Q&A by GPTCA

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.