Interview With Dave Fish, 42 Years of Coaching Harvard Tennis—TSFC Podcast #15

August 30, 2020 growingchamp 0 Comments

“I was allowed into tennis. I got invited into it, and that love affair never ended—which is what we would hope all of our kids would have.”

Dave Fish has spent a lifetime with a tennis racket in his hand. With an outstanding coaching career—that many would envy—he and David easily converse on all things youth sports.

Listen in as Dave shares many analogies, that bring to life his thoughts on sports specialization, the ways sports parents have changed over the last 42 years, the “real genius of coaching,” and much more.

He and David also touch on ranking versus rating and how it impacts confidence and ultimately performance in athletes.

Whether you have a passion for tennis, are a parent of an athlete, or a coach looking to learn from the best, you’re sure to get some gold nuggets from this episode.


(1:00) David introduces our guest, Dave Fish

(2:00) “I applaud all those who are trying to make sports more sensible for parents.”

(4:15) “Specialization of sports took us into a whole host of trouble.”

(5:45) David and Dave talk about physical literacy. Kids that participate in more than one sport, often have a higher level of athleticism.

(7:35) David brings up the 3 phases that athletes typically go through, the fun phase, learning technical skills, and mastery.

(11:20) Dave talks about the many ways parents have changed in his 42 years of coaching.

(12:00) The self-esteem movement and snow-plow parents

(13:45) Technology and feedback advancements have helped improve sports.

(14:30) What was the unintended consequence of specialization?

(16:00) “Constraints actually cause us to make better use of our existing resources.”

(16:40) David and Dave talk about the impact of performance pressure.

(18:50) “The real genius in coaching and teaching is to draw out the intrinsic qualities you see in a person, and they are very individual.”

(20:15) The difference between your reputation and integrity

(24:00) What’s the effect of the ranking system in tennis?

(26:00) The difference between ranking and rating is explained.

(28:20) David asks Dave what kind of training he thinks coaches need?

(31:00) Coaches’ conferences don’t often teach about intrinsic qualities because it is easier to talk about physical skills.

(35:10) David asks Dave, “What’s going to happen in sports after the pandemic?”

(38:20) “We have a chance to reboot successfully and make sports more affordable.”

(39:00) Closing and preview of the next podcast

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