Thursday, 19 February 2015


Parents, don’t tell me you’re all about ‘development’ for your child, when your biggest concern is ...“ Will my little Johnny be tired from training?, because he has a match this weekend! "
In fact, just last week I found out that a parent didn’t want to send her daughter to a fun kid’s clinic I was running, in case she would be tired for her tournament that weekend, might I mention the kid is 10 years of age. The sad thing is, is that kid desperately wanted to go.

If you are development minded and truly understand the journey, then you understand that learning new skills are the primary focus and not the matches or tournaments. That comes much later.
Sure, I won’t hold back to the fact that there are too many ‘over trained’ kids in academy and club programs. Coaches should realize that these are kids and NOT mini adults or athletes.
Too many programs are logging senseless hours, thinking that’s the way forward. A lot of these hours are coming from instruction of the parent, thinking 'the more the better’.

Also, coaches and parents, if you are using the ‘tired’ line as an excuse to why your kid didn’t perform well at this past weekend’s tournament', then that doesn’t do the kid’s mindset any good either.
Kids listen, they watch your example and they will use that to their advantage every time they under perform or lose.

Remember: The matches are the exams to see what skills you’ve learnt in the ‘classroom’. Winning and losing are simply part of the lessons, not the desired result or goal.
Stay the path, stick to what matters, and please, these are not mini-adults on a serious athletes program.
Development of a child should be fun, inspiring and challenging - not monotonous drills and trophy and points chasing.

Remember why your kid first started playing? It was for Fun, right?
- Allistair McCaw
Ok I am trying my best to understand Mr McCaw, this guy trains professional tennis players plus juniors. Not quite sure what this chapter is all about though. Mr McCaw says "there are too many over trained kids in academy and club programs". Ok so it doesn't matter about the desired result Mr McCaw? 'Winning and losing are simply part of the lessons' according to Mr McCaw. Righto I think I am with you Allistair.
 So Monotonous drills are not the way to go then ? And trophy and points chasing are also not the way to go either ? So just FUN then Mr McCaw ? 
Mr McCaw's opening line is saying that parents are too concerned about results as opposed to training, correct me if I am wrong. So if a parent is paying for their child to be coached it should just be fun without 'monotonous' drills and no direction towards tournaments or points chasing ?
I am doing my best Alistair to take all of this in yet it still confuses me, sorry Champ. 
Do you think Martina Hingis's parents would have looked at it all the same way as Mr McCaw and conceded success would simply happen 'much later' ? Martina won the French Open Junior Singles at age 12, against 16, 17, and 18 year old opponents. How much 'fun' was she having at age 10 Mr McCaw ? A 'hit and a giggle' ?
Parents paying good money for their child to be taught the game of tennis have a right to look at training sessions prior to a tournament and say 'thanks anyhow but Jonny (or Martina) needs to rest up'.
I have played since I was 12 or 13,(33 years) hit a lot of balls, met many coaches, coached many kids. Yes I am a 'nobody' but I can see that this latest chapter contradicts tennis teaching in general. Parents who pay good money would like to see some sort of improvement from $70 per hour for a lesson, not just 'fun'. 
If my kids were playing tennis at that price then do I have a right to ask for some results ? $70 per hour ?? Don't most people work for $25 per hour ?? So what about a clinic ? Perhaps $150 for a few days of 'fun' ? It's all relevant, it's not a cheap sport to learn. Twenty kids at $150 each is big bucks for 'a bit of fun'.
'Monotonous' drills are a proven way to instill technique into a kid's game, the ball is fed into the same spot, the kid plays the same shot over and over again. The kid improves and he or she becomes consistent. It's fun to get a ball over the net 25 times in a row, a necessity in tennis. 
Not everyone has Mr McCaw's earning capacity as he trains some high profile players and earns some pretty tidy sums in doing so, ( I assume ) so how does he work out all of the above and make sense of it ? 
I don't even rely on tennis coaching as a living anymore as it's too inconsistent with both parents and kids moving about as they see fit. Yet I almost sympathize with guys trying to make a living out of it, especially with Mr McCaw's 'theories'.
The game of tennis is already confusing enough, it doesn't need 'guru's' complicating it even more with things that really don't make a whole lot of sense. 
Mr McCaw got his nose put out of joint because a kid wasn't allowed to go to his clinic as her parents felt their child should put their energy into a tennis tournament instead. I think that's fair enough, good call.......
Good Day 
Regards GT

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