Coach In The Spotlight - Sergei Demekhine
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 Sergei Demekhine, 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 16-year-old Veronika Kudermetova of Russia. She's a top 20 in ITF, #663 in WTA rankings, and has a big potential.
2. How did you begin coaching pro players? How long have you been coaching?
I was a player myself, but I didn't have money for a professional career. I was playing some tournaments to earn money last year, played for a club, and I was also giving private lessons. That's how I received first proposal to work with a professional player, and it was Anastasia Pivovarova. After that I became a full time coach, working with girls. I've been coaching for 6 years now.
3. What keeps you motivated to come to work each day and keep coaching through the years?
I like my job, that's why there is no problem to wake up every day and go on the court. I like to help people in life and tennis. It's an inexpressible feeling when you see thankfulness and gratefulness in the eyes of the kids when they reach their dreams, holding the winning trophy... This gives you motivation to push more and more, to work and to improve yourself as a coach.
4. What skills/characteristics do you look for in your players?
I look for desire.. A real desire, when you see the fire in someone's eyes, when the person is ready to do everything in order to reach his/her goal and he/she truly believes that they can do it... For me, its 80 % of success.
5. What is the biggest challenge you've had as a coach and how did you overcome it?
When I stopped working with Zvonareva, I started coaching a junior. She was #900-1000 in the world and nobody was truly believing she had a potential, asking me why I needed it? In 6 months, she became #250 in the world, she's a big Russian hope and also a member of the Russian Fed Cup team. Those were nice moments.
6. What is your most successful coaching moment so far?
By statistics, it's the 2010. It was a year of big success with Zvonareva: 3 Grand Slam finals and #2 ranking in the world at the end of our collaboration (we started when she was #28). But real success for myself was later when I started working with juniors. With them, I can really create, I can build a player as I feel tennis in my heart. For me, every person I worked with has a different story, and no matter if it's the WTA, ITF, Juniors..., when I see results of my work it's a great satisfaction every single time.
7. What advice would you give to new coaches?
Tennis has to be your passion and not just work, follow your way, your heart as you feel it, don't copy someone. To be a good coach, it is not necessary to be an ATP or WTA coach that you can see on TV.... Build your little stars :)
8. What inspires your work?
Results. As I said in question number 3: When I see my players' results and feel their gratefulness, it inspires me a lot and gives me a big motivation to move forward.
9. What is your next coaching goal?
My coaching goal is just to make my player stronger and stronger every single day...
*Should you have any questions or want to get in touch with Sergei, please do so by joining a discussion on the forum.
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