Coach long enough, and tennis starts to look different. Coach as long as Arvind Aravindhan, and you see a completely different game.
For more than 30 years, Aravindhan has been the Director of Tennis at the Julian Krinsky School of Tennis at the Gulph Mills Tennis Club. He also has playing and coaching experience at the ATP Tour level, even further changing his perspective while watching a match.
“I think for me, and maybe for most coaches, we see the game a bit more like a science,” he said. “Fans tend to see it more emotionally. As someone who has been on both sides of it, I see it a bit more objectively.”
This includes everything from serve patterns to on-court tendencies that players have in certain situations. As a coach, Aravindhan says, you see things coming.
“It’s a probability game in a lot of ways,” he said. “My daughter, Priya, is a tennis player. She likes watching with me because we see it differently. It makes for a great conversation.”
Arvind and Priya have had dozens of those conversations in recent years. They have now traveled together to all four majors, including the Australian Open earlier this year. He said he is blessed to travel so much with her. Aravindhan shares a lot of this knowledge with the many players he coaches, including his Junior Team Tennis teams. He often takes his students to pro matches, especially during the US Open.
“It’s been awesome to educate them on what the pro players do on site,” he said. “They see the work the pros put into preparing for a match, and everything that gets done before getting on the court. It brings about a lot of aha moments.”
Regular players can learn a lot from watching the pros, he added. Some of the biggest takeaways?
“These pros make mistakes just like your 3.5 or 4.0 player does,” he said. “No matter what level, tennis is a sport about managing mistakes. Once a player gets a good understanding of what he or she can and can not do, they are going to play better.”