Sam Sumyk Interivew (Victoria Azarenka’s coach)

April 8, 2012

I recently had the chance to chat with Sam Sumyk – Victoria Azarenka’s coach – at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA.

This interview was a lot of fun and I learned a great deal from Sam. I particularly liked his point about the similarities between the pro and recreational games – how we all have to deal with “the same things.”

After you watch the interview please leave a comment and let me know what part of the interview you found most insightful!

  • Fmokamura

    Great interview . I’ve enjoyed a lot. Basically, we all have our demons in court. In women pro tennis we see more often situations close to what happens to rec players like when your good serve just vanishes on key points or when you blew up a 5×1 lead.

  • Ksd

    Checking your phone during this interview? Really? So unprofessional.

  • steve

    Enjoyed the laid back perspective. Can related to the feel-no feel during a match.

  • guest

    Will is annoyin as always, not letting the poor guy finish his sentences and not appearin to be really listening, but I guess I’ll watch it anyway..

  • Martin Baldridge

    Was interesting that the coach of the No.1 woman in the world didn’t himself play the pro tour – great job Will

  • Acferbs

    Hi, great interview, I love cerebral coaches. I have recently got a new coach in my club and is also French, and intellectual, I wonder if it’s a national trait, I like it! What came across is how he does not want o overload the player with too much information , he wants the player to figure it out for themselves. That’s an important point as too many coaches are guilty of information overload and the player gets confused, so you were right to note that a tool box is needed and it’s up to the player to work it out alone . That’s what makes tennis unique and why we love it. Cheers from rainy London, keep up your great work, Charlie

  • Theangs11

    Giving Will the benefit of a doubt, he may be silencing an incoming SMS/text message.

  • Martin Baldridge

    And that you don’t want to create problems which may happen before it actually does – it’s up to the player to find the solution themself.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/mntlblok?feature=mhee Mntlblok

    Nice peek into the inside.  Would have been nice to have heard *why* she chose him to be her coach.  My sense is that he is almost more of a “manager” than a coach, but that could also just be do to his modest way of talking about what he does.  Enjoyed it.  Thanks.

  • Mntlblok

     ”due”, not “do”. :-)

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    So the other coach we interviewed was Sven Groeneveld.  He’s one of the best coaches on the planet (his resume is pretty crazy).

    While he doesn’t use the term “manager” (to my recollection) he basically says that coaches take on many managerial roles.  It’s certainly not what you would expect.  Life for a coach on the pro tour is very different in many respects.  Many (sometimes competing) interests that have to be accommodated.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Martin.  This was an excellent point.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Charlie.  Maybe it is a national trait – I’ll have to ask my buddy Yann Auzoux!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Ya don’t have to be a great player to be a great coach

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Actually address this in my next interview (w/ Sven Groeneveld) – I had my list of questions on my phone.  Paper is so old school! =)

  • Fjp11367

    Will- It was an informative interview….I could see that you guest  was NOT the easiest person to interview……not very talkative -problems finding the right words to express himself  etc……..It seemed  to me you ended up doing  WAY TOO MUCH TALKING…in the interview….Were you nervous????…I would have liked to have seen more of a DIALOGUE  instead of a MONOLOGUE…..You interrupted him quite often to express your philosophy…..I guess you could have asked him more questions – to try to open him up more   instead of expressing your views..continuously…..It was a little of the Charlie Rose- style of interviewing—-constantly interupting your  guest etc….Also looking at yr cell phone- so often   was distracting for the viewer….and maybe for you too…..Isn’t it easier to read questions from  a large piece of paper than from a small electronic device???? I don’t get it….Sometimes technology is not always the practical answer….So I think it is fair to say that there is room for you to develop  your interview skills  further………On a more positive note,   I really enjoyed the recent doubles training video’s with the Bryan Bros……I learned alot…It was superb……the right proportion of comments  from you and the  ’ Bros”..Regards Frank Piccione—(Mr. “OLD SCHOOL”)

  • Paul

    I love what you guys do but a little less of you Will, shorter questions please.
    He’s very good though, thanks. 

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Frank.  Just like tennis skills, interviewing skills aren’t going to develop overnight (doh!).  But I’m obviously still going to do an interview like this because there’s so much great content to share.  Comments and suggestions from you and others will provide me with the guidance I need to improve.

  • Brian

    Its important for club players to play their game, yet have a game plan and some alternative plan B’s in mind to react to “who is doing what to whom” yet remain focused on their own game.  In my experience, the key difference between professionals and amateurs is the number of unforced errors we club players make in a match.  We simply don’t keep the ball on the court.

    I enjoy being my own coach.  Gathering some basic research on my opponents when possible, doing minor refinements to my basic playbook that I “run” off my serve or return. Its mostly in response to a big offensive hitter or someone who runs me around forcing long points on me, (if they can do both, I’m in trouble).  

    I usually don’t respond to what I am doing well or not. I find it too distracting to react to why I am missing shots.  I stick to my game or respond to what my opponent does to me. I find that overanalyzing why my forehands are going long (preparation/footwork/timing) or my kick serves are off (pronation/toss), or my footwork (poor reading my opponent’s preparation), etc. is not time well spent during a match (for me).  I better utilize the time spent during a match paying attention to what my opponent is pressuring me with so that I can minimize its effects and avoid setting him up to use his weapons and tactics on me.A good take away from the interview is to start the match well warmed up: mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.  I’ve thrown away a lot of first sets and matches by playing the first set “cold”  The 7 minute USTA warm-up just doesn’t cut it for preparing one mentally, physically, emotionally, etc. for a match.  I’ve got to do more of the right kind of work in the hour before the match starts (rather than dealing with highway traffic to the court) that indeed actually warms me up without wearing me out.

    Good job.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Brian.  Appreciate you sharing your thoughts.  After you adjust your warm up please let me know how that affects your results.

  • Maury

    Great idea to interview a coach.  Hope you continue with other coaches.

  • David Klarich

    I enjoyed the interview. I found it interesting that Sam was a recreational level player himself, yet became a coach at the highest level. As a high level – but certainly not pro level – player myself, a high school coach from the 70′s through the 2000′s, a PTR certified pro, and a keen observer of the game, I have often wondered if I had the grasp of the game required to coach at the highest level. I often see pros, especially women, play on TV, see areas for improvement, and imagine that I could be of assistance. I also learned that I probably erred often by giving my charges too much pre-match (and during match) advice. My rationale often was that I only had the H.S. players for two months, and I had to dispense as much “wisdom” as possible in the time limited season to get them ready for the season climax- the State tournament. That is a tough balancing act for sure. Dave Klarich 

    p.s. Currently coaching Montana State University-Billings (where I played my college tennis) is Sam’s friend Lew Kosich, who is developing a strong program at MSU-B and having a positive impact on the Billings tennis community.

  • Gabe

    Love all your content and videos, but a little tip next time you have a sit-down interview is to put away all the distractions like your cell phone, maintain eye contact when you nod and acknowledge the guest.  You look very distracted and not in the moment. 

    Keep up the good work!

  • Lesley :)

    Thanks Will, as long as you keep trying to improve you will get there! I too don’t like the cell phone use, but hey you are doing your best, and great that you ask for comments too!

    I liked the mental approach this coach takes and would like more on the mental stuff, especially how not to beat myself!!!!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Cool David!  Thanks for letting me know about MSU-B.  Based on your experience, it sounds like you have a wealth of knowledge to impart to players of all levels.  Appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Had my notes on my phone so that’s why I kept checking it.  Definitely was into the interview – learned a lot from Sam!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Lesley.  Sam’s “mental approach” was really interesting to hear.  Great advice for recreational players, who sometimes are too focused on technique during a match.

  • Lynne

    Will
    It was interesting listening to what the coach had to say. Personally, I would have gotten more from it if he could have been more specific and elaborated on exactly what he does with and for the player. Maybe, if he could have known what you were going to ask, what you wanted to know ahead of time, he could have been better prepared and thus, have given better answers/information.
    Re: your asking too many questions and interrupting, that comes with time and experience. You were probably a tad nervous and uncomfortable with pauses. It’ll come. Actually, it’s quite refreshing seeing your transformation in front of the camera. How many of us commentators could as good a job as you? Relax and enjoy it.
    The most important part of the Interviews should be the content. We are thirsty to learn and improve!
    Thanks!
    Lynne

  • http://www.fitness4london.com/tennis Dominic Londesborough

    Great interview, I think Will did a good job as interviewer, but always room for improvement. Would have been interesting to ask more supplementary questions to dig deeper on particular themes, for instance.

    Other questions of interest would be to ask Sam which particular coaches he admires and why (maybe this was covered but I missed it), and the degree to which he uses visualisation techniques with Victoria.

    The best insights I got from this interview were the importance of “feeling good” on court, and also not burden the player with information overload, but to let Victoria use her intuition and instincts in particular situations.

    On the issue of losing a set from 5-2 up, that happened to me recently, and it’s mostly down to mental bugs (thinking the wrong thoughts, not keeping your composure and focus). So easy to get lazy when 5-2 up, and assume you can cruise over the finish line. Big mistake!

  • Johnmaud

    Did he just got let go????  What’s wrong with her? she looses a match and takes it on her coach??  I wont  give her my vote from now on!!! He will sure wont have any problem finding another JOB!!! 

  • CMN

    I was happy to hear, ” Don’t create a problem, where there is none.” My problem has ALWAYs been quieting my mind, less or no chatter. I always OVER analyze.  I have been told to KEEP IT SIMPLE, by my partners.
    Sam was very matter of fact, and easy to listen to. Thx, CMN in Gulf Breeze, FL.

  • Bruce

    Hi will great interview , my son used to play junior tennis and wished I had seen this video then as I think I overloaded him with info instead just making him feel confident , it’s a real shame as all i wanted was to help him, he has an undiagnosed illness so doesn’t play anymore but maybe one day if he gets better and plays again I will definitely be using what i have learnt in this video. thanks again.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    I think she just added Amelie Mauresmo to her team

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Ya that was a key point right there – very very good advice

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Bruce,

    Sorry to hear your son isn’t well – I wish him a speedy recovery!  Yes, overloading someone you coach with information is a common problem. It’s a trap we all have fallen into at one time or another so I wouldn’t feel too bad about it.  You had your son’s best interests in mind and that’s what’s most important!

    - Will

  • Thomas

    Enjoyed the interview.  Nice job!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Thomas!

  • KG

    My key takeaways were:

    1. Keep it simple – do not plan for problems before they arise. Do not overload the player as the coach. Arm them with toolbox and empower them to select the right tool on court as appropriate. They are on their own there.

    2. Focus on you, “your feel”, your own comfort level as a player.

    3. Have an overall game plan – and incorporate a small segment on your opponent’s style: weaknesses and strengths. Not the other way around.

    4. Emotions are emotions – no different at pro or club level. Need to be able to manage the mental game

    Interesting – his style is a little different to the Brad Gilbert formula which is very opponent-focused. They are similar in that they both believe in adaptation.

    Will – re smartphones and interview techniques. 

    Suggest to advise people at start that you are using the smartphone to prompt the questions. 

    Share the questions ahead of time with interviewee so interviewee is prepared. If possible ask audience in advance what questions they would like to ask coaches, players etc.

    Might be worth asking more open ended questions and probe further if the interviewee keeps answers short and sweet. eg: “Why do you feel this way, Sam….?” “What’s a recent example of this….”

    Hope the above helps.

  • Steve

    Wonderful interview.  As a long time tennis viewer & recreational player, this is focusing in on the type of content I crave.  I thought Sam’s responses on the Match Day process were the most illuminating, demonstrating that it’s the players personal approach & mentality that needs the support.  As an aside, in the future, I would love to hear more about how players & their teams approach injuries, particularly the ones that take them off the tour for any length of time.

  • Stuart

    Hi Will
    Good job. The bit that stood out for me was near the end when Sam said he thought that both top pros and rec players share similar issues and problems on the court albeit at a different level, i.e. backhand not feeling great today. As he said, we are all human and display similar emotions to blowing leads and hitting great shots…they’re just doing on a wildly different stage

  • Amy

    Great interview. I like that Will is the crusader for the club player!
    I enjoyed his last questions about comparing pro tennis with us guys.
    Well done and keep up the great work Will!
    Amy

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Amy!  Ya Sam’s answer to the last question was great.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Yep.  That was an excellent insight.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Steve.  Glad you liked the interview!  I hope to do more of them in the future (will release another one shortly).  Will ask about injury prevent in the future.  Obviously, pros and their coaches know a lot about this as their livelihoods depends on it!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi KG.  Thanks for sharing your key takeaways.  And excellent interview tips.  Filing them away for future interviews =)

  • Ramin

    Hi Will,
    A very valuable segment. So nice to see your (and FYB’s) progression as an analysis engine covering tennis from every aspect and at every level. …and so refreshing that you have the humility to invite open feedback and criticism to keep improving your own skills at interviewing and presenting. FYB has come a long way in a short time. Your efforts are very much appreciated – please keep it up! Ramin (Albany, Western Austalia)

  • Johnmaud

    Forgot to tell you that it was a very interesting interview! keep doing it!!!! merci beaucoup!!!

  • Lee

    A tad long but some interesting stuff. My guess is that most of your “readers” are in the categories to which you most often refer—-juniors and rec players (often pigeon holed into the “35″ age box). I am 68, play ITF Seniors tournaments mainly in Australia, and have represented Australia at the World Seniors Champs overseas several times over recent years. My points are to reassure juniors and “35″ rec players that serious competitive tennis does exist well beyond 35 and to reveal that we older players still experience the same situations and emotions on court as you younger players do and as we did when we were your age—-those things don’t go away! Tennis is a sport for life and we can keep on learning whatever our age. 

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks will do!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Lee.  Thanks for sharing.  Was in Australia several months ago @ the Aussie Open – really enjoyed it and look forward to going back next year!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Ramin!  So much of our evolution has been driven by the feedback from our audience.  Please keep it coming!

  • Alfredo Estrada

    Thanks a lot Will for this segment. Sam Sumyk has done a great job with Vika. I find particular interest in the fact that he adapts his coaching style to suit his ward to bring out the best in them. Hope to see more of these kind of interviews. More power

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Alfredo!  Looking forward to doing more of these.

  • Kathleen Valentini

     I agree with your post; the last part of the interview really spoke to me relative to what happens to us on the courts does happen to all tennis players no matter what level. I do think though that confidence in all that practice & competing obviously gives the pros an advantage to overcome the obstacles compared to us rec players. I enjoyed his viewpoint very much as a past rec player who pointed out the common ground. Nice.

  • Dee

    Thanks Will, i enjoyed the interview, personally i would be interested in hearing from pro player coaches, to elaborate more on strategy or tactical plays (tool bag) against their opponants etc, plans A, B & C… Im really looking forward to many more, so keep them coming:) Cheers..   

  • Topspinwilly

    Will thanks and yes very insightful!  

    A friend seemed almost up-set when he saw a bit on tv when Brad Gilbert asked Isner what he did to prepare for the match that day…Indian Wells…Apparently John said basically …I don’t or didn’t prepare. Well what sounded amateurish and non-caring (to my friend) needed a less judgmental mind to understand Johns position.  I know Isner is smart and good and there had to be a reason. I didn’t know what it was, now I probably do. Great stuff, keep it up.A fan, of yours and all other aspects of tennis, And thanks to Sam for sharing. William, Vancouver & Palm Springs

  • Mary

    Thanks for offering this interview. I found it really valuable. I liked how positive Sam is (what a nice guy) and how he has confidence in his player to use the best tool at the right time.

  • Edstgeorge

    Great interview , suggestion talk less and listen more without the little interuptions , love your site

  • Javi005

    this guy is nutzzz, i LOVE him!

  • Mlbobrow

    Good interview and interviewing technique- keep it up!

  • Its_hobbs

    Great interview by Sam. Just a suggestion for Will to stop paraphrasing.

  • Coach K Pat

    Great interview.  High intelligent questions and better yet the sequence they were asked.  I’m a coach and the best tip I learned from this is don’t give problem scenarios to kids before they happen.  Love the tool box example.  Keep up the great work!  Looking forward to more videos such as these.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks coach Pat!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Mary.  Ya Sam is a really good guy and great coach.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks William!  Yes I think John took the same approach Sam takes with Vika.  He prepared to play his game, knowing that if he was playing well he’d have a great chance to win the match.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Dee!  Will keep at it =)

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks!

  • Luciano Pérez Cerra

    Great interview, it is very interest to recreational players like me to know about how pros do there work. 

    pd: joke: if anyone sometime do a movie of Victoria Azarenka, please tell john penn to play her coach Sam :D

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Luciano!

  • Swissv2

    Will, great interview as always! It’s awesome you are able to show us common folk a bit of the world of pro tennis that we are unable to experience ourselves. Love it. I found it fascinating that Sam has a very good understanding of his player’s psychology; in her game, it is confidence that wins her matches.

    I do have a recommendation – make sure you play the role of the interviewer, not the “co-coach”. What that means is; while your interview is structured very well on the points you want to cover, it would be better do paraphrase the coaches thoughts afterwards then right there on the spot, which interrupts the coach’s thoughts. That way, you will give them the opportunity to open up and talk more. The interruptions in the middle of Sam’s sentences (i.e – saying “uh-huh, yeah, gotcha” etc.) can be distracting to the viewer. A good interview tip is to nod silently. We fans of FYB already know you have a ton of knowledge about tennis!

    Quick question for you: how were you able to get to talk to Sam?

    Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Swiss.  Thanks for the suggestions.  I’m trying to strike a balance between interviewer and “co-coach,” because ultimately my goal is to help recreational players improve.

    So it’s a little bit more complicated than “let’s just hear what this guy has to say.”  If I think paraphrasing something here or there will make it clearer and more understandable for a recreational player than I’m going to do it.  That’s not to imply that Sam or other people I interview aren’t clear already – I just think repeating or rewording a particular point makes it “stick” better with the audience.

    Regarding your question, I’ve been making a concerted effort over the past year to gain access to the top pros, coaches, and professional tennis community in general.  As this interview demonstrates, this is a tremendous, generally untapped, resource for recreational players.  So I’m trying to change that =)

  • Swissv2

    You are correct that it is a fine balance, since you have the ability to add to the conversation with your experience and knowledge of the game; just make sure you don’t cut off your interviewee too much :)  It’s kinda like playing tennis – balls in your court, you are talking, balls in the interviewee’s court – they are talking, etc. 

    The flow of questions needs to seem natural and conversational; This way your subject doesn’t feel forced to give you sound bites and may open up a little. Listen. The interviewee might want to use your interview to say something important that you were not expecting.

    All that said, I have to give a big thank you for doing this for us!

  • Dwhyte

    This video with Murphy Jensen is great – simple advice well developed through your comments.  Little practice using the advice will help any doubles players focus and improve…
    Thanks

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    All very good points.  I’m learning =)  Will improve in the future I’m sure… Fingers crossed!

  • Manasi Ramadani

    Thank you for this very valuable information Sam. I recently over to Australia from New Zealand and I always thinks people don’t deal with the same issues I deal with such as heat.

     I alway tell my coach that it is too hot. He tells me everyone deals with the same problems. But I always say that they are used to this or they can cope with it more better than me. I try real hard to fight against heat and wind but most of the time even though I am fighting hard it keeps pulling me back. I don’t know how to react to this when I play hard so it would help with a few tips! From this video I learnt that my coach puts too many things into my brain during a match and that when I play a match I am continuisly thinking about information to remember just in case I come across a point in play that I have to deal with such issues. ThanksManasi

  • AceD’Angelo

    I’m curious what a pro’s “off court” training regimen is like. What time of the year does this take place? Does it consist of a 4-6 week block of time? How many hours a day is devoted to lifting weights, running up mountains, doing speed and agility drills, etc.? Or is this type of training taking place all year round? Or do they “play” themselves into shape with just intensive on court practices?  Will, next time you interview a pro coach, please ask these questions. Thanks.

  • Ggclark1973

    His comments about not planting thoughts of problems before they occur is very applicable to doubles partners.

  • TonyJ

    Will – many thanks to you and Sam for sharing some insight into the pro tour.  Great perspective on pros as well as hackers experiencing the same emotions and roller coaster ride during a match

  • Joerg

    Hi Will, as always thanks for your interesting videos and – as in this case – interviews. All I have seen from FYB contain some valuable information.
    One important question to Sam I missed: “Why is Vika screaming as if she was stabbed in the back, every time she hits a ball??”
    Honestly, when you were talking about the Aussie Open final against Sharapova, I was not able to follow, because I have not seen this final, because the screaming that both do (and for sure, Sharapova is much worse in this regard than Azarenka), is TOTALLY UNBAREABLE!!!

    When will some official finally do something about that???

  • Dan

    Good job.  I agree with the suggestions below on how to make the interview better.  We have to pick on you about something, its because we cant play tennis like you so we have to give you heck.  Tennis envy!

  • Elizabetty

    Thanks. Great interview. I always play better if I have a coach tennis pro by my side. Having psychological support is a great advantage.

  • Mayogal

    Thank you very much for this interview.  Keep up the good work.

  • Bruce

    I am grateful for your interviews.  You do, however talk too much.  Questions like “say more about that”  or “I heard you say” and then repeat it.
    I understand your need to explain what someone is saying to you but I believe your job is to have the person be a little clearer and ask them another question.  You interject yourself into the conversation too much and actually wind up not letting the pro explain themselves.  Possibly, it would help for you to go over the interview with Sumyk to hear what I am talking about.  Again, I enjoy your single lectures and the stuff you have done with the Bryan Bros and I hope you take this in the good spirit with which it is offered.  Bruce Ross

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hey Bruce.  Of course – appreciate the feedback!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hannibal-Garza/100000271181302 Hannibal Garza

    cool comment at minute 15.  it really helps, sometimes I create solution to problems I don’t know that are happenning. cool video

  • Its_hobbs

    Thank you for the effort to bring us the interviews. However your interviewing technique has to improve. Besides the obvious fact that you talk and paraphrase too much (now i fast forward the video to skip the part you are talking and realise the actual interview video is actually quite short), I think many people are irked by your attitude towards the coaches. Do your homework and get your interview questions ready instead of looking at your hp while they are talking and uttering yes, ok, right….. without even looking at the person. Its downright rude. These world class coaches are so humble and willing to give up their time to talk to us, lets reciprocate by giving them the due respect.

  • Its_hobbs

    Thank you for the effort to bring us the interviews. However your interviewing technique has to improve. Besides the obvious fact that you talk and paraphrase too much (now i fast forward the video to skip the part you are talking and realise the actual interview video is actually quite short), I think many people are irked by your attitude towards the coaches. Do your homework and get your interview questions ready instead of looking at your hp while they are talking and uttering yes, ok, right….. without even looking at the person. Its downright rude. These world class coaches are so humble and willing to give up their time to talk to us, lets reciprocate by giving them the due respect.

  • Nnzz

    I agree with ITs_hobbs, as a shrink that does a lot of profiling your on camera presence and interview style made me cringe.  You have to remember that your are talking to a French man and like many Europeans you have to be more respectful, and slow down the whole interview.  You should have had a drink ready for your guest, not just yourself.  Make good eye contact, appear interested, put away the damn smartphone and RELAX and listen to what he has to say rather than commenting every 10 seconds.  After your are done spending an hour or so with him, you can edit the interview.  

  • Janice

    I thought this was a great interview, Will. Sam’s English skills are a bit limited so I liked having you help him and paraphrase with more extensive vocabulary to better define his points. I think he may have also been a bit nervous and camera shy. I really don’t see what difference it makes if you get your notes from a smartphone rather than a teleprompter or sheet of paper. It was a casual conversational interview not 60 Minutes.

  • Frank

    Will interviews Sam or 
    Will engages in monologue with occasional interruptions by Sam to allow Will to sip at his drink

  • Frank

    Terrible interviewer. Look at the body language. The French dude is open, expansive, makes good eye contact versus a closed style by the interviewer. Will seems to want to dominate the verbal exchanges. Feels like Will wants to be the interviewee not the interviewer. Plus Sam’s English was more than adequate; most of Will’s add-on comments were unwarranted. Good news is that Will can only get better.

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