As part of our regular »Coach In The Spotlight« feature, we are holding a series of short interviews with prominent GPTCA members sharing their coaching success story. We have put Stephan Medem, our A-level-coach in the hot seat and asked some quick fire questions.
What is Your current work in progress? I work with a few promising and very determined young players and organize mental workshops and one-on-one mental sessions to help athletes maximize their performance. I also do independent scouting work with players, coaches and parents. I will relaunch my first book »playGirl« with a preface from German Fed Cup captain Barbara Rittner in April 2016, and hope to finish my second book somewhere in 2016.
How did You begin coaching pro players? How long have You been coaching? I was still on the pro tour when some of the younger players started approaching me to help their game. Somehow… it worked. After finishing my professional career, I wanted to dedicate more time to the studies of mental toughness in tennis and pass on my knowledge to other people, not only in sports.
What keeps You motivated to come to work each day and keep coaching through the years? I love working with people! I love helping them, following their progress. The fact that I am an import part of their success makes me very happy.
What skills/characteristics do You look for in your players? I look for motivation! I think talent is highly overrated. I always prefer working with a player who is burning with the desire to be the best he/she can be, to cooperating with a player with talent.
What is the biggest challenge You’ve had as a coach and how did You overcome it? Funny enough, the biggest challenge in my coaching career were not players, but their parents. Some of them approach coaches with wrong motives and ideas. To advise them how to support their kids right, not just with their money but also with their emotions and actions, can drain your energy.
What is Your most successful coaching moment so far? I don’t like to put my finger on a single event. Every time one of my students achieves a goal, she/he thought was impossible (overcomes fears, works hard and disciplined, steps out of the comfort zone!), I have a feeling of success.
What advice would You give to new coaches? I would advise them not to work too much. A good coach has to be energetic, alert and aware, to stay in good shape and live healthy. Our job as role models can not be underestimated. They should never ever stop learning, as everything is in progress and evolution, otherwise you can easily lose touch. Respect, understand and recognize Your player, try to see eye to eye.
What inspires Your work? As a kid, I always wanted to be a teacher and I ended up as a student of education. But teaching math, history and geography somehow did not make me happy.
What is Your next coaching goal? I want to get the best out of whoever chooses to work with me now and in the future.