Getting Started on the Pro Tour by Becoming a Hitting Partner

Feb 23, 2018
Mark Gellard / Contributor
Hitting partners are an excellent way for aspiring coaches to get their foot in the door. Particularly common on the women’s tour, they are primarily used to help organize practice courts, get rackets strung, pickup balls, scout opponents, find practice partners and of course hit when needed.


Immediately upon my graduation I sent out several emails to sports agencies, players and academies in the hope of being hired as a ‘hitting partner’. I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Octagon Management who asked me to assist one of their clients (Martina Hingis) with her preparations for the Wimbledon championships. Martina was seemingly satisfied with my initial work as she asked me to accompany her through the remainder of the summer series until the conclusion of the U.S. Open.

This experience was arguably the biggest breakthrough in my coaching career as it gave me instant credibility among my peers. I was the beneficiary of being in the right place at the right time. As a young man, I rapidly realized that becoming a ‘hitting partner’ was an excellent way to establish myself at the professional level. I was no standout tennis player by any means but I was disciplined, hardworking and dedicated which were enough, at the very least, to get me started.

Sports agencies such as Octagon, Lagardere, IMG and TopNotch Management are often in search of hitting partners for their clients (especially for lower ranked ones who are unable to afford a full-time coach). These agencies primary job is to supply their clients with whatever they need to perform optimally whether it be a coach, fitness trainer, nutritionist, or in this case a hitting partner. Familiarizing yourself with these agencies and knowing exactly what they do is an important step for those who desire a career on the pro tour. In addition to sports agencies, the WTA/ATP/ITF are often obliged to…
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