It is not rocket science... you have to be careful not to overcoach.
Richard Krajicek's former coach, Rohan Goetzke, is now plying his trade as Director of Tennis at IMG Academy in Florida
Having worked in the Netherlands for 25 years – the last five as technical director for the Dutch Tennis Federation, Goetzke moved his family across the Atlantic to set up base in Bradenton last summer. Goetzke oversees all aspects of the tennis program from junior level to professionals using the facilities as a training base.
With Nick Bollettieri’s brainchild boasting an impressive list of alumni including the likes of Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova and Britain’s Heather Watson, the next generation of players come through the doors from as young as eight.
“So many kids are hitting the ball well nowadays so you have to look beyond that,” Goetzke told tennishead. “We look at athletic ability and whether they are competitive.
“You don’t know how much they are going to grow, especially the boys but I always look at how well rounded they are as well as their attitude and work ethic. I always like to see they are doing well at school as well as tennis – you need to be successful in school as it may help you later on in life.”
Born in Australia, Goetzke started his coaching career in Belgium before joining forces with a young Krajicek. Having also worked with the likes of Mario Ancic, Robin Haase, Michaella Krajicek and Arantxa Rus, it’s fair to say Goetzke knows his stuff.
“One of the most important things as a coach is that you have got to be consistent,” Goetzke says. “I’m not talking about the technical and tactical side, because that does change, but being consistent with your message and not chopping and changing, being honest and straightforward.
“It comes down to hard work, communication and being consistent. It is not rocket science, we are not trying to reinvent the wheel – you have to be careful not to overcoach. Sometimes you have got to let players work things out for themselves.”
Keeping things simple is Goetzke’s philosophy. Don’t overcoach and don’t overcomplicate things, and perhaps most importantly, don’t attempt the trick shots when you haven’t nailed the basics.
“When watching professional tennis you must resist the temptation to emulate what the top guys are doing,” he stresses. “Don’t start trying to do what the pros are doing and come off the court feeling like you can’t play tennis. Your technique doesn’t allow you to be doing big topspin or jumping at the ball.
“People tend to overcomplicate things and are always looking for something that is wrong with their game, but just keep it simple.”
To read more about Rohan and his work at IMG Academy then get your hands on the next issue of tennishead, out March 7th.