Coach In The Spotlight - Karan Rastogi
As part of our regular 'Coach In The Spotlight' feature, we are holding a series of short interviews with GPTCA members sharing their coaching success story. We have this week put Karan Rastogi of India, our A level coach, in the hot seat and asked some quick fire questions.
1. What is your current work in progress?
I am currently working with the Hong Kong Tennis Association, coaching the top 8 players in Hong Kong from all age groups U12 to U18. I have also been named the Hong Kong Davis Cup team coach for 2013 which is a very proud moment for me at such a young age.
2. How did you begin coaching pro players? How long have you been coaching?
I started coaching in April, 2012, towards the end of my playing career. I had a few injuries while I was playing so I knew I couldn't continue for a long time and I always wanted to stay in tennis and help other players. I decided to take up coaching as a full-time profession.
3. What keeps you motivated to come to work each day and keep coaching through the years?
The biggest motivation for me is knowing that I can make a difference to someone else's life and career, and at the same time I get to learn something new everyday. Nobody knows everything and I love learning new things from other coaches and players while helping them realise their full potential.
4. What skills/characteristics do you look for in your players?
I think every player is different and everyone has their own unique characteristics. If a player is not as talented as some other players, but (s)he's willing to work hard, I think it's a very important skill, too. I try to observe and listen to the players as much as I can.
5. What is the biggest challenge you've had as a coach and how did you overcome it?
Even though I had played professionally at the highest level for so long, I had never coached anyone, and since I am still very young, I didn't have enough experience in coaching players. Therefore I felt it was very important to educate myself and learn from the best coaches, so I went to Bangkok and attended the GPTCA course, learning from coaches like Alberto Castellani and Claudio Pistolesi. That was a great learning experience for me.
6. What is your most successful coaching moment so far?
Success can be defined in many ways, by results, by relationships. An important moment for me was when I started my coaching career. My friend Purav Raja (currently ranked #86 in ATP doubles) asked me to coach him. I had no experience in coaching at the time and he still trusted me and worked very hard with me. It gave me great satisfaction. We developed a great relationship and he had faith in me even though I was inexperienced. Also being named the Davis Cup coach of Hong Kong at such a young age is a proud moment.
7. What advice would you give to new coaches?
I am still too young to give advice to the other coaches, but I would say it is important to keep your eyes and ears open and always be willing to learn new things. Always listen to your players. You can coach them better if you pay attention to their personality and what they are more comfortable with.
8. What inspires your work?
During my professional tennis career, I made many mistakes and did some right things as well. I've learnt much over the years and if I could help even one player to avoid the same mistakes I made, and help him/her achieve him/her goals, it would give me the greatest satisfaction. That is what inspires me everyday to go to the tennis court.
9. What is your next coaching goal?
My goal is to help the Hong Kong Davis Cup team gain promotion from Group 3 to Group 2. It would be a big achievement for us. I'm also hoping to bring some of the juniors I am working with to play the junior Grand Slam events next year and try doing well.
*Should you have any questions or want to get in touch with Karan, please do so by joining a discussion on the forum.
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