Monday, 11 December 2017

'HOLIDAY SEASON'

Yes folks it's that time of year again, holiday season, time for taking a break from everything you do in life, however for some it's 'Business as Usual'.
Just ask the many 'Tennis Coaches' out there who couldn't possibly shut up shop for a week or two due to the 'easiness' of gaining an income while they put their feet up.
I have seen and heard of many rather funny stories over the years regarding 'Assistant Coaches' running programs and clinics while the 'Guru' is away and one thing is for certain, it is not regulated by Tennis Australia. 
In other words, as I state many times on this site and I will once again, it is a FREE FOR ALL.
Anyone can do anything in this Country in tennis which I have proven to be true particularly when I stated that Tennis Australia 'Certified Tennis Coaches' were also aligned to the ATPCA ( Australian Tennis Professional Coaches Association ).
Nothing wrong with it ?
Depends which way you look at it.
If you are receiving funding from TA to manage your programs then why are you also a paid up member of the ATPCA who have nothing to do with TA and in fact write some rather nasty things about each other from time to time ?
You don't do anything that the ATPCA suggests yet you pay around $200 per year to them just so it looks good on your resume.
Bit silly isn't it ?
Anyhow let's get back to the headline.
The 'Assistant Coach' has been around from the beginning of time and some are actually worth their weight in gold, others are simply 'ball hitters', people who can play tennis yet have very little understanding on how to teach the sport yet can get paid around $25 - $30 per hour for simply hitting balls. 
Remember most assistants get paid a flat rate while the 'Head Coach' gets the other half of the lesson cost while he or she does something else with their time.
Nothing wrong with it ?
Depends which way you look at it.
What it does is take the piss out of the Industry itself as the unsuspecting consumer can part with as much as $60 - $80 hard earned for an hour of bullshit from someone who has no idea on how to correct shot deficiencies.
Example.
I met up with some holiday makers around this time last year, friends of friends, which is rather funny when you think about it as I don't have many friends. Anyhow this is what transpired.
We hit some balls.
One parent says to me " What did you just do " ?
What do you mean ?
" You just picked up that 'Tommy' was hitting his backhand with the wrong grip".
Your point is ?
"Well last time we had a holiday coaching session we likened it to a hit up ".
Join the long queue buddy, happens all the time. 
Don't tell me, you got some young guy or girl with all the gear on who looked a million bucks but delivered around $60 - $80 worth of 'brilliance' that had you and your wife scratching your heads about the 'value' of what just happened ?
So the 'Head Coach' was away but young 'Rafael' was recommended by the Head Coach as someone who used to be ranked highly, hits a great tennis ball and 'your child will be in safe hands'.....
Hmmmmmm.
Whether you think I am full of sh.. or not it's like this, it is the biggest problem with tennis in our Country and no one does anything about it. The game is being 'taught' minimally by 'Head Coaches' and extensively by assistant ball hitters who know nothing about tennis.
Head Coaches can only see a certain amount of students per term. In fact I have heard that some kids DO NOT SEE THE HEAD COACH AT ALL during a term and their parents pay the same amount as some who see the 'Zen Master' regularly.
Tennis Coaching is a money making Industry that is so far out of control that no one knows what is the right or wrong thing as far as acceptable tuition and hourly pricing is concerned as there is no blueprint to follow. 
Anything goes now.
If I was to go to ten tennis clubs over the State of Western Australia I may pay 5 different prices and get taught 5 different things on ONE SHOT. 
Who am I being taught by ?
A TA 'Zen Master' or an ATPCA 'Guru' ?
What is the correct way to hit a two handed backhand and why will a 63 year old Coach of 43 years teach me how to hit a ball a certain way and charge me $45 per hour where a 21 year old 'Coach' ( or is that a ball hitter ? ) with fancy clothes who has been in the game '5' minutes will teach me something completely different and charge me up to $80 for the hour ?
Anyone for regulation ?
Fair dinkum comedy routine........


Friday, 8 December 2017

'JUST BRIEFLY'

And once again I reiterate, ( as I do quite often on this site) , I do not believe I am being too hard on Roger Rasheed over my lashing of the pricing of his tennis clinic coming up over the holiday break.
Quite frankly I think it is a disgrace.
Tennis Australia what do you think ?
The price of $50 per student per hour is around the same cost that many tennis coaches charge for a ONE ON ONE lesson for an hour which I suppose is one of the cheaper hourly rates now days. 
The problem with that price I believe is this, it's over priced for group coaching. For a one on one, well that's actually great value now days.
If a tennis coach offers a five hour coaching clinic I believe most parents would expect to pay around $20 to $25 per hour or $125 maximum for the entire 5 hours. If a coach charges that price per student per hour in a group of say 4-6 students, you do the sums on that , nice pay day if you can get it.
$50 per hour, or $250 for the 5 hours is taking the piss, it's unrealistic and it's unaffordable for most.
Remember though with Mr Rasheed, it's TWO DAYS, that's $500.
So what is it with tennis coaching ? Is it the rare chance that a kid may break through the thousands of hopefuls and become a tennis professional ? 
Or is it just simply the fact that there are many coaches out there who believe that their ways of teaching are worth an exorbitant hourly rate which will make them sleep easier at night due to the 'brilliance' they have shared that day ?

Tennis is a sport that requires a rare mind to win consistently at any age , at any level. Forget technical expertise, that's not even half the issue with tennis.
Jimmy connors once stated that tennis is "90 percent mental".
Jimmy would know, he owns a record not even Federer will beat, 109 tennis tournament victories on the World tour. Jimbo was a rarity, a genius at the mind game and far from technically brilliant.
Now there's a guy who could charge $50 per hour in a group lesson.......   
The following is an example of where the game is at now days and if you believe the literature that is dished up then I suppose you will be happy to part with your hard earned $$.

"Greatness is found under extreme pressures. A cornerstone of my coaching is to help you realize how to be at your best, engaging confidence and positivity in these stressful environments. Within the context of sustainability and stability, we work together to create a vision, mapping a pathway to success which includes daily performance milestones in an effort to achieve the desired future outcome."
Roger Rasheed
That's just part of a spiel from the Roger Rasheed website.
Heard it all before ?
I have.
Typical tennis, over priced, self- absorption at it's very best.......

Thursday, 7 December 2017

'I FIND THAT INTERESTING'

I saw an article on the morning news today regarding Bernard Tomic's decision to skip the Wild Card Playoff and focus on trying to make it through the qualification rounds for the Australian Open. It wasn't really big news and it really didn't surprise me however I found the 'highlight' reel during the news article to be somewhat humorous. 
While the huge 'news' was being read there were several 'highlights' of Bernard playing.
Check this out.
In one point he was playing Andy Roddick and they only ever played once, at the US Open in 2012 where Roddick destroyed Tomic in straight. The point was a 'cat and mouse' type where there were a few silly angles played and Andy won the point. It was not overly flattering, it was a fairly ordinary point. 
But from 2012 ??
Another point showed Bernard hitting almost the net post with a shanked forehand.
Do you see where I am going with this ?
WTF was the agenda of whoever it was to post this 'great news' article on Bernard Tomic depicting him as someone who looks awkward on a tennis court ?
We all know that Bernie is struggling in the World of tennis but to actually show points of him looking silly ??
Oh please, have we really resorted to this type of garbage ?
I recall once when the great Boris Becker was making his way up the World tennis rankings as a teenager and he owned a unique celebration when he would win a point, or a tournament for that matter, a double fist pump and a shuffle of the feet.
The 'Becker Shuffle' to be more precise.
Anyhow there was a true story of a bloke taking offence to Becker's ways on court to such an extent that he in fact made a video of Becker's worst shots, true story. Would be worth a look now days wouldn't it ?
Not sure whatever became of that video however that guy who made it got it all off his chest obviously. 
No point bottling it up, we may explode one day, trust me I have done it in the past, got me into all sorts of trouble with my local Tennis Association. 
Such is life.
Anyhow back to Bernie and that fantastic news article this morning showing 'the best of Tomic'.
Whoever put that article together, good on you buddy, a fantastic piece of gutter journalism designed to show a sportsperson making mistakes. I bet it took a while to find that forehand error from 2012, well done on your CSI like investigation as you searched far and wide for something that the public would look at and say 'What a shit shot'.
Brilliant.
Personally I don't mind Bernie, he's honest, the Tennis World needs more honesty as 9 out of 10 players would play just for the money ( like Bernie says he does ) as only a select few will ever win a major. The rest just play for the obscene amount of money on offer which rewards mediocrity at the highest level.
Lose first round in a Slam and take home what Mats Wilander won in 1982 for beating 4 top 10 players on his way to winning the French Open as a 17 year old.
Let's be honest here, Bernie just stated the obvious.
As far as the 'news' goes, fair dinkum, surely we can at least find some recent shots that Bernie hit at a tennis tournament and maybe, just maybe we could find a 'good' shot that Bernie hit.
However that wouldn't make people sit up and say 'what a shit tennis player he is', would it now ??
To that 'Journalist' who put it all together today, you are a fair dinkum knob.......
Regards Glenn

Monday, 4 December 2017

'THANKS ROGER FOR INCLUDING LUNCH'

I was sent a rather funny story the other day regarding Australia's very own Roger Rasheed and a coaching clinic on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
Who is Roger Rasheed ? 
Just ask him, he will explain in great detail.
RR has spent time with Lleyton Hewitt, Grigor Dimitrov, Gael Monfils and Jo Wilfrid Tsonga, a long list of tennis professionals but not quite sure what he does now days, though the following information may give us all an indication.
Roger Rasheed is conducting a two day coaching clinic at a rather obscure tennis club called 'Kawana' which most of us have never heard of however RR has decided to go there, good on him.
Now before we get into the nitty gritty of all of this I suppose we should tell you that John Tomic once sent RR a 'good will' message congratulating him on taking over as coach of Lleyton Hewitt and taking him from World number 1 to World number 19 in around 6 months of 'tuition'. 
Hey, don't blame me, John T came up with that information, very astute is Mr T.
Not quite sure how long RR spent with Jo and Gael however I don't believe it was very long, in coaching terms anyhow as it takes years to forge a strong coach/ player relationship.
Interesting, when Grigor Dimitrov switched from RR to his current coach, a bloke with a real flash name, well, his game went berserk and he just won the year ending championships in London. I believe they have been working together for around two years.
Anyhow RR apparently is so well credentialed now days that he is charging the following price for a coaching clinic to top all coaching clinics, $250 per player per day, yes that's correct. But wait there's more.
RR is offering just 5 hours for that price though there is a bonus for every player who pays up, they get lunch with that rather hefty price tag.
Now usually if a student pays $250 for that sort of tuition it will probably be with a past champion of the game or in a group of perhaps 3 to 4 players. My question is this, what if 20 players turn up Rog' ?? How can you justify $50 per hour for that many players ? 
There is also one more issue, it's a two day thing, so if you want to play for two days it will cost $500 for ten hours of tuition though if 20 players turn up how is that value ??
Not quite sure who is regulating tennis coaching pricing now days because Roger Rasheed is not really making it affordable now is he ? 
Is Tennis Australia doing everything in it's power to make the game affordable or is it simply what I called the sport a long time ago ? A 'Free For all' ? Why is this sort of thing acceptable ? 
Well that's tennis for you.
Tennis Australia employ Roger Rasheed to commentate at the Australian Open each year so RR has surely something to do with TA so how does TA allow RR to turn up at some obscure tennis club on the Sunshine Coast of Australia and charge that sort of money to working class parents for their kids to attend 10 hours of coaching ?
Why will RR's methods be better than the local club coach's theories on the game ? Did RR build those players who I mentioned or did he simply just spend time with them ? Is John Tomic correct in his assumption ? Check the rankings on when RR took over as coach of Hewitt, JT is 100 per cent correct.
Anyhow enough of all that.
The point is this, you can go armed to the teeth with all of the information that you think will be enough to build the future of the sport of tennis and charge whatever you think you are worth but the truth is this, you are just another coach with just another theory on possibly the toughest one on one sport in the World. 
You may think you are worth $50 per hour in a group session however most intelligent coaches would go with perhaps a $20 - $25 per hour price tag which is not only affordable but also has a hint of humbleness about it and not complete arrogance.
Tennis is a sport that finds success as often as a catching a Blue Marlin with a hand line. It may happen but in reality it won't, the odds are not in your favor. 
If someone offers a two day coaching clinic at those sorts of prices it does nothing to change people's minds that tennis is in fact an elitist sport where only the rich will afford to play it.
RR did in fact coach Hewitt, Tsonga, Monfils and Dimitrov but he did not build them. He no longer coaches any of them.
What are you offering for lunch Roger ?
Hope it's not a snag in a bun..........

Saturday, 2 December 2017

'THE EGO OF IT ALL'

Recently I wrote a post on this site titled 'Tennis Season' and it was all about having a bit of a light hearted dig at the Industry we call 'Tennis Coaching'. 
It is an industry where some rather humorous stories emerge, time after time, season after season.
You see it's all about the ego as self importance in a sport such as tennis is apparently a necessity for success. It has to be as hourly price tags to learn a sport as 'elite' as tennis are now in line with car mechanics, fridge and freezer repairmen and plumbers.
Not sure about you but I would like a guarantee from all of the above mentioned that my house hold goods plus my car will in fact be repaired for that sort of price.
As they say however, each to their own, many believe they are worth it, many believe they are entitled to that sort of money per hour but get a grip, so to speak, it's only tennis you are 'teaching'.
Ego has been around since day 1, some of my tennis heroes owned egos bigger than most yet I loved those guys all the same, they inspired me to play.
Jimmy Connors and Andre Agassi to name two.
Now these guys as we know didn't really get along too well however I always felt that Andre's description of Jimmy in his book titled 'Open' was in fact a little harsh.
'Egotist'.
That's what Andre thought of Jimmy which I felt was a bit like the terminology 'the pot calling the kettle black' as Andre once starred in a Nike commercial stating 'Image is everything'.
You have to own an ego to agree to that, no risk whatsoever.
As far as 'Jimbo' was concerned, well maybe he was an 'egotist' though if I was to rate all of my past tennis heroes I will put him in my top 5, he was brilliant. I just have trouble dealing with fellow tennis pros saying that others are, even if they are one themselves, if you get my drift.
Roger Federer was asked once about his own mortality and he came back with an answer something along the lines of 'I still believe I have these young guys under control'. Egotistical ? Absolutely.
I suppose we see these type of players talk and we read their books where we learn that their self importance tag is of epic proportions so if we are that way inclined we may just absorb a bit of their confidence.
I suppose there is nothing wrong with that but as I have stated, it's tennis guys, not boxing, it's a sport that for some players requires a wipe with a towel after EVERY point.
Get a grip.
I see and read things through the tennis coaching industry that makes me laugh so hard that I have to sit down yet it's all through ego, not who they really are as some are actually nice people.
The rest ? Well they are just egotists.
I once read that a 'Zen Master' was so 'busy' that they had a long, long waiting list for lessons so 'join the queue please, we will get to you as soon as we can'. ( Sort of like when you call Telstra regarding a fault with your phone ).
I was rather inquisitive regarding their 'busy ness' so I made a call.
'Gday I am chasing a tennis lesson, any spots available' ?
Sure what time and day ?
'How's today and tomorrow sound, can you give me some times please that you are available ' ?
So the 'Zen Master rattled off many, many times that were available in their rather 'busy program' that apparently had a waiting list as long as the local main street.
Interesting isn't it ?
Was it factual that they had a busy program or was it just the ego that believed they should be that busy and the public should be rather 'privileged' to in fact be on that 'waiting list'.
Sort of like the old chestnut 'Hurry, limited spots available'.
Bullshit, you just love the attention and the 'dollar meter' running at a pace that Usain Bolt would be proud of.
Tennis season is not even half way through and I have read some rippers already, there's plenty more to come.
Spare a thought for the boxer who gets beaten from one side of the boxing ring to the other yet can only wipe his sweat and blood off after each round when the bell goes. 
A tennis player can get aced and still ask for the towel. Funny stuff.
Tennis, ego and self importance, there may just be a common link...... 

Thursday, 23 November 2017

'WHO DO WE BUILD' ?

After two lessons today it dawned on me, who are we building as far as tennis players are concerned ?
Are we creating a 'boutique' generation of tennis players or are we building the future of the sport ?
I refer to the current coaching style that has a coach putting the ball into the 'hitting zone' to build technique over and over again, yet what are we really creating ?
My point is this.
Tennis dishes up a plethora of different situations yet when we teach the sport we really only offer one scenario, the 'perfect' ball.
A young kid who I have a regular lesson with looks like a future Wimbledon player when I put the ball into the hitting zone yet when we play points that same player would struggle to fill a local pennant team.
So what is the right thing to do as far as new students of the game are concerned ?
My first coach, my second coach and any coach who I ever had a tennis lesson with gave me variety of ball, they fed me balls that would make me stretch, they fed me balls that were in my hitting zone and they gave me balls that made me feel as though I was a future World beater.
One thing however was fairly evident in my tennis upbringing, I was not taught to be a 'boutique' tennis player, the one that could go away from a lesson thinking that the game was ridiculously easy. My coaches were rather brutal on me however I would not have had it any other way.
I recall some days as a kid coming off court and thinking 'that was tough though I didn't know I even owned some of those shots'.
I have written fondly in the past regarding the one and only session I ever had with a guy who beat both Becker and Lendl in the early 90's, Neil Borwick from Queensland.
Now I admit, I was 45 at the time but hitting with Neil was possibly one of my greatest ever tennis educations because here was a guy who had beaten the World's best. I had never played against guys of that calibre so it was as though I was a junior coming up against an adult who owned a tennis brain as opposed to a relatively 'sheltered' view on the sport.
It's one thing to own a theory or two, it's another to actually put it into play.
So Neil that day did what Neil knew best, he played to win, he hit shots I had only ever seen on television but what it did make me do was think harder, way harder than I had ever done previously. Neil Borwick reached a career high of around 110 so in a nutshell, that's a 'win' in a sport as tough as tennis.
I came off court thinking this, maybe I own shots I have never even hit before, perhaps a guy like Neil Borwick could make me a better player even at age 45 due to a far greater knowledge on the game that I will ever own.
Different spins, different shot selection, greater variety, a far superior tennis brain.
So back to my point.
If NB had felt sorry for me I suppose he would have gone easy on me, yet he didn't, possibly because I told him I want the 'Lendl, Becker treatment'. 'No favours buddy, give me your best'.
When we teach tennis we have to give some 'tough love' at times because if we keep hand feeding into the hitting zone it may just create a player who will not know what to do with a tennis ball if it goes outside of that comfort zone.
It's like anything in life, no one got anywhere in life without a test.
Creating technique is a must in tennis but creating a smart tennis player I believe is more important. Brad Gilbert won 20 titles in the late 80's and early 90's simply from being a smart tennis player, his shots were average, he would be the first to admit that.
David Goffin currently is a player that many traditionalists would say is a 'Gilbert clone', he simply makes the opposition play. No glamour, just smart tennis.
May just be the toughest thing to teach in tennis, intelligence..........

Saturday, 18 November 2017

'HEY JIM, THIS ONE'S FOR YOU'

In 2016 at the Australian Open a comment was made by Jim Courier regarding David Goffin and his supposed 'inflated' ranking which according to Jim occurred through Davis Cup Ties. You see Davis Cup matches can still gain ranking points for a player so apparently David Goffin should not have been ranked World number 14 at the time of his match with Roger Federer, according to Jim.
Now I took exception to those comments and wrote a lengthy post about where I questioned Courier's agenda.
Jim didn't get back to me.
Fast forward to this day.
What a great day for tennis in general and particularly David Goffin as he just defeated the player who caused those disparaging remarks to be said from a commentator who should know better because as we all know, in tennis things can turn around fairly quickly.
In fact since 2016 when David Goffin was ranked 14 at the time of the 2016 Australian Open I do not believe that his ranking has dropped below that number so if his ranking did somehow 'inflate' to number 14 surely it could not have stayed there if he was an 'imposter'.
Surely.
The 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win by Goffin over Federer in London was as much a 'stick that up ya bum' Jim Courier moment as it was a victory for the 'thinking man's tennis player'. From memory I believe that the score in Melbourne in 2016 was 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to Federer and up until today's match I believe it was Federer 6, Goffin 0.
So putting that into perspective I suppose all that had to happen in London this morning was for Fed to keep doing what he has been doing for the last six matches against the little guy from Belgium. Tennis however evolves as do players and their ability to forget past results and play the ball, not the player and the reputation or even legend that go with some of them.
For David Goffin this was a win that will help every tennis player of every standard believe in themselves as he is a player who reminds me of a light weight in a heavy weight series yet comes up with a right hook to down his more fancied opponents with alarming regularity.
His win over Rafa in the first round in London proved it even before the win over Federer and though some will say, including himself, that Rafa was injured I think you only have to look at the way Goffin played that match tactically to realise he is a thinker.
To be able to with stand that many high bouncing balls from Rafa's forehand in particular and flatten them out with interest was quite outstanding to say the least. It takes a rare talent to defend that type of hitting as in Monte Carlo this year the score line was far less flattering to Goffin as Rafa destroyed him easily.
Once again Goffin has reversed a result that would have many players overawed yet the little guy refuses to be pushed around. It's brilliant, it's inspiring.
Whether he can reverse the earlier London result against Dimitrov is almost irrelevant, just to make it to the final is nothing short of outstanding.
Hey Jim Courier, David Goffin defeated Roger Federer, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, semi finals , London, 2017, year ending Tour Finals.
How's that 'inflated' ranking looking now ey Champ ????
Regards GT........