Other than when doing detailed technical work Coach Allen prefers to teach lessons with players paired together, rather than one on one.
A match played between two equal students is real. Due to a coach's superior skill level, and the less competitive nature of the game, the rallies played between a coach and a student do not have the same feel as if the game were played between two students of a close standard. For instance interference hardly every occurs in a game between a coach and a student, when in reality this is a very common occurrence of the game between players of every level. Pairing students together allows the coach to tackle problems that happen in the context of an actual game played at the appropriate level. Even the highest level coach can't create the exact tempo and structure of a real match for their own students when playing against them.
By pairing students together a coach can get to tackle some of the mental issues that arise, such as losing temper, giving up, and choking. The pressures that cause these negative behavior traits hardly ever happen when a coach plays with the student - they only come up when students play against each other. Paired lessons provide an opportunity to simulate pressure and bridge the huge diferential that usually lies between practice and tournament play.
Having three people on the court allows so many more great practices that cannot be done with two people. Of course all the two person practices can still be done too, with either the coach dropping out or with the students taking turns to rest.
When putting students together for two person practices it allows the coach to watch from the sidelines and therfore a better chance of identify the true cause of a technical or tactical error. Because of this the route of a problem is typically discovered far quicker. Once the problem has been identified it also allows me to jump in with one of the pupils while the other one watches - to demonstrate what I am looking for.
In almost all cases, each student hits the ball more times in 60 minutes of a shared lesson than they do in 45 minutes of an individual lesson. The majority of the hitting is between the two students, not between the student and coach. The extra repetition speeds up the learning process.
Younger students have more fun in paired lessons - the lessons have a more social element.
Coaching in pairs is a core component of Coach Allen's teaching philosophy. Performance at the elite level is largely about handling pressure. The control of arousal level both in practice and performance is essential. If you would like to find out more then please click here.
Mark Allen E-mail: Mark_allen@boarsheadresort.com Tel:434-972-7424