Inspirational coaching lesson for Daria Kasatkina

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Tennis is an individual sport. However sometimes a match is not only just won by the player: the coach can play a key role. They can motivate their player to focus more and give momentum and the necessary boost when things are not working in the player’s favor.

Daria Kasatkina was in this complicated situation during the 2018 final in Moscow.

As the defeat gets closer, the state of mind, even that of a Champion can fall apart. Positive feelings give way to negative feelings. It is therefore the right time for Philippe Dahaes, the Belgian coach of the player, to start talking.

 

1/ LISTENING

"What are you thinking about?” Philippe Dehaes asks immediately.

Because the first thing a player in distress needs is to be able to empty their mind, evacuate the frustration, and find an attentive ear in front of them.

The coach must then listen to their player, understand them to better guide them.

 

2/ FOCUSING ON THE POSITIVE

 "Listen to me, we'll find a solution," continues Dehaes.

The experienced coach knows it: if the match has to switch, it will be thanks to Daria’s mindset. If she gets frustrated and stays in this negative spiral, the match is over.

He must breathe new life into it. A positive momentum. A surge of clarity.

Dasha, listen to me, this match is not over yet. If you think it's over, we change jobs you and me, and I do not want to change my job. I want to stay here, I want to win this title with you.
Philippe Dehaes
Professional coach

3/ REPEATING THE BASICS

With a refreshed state of mind, there is more room for tactics! How to invert the trend? How to stop being dominated?

Because the stake seems to take precedence over the game, Daria makes many unusual mistakes and loses her clarity.

So, Dehaes offers her simple and reassuring patterns that she can understand and apply immediately to regain confidence.

"On the serve, only kick on her backhand and her body, 2 only options. You never serve on her forehand again, OK? For the returns, you play them all in the center and then you play on her backhand. You'll play all the points in the same way, is this clear? All points the same way!"

A clear tactic that liberates, in part, the tortured spirit of the player at this crucial moment

Daria Kasatkina WTA tennis player

4/ MOTIVATING

Dehaes knows it will not be easy to win. But he can count on one thing: the pride of his player and her strong personality.

"Dasha, listen to me, this match is not over yet. If you think it's over, we change jobs you and me, and I do not want to change my job. I want to stay here, I want to win this title with you."

Sincere words, pronounced by staring at her in the eyes. Words that restore hope in a deep moment of doubt.

A mad hope, and a new energy, transmitted by his last electric words:

"Prove yourself that you can fight to the end! This is the challenge of your young career.

Look at the score, look at the situation. And now, do it!"

 

The result? Daria Kasatkina will finally win this match 2/6 7/6 6/4.

She triumphed at home in Moscow to clinch her second career title, and enter in the WTA Top10 for the first time.

So congratulations Daria ... and thank you Mr. Dehaes!

Daria Kasatkina - Chamoion tennis Player