Sarah Stone is tennis coach and a passionate teacher, Sarah has seen and worked with players of all ages and standards. Currently residing in Delray Beach, FL, Sarah Co Founder of the Women’s Tennis Coaching Association (WTCA) and coaches WTA tour player Alexa Glatch.
Formerly, Sarah was the director of tennis at Columbine Country Club in Colorado and Volunteer Assistant coach at Pac 12 school University of Colorado, Boulder. She has built her coach philosophy through her years of vast experience, believing that the art of teaching is the most critical skill when it comes to creating a Grand Slam champion. Sarah’s teaching style has a very strong technical element, as it is her belief that technique must be sound in order to stand up to the pressures of the highest level of professional tennis. Working with a player is not just a job, it is a way of life, both a mentoring position and a?confident.?Developing world class tennis players requires strength, respect, trust and integrity and above all else an unwavering commitment to the journey.
You are the Co-founder of the WTCA ? what was the reason you decided to form the association.?
Over the years I had spoken to different tennis coaching colleagues about the lack of support for the coaches of female players in the professional tennis world. I felt like I had a big enough network to pull the right people together to be able to make a difference and help improve the overall standard of coaching in women?s tennis. I thought that it was important to change 2 things, one was educate the fantastic male coaches working with female players, help them understand the best ways to work with female athletes, and the other was to get more female coaches working in high performance tennis
How many female coaches actually work it these elite coaching roles?
When we sat down to look at how to make a change we looked at the top 200 female players in the world and noted whether of not they had a male or female coach. The figure we came up with was only 8.5% of players ranking in the top 200 had a female coach. Globally I know that the numbers are low when you are talking about females working with elite players. When my friend, former WTA tour player Nicole Pratt, was selected to be the head of women’s tennis I was very excited. I asked her after a few month how things were going and she said we have a 50% increase in female coaches, we now have 2? I was really excited to hear about her plans and am very proud of what she is doing for Australian Women?s tennis. You can see here that as far as numbers go, 2 is really ridiculous when there are probably at least 20 males coaches working for the governing body in Australian women?s high performance coaching.
Who were the people that helped you form the WTCA?
I was in Australia visiting my family when I spent a couple of nights at my best friends house. Nicole Kriz is blessing to not only my life but to women?s tennis internationally. She is incredibly intelligent and an exceptional tennis player and coach, simply put Nicole is a magnet. Everybody loves to work with her both males and females and I couldn?t have asked for a better person to be by my side in creating all of this. I told her about my idea, we sat down and devised a general plan and the rest is history. That night we created our Facebook page and other social media platforms and got the wheels in motion. The following day I returned home and ask former WTA tour player Ann Grossman would she get on board and serve as president, she said yes without hesitation and together Ann and I have worked tirelessly in growing our community through both of our extensive tennis networks. There are a couple of others that are on our team but with out those two fantastic people, I would have been able to do this so I am eternally thankful to both Nicole and Ann.
How have the male coaches reacted to having a Women’s Tennis Coaching Association?
There are two sides to our mission, one is to work together with the leading male coaches working with female coaches and the other is to have more female coaches at the elite level. Some of the male coaches were a little bit confused at the beginning because the thought the association was only for females. When I told them that the association was for coaches of females they were very excited to work together. I think that if more sports had a 50/50 coaching staff, the overall levels would really go up as you would get some different perspectives. Part of our association will specifically focus on getting more female coaches into high performance coaching. That is something we will do over the next few months.
When it comes to coaching certifications around the world, do any of them focus specifically on coaching females?
Not that I am award of. This was one of the very important areas that Nicole, Ann and I had identified when we sat down and looked at how we felt that the WTCA could facilitate improvement in women?s coaching. Our WTCA Ed representative is international speaker and former Tennis Australia national selector Emma Doyle. Emma has so much experience in education and communication and we are confident she has the ability to lead us in having a huge impact on the international tennis world!!
Can you tell us some of your achievements as a coach?
My biggest Achievement as a coach is forming the WTCA. I have had great success working with professionals with 4 of them winning multiple titles. Even though it was a thrill to work with Samantha Stosur for 3 years and seeing her win 3 grand slams and the tour championships, I would rate the bigger picture impact on different players as my most exciting on court achievements. My junior players that still call me when they are playing college tennis and the fact that 4 years ago Alexa Glatch she told me she was on the brink of giving it away and she’s still out on tour right now and loving it more than ever ? that?s a real achievement.
What advice would you give other female coaches wanting to work on the professional tour?
Please get in touch with me if you need to know anything. I think one of the things really lacking in professional women?s tennis coaching is lack of strong leadership by top female coaches. Together with my board, we are going to make a difference. The number one thing any coach needs is a great mentor, somebody that continues to push them and help them grow. The WTCA is here to assist anybody who wants to further their coaching in women’s tennis. We have extensive resources and it doesn’t matter what level of coach you are we here welcome and help everybody