YouTube Coaching - Insightful or Useless?
Updated: Feb 2, 2022
The internet is an incredible place for learning. You can study to become an accountant, lawyer, psychiatrist, architect and many other things through the use of online materials. Especially online video.
So it makes sense that plenty of tennis coaches and gurus have turned to YouTube to spare their wisdom and tell us all how to become better players. But how much better can you get from just watching tennis videos online? The answer is you can't.
Is that because these coaches and gurus are wrong? No. The vast majority are actually giving very good advice. The problem is, just like learning to drive a car, you can't get your license unless you have passed both your theory and your practical. Some times (and I am guilty of this too) it is possible to take on too much information. If you have watched 3 hours worth of tutorials on how to hit the perfect forehand, backhand, volley and serve how much do you think you will be able to remember and bring forward into your next tennis game? Quite often the answer is none of it! Each adaptation to your game takes time and practice to see any real improvement. If you go out and try to play like a completely different person you are going to make error after error, which will lead to frustration, which will lead to returning to your natural game.
Instead do this. Watch just one video on something you want to improve on. It could be getting more power on the backhand, improving your kick serve or something completely different. Then the next time you play tennis focus on improving just that one aspect of your game. That is how a real coach will coach you. They will spot possibly 20 different mistakes in how you play, but for the sake of getting you to improve, they will fix your mistakes one piece at a time.
There are a number of brilliant YouTube channels out there that when I have watched in moderation have helped improve my game. A few I would personally recommend watching are:
The Tennis Mentor Ran by Ashley Neaves, a tennis coach, player and LTA coach education tutor. His videos are a mix of insightful longer-form coaching videos as well as short 1 minute bursts of information (perfect for not overloading your brain). He also has some great Slinger bag drills. You can find my review on the Slinger bag here.
Intuitive Tennis Nikola Aracic is a former top 40 NCAA D1 college player and tennis coach with 25 years of experience. His enthusiasm and passion for tennis really shows when you hear him talk about his past experiences and views on the modern game. He also coaches players of different levels and uploads these lessons onto his channel. So there is content for players of all standards.
Essential Tennis One of the biggest and most popular tennis channels out there. Essential Tennis has a real community feeling to it at times. Interestingly they show a lot of matches between amateur level players filmed at their courts. This is great because you can really relate to what you are seeing and the post-match analysis really helps to highlight the types of mistakes you are making when you play. Unfortunately, Ian who runs the channel recently lost his court that he filmed many of his videos on. However, they have since managed to find a new premises to film content and content looks to be flowing freely again.
If there are any channels you would like to recommend, please do comment and leave your suggestions below.