Good afternoon Marcin Bieniek, its a pleasure to have you here today. Firstly, please tell us a little about yourself an your tennis career to date.
I am a tennis coach from Poland. I started coaching at the age of 18 and I fell in love with this profession from the beginning. As a player I saw a lot of areas that my coaches didn’t help me at, so I decided to learn from these experiences and put my focus on specific things to make sure that my players get complete coaching. There are a lot of aspects that coaches can dramatically help players at but it is all about motivation. If you are motivated by right values you will have good results as a coach.
So, you are currently a travelling ITF tour coach. What does this involve on a day to day basis and how much of your time is spent living out of a suitcase?
Travelling with my player is the challenging part. You have to take care of a lot of details that can have a positive or negative impact on your player’s results. It consists of planning, conducting practice sessions, analyzing matches, showing good examples and talking, a lot of talking. You have to also make sure that you are able to quickly adapt to different obstacles and find solutions that will benefit your player. If your player doesn’t see you at your top you can’t expect to have her play their top tennis. At the highest ITF level we travel up to 180 days per year so there is a lot of time that you are away from home but if you balance it smartly it won’t be a problem for you.
Have you been doing this for a long time? What are the pro’s and con’s of your life on tour and what changes would you make if any?
I am finishing my first year with top ITF player and I am happy with the achieved results. We jumped from around 400 ITF to 120 ITF in 10 months so there is definitely visible progress. While travelling a lot you have to meet a lot of positive and negative situations so it is important to learn from each experience and keep going forward. About the pro’s one part is visiting many places. As a coach I was able to visit countries like Japan, Israel, Ukraine, Qatar, Morocco, Algeria, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Colombia and few more. It is also a great opportunity to meet new friends, learn from other coaches and players and also to discover cultures and different perspectives. Of course like with any position there are also some challenges. Changing time zones and climates, going through performance ups and downs, being away from family are factors that can have an impact on coaches motivation. It is crucial to know how to balance practice schedule at home and tournament travelling to make sure that you get the most of each situation.
Tell us a little about your current player. Whats her name, ambitions and what future does she have in the game?
Currently I am working with a Polish female player. Her name is Ania Hertel. She is a talented junior that likes to play offensively. She has potential to be a top junior and a solid WTA player but there is still a lot of work to do. I would like her to play junior Grand Slams and then make a successful transition to the WTA world in the next few years. If she will be patient there is a big chance that these goals will be achieved.
I see you also run an online coaching website called Tennis Island. Tell us a bit about this and how do you find the time to run both businesses together?
This is my passion. I created Tennis Island (http://tennisisland.us) because I want to help people around the world. I have my experience and knowledge so I would like to make sure that these valuable resources are not wasted. That is why I created a website where people can have all they need to improve their own game. Is it hard to run both businesses together? It is not easy:) When I am at tournaments it is normal for me to get up at 6am and work on some updates, write articles and make some promotional stuff. Between the matches I have to also make sure that I respond to people who are my clients. But this hard work is really rewarding. When I hear from people how my videos or drills helped them to improve their own game, I can’t ask for more.
Finally, you are a young coach with a lot of experience gathered already. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? May your priorities have changed in that time?
Yes I am not old yet:) I am 26 right now and I already did some things in my professional life. I believe in continuous learning so that is why I was working both in Poland and in USA. Additionally I am learning every day by watching videos, reading books etc. I was also honoured to be a a speaker at Tennis Coaching Symposium in Hilton Head Island. But it all comes from hard work. Everything has to be earned. Do I have prioritites? Yes, I would like to move forward, be happy with my coaching life and help players achieve their dreams. We will see what time will bring but I am positive about my future.