) 909-3662


The New Cover for Visual Tennis Training has been approved, and will soon be available again on Amazon and CreateSpace.





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