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Dick Gould: The Challenges And Rewards Of Coaching Youth

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Dick Gould (@Dick_Gould), a PCA National Advisory Board member, is the winningest coach in Stanford men's tennis history, taking 17 NCAA titles in his 38 seasons. Under his guidance, former players have excelled with 9 reaching the top 15 in ATP world singles rankings and 50 becoming All-Americans. His former players have also captured 13 grand slam championships and 10 NCAA singles championships.

While Gould spent the majority of his career coaching athletes ages 18-22, he also spent a lot of time coaching kids ages 7-10. Coaching college kids is very different because they are usually passionate and knowledgeable in the sport. Younger kids, however, struggle because they may not realize their love or passion for a sport yet.

A dynamic and excited coach can help to instill this passion, but younger kids will still lack focus at times. It is important for coaches to be lenient and teach focus while realizing that it is a process for young kids to learn. Once they learn focus and passion coaches can see that their patient teaching pays off and it can be an incredibly rewarding experience to see athletes grow into themselves.