It would take several podcasting hours to learn all we could from Geoff Macdonald.

He has coached at LSU and Duke and has spent the last 26 years as the head women’s coach at Vanderbilt. He has won a lot of college dual matches and an NCAA team title and has also seen several players go on to see success on the WTA tour.

Since Macdonald joined the Vanderbilt staff in 1994, the Commodore tennis program has developed a reputation for rapid player improvement, strong commitments to coaching, and unmatched excellence on the court and in the classroom.

He has long been considered one of the brightest and most interesting coaches we have in the college game and always has some interesting insights every time we speak with him.

In this episode, we cover what coaches should consider when moving from one head coaching position to another, his views on player development, and the skills the next generation of college coaches will need to be successful. This conversation took place before he changed roles with long time assistant coach Aleke Tsoubanos. This type of role change may seem surprising to some but those that know Geoff well know that he looks at things a little differently than many of the rest of us.  

Key parts of this conversation have been minute-marked for your listening convenience:

  • 02:15 – Why did it make sense for you to move on from successful programs?
  • 04:24 – What factors do you think coaches should consider when moving from one program to another?
  • 05:36 – What qualities and skillset did you bring to the table that facilitate program success?
  • 07:30 – Why college tennis? Why not stay in the private sector or work with professional players?
  • 10:16 – What are some of the elements of your coaching style that have remained with you wherever you’ve coached?
  • 12:37 – Were your coaching techniques a quick switch or did it progress over time?
  • 14:40 – Where do you think your initial coaching methodology developed?
  • 19:03 – What are some of the things you wish you had applied to your program sooner?
  • 21:37 – How do you assist with player development and processes?
  • 23:44 – When you are recruiting players, do you have a system for player development?
  • 28:22 – How do you think your teams continue to get better and believe they are capable as they progress?
  • 32:52 – What has changed for you as a college coach or the college coaching industry and what changes do you anticipate to see in the future?
  • 36:29 – What skills do you think coaches should be learning to move them forward in their careers?
  • 39:28 – How would you encourage coaches to start thinking and developing their own coaching principles?

Rapid Fire Questions:

  • 42:58 – Is there a book that made a major impact on you as a coach?
  • 44:27 – Do you have a favorite drill?
  • 47:41 – Is there one thing you’ve changed your mind on in recent years?
  • 48:16 – Do you have a favorite quote?
  • 51:43 – What is one lesson you hope your players have learned by the time they leave your program?

Coaching Resources

As Dave mentioned in the introduction, the newly redesigned and reformatted ITA Program Health Index is available. Please be sure to complete this!

On the College Tennis Coaches Podcast with Dave Mullins, he and his guests deliver the best tennis information through open discussions. Current coaching topics, trends, guests, and some fun along the way will make this your new favorite tennis podcast. The College Tennis Coaches Podcast hosts various tennis industry professionals for engaging and educational topics.

Subscribe and listen today on iTunes or Spotify!

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