Monday, 25 September 2017

'A POINT OF VIEW' ( PART 2 )

I will continue to dissect every part of tennis as best I can and in particular the coaching side of the game because I am continually handed 'free' dialogue by the Industry itself.
The reason why I have always had a dig at the Industry we call 'tennis coaching' is because I don't believe it is run by our Governing Body Tennis Australia with any real thought. TA make bucket loads of money each year yet the way in which they choose to spend it leaves a lot to be desired.
The funding issue is beyond comical because it keeps topping up the bank accounts of current and ex players who really don't require it or more to the point, don't deserve it.
Former Aussie Tennis Pro Richard Fromberg just recently had a bit to say on his site in regards to Tennis Australia.
"In my opinion, tennis in Australia is in desperate need of some major structural changes. The sport is far too expensive for most families".........
That was just part of a recent post from Frommie.
He's very correct.
One thing I have always stated on this site of mine is the fact that tennis coaching is a 'free for all' of epic proportions where nothing is regulated and nothing is sacred, nothing is off limits.
I believe TA are responsible for this.
Recommended private lesson fees.
Tennis Australia recommends that Tennis Australia coach members charge between $60-$80 per hour (inc GST) for a one hour private lesson. The experience and qualification of the coach will impact on the hourly rate charged. This price range is a recommendation only. The individual coach member is free to determine what hourly rate to charge for private lessons.
TENNIS AUSTRALIA

So why is this TA ? Who came up with the price for a one on one hour session and why is it that an individual can charge what he or she likes ?
Frommie is correct, the sport is too expensive for most families so what do they do ? They steer their child to AFL or Basketball. It's why the success rate of tennis is minimal because of the minimal numbers playing due to the cost, pretty simple really.
I have stated in the past on this site that tennis coaching needs to strictly be held at tennis clubs and not schools because of the fact that tennis clubs need to be THE place to play tennis at. The reason for this is also simple.
If tennis coaches take their programs to schools it will strip the tennis club of future members because if a kid gets enrolled to play at a tennis club right from day one it will become a venue for the future for that particular child.
A school tennis court holds no esteem or future for a budding player. A tennis club requires members to survive. By taking a program to a school just down the road from a tennis club it is taking potential members away from that club all for the sake of 'convenience' though I suppose it's the way of the World now days.
So why does TA allow school programs to take place just down the road from a tennis club ? Not sure, you will have to ask TA that one but as I have stated on more than one occasion, if every local tennis coach took their program to a school instead of the local clubs then how will that build or maintain a tennis club ?
Not once did I ever ask a local school if I could coach on their grounds, though others did, less than ONE KILOMETRE from our tennis club. Did our numbers drop ? Significantly. Do I blame the peanut who asked the school if they could commence before and after school coaching on their courts ? No.
I blame TENNIS AUSTRALIA for allowing it to happen.
Just like TA says things like ''The individual coach member is free to determine what hourly rate to charge for private lessons', it is also fairly obvious that Australia's governing body of tennis is allowing the sport to be run by individuals with no thought for the future of the game, just their pockets.
Nothing is sacred, nothing off limits, as long as TA receive their $200 plus per year from their thousands of 'qualified' tennis coaches then each one is free to do whatever they wish to do to run their programs wherever they choose and however they choose.
I explained on this site that a while back each local tennis club in this area received a letter from TA in regards to their competition, the ATPCA ( Australian Tennis Professional Coaches Association ). The letter expressed concern that a competitor had come in to the Industry and was training budding tennis coaches to become future coaches of the sport here in Australia.
So where is the problem TA ?
If your system ruled the courts of this Country then surely you would be churning out champions on a much bigger scale than you currently are. Do I have a point ?
Here's the twist in this rather comical saga.
Certain TA coaches who swore by TA and their programs and who wrote in various newspapers around the State of WA ( which I have read and which I have kept clippings of ) are now paid up members of the ATPCA as well as Tennis Australia.
Interesting isn't it ?
Hypocritical ? Maybe just a little.
I love dissecting this sport. I feel like a Professor at a University cutting open a rat so everyone can see what's inside......
PART 3 TO FOLLOW




Sunday, 24 September 2017

'A POINT OF VIEW' ( PART 1 )

With the local tennis season almost upon us here in 'Sleepy Hollow' I thought I would recap on a few things that have happened over the past five years or so since this Blog of mine was first born.
In fact the very first post that was published on this site was on September 13, 2013 before I edited it a few days later then posted another, exactly five years ago to the day, 25/09/2013. The amount of entertainment I have had over the years with this site cannot be measured on the 'fun meter' and I feel compelled to share a few things with those of you who have tuned in from time to time.
I originally called this Blog 'Glenn Thompson Tennis Technique' as it was an idea to attempt to direct local tennis players to it through various local newspaper ads throughout the course of the tennis season.
It was in a small way an attempt to drum up some business though I have never really been comfortable with self promotion as I am from the 'old school' of the sport where by simply playing the game locally it was enough to gain enough students for a coaching program.
Gone are the days.
I suppose when Facebook was first introduced it was a way for many people and in particular sporting coaches to attract a crowd, to gain 'Likes' which ultimately gained clientele. Funny way I thought at the time of doing things however I didn't even own a computer and I wasn't really interested in all the glossy routines that are as much a part of the Industry now as strawberries and cream are at Wimbledon.
This is what I did, it was what my old coach used to do and probably every generation before him to be more precise.
I played the game.
That's right, I played tennis, I played every local tennis tournament, I played many tournaments away from home also, I played local club tennis on a Saturday afternoon and I played local pennants.
A few weeks before tennis season I would place an ad in every school newsletter to let the kids and their parents know that tennis coaching was on and where it was. I left a phone number, parents called me, we talked, we found a class for Jonny and Lucy, pretty simple stuff.
Playing the game however was where the word really got around, it showed that you were in fact someone who could actually play tennis. I won a few tournaments, I lost many more but all the while I was doing something, I was actively involved in the Industry that we used to know as 'Tennis' which should now be called 'The Business of Tennis'.
'The Business of Tennis' is now something that allows anyone to gain clientele due to the ability of some to promote themselves to such dizzy heights that an oxygen mask is required just to allow them to function like 'normal ' people.
Every coach who ever fed a tennis ball to me when I was a kid could play the game. They weren't all champions yet they were active players, some well into their late 40's and 50's and they all played a steady brand of tennis. No mugs, no 'Facebook Champions', just good solid tennis players who owned an understanding of the sport who were continually gaining knowledge through not only teaching but more importantly, playing it.
There is no substitute for playing tennis and personally I felt that by being an active tennis player it would be good for business, which it was. Kids and parents would come down to watch the occasional local event which inspired us all to play well, to show them you could 'walk', not just talk, just as my past tennis coaches did.
It was how the Industry back then worked.
In 2015, two years after I received an 'anonymous' complaint regarding some of the content on this site I changed the name of it to 'Glenn Thompson Tennis View Point' as the person who wrote the complaint ( I know who wrote it ) stated that what I was writing was not acceptable and 'God forbid if any kids read it'.
I found the whole matter to be rather amusing as this person was not happy with the name of my Blog nor the content. Yet at the same time certain things were being written in the local newspaper that were blatant lies regarding certain sports people and their 'achievements'. 
( I proved the information to be wrong. It was falsified to make the players and the coach look a whole lot better than what they actually were ).
So while I was writing content that upset some viewers at least it was factual information as opposed to fictional content that was written to promote a business and a coach.
Anyhow the reason I changed the name of this Blog was simple. It was no longer a site to promote my coaching as such, it was more a site to express my views on the sport as I was not really at all comfortable with promoting my coaching program which at the time saw over 100 kids come through the gate each week. 
I was more comfortable with giving my views on tennis no matter whether those views upset anyone or made them happy. It was simply a 'POINT OF VIEW'. It still is.
Some people read it to find fault, some send me comments stating just that, they aren't happy with what I write. Sorry you will have to excuse me but I couldn't really give a shit. 
I write because I know tennis reasonably well, I still coach and I still play. In fact at age 48 I contested two local events to close out the season in April.
I wrote about those events on this site though it was not to self promote. It was to express my thoughts on playing the young guys at an age where realistically at 48 I should not be able to trouble the score board.
I still play because if I play I will learn and if I keep learning then so will the students who I teach. I do not rely on Facebook 'Likes' to gain clientele, never have, never will.
I am from the old school of tennis where the guys who coached could still play the game and who were not afraid of failure, more so they were afraid of losing touch with the dynamics of tennis if they became a 'spectator'........
PART 2 TO FOLLOW..........




Monday, 18 September 2017

'MORE OF THE SAME'

If you have followed this silly site of mine you will know by now that I have no time for Lleyton Hewitt, can't stand him, Australia's most arrogant ever tennis professional, no risk at all.
Anyhow enough of the compliments. 
There are some striking similarities to what happened way back in 2001 in Melbourne which I wrote about in 2015 and which I am reposting after this little spiel, and what just happened in Belgium.
So what happened in Belgium ? 
Wrong decision, worst decision I have seen in years but it's all 'hush, hush' at the moment as I haven't seen anything written about the selection 'stuff up'. I have only read that Nick complimented Goffin on his play and that 'Thommo' was outclassed by Darcis.
Forget the formalities, let's get to the nuts and bolts of it all, Lleyton Hewitt picked the wrong player to contest the final match in the semi final in Belgium and he should be made accountable.
Jordan Thompson is unproven on clay though I suppose John Millman is also but did you watch Jonny play Goffin in the first match ?? John Millman is in all sorts of form, career best form I would say, following up from his third round effort at this year's US Open where he steam rolled Kyrgios in the first round.
What has Thompson done lately ? He beat Jack Sock in the US Open, a great win, then he lost in the second round to the 82nd ranked Thomas Fabbiano.
His effort a week before however should have been looked at more closely. In Vancouver, Canada, Thommo lost the final of the $100,000 Odlum Brown Vanopen Championship to Cedrik- Marcel Stebe, ranked 128 by the score of 6-0-6-1. 
Effort meter ? Zero.
Thommo is not the real deal, Jonny Millman is, he's a guy who never loses easily, you have to beat him , he will not lose a tennis match, fact.
I have since read that Millman may have been fatigued after his match with Goffin, so what ? Goffin played just as long as Millman, he got up two days later and beat Nick. Jonny would have maybe taken a set to get loosened up but he would have been up for the challenge against Darcis, he would have beaten Darcis.
Jordan Thompson would never have beaten Steve Darcis because he is not in his league on the dirt. Darcis played 5 sets against Kyrgios, he was no doubt tired, Millman would have kept him out there a lot longer than Thompson ever would have.
Millman would have worn Darcis out.
The selection is mind boggling, just as it was in 2001 when the 'Dream Team' of Hewitt and Rafter were put together and they failed miserably in their loss to France, a decision that cost Australia the Davis Cup.
Lleyton Hewitt should not have played the doubles in 2001 and he should have learned by past selection mistakes that you go with form, not your heart. 
Todd Woodbridge needed to play the dubs in 2001, wouldn't have mattered who with, yet he was overlooked by the then Davis Cup Captain of Australia, John Fitzgerald. Nice work Fitzy, what were you thinking ?
Jonny Millman needed to play the final match in Belgium this year yet Lleyton Hewitt thought Thompson was a better choice.
It's about time that the Aussie Tennis hierarchy started making the right decisions........



'A Monumental Blunder' ( written 2015 )

Here's an interesting piece of information for you regarding the Davis Cup final of 2001 played at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, 30th November- Dec 2, between Australia and France. Now you all know my views on Tennis Australia and their lack of faith in their players to win on anything but a grass court but this little chestnut is rather staggering.
It all began at Wimbledon in the same year.
A Frenchman by the name of Nicolas Escude was seeded 24 and took on Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, seeded 5 in the fourth round. Most would have tipped Hewitt to win that particular match but Escude had a rather unique style which was not unlike that of Swede Mats Wilander particularly his backhand which was a magnificently fluent shot.
Escude managed to beat Hewitt in five sets which on paper looked like an upset but anyone who knew just how talented the Frenchman was knew that this win was within his capabilities. The Frenchman went through to the quarters and won the first set off Agassi before losing in four. Let's now fast forward to the US Open of that same year.
Lleyton Hewitt survived a tough five set test in round two against James Blake before going on to beat Roddick in the quarters, again in five, then Kafelnikov in straight and then belted Sampras in straight sets also for the title. Hewitt had hard court form without a doubt. Now let's fast forward to the Davis Cup final of 2001.
The team in Australia comprised of Hewitt, Rafter, Woodbridge and Arthurs. Todd Woodbridge had won his 18th Grand Slam Doubles title with Bjorkman at the Australian Open on hard court in 2001. Todd also had hard court form. Wayne Arthurs made it to the semi finals of the 2001 Australian Open Mens doubles with Zimonjic. So it would be fair to say that Arthurs also didn't mind playing on hard courts.
Pat Rafter had already won the US Open Mens Singles title twice, in '97 and '98. His form on hard court could not be questioned. Rafter in fact won ten doubles tournaments over the course of his career though four of those were with possibly one of the greatest doubles players of all time, Swede Jonas Bjorkman. ( I reckon I may have had a chance to win at doubles with Bjorkman on my side of the net ). Jonas was a doubles genius and he did not require a fellow doubles expert on his side as he proved in a tournament win with John McEnroe in 2006 when Mac was 47.
I believe only one player in the World could have taken McEnroe out of retirement and won a doubles tournament, that was Jonas. Yes Mac was a doubles expert but he had been in retirement for around 12 years apart from the Seniors tour and that is a huge difference from the ATP Tour.
Sorry I have got off track again, as I usually do.
So the Australian Tennis 'brains trust' decided to lay a grass court over the hard court at the home of the Australian Open for reasons unbeknown to anyone but themselves. The above statistics all pointed to a hard court show down against France in that 2001 Davis Cup final. Yet it did not happen and it backfired big time. There was however another monumental blunder in that particular final that didn't get enough air play at the time yet it was the most relevant issue in the final.
Why did Rafter play doubles with Hewitt when these two were not a proven team and they had never won a title together ? Why also did the issue of Rafter's injured arm not get taken more seriously and why was he not just used as a singles player ? Were the Aussies trying to lose this final ??! Why was Woodbridge overlooked for the doubles when he had been Australia's most successful doubles player in the last 40 or so years and one of the World's all time great exponents of the two on two format ?
Wayne Arthurs was no World beater yet he was more than a handy partner for Woody and surely his semi final showing in January at the Aussie Open was more than enough to put these two together for the pivotal doubles. Apparently not.
So to the final; Escude beat Hewitt again in five sets which proved his Wimbledon win against him was no fluke. 
Rafter held his end of the bargain up with a win against Grosjean in straight sets. The little 'Maestro' as he was known Fabrice Santoro, the French doubles genius teamed with Pioline who really had no doubles form to speak of yet it was not a necessity either. Anyone could have won with Fabrice, he was as clever as Jonas on a doubles court, a genius in fact. He was the one player in that doubles match that made the difference.
The Aussies did not do their homework on this final and the amount of blunders in it were nothing short of almost comical. Hewitt did end up taking the tie to the final match with a straight sets win over Grosjean in the first reverse singles yet Rafter could not play the final match due to how bad his arm was after the doubles so Arthurs played it. Escude won that in four sets as everyone expected him to, he was a class above Arthurs who was not a proven singles player.
The whole set of circumstances did not make sense.
Surely if Rafter had issues with his arm then he shouldn't have played the doubles but John Fitgerald as the Captain should not even have looked at him for doubles as Woody was the only man who could match Santoro's genius in doubles.
It actually would have made for a great match, Woody/ Arthurs vs Pioline/ Santoro. For history's sake the French won that match in four sets, 6-1 in the fourth, totally outplaying a team in the end who were dubbed 'the Dream Team' at the start of the match. They were anything but.
This Davis Cup final will go down as one of the biggest 'cock ups' in Australian tennis history for all of the above reasons. Someone should have sent Tennis Australia a 'please explain letter' back then and asked for some answers.
Pity I didn't know how to type back then..........

Sunday, 17 September 2017

'I REITERATE'

For anyone who has just tuned, it's like this, sometimes I get a bee in my bonnet regarding certain issues in tennis and in particular tennis coaching. I believe I may be stating the obvious however it appears to be a business now way more than anything else as coaching programs all over the Country look at more ways to make $$ with less time given on court.
The two posts that I have recently written are in regards to the time, or rather lack of time that is offered to students of the game as 40-45 minute sessions are now the norm yet the cost for these sessions has not dropped, they have in fact increased.
Sort of like how Beer Companies now usually fill a 330 mil bottle with amber fluid instead of the old traditional 355 mil bottles. ( I strictly only drink Corona now days out of principal ). Yet Beer has increased in price despite the reduced amount, interesting isn't it ?
The old way of coaching was always an hour per session, it's how the World operates, people get paid by the hour, not so with tennis coaches, they now offer less court time than ever, not sure why, maybe some parents should ask the question.
Would I ever offer a 40-45 minute session ? Yes I would if the kids were very raw and very young however I would not have more than four students in the group as that amount of court time is not long enough to really get into the nuts and bolts of a tennis shot unless the numbers on court were minimal.
My argument is this, many coaches will have as many as 10 kids in a class, I have even counted up to 15, how is that value and how does a kid learn with that many in the class ? The answer is this, they don't learn and all that the parents are doing is filling the pockets of a coach with cash, money for jam. 
Ten kids, $15 to $20 each, $150 to $200 for 40-45 minutes. Bit silly ? Weak as piss.
The recent posts on this site 'The Times' and 'Comedy Routine' take a swipe at the modern day tennis coach who makes good money yet offers very little in the way of court time.
It's almost tennis season in the land of Oz, time for the fun and games to begin..........

Saturday, 16 September 2017

'THE TIMES'.......

When you learn a sport as a child you have to look at the factors that are going to gain improvement and they of course are, 'court time', 'field time', 'group size', 'coaching methods', to name a few.
If a kid is 'dinkum' about a sport then he or she will find ways to improve without it costing their parents an arm or a leg in fees.
When I was a kid I hit a tennis ball on a wall, some days up to four hours, it didn't make me a star however it taught me the basics of hand- eye coordination and it saved my parents money in coaching fees. Not that it was my soul concern at age 11 or 12 however if I wanted to hit a tennis ball I didn't have far to go to the garage wall.
The local tennis club where most of the coaching took place was around ten kilometres away so if I wanted to play tennis it wasn't as though I could be on a court within a couple of minutes, so I improvised. I drew a chalk line on the garage wall and I imagined I was hitting the ball into a tennis court every time I cleared the chalk line, pretty simple stuff.
Not everyone owns a wall to hit a tennis ball against unfortunately however 'totem tennis' ( a ball on a string ) exists as do drive ways where a ball can be thrown to a child to swing at with a racket. There is more than one way to skin a cat or in sporting terms, there is more than one way to develop ability, no matter what age the child may be.
It's all about 'court time' and what you do in that time that creates an ability to strike a ball with consistency.
In one of my last posts on this site I wrote about court time or rather lack of it and how it can be a total waste of time as far as learning is concerned. Of course tennis coaching lessons aren't all about just getting better at tennis as the social interaction amongst kids is priceless for their future growth as human beings.
It all depends however what you want from a tennis coaching session.
Last season I saw some reasonably comical attempts to 'coach' kids at tennis, I won't say where but there were several programs at various locations that failed miserably to give anything back to the consumer, the people who were paying the fees, the kids who were involved.
How can 10 to 15 kids on a tennis court really be coached with any type of structure that will benefit them as far as their ability to learn the game and the finer points that go with it ? Would a 15 minute hit on a garage wall be of more benefit do you think ?
As I say often, 'you do the sums' on how many balls a kid will hit in a 40-45 minute session in a large group as opposed to a 15 minute session on a wall or even a parent throwing a few buckets of tennis balls to a kid in a park to improve their hand-eye.
To reiterate on one of my last posts 'where is the value' ?
To say that many 'tennis coaches' are greedy and full of their own self importance is stating the obvious and I always place inverted commas either side of 'tennis coach' as many are in fact not what they state they actually are.
They are simply 'ball hitters', people who run kids around with gimmicks and games designed to make their programs look busy. They rake in a lot of cash per session but fail to develop a kid's ability due to their own inability to offer value and a structured lesson that actually works.
Let's look at the obvious here. A parent who goes to work at a 9-5 will probably earn $22 on an average, per hour, maybe $18 after Tax, it's not big dollars, it's hard earned dollars.
A 'tennis coach' who has never actually done a 9-5 will charge perhaps $15 - $20 for a 40-45 minute session of mayhem that will see a kid hit maybe three or four tennis balls then run around and pick those balls up, grab a sip of water, join the line, go again.
How many balls will be struck in a session that has 10 kids on a court ? Would it be 100 do you think ? Would it be that many ? How many kids do you really think can be coached properly in a session that lasts just over half an hour after warm ups, drink breaks, ball retrieving and a final game ? 
If you took a bucket of 25 balls to a park and got a kid to hit four buckets worth would the child be better off ? Easy to answer, if a kid hits 25 balls in a row it will develop way more than what it would in a messy group session that has to have high turn over as far as kids hitting and moving in a short time frame.
Doing the sums on what a 'tennis coach' will make in that 40-45 minute time frame is rather embarrassing when you break it all down but as I have often stated, it has a lot to do with self importance and what this person believes they are worth per hour, or is that per 40-45 minutes ?
If you are going to charge per session what some hard working parents take a complete hour to earn then perhaps groups should be capped at 4-6 players only then I suppose the 'tennis coach' will only make the equivalent of say $150 per hour over the course of an afternoon's coaching as opposed to anything up to $250 per hour which is all too common now days.
If 4-6 kids were placed on a tennis court for 40-45 minutes then I believe there would be a hint of value in the session as there would be time to go through the intricacies of the swing and even have time to look in depth at how to actually hold a tennis racket.
Many moons ago in the age of the 'Dinosaurs' I recall a local tennis coach who's shortest session was in fact 75 minutes and that was for the youngest kids. Was it too long do you think ? Well I suppose it's how you look at it.
Yes there was a warm up game, yes there were drink breaks and yes there was a game to finish that possibly lasted around ten minutes however in between there was almost an hour of coaching.
From memory that particular 'Dinosaur Coach' charged around $8 to $10 per session, 6 students per coach.
That was the Beginners.
Intermediates played for 90 minutes ( from memory once again ) and the Advanced played for two hours.
Now pardon me for stating the obvious but that may just have been some good old fashioned value, in the good old days.
Those were the days before Facebook gave out high profiles to 'ball hitters' and asked parents to work an hour in a real job to pay for a social outing for their child who would have got more value going to the local park with Mum or Dad with a bucket of balls.
Bob Dylan once sang 'The Times, They Are A Changing'.
Oh yeah Bob, you got it..........

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

'THE MODULE'

I am reposting this because I had a conversation with someone just the other day in regards to different styles of tennis. Yes it's important to be 'technically correct' in a sport as complex as tennis however there are many ways to strike a ball.
So what is 'technically correct' ?
( Written a couple of years ago by GT.)

Module, meaning; one of a set of parts that can be connected or combined to build or complete something (Learners Dictionary ).
The Tennis Coaching Module of today is not one that allows for individuality simply because of the fact that the modern Tennis Coach has been taught themselves to teach a certain style. That may just be the era that we live in of course but to me I don't see much in the way of a player being allowed to be 'quirky' with a way of playing that is not glamorous even if it is effective.
Personally from what I have experienced through 35 years of playing and teaching the game I would take my own kids to a 'Dinosaur' of the game to learn the finer points if they were keen to play.
I am referring to the type of coach who would not insist they hit like Novak, Andy, Roger or Rafa simply because those 4 have 'owned' the game for as long as we can all remember.
I believe that tennis should be taught a little bit more like how the serve is, with an individual type of angle on it.
No two serves are the same as far as action is concerned yet the forehands and backhands of the game are hit pretty much to the script of what is written by governing bodies who hand out coaching accreditations.
I like the idea of allowing a student to be unique with their shots because spending too much time on turning them into a clone usually does one thing and one thing only, it drains them mentally in their quest for perfection.
If a third of the time was spent on developing their style and the other two thirds was spent on teaching them how to in fact play tennis then the process of tennis improvement would  become more enjoyable for both the student and the coach.
'I am tired of having sleepless nights about little Jonny, he just can't quite grasp the forehand backswing like I have showed him a hundred times. Even the video analysis on Novak hasn't helped him, I am starting to question whether I can teach the game at all'. Sound familiar ? Every tennis coach has been there with that one.
Would it be that most tennis coaches have too many preconceived opinions on what a player should look like when hitting a tennis ball and not enough ideas on how to perhaps put what skills that player does own into a game that can at least be competitive ?
Has the art of teaching tennis really become one that overlooks the fundamentals of the game ? That of course is getting the ball over the net enough times to enjoy a rally and the cardio workout that goes with it.
Are new students of tennis finding the sport all too hard because they simply cannot hit a ball like a Grand Slam Champion ? If you took the time to notice the many styles of Club players on a Saturday afternoon you will see that some of the rallies are long and adventurous without much style but you will also see the enjoyment on many faces due to their ability to simply get the ball over the net.
You will also notice the age of most of those Club players and it will probably be well into their 50's and 60's and I guarantee you most of those players have never had a lesson. Would it be that their style has come from their own mind and experimentation that was not hampered by someone telling them that their way of hitting was in need of change ?
The module that is tennis in the modern day is one that doesn't have to be complicated yet it is as many coaches will strive for the perfect shot which in reality on most occasions will never happen.
Whether you look like Novak or a frog in a blender when you play tennis one thing is for certain, if you keep getting the ball back over the net, you are a chance........

Monday, 11 September 2017

'COMEDY ROUTINE'

Sometimes in life we get lucky. An ex professional tennis player has come to 'sleepy hollow' to live for a couple of years at least due to work commitments, this guy can play tennis. He's my age, once ranked number 1 in Western Australia for 14's and 16's and ranked two in Australia.
He actually achieved a singles ranking of 360 in the late 80's. And he can still play tennis.
We had a hit on the weekend. What I found possibly more interesting than actually having a hit with this guy was in fact his views on the game back then as opposed to now.
When he was winning State Championships in WA he was in fact being coached for no cost, yes that's correct, no cost to his parents as there were enough players in the system to make money out of. He was coached by one of WA's leading tennis coaches who was also one of the highest ranked players in the State at the time so it was sort of like a Moya/ Nadal type of relationship where the coach was keen to bring the junior up to his level of play, for no fee.
I find that fascinating.
Tennis now days is a big business where every minute of every hour is clocked up on the $$$ meter and nothing is done for nothing, nature of the business.
I recently have seen a few advertisements on various social media sites in relation to term prices for the up coming tennis season. This is what is the 'norm' now days.
Most sessions are 40- 45 minutes and most sessions are priced at anything between $15 and $20. So breaking that down it's like this, most kids will spend around 5 or 6 hours on a tennis court in a school term and it will cost their parents anything from around $90 to $160 per term ( 8 weeks ).
Just stating the obvious here, my apologies, but where's the value ?
A 40- 45 minute tennis session with anywhere from 8 - 10 kids on a tennis court is strictly a money making exercise that looks real busy yet delivers nothing. How can it deliver anything except nothing in that time frame on a tennis court per week after a warm up game, a warm down game and a 'rumour' of coaching in between ?
Is the tennis coaching industry for real with that sort of pricing for that sort of court time ? Well apparently it's all ok, many parents don't really know any different yet scratch their heads after week 8 when 'Jonny' and 'Lucy' have not progressed much past what Mum and Dad have taught them in their driveway in the off season.
Is there a reason for the 'token gesture' from these modern day gurus who's Facebook profiles have them looking way better than what they really are as far as a teacher of the sport of tennis is concerned ? Of course there is a reason. It's called the 'private lesson necessity'.
Half way through most tennis terms with just a few dozen shots being hit due to way too many kids on court with the 'Zen Master' or a junior assistant who knows nothing about how to even hold a tennis racket themselves the light globe goes off.
'Hi I was just wondering how my 'Lucy' will improve her tennis as I know very little about the sport, is it just a time thing ' ?
'Well Lucy has been showing some promise in her group lessons but I would fully recommend a one on one session to get her tennis going'.
'Ok how much for an hour' ? 
Sound familiar ?
Fair dinkum comedy routine that you think would have improved since the 70's however it has in fact deteriorated to such an extent that if a kid wants to get better at tennis it will cost a family a small fortune in hourly fees due to the new breed of tennis coach trying to become rich in the shortest time frame possible.
It is a known fact that tennis sessions have reduced in time yet increased in price over the years due to greed and lack of effort by 'Facebook Tennis Coaches' who wouldn't know value if they tripped over it. 
I told you the story many months ago about the woman who rang me for a lesson while she was on her way around the South West of the State and who had received coaching at every town along the way. The last tennis lesson she had before she hit 'sleepy hollow' was classic stuff to say the least where she had paid $75 for a one hour session. 
I asked her what shot she wanted to look at first, she said backhand, I asked why. She said 'I just can't quite work out what I am doing wrong'. ( Two shots later ) 'There's your problem, it's your grip, I can see it from here. What happened last lesson ? 
'He didn't check my grip, just my swing'.
Interesting isn't it ? 
So if a grip isn't being checked in a one on one $75 tennis lesson for one hour do you think in that 'Zen Master's junior program where a kid spends just 40 - 45 minutes on a tennis court per week after a 5 minute warm up and a 5 minute warm down plus a drinks break that there is going to be a look at the most important part of a tennis shot ?
You do the sums. 
My apologies we are going off track here, like I often do when I start talking tennis.
My point is this, tennis is now a business in many 'coaching' programs, there is less court time than ever before and there are gimmicks a plenty. There are way too many ways the consumer can spend a small fortune on the sport and get very little back from it.
It all comes back to the one thing that seems to be getting worse in an industry that keeps delivering little but charges plenty for the 'privilege' of learning it.......
Self Importance.