Tag Archives: Tennis Coach

Episode 59: The Best Teachers Listen with Zeb Welborn

The best teachers listen.  Vic Braden is one of the most famous tennis coaches of all-time.  When I interviewed Vic, he said the most important element to being a great coach was listening.  Learn how to be an amazing teacher.

The Best Teachers Listen Zeb Welborn

Zeb Welborn

My first job straight out of college was that of a high school history teacher.  As a teacher, I was so concerned with presenting the material that I never actually took the time to listen to my students to help them learn and grow.  It was not until I became a tutor did I really harness my listening skills to accommodate the needs of my students.  The best teachers are those who listen first and guide students to invest in their own learning.

My first week as a teacher brought about my first test to my students.  I was excited.  I prepared all the material I had taught them and I was eager to see how they did on the test.  They bombed it.  At first, my instinct was to blame my students, saying they didn’t try enough and that they should have studied harder, but in retrospect, I did not listen to them and I did not teach at their level so they could perform well on the test.  It was a valuable learning experience for me because I began to learn how to listen to my students first, teach second and assess their learning when all was said and done.

As a tutor, I worked with Nick who struggled in school.  He perceived himself as lazy, even though he was not and in order to get him to work with me I used my listening skills to help inspire him.  I asked him questions about the things he enjoyed and I tried to incorporate those into my lessons as much as possible.  Slowly, Nick began performing better and through continual listening and readjustment, Nick began to perform better in school.  Listening drastically helped my tutoring ability.

Vic Braden is probably the most famous tennis coach of all-time.  He’s met presidents, instructed the worlds best tennis players and is revered by everyone who has any knowledge of the history of the game.  In talking with Vic on the Defining Success Podcast, I learned quickly that the skill he thought was the most important to his coaching career was listening.  He listened first and came up with action plans second.  If the greatest tennis coach of all time thinks listening is important to coaching, don’t you think it should be important to you as well? Sales is something that is outside of my comfort zone, but every time I make a sales presentation, I learn so much just by listening.  I’ve also learned that many of the mistakes I’ve made come from not listening well enough.  Each time, the potential buyer explains their needs and it was up to me, as a salesman, to listen, pick up on those needs and then use my product as an opportunity to solve their problems.  But, sometimes, I focused more on what my product offered and the values it could bring in a general sense . . . rather than solve their specific problem. The listening skills I learned as an educator and a tutor has helped me in uncountable ways throughout my life.  I’ve learned to become a better teacher and can sell my services much better once I truly listened to what my potential customers were saying rather than what I thought they wanted from me.  The best teachers listen, truly understand and then offer their assistance as a peer.  The next time you find yourself wanting to educate someone on a topic of interest, ask them questions, listen to their responses and respond as if you were them.

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Episode #7 – Listen and Be a Great Teacher | Vic Braden from VicBraden.com

Teaser: Vic Braden is one of the most famous tennis coaches of all time and has written over five books on the subject. As tennis legend, Jack Kramer, once said, “One Vic Braden is worth a lot of champions in helping the sport. The [John] McEnroes, [Bjorn] Borgs, [Jimmy] Connors, they’ve been great. But I don’t think any one of them has created the interest in the sport Vic has.” Be sure to listen to the story of Vic Braden when he lost to Bobby Riggs while he was tied to an elephant.

Thank you for visiting the Defining Success Podcast.  Please download, subscribe and rate our podcast on iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/defining-success-podcast/id619459909 Thanks for listening!

Vic Braden

Vic Braden

Recap: 

One of the things Vic enjoyed most about playing tennis was that it gave him an opportunity early on to travel to different places.

Being a good coach is being a good listener and knowing what you’re teaching.   Most coaches talk to much and listen to little.

Vic has been involved in so many things and one of the things he’s most proud of is teaching blind children how to hit a tennis ball and Vic would call out a number and these children were able to play tennis.  Vic loves working with special needs children.

Vic’s biggest concern was that he cared very little about money and didn’t save much because he was too busy helping others.

One thing that Vic thought helped him the most was being a licensed psychologist and the skills he learned as a psychologist has helped him to become a great coach. You need to study how the brain works and why concentration levels vary.  A person would have to be willing to do a lot of research.

Students can find answers to anything they want and when parents have a problem with their computer now a days they ask their 8 year old student to fix it.  Vic recently began putting students who showed interest in tennis and they taught them how to be tennis coaches.  Not only do these young children teach better than most coaches, but their game begins to develop stronger because they are paying attention to detail.

Vic would like you to share his story with others.  He started junior medical ambassadors as doctors are training students about the danger of diabetes and obesity and they teach classrooms about the those dangers and Vic will be making a movie of it that will be available to schools across the way.

If you’re interested in helping Vic Braden to help fund his programs to help students across the United States please visit VicBraden.com and share this podcast episode with your family and friends.

Engaging Discussion Questions:

  • What is the best way for students to learn?

Links to Great Stuff:

  • VicBraden.com – “I feel lucky to have played a small part in the sports world. Looking for creative ways to help people play their chosen sport better, and sooner, has provided me with plenty of excitement and new knowledge. Though I still feel we’re in the “Stone Ages” on many fronts, that will change because there are so many fine researchers generating new projects. In addition, there is evidence that the many disciplines involved in understanding sport are beginning to cooperate on a much higher level….”
  • Vic Braden Books – Vic Braden has written over five books on coaching tennis and continues to be an advocate for the game and the youth who play it.
  • Welborn Media

Success Quotes

  • “I’ve never seen a little elephant who liked playing tennis . . . He would move with Bobby as though he played doubles with Bobby all his life.” – Vic Braden
  • “I have never played an elephant.” – Anita Bryant
  • “Success is when you’re happy with what you’re doing and happy with the results.” – Vic Braden

Special Requests

Vic Braden

Vic Braden

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