Coach In The Spotlight - Jon Sorbo
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 Jon Sorbo, our A level coach, in the hot seat and asked some quick fire questions.
1. What is your current work in progress?
On the ATP Tour, I am currently coaching Philip Bester of Vancouver. I started with Philip in 2006 when he was 17 years old and coached him to the finals of the Rolland Garros boy's U18 before retiring briefly from coaching at the end of 2006. Philip contacted me in 2010 and asked if I would work with him again, so we've been working together since then. I also coach my son Jonathan, a National-level U14 player with a lot of promise.
2. How did you begin coaching pro players? How long have you been coaching?
I started coaching full time in 1998 as the coach of then-12 year old Frank Dancevic of Canada. I was Frank's full time personal coach for eight years through 2005, from the juniors through to the ATP Tour. I was also the Canadian Davis Cup Coach from 2004-2007, I was the Men's Head National Coach for Tennis Canada, and I was the Director of the Rexall Centre in Toronto, where the Rogers Cup is played annually.
3. What keeps you motivated to come to work each day and keep coaching through the years?
I love to teach, I love the immense satisfaction that comes when your players tell you that you've made a difference for them, and I love to win. Great reasons to get up each morning!
4. What skills/characteristics do you look for in your players?
I look for coachability and the capacity for hard work. When a player wants to learn and isn't afraid of working to get what he wants, good results are sure to follow.
5. What is the biggest challenge you've had as a coach and how did you overcome it?
In 2006 I was away from home coaching for nearly half the year, and my absence was adversely affecting my youngest son, who was two years old at the time. I made the decision to retire from coaching and travelling until he was old enough to understand what was happening and that I would always be there for him.
6. What is your most successful coaching moment so far?
When my players have told me that my coaching made the difference for them between victory and defeat. From a results standpoint, that is the most satisfying moment for me.
7. What advice would you give to new coaches?
Learn the physical realm as it relates to preparing your players. The most effective way to do this is to find a mentor, an experienced ATP Coach who is also the physical trainer for his players. A mentor can seriously streamline the learning curve, allowing you to become proficient in a reasonable amount of time. It is my opinion that the coach can be much more effective in periodization, injury prevention, and maximizing his players results over the course of a season (or many seasons) if he can marry his tennis coaching skills with proficient physical training skills. This is a tremendous edge for a coach to have, and one I feel few coaches explore.
8. What inspires your work?
Excellence. I have a passion for excellence and I research excellence and high achievement at every opportunity. I am always striving to improve, so I may help my players achieve their goals in the most effective way possible.
9. What is your next coaching goal?
I have several projects in specialty areas relating to tennis that I am currently working on to improve my skill set. My goal is to constantly improve myself so I may give my players the edge they are looking for.
*Should you have any questions or want to get in touch with Jon, please do so by joining a discussion on the forum.
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