WYC 096 – Free Online Coaching Courses – Kirk Anderson talks Coaching Education at the USTA

Kirk Anderson has been the director of coaching eduction for the USTA for 20 years. He has worked with the USTA and some of the top thought-leaders in the country to create free online courses that can apply to any sports, check them out at CoachYouthTennis.com. In 2003, Anderson received the International Tennis Hall of Fame Educational Merit Award, and he was named Person of the Year by Racquet Sports Industry magazine in 2006 and the Professional Tennis Registry Professional of the Year in 2012.

Website: CoachYouthTennis.com


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‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ – Gandhi

1st Set – Intro/Coaching

Coaching your own kids

  • Kirk really wanted his kids to love sports and didn’t push for them to just play the sports he liked
  • Kirk’s son loved racing and when he was 10 years old tanked a match so he could get home to watch the Indy 500. Interesting how different the perspective/priorities of a 10 year-old are.

Cringe moment

  • 4 things kids don’t like about tennis lessons (or any sport):

1 – Standing in line

2 – Shadowing

3 – Being yelled at from across the net

4 – Picking up balls

  • Error detection and correction should not be our focus. Catch them doing things right vs. always pointing out mistakes.

2nd Set – Teaching skills & Mental Peak Performance

CoachYouthTennis.com – 5 years ago the USTA was struggling with getting young kids to want to come out and play. One observation was that tennis was being taught on a full-size court, racket, and balls that are the same ones adults use.

Created 6 free interactive online courses:

1 – Organizing and Supervising youth play

2 – The characteristics of children age 10 and under

3 – Communicating with children age 10 and under

4 – The rules and guidelines

5 – Tennis skill development

6 – Team and group management


  • The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
    • Performance=Potential minus Interference – Think about how many voices are yelling at the kids during games – coaches, teammates, parents- Even if it is well-intentioned, it is interference.
  • 4 types of athletes:

1 – Highly motivated, high skill

2 – Highly motivated, low skill

3 – Low motivated, high skill

4 – Low motivated, low skill

3rd Set – Developing a winning culture & connecting with kids


  • Cross-Country coach: No excuses, everyone is accountable, everyone looking for ways to make everyone else better. And the coach jumped in and worked harder than everyone on the team. A lot of tough love but a lot of laughter as well.

Connecting with kids

  • Kirk has had many kids come back and thank him after success in life, kids that he didn’t even realize he had impacted

4th Set – 2-minute drill

Should winning be one of the goals for a youth sports coach, and if so at what age?

  • More important than making winning a goal, create goals around things you can control

The one that got away

  • Kirk coached a girl who came to him and said that the other player was cheating, Kirk said ‘I don’t care, focus on…’. Kirk realizes now that saying he didn’t care was the wrong message to the girl – he did care.

Best borrowed/stolen idea

  • Dave Gleason – He has 4 rules:

1 – Listen to the coach

2 – Give your best effort

3 – Support your teammates

4 – Have fun

Favorite coaching or leadership quote/book

  • Quote: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ – Gandhi
  • Book: It’s your ship – by D. Michael Abrashoff

Parting advice

Get away from error detection and move towards improvement and acknowledgement


Books, coaching toolbox, presentations


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