Over the last 5 years, the term, ‘supercoach’ has become more prevalent then ever before. Its now the norm to see top players involve a ‘supercoach’ to their team. But what is a ‘supercoach’ and why are so many professional players adding ‘supercoaches’ to their team roster?
First of all its important to understand the term ‘supercoach’. In the modern era, a ‘supercoach’ is simply a person that is coaching a current player whom themselves have been a previous top professional player. Previous top players have been coaching their less experienced counterparts for a long time, however it is only recently that its become so popular. Certain players and their ‘supercoaches’ have brought tremendous successes. Therefore a domino effect has naturally occurred across worldwide Tennis. Lets look at some of the players who are currently have a ‘supercoach’ as part of their team.
Stan Wawrinka & Richard Krajicek
Stan brought in Krajicek to help him concur his battles on the grass. In two events, Stan had only managed one win, therefore he asked Krajicek for his advise. With Krajicek being a Wimbledon champion, Stan thought Krajicek may get the best out of him through his wisdom and experience.
Richard Gasquet & Sergi Brugera
Brugera has worked with Gasquet for 4 years. Its difficult to say as to how successful the pair were together as Gasquet is forever inconsistent.
Milos Raonic & John McEnroe
More of a recent partnership. The pair were a definite success as, albeit he lost in both finals, Raonic exceeded expectations to get to both the Wimbledon and Queens Final. The biggest change we saw in Raonic’s game was his new found ability to slice as well as his confidence moving up the court. In McEnroe’s day, this was something that was seen as the norm, and possibly could be the reason why Raonic wanted his help.
Roger Federer & Stefan Edberg
The pair are no longer together, however without the partnership, some could argue Roger may not have been as good as he is today. Much like Raonic, Edberg was brought in to improve Roger’s net play and approach shots. However, its well known that Edberg is Roger’s idol, therefore you could argue that he was brought in simply for guidance and confidence.
Novak Djokovic & Boris Becker
One of the most famous partnerships as it brought the most success. Its well known that Djokovic, before his period of world domination, found it difficult to pull through in finals with 5 losses in 6 attempts at a Grand Slam Final. Novak went onto win 6 out of 7 Slam Finals with Becker by his side. Novak’s game didn’t change dramatically, however Becker gave him confidence to play big on the most important points.
Andy Murray & Ivan Lendl
Another extremely successful relationship. Lendl was brought into Murray’s team to help him with his on court manner and behaviour. Lendl was known as a calm and gracious player during his time, and its for this reason Andy brought him in. You could argue that this is the relationship that started the trend. With Lendl, Andy won the Olympic Gold, US Open and Wimbledon titles.
Roger Federer & Ivan Ljubicic
Their work together has been outstanding, especially as Roger is now closer to his 40s! Ljubicic had a penetrating backhand during his playing days and was a good mover, despite not being particular natural. Federer is playing his best Tennis to date, and its with the guidance of Ivan that has helped him along the way.
What are these ‘supercoaches’ REALLY bringing to the table? Of course it makes sense to bring in a coach thats done it before. If you were Novak and you were struggling to win a Slam, of course you would bring in a coach that’s won Slams. If you wanted to improve your grass court game, you would like to bring in a previous grass court champion, just like Stan did. If we go down to the amateur levels, players are wanting coaching from coaches who were top players themselves. Why? Because they have so much information to offer and it adds an element of relatedness.
Of course some players have brought in coaches to help them tactically, but lets not forget that the players we have talked about here are some of the best to ever play the game. Therefore you could argue, why do they need a coach? In todays game, players use coaches as confidants and as managers to organise their schedules. Therefore you can understand why players such as Novak brought in Becker to help his cross the finishing line.
Be prepared to see more ‘supercoaches’ in the future. Who knows, we might see Federer working as a grass court specialist for a player, or we might see Nadal working with someone who needs to improve their clay court game. Its exciting to think of the current players who might take up the role of a ‘supercoach’.