You have to ask great questions. Asking great questions starts from the point of curiosity about the learner.

Remember that power of the pause.

Take care of the filler words, you can show your passion in other ways.

Another tip when working with introverted players really need to think. Sometimes the learning doesn’t sink in until the next day or the next lesson. So, I (Emma) love the question “When the time is right for you, can you come back to me with a way that you could describe that in your own words” and then when they’re ready, there’s real beauty in that as well.

One type of question to avoid is what I call memory recall question. So, a coach will say “Hey, make sure you turn before the ball bounces. That’s absolutely fantastic coaching instruction. The coach would then say: “Hey, remember, what you have got to do by the time the ball passes? And the players correctly remember “Turn” but oftentimes all the player is simply recalling what you said without them unlocking the learning and problem solving when the shoulders need to be turned in relation to the bounce of the ball as in as an example.

Another type of question to consider carefully is Why questions. Why questions are fantastic after a positive experience or the player having done something really well. But the minute you say “Why did you throw your racket?” or “Why did you behave that way?” – especially teenage kids will deny it.

They will go: “I didn’t throw the racquet three times.” They’ll justify it. “Oh, well, he made a bad line call or annoyed me” or “Well, my favorite player throws his racquet, so why can’t I?”. So, it’s downward rabbit hole spiral. Just be mindful of it.

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