Friday, 30 December 2016

'A FINAL POST FOR 2016'

As always I write a post to thank those who have tuned into this site over the past 12 months and in particular to those who I have upset with the content of some of my posts, well it's like this, we are all entitled to an opinion.
Tennis is the type of sport where so many perceptions confuse what's really important and that is of course simply getting the ball over the net and keeping yourself in the point as long as possible. Nothing worse than losing a match as opposed to being beaten, there is of course a huge difference though some 'gurus' will tell you otherwise.
My theories on the sport of tennis are perhaps not unique however every coach has a different way of explaining things, I am no different in that aspect. 
Part of me hates tennis due in large to the way in which it is now run by Governing Bodies who have taken all the uniqueness away from the game with their 'modules' and their 'latest methods' as far as teaching the game is concerned. Creating robots is now the 'norm'.
Part of me loves tennis because it keeps me amused as both a side project with my writing and my coaching as the thought of teaching the game full time repulses me for more than one reason. If you have read any of my book you will understand my reasons for coaching on a part time basis and why I charge accordingly.
If the public choose to spend up to $90 an hour with someone who claims to be a full time tennis coach even though they only 'work' before school and after but charge like a wounded bull to make up for the hours they sit on their arse during the day then good luck to 'em.
Just because someone owns a price tag that looks like they know what they are talking about it doesn't necessarily mean that they know how to teach tennis. I had a lesson before Xmas with a Doctor who hit me just two tennis balls on her backhand side before I corrected the obvious problem which was the grip, as always the grip.
'I had a lesson last week in the South West on our tour'.
So how did that go ?
'Yeah ok'.
So why are you holding the racket like that ? Did the coach not tell you how to hold the racket ?
'No I was only taught how to swing'.
( At $70 an hour personally I would like to be taught from the beginning, the grip may just help )
It seems that the public is more interested in spending big dollars or rather looking for the most expensive 'Zen Master' to learn from however it can be deceiving in a sport such as tennis as many charge that price to make them look and sound a whole lot better than what and who they really are.
All of these examples of course keep me entertained and keep me writing which hasn't been a whole lot lately due to work committments in my 'real job'.
The year 2016 will also be a year that I will remember for quitting the ATPCA ( Australian Tennis Professional Coaches Association ). I asked them for a full refund due to their inability to control who joins their association which is in fact in opposition to Tennis Australia.
Allowing TA coaches (who gain funding from their Governing Body to run their own programs) to be part of the ATPCA is in my opinion nothing short of farcical. I believe you should follow one or the other because if you follow both it shows that you have an identity crisis of epic proportions.
If you know nothing about either well I suggest you look up the ATPCA and do some research, these guys have no time for TA yet allow TA coaches into their system. All way too contradictory for my liking, yet that's tennis in Australia for you.
Remember if you are an ATPCA 'qualified tennis coach' it will not be recognised as a qualification by Tennis Australia as they have stated. So you do the sums on what I have just written. I refuse to be a part of either, way too much bullshit involved and no loyalty required.
I will leave you with a couple more posts from my book 'Delusions of Grandeur' which I put together in October this year and posted on this site, a book I am proud of and one that begins on my parents garage wall in Albany, Western Australia and then took me to Paris nine years later.
We all have a tennis story, we all have a theory or two on how the game should be played, I am sticking with my ideas and my rather affordable lesson costs that many wouldn't get out of bed for. Difference is simple, I aren't full of my own self importance, many in this sport are.........
All the best in 2017
Regards GT

'PERCEPTION'. ( A post from my book )



Tuesday, 12 May 2015  ( BLOG POST )


'PERCEPTION'


Perception is the process by which stimulation of the senses is translated into meaningful experience.
Perception is the process of acquiring, interpreting, selecting and organizing sensory information. Many cognitive psychologists hold that, as we move about in the World we create a model of how the World works.... (New World Encyclopedia).
Fascinating isn't it as to how we all grasp hold of something that we feel comfortable with but really it is up for debate as to whether or not what we are holding is in fact something that owns substance. 
I have always felt that with a sport such as tennis there are in fact way too many perceptions of what is correct, hence the discrepancy from coach to coach, player to player, pro to pro. So who is correct ? 
I have often spoke fondly of Gilbert's perception of the game and how he took an almost waste of talent in Agassi to the best player in the World. I have and always will speak fondly of the Swedes of the 70's and 80's and how they had a perception of the sport that looking back on was not really rocket science. 
Bjorn Borg inspired a whole generation of Swedes who pretty much all played the same way from the baseline with perhaps Edberg being the only exception. Borg's perception was basic, don't miss and out rally the opponent. Wilander, Nystrom, Pernfors etc all followed with the same game plan, an almost 'fool proof' game plan that produced many tournament victories.
 Coaching can instil some ideas yet it cannot guarantee success, a common problem that is tough to find answers for. A tennis coach can work all they like with a student yet they cannot teach them how to play tennis without simulated play in practice. 
I have seen countless lessons that are a total waste of time except for the cardio workout that could have been so much more yet the coach failed to teach the vital ingredient. That ingredient being a game plan that should come from a knowledgeable tennis coach with a theory or two on how to win a tennis match.
You can rabbit on all you like as a coach, in fact you can talk yourself blue in the face but if you are any sort of 'mentor' of the game then you will have a way of teaching that should include a tactical view on the game that has substance. 
Technique is useless without tactics and tactics are useless without technique so if a player lacks in one of these areas then why would you be teaching anything but the one that lacks progress ?
I have seen countless kids who's perception of tennis was simply to out hit their opponent where having a rally was not on their agenda. My way of dealing with that type of player was simple "Hey Champ have you somewhere else you need to be ? What's the hurry " ?!
So where did that type of perception begin ? Possibly by watching a player in the 'zone' who felt he could regularly hit a one dollar coin on the other side of the net and who owned no fear whatsoever in regards to winning or losing. 
My earliest perception of tennis was in fact to look for the opponent and actually hit it back to them ! ( I thought that's how a tennis match was played. ) 
Borg did it in the 70's against Vilas and Lendl to such a crazy extent that some of their rallies would be regularly 50, 60, 70 shots, particularly on the clay. Dad saw what I was doing on court one day and explained that I in fact had to hit the ball AWAY from my opponent. ( That made a difference )
I am certain that Jonny Mac's perception was to break the rhythm of a player, never allow the same shot to be played twice and rush them into making errors. 
Perception in tennis quite possibly is the one thing that prevents a good player from becoming a very, very good player. If a student of the sport has no idea of what it is that they are supposed to be doing to win enough points to secure a match then surely that area of their game has been neglected. 
The best tennis players in the World are the best thinkers, not necessarily the best ball strikers. They are the ones who have been taught to think about each shot and how to construct their points with purpose rather than just going out and hoping their opponent will miss more than them.
Tennis is a sport that needs feel, not unlike a surfer who knows when to stand up on the board when the wave is about to peak. It's a sport which requires instinct and an ability to understand a situation, like a boxer needing to duck a right hook before it's too late. 
Tennis is a sport that without perception is like a famous quote from Edward de Bono....
"Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than mistakes of logic".
A thinking man's game is tennis but it's all how you perceive the task in front of you.......

' THE RUSH'. ( A post from my book )

'THE RUSH'
'To those dead souls inching along the freeway in their metal coffins, we show them that the human spirit is still alive' ( The late, great Patrick Swayze as 'Bodhi', Point Break 1991 ).
Possibly one of my favourite movie lines of all time as the thing I loved about that statement was the defiance to conform to the ho-hum day to day activities of 99 per cent of the population. 
To me hitting tennis balls for a living was my dream and I did not want to be one of those 'dead souls' travelling to work on a congested freeway each day from 9 to 5. The thought repulsed me.
I have often likened surfing to tennis, I believe it has similarities. The adrenalin rush of riding a wave I am sure is one that cannot be replicated by another sport yet in my own silly mind I could imagine it to be like the feeling of hitting tennis balls to perfection. My adrenalin rush came from training, I lived for not only the hitting drills but the hill sprints to get my legs strong, the bike riding to gain fitness. I loved training for tennis. 
I was so dedicated to it that I would never eat my dinner until I had done my ten sprints up the hill or a ten kilometre hard slog on the bike no matter what the time was. I stuck to my schedule.
I lived and breathed tennis as a kid to such an extent that it consumed my thoughts no matter where I was. 
I am sure that I would have become a surfer if I hadn't almost drowned in a backyard pool when I was about 7 years of age as since then I feared the ocean. I was destined to find a sport away from the water and tennis gave me a rush right from the start. 

There was something so magnificent about striking a tennis ball when I was around 12 years of age that it consumed me for the rest of my schooling days. If I had put as much time into my schoolwork as I did tennis I could have ended up a scholar, instead I turned into someone who relied on things to maintain a sense of hype.
Drinking, gambling and fitness binges among other things  would give me a lift, a hit of adrenalin that I can only put down to my obsession of tennis because I lived and breathed it for so long. Coming down off tennis was like someone going cold turkey from drugs, at least that's what I likened it to so I went in search of other things for a lift.
My mind is still like a tin of worms as I struggle to find things to occupy my head space and that's why I write, it lifts me. Many have told me that my writing is entertaining, others find me to be nothing more than an argumentative prick as I question many things about the sport on my Blog. Personally I am just happy that I found something to keep myself occupied outside of work and kids. 
Writing relieves the head of things that build up and despite the occasional complaint of my Blog content I am happy with the progress of my silly mind and the many posts that I write for 'therapy'. My tennis days are long over and despite a win in the State 45's two years ago I am not about to chase titles that I was not good enough to win as a young man when it really counted.
The adrenalin rush of sport cannot really be replicated by anything else in life though at times we are all guilty of trying something and perhaps trying to hang onto something for a little too long. I wished I had written this book years ago instead of chasing glory in tennis tournaments as a 40 plus player looking for redemption.  
Tennis even up until age 45 for me was something that I was still trying to master even though I knew it was close to an impossibility due to the physical nature of it though I still managed a few wins along the way. I felt that I was becoming smarter as a player due to my teaching philosophies and ability to think my way through a match more so than when I was a kid.
Like a famous quote from the great Jimmy Connors ''Experience is a great advantage. The problem is that when you get the experience, you are too damned old to do anything about it".
Tennis is a rush, no doubt about it, a physical challenge that asks the body to keep pushing after the legs no longer want to move. That side of tennis however pales in significance to the mental limitations of it that have many players screaming at their inability to deliver what they know they can yet for some reason can't.
Looking back on my early days I suppose school work may just have been a whole lot easier.....

Thursday, 22 December 2016

'THE COST OF LEARNING TENNIS'

As the year winds down to Xmas I am rather tired, I have a 'real' job, not hitting tennis balls, that's simply something I do as a side project. I will leave you this year with a few posts I wrote which helped put my book together titled 'Delusions of Grandeur'.
The following is another post from my book which has a rather subtle dig at the cost of learning tennis.
It aint rocket science though many 'coaches' of the sport will treat it that way and charge 'accordingly'...........
 
I wrote countless posts on my Blog taking a swipe at the cost of tennis lessons as I felt that it has spiralled out of both control and reality. I have looked up what our Governing body TA 'recommends' for private tennis lessons and I have to say that I find the recommendation to be nothing short of disappointing.
If you look at the numbers of kids playing tennis in most towns you will notice that they are well behind team sports such as AFL, Soccer, Hockey and Basketball but of course they are team sports and have a cost that is relative to that fact. If your child plays tennis then the cost of a weekly group session will probably be around $15 to $20 for an hour or perhaps two hours depending on the lesson structure.
When I ran group sessions at a local club I charged around $12 for a two hour session for the advanced students which also included 30 minutes of point play after drills and technique work. The Intermediate group were charged pretty much what the beginners were however we gave the Intermediates 90 minutes and the Beginners 75 minutes. Those sessions cost each student $10.
Saturday morning Junior Club was not a real hit amongst the Intermediate and Advanced players yet we would usually fill five of the six courts and offer singles and doubles point play for two and a half hours for $5 per student. So if a kid was interested in playing tennis twice a week it cost less than $20 and they received anything up to four hours on court with both tuition and match play. That's around $160 per School Term for anything between 25 and 32 hours on court over 8 to ten weeks. Was this good value ? I thought so.
As far as private lessons were concerned, well I didn't really push them because most of the students were happy with their modest amount of tennis hours per week however I offered a one on one session for $30 per hour. Why so cheap ? I wasn't coaching full time, the overheads ( court hire, Insurance ) were not astronomical and I wanted my students to learn the sport at a price that their parents would not cringe at. I had some advanced students who regularly booked a one on one session and those sessions would ultimately take those students to the final rounds in junior tournaments locally.
My theory was simple, don't overcharge, believe in your own tuition and the sport takes care of itself in relation to results, word of mouth etc. As previously mentioned I also made a point of competing myself as there is nothing more inspiring for a student than to see or hear that their coach is actively playing and testing themselves.
So what happened to the cost of learning tennis over the years and why is it so expensive ? Well as per usual I have my theories but I believe the one thing that stands out from the rest is 'self importance'. A coach fresh into the fray will naturally go for what they can get and if our governing body recommends $60 to $80 per hour for a 'qualified' coach then what figure do you think that newly 'qualified' coach will command ?
A coaching course will teach someone how to pass down tuition to a student yet it takes years of both playing and coaching to reach a level of competence that can actually mentor someone and teach them the intricacies of a sport such as tennis. Is it right that an 18 year old with minimal tennis knowledge can charge per hour what someone does who would run rings around them as far as knowledge is concerned ? It's where the fun begins.
Why do you think that some coaches in fact charge up to $100 per hour for private tennis lessons ? Once again that's easy to answer, it's because they need to separate themselves from the 'ball hitters' of the sport who say things like 'It's just what the market commands now days'. Self justification is big in tennis as well as self importance. Some will say that their overheads command a hefty hourly rate and in many instances this is a fact but many use that old chestnut to blend in with those who do actually have to charge big to keep their business running.
Tennis Clubs quite often will charge outrageous amounts from the resident coach which is a blight on the sport because if it keeps getting passed down to the consumer then parents will continue to move their kids into team sports which cost little to play. I believe that tennis requires a bit more honesty from everyone when it comes to pricing and a lot less 'follow the leader' type of mentality as it will continue to be known as an 'elitist' sport if the current costing follows the same trend.
Around ten years ago I charged $40 per hour to a Production Company in town to film a mini series for their lead actress to learn how to hit a tennis ball in two sessions. Briony Stewart from the 'Lochie Lennard' series knew less than nothing on how to hit a tennis ball and it took every ounce of patience that I owned to get her up to scratch to film a scene at a local court. I actually felt bad that I charged that much however someone told me that a local surfer was charging $50 per hour for their tuition. The scene went beautifully, Briony looked the part !
I will never conform to either a program recommended to me or a cost suggested by any governing body just so the sport can continue to look like it's one that leads the way in modern sporting trends. To me a lot of tennis is self indulgence and unjustified and I will stick with my 'Dinosaur' methods and pricing that so far have had no complaints about either.
Each to their own.....

Monday, 19 December 2016

' STRUCTURE '

I wrote the following post in April, 2015. If I was to write one thing about tennis and hang my hat on it I believe that this would in fact be the one. For those of you who have not yet read my book titled 'Delusions of Grandeur' this is on page 70 of the 76 posts that I put together and sits on this site in the month of October......
 
Saturday, 25 April 2015  ( BLOG POST )

'STRUCTURE'


It's no secret that my influences from tennis stem from the late 70's and early 80's, even through to perhaps 1990, after that well I really didn't care too much, the game changed. From the Swedish domination of Borg, Wilander, Edberg etc to the emergence of Agassi in '88 the game saw some classic matches and some real characters, players who left a lasting impression.
I remember some matches vividly where some players had styles that almost resembled robots like Lendl, even Borg, two players who sat on the baseline and simply waited for the opposition to miss or 'commit suicide' by coming to the net. These guys owned a structured game that took an amazing amount of discipline to implement day in, day out, it's why they became so successful. They didn't really own a Plan B, they had such a good Plan A that not too many players could infiltrate so they stuck with what they knew best. Fascinating to watch a player that good.
I have been meaning to read the Brad Gilbert book titled 'Winning Ugly', a book about 'Mental warfare in the game of Tennis' however I have not had the pleasure so far. I have though read some snippets of it and it typifies the sort of player Gilbert was, a genius. The man who took Andre Agassi from almost a waste of talent to the World's best player had a unique style of his own that could only be described as 'unconventional'.
Brad Gilbert would dish the best players up all sorts of things like short sliced balls, high looping topspin balls, balls with no pace and he would also mix the play up with net advances just to dispel the theory that he was perhaps a baseliner. In other words Gilbert gave his opponents 'nothing'. The American had a nasty habit of almost 'poking' balls back into court with just a breath of wind on them especially from his backhand and then ripping the next ball past his incoming opponent.
Brad Gilbert had an uncanny knack of almost lulling opponents into a false sense of security not unlike the great Czech Miloslav Mecir who could also put an opponent to sleep then wake them rather rudely. How Andre Agassi found Brad Gilbert was nothing short of a master stroke but it worked to perfection, two contrasting players, a genius with no weapons and a player with many weapons who was no genius. 
The win by Gilbert at the 1987 US Open against Boris Becker in the round of 16 will go down as one of the all time great upsets in New York as Gilbert was seeded 13, Becker 4. What made the win even more remarkable was that Becker won the first two sets, he was all over Gilbert but the unconventional American had a structure to his game that was all about self discipline, just as Borg's and Lendl's was.
With winnings of over five and a half million dollars, a highest ranking of 4 in singles and an intelligence that attracted a player of Andre Agassi's standard it is no wonder that Brad Gilbert was destined for success in coaching when he finished playing professionally in 1995.  
In fact in 1992 just two years before he started helping Agassi he belted his future student 6-1, 6-2 in Paris when Andre was ranked 8 in the World, perhaps a match that stuck in Agassi's mind regarding talents versus brains.
Some days when I see kids play the game it seems to be all about the ego and how to out hit an opponent who is playing big shots, much of it lacks thought. If you have ever seen Gilbert play it surely will remind you that tennis can still be won now days without the glamour if certain structures are put into play from the outset.
Watching the AFL matches each weekend it is noticeable that the best sides have a discipline about them that at times seems ridiculously effective. When these teams are on song it is almost like they have an extra man or two on the field and it has opposition coaches scratching their heads at ways to break the structure.
It is one thing to offer a style of play by a coach but it is another totally different thing for a player or team to implement it. So it begs the question once again.
As a coach of a sport are you teaching tactics just as much as you are teaching technique or are you simply hoping that when they come up against another good player they will simply have a better day than their opponent ? When two juniors come up against one another with no game plan but similar styles then who will win ? It's a raffle, correct me if I am wrong.
If however a player has certain structures in place and can implement a Plan B as well as a preferred Plan A then they will go a long way to winning against a player who doesn't own the ability to keep thinking when in trouble.
Brad Gilbert had no weapons, no glamour and no obvious physical advantages yet he beat players in the Top 10 on 27 different occasions. How is that possible ?  Simple, he owned a mind that outweighed his deficiencies in the way he hit the ball. That's tennis for you, anyone can hit a ball, it's what you do with it that matters.... 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

'WHAT DID YOU EXPECT' ?

I find the following article to be not at all surprising. Tennis is a sport that does not look after the players who are battling to make their way, it only keeps paying the elite more money.

Not too many players are ever going to win a Slam yet they keep increasing the prize money in the major tournaments to an obscene amount with no justification.

Perhaps inflation ? If that's the case then increase the prize money in the lower tiered events. Those players are the future of the game yet most will never get the opportunity to finally show their full potential as they will not be able to afford to stay in the sport.

This article is typical of where the sport is currently, a sport which is happy to help Novak surpass the $100,000,000 mark yet fails to help future champions stay in the game......

Spanish authorities have detained 34 people, including six tennis players, involved in a tennis match-fixing network that made more than half-a-million dollars from lower-tier tournaments in Spain and Portugal.

Key points:

  • Alleged fixing occured in Challenger and Futures-level tournaments
  • Police say they found evidence of fixing in 17 men's tournaments in Spain and Portugal
  • If convicted, 34 face prison sentences of up to four years
Police said that Operation Futures probed several Futures and Challenger tournaments in Iberia for the past several months and found evidence that results were rigged.
The tennis players were not identified, but authorities said they were ranked between 800 and 1,200 in the world. Their Spanish rankings ranged between 30 and 300.
Police said they found evidence of match-fixing attempts in 17 men's tournaments in five cities, including Madrid, Seville and Porto.
Authorities said the two alleged leaders of the network were among those detained across 12 Spanish cities. The leaders were based in Seville and La Coruna. All those detained were Spaniards and are expected to remain free pending trial.
If convicted of corruption in sports, they could face prison sentences of up to four years.
The investigation began after a tip given by a player to the Tennis Integrity Unit, the sport's anti-corruption body.
"Investigation of corruption allegations by law enforcement agencies takes precedence over tennis disciplinary action," the body said in an email.
"The TIU will continue to work co-operatively with (Spanish police) and offer its full support and access to resources."
Authorities took the case forward after noticing an unusual amount of online bets related to the suspected tournaments.
The network allegedly used instant-messaging groups and social media to attract online betters who would pay for the information about rigged results.
The players who accepted participating in the scheme would receive about $1,000 for each match. In some cases, they were asked to lose specific points or games.
The network's earnings in some of the tournaments surpassed $10,000.
The Challenger tournaments are second-tier events organized by the ATP, while the Futures are single-week competitions organized by the International Tennis Federation offering either $10,000 or $25,000 in prize money.
There were nearly 39 Futures tournaments in Spain this season, and more than 10 in Portugal.
AP

Sunday, 27 November 2016

'GETTING THE OLD LEGS GOING AGAIN'




Rested throughout winter, wrist is on the mend, not happy with my current 77.5 kg's either, way too much beer and lack of exercise over the cooler months. Thought it was about time I gave the old legs a bit of a run again. Funny isn't it how with a sport such as tennis we often look back at the days when it was a lot easier, just as the great Jonny Mac once said 'The older I get the better I was'. Love that terminology. 
Tennis is like that, it makes us feel old when we can't quite do what we used to do when the legs moved a lot quicker, however that's the appeal, it's a challenge.
You can take up a job as 'resident coach' anywhere you like in the World and look back on past days on court and the narrow losses that drove you insane or you can keep hitting the ball and finding ways to keep testing yourself.
When I had a scan on my wrist the Doc said 'It's stuffed, but you may just be able to manage it with a bit of care', so that's what I did, I managed it. I look at the older guys who play on the Seniors Tour who still hit the ball with all the brilliance that they once did twenty something years earlier, albeit a little slower than what they used to. Yet they still do it, not as much, not as well as they once did, but they still play, that's inspiring.
Going to hit a few balls this summer, I reckon with a lot of tape, a memory that still works ( despite too much beer ) and a desire to still show my students that I can still walk the walk ( with a slight limp ) I will still test the old legs.
You are a long time retired, see you on court soon,
Regards GT

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

'THANKS GUYS'

As always a big shout out and a sincere thank you to the usual suspects who tune into my site, you inspire me to keep writing. You give my site credibility by tuning in as without your regular views I would probably pack it all up and start one of those Mickey Mouse pages that most of the new breed of 'tennis coach' own.
If you haven't already read my previous pages I recently quit the ATPCA due to their inability to control who joins their organisation as Tennis Australia 'coaches' who receive funding from TA are in fact allowed to join the ATPCA.
I love the way that certain 'Zen Masters' of the sport have to belong to certain organisations so they are kept up to date 'with the latest coaching methods'.
If you are a good tennis coach you need nothing except your knowledge that you have acquired over the course of your playing and coaching career as one thing is certain in tennis, you only get smarter. 
The only reason I was a member of the ATPCA was because I liked the idea of distancing myself from Tennis Australia, not because I was interested in their views on the 'latest methods'.
Back when I joined the ATPCA the entire Industry owned a lot more moral fibre than what it does today. Now days you can join certain organisations over the phone or through email without so much as a hint of loyalty or at least passing a playing test yourself, classic.
Donald Duck could pass a Tennis Coaching Course in Australia......

Monday, 21 November 2016

'DONE AND DUSTED'

Man of principals. No longer will I pay money to be part of an Industry that rewards mediocrity.....
My next Post will be titled 'Identity Crisis' and I will dedicate to all those tennis 'coaches' in this Country who really have no idea which association or organisation they should belong to so they join both just to cover all bases.
You either follow one direction in tennis or you follow another, by following both it actually proves that you do not possess an identity of your own in a sport that requires an individual touch.
I have seen some comedy routines over the years but this one is by far the most entertaining. To all those tennis 'coaches' out there who belong to both the ATPCA and TA  good luck with teaching the sport of tennis in the future in the land of Oz.
The ATPCA are by no means influenced by TA and in fact are in opposition to Tennis Australia so to be a member of both is in fact hypocrisy at it's very best. You either follow one or the other. Good luck to those future students of the game who own a 'coach' who owns both 'qualifications'. It may look great and sound even better however it proves he or she really lacks an individual spin on the game in general.
Tennis requires an individual touch, more 'coaches' should work on that side of their tuition and less on the social media pages that make them look a whole lot better than they actually are......

Friday, 18 November 2016

'ONE WEEK'

One week, that's how long I am going to give a certain Tennis Coaching Organisation to get back to me regarding a certain matter which I have trouble getting my head around currently.
I have asked for confirmation on a few things and if I receive a Mickey Mouse answer then it's like this, I am going to ask for the remaining six months of my membership to be refunded and I will never again belong to a coaching provider again, after all it is only a piece of paper.
I will pay for insurance independently.
I have seen some Walt Disney things in my time on a tennis court over the past 35 years however this one takes the cake, it takes the icing and it takes the candles on top as well.
One week.
The answers I am looking for will need to have a bit of substance to them unlike the Tennis Coaching Industry in general which reminds me of the Cirque du Soleil though the tennis coaching industry seems to have more clowns running it in this Country than that particular entertainment Company.
One week.
Just wondering the implications if I detach myself from any Tennis coaching provider in this country and what it may mean ? Oh that's right there may be a line I have to blank out on my 'personal achievement' page and will simply have to just live with my 35 years of knowledge that no one in this Region of Western Australia gets close to.
One week.
At least I have been out of my back yard to play the sport and at least I don't write things on this site that are false when it comes to highlighting 'achievements'. Anything I have done in tennis is in fact legitimate. In fact when I first did my level 2 course in Perth in 1993 when I was around 24 years of age ( I did my Level 1 when I was 18 ) the Instructor comes up to me at the end of the session and says to me 'Glenn I am only going to give you a pass mark of 85 per cent, you know why ' ? Enlighten me. 'Cos you didn't give the group a sufficient warm up, that's all'. Fair enough.
That was 23 years ago.
Since then I have learned a whole lot more though I still look back on that exam I did and it disappoints me that I did not receive that 100 per cent pass mark. I could have put that on my 'personal achievement' page.
Tennis coaching comes from the heart, it doesn't require glossy pages and lists of things that are supposed to make you look a lot better than you actually are. Take a look at the page that I wrote at the start of this site where I confess to being a 'Tennis Nobody'. I didn't write that for a laugh, it's where I sit on the scale of 'Tennis Somebody's', I don't rate on the scale yet the 'Zen Masters' of the game who have done a sparrow's fart of what I have done and seen rave about their personal achievements.
One week.
If I don't receive the reply I am looking for then as far as I am concerned the Tennis Coaching Industry is not worth being part of. Will I continue to teach the game ? Absolutely, under no banner and with no obligation to spread the word that my coaching provider is looking out for me and doing the right thing by me and vice versa.
Going to go and buy a Walt Disney DVD today, I may be able to recognise a few of the characters.......

Thursday, 17 November 2016

'NO PROVEN FORMULA' ( PART 3 )

The main thing with all this rather silly situation is rather obvious; Tennis Australia state that their way is the ONLY WAY, the print out I have in front of me confirms that statement. So I ask you this, why are some Tennis Australia 'converted' programs and organisations working with ATPCA 'qualified' tennis coaches ? Or is that 'UNQUALIFIED' Tennis Coaches ?
Surely Tennis Australia has told their 'thousands' of coaches to stay clear of any other 'qualified' tennis coach not belonging to Tennis Australia. Or didn't they ?
Is the entire Tennis Coaching Industry in Australia so completely f..... up that no one really knows just what to do or who to align themselves with ? Why do Tennis Australia make out that no other coaching organisation should see the light of day in Australia yet willingly employ ATPCA coaches to teach their students the finer points of tennis ?
Surely ATPCA tennis coaches lack any credibility whatsoever ? TA stand by that statement and send print outs to tennis clubs all over Australia to pin up on their notice boards for all to see as I have seen at my old tennis club. It is not the first time I have seen it either as I once read another rather farcical statement from TA that another Coaching provider was in the system and to beware of their 'offerings'. This was around three years ago.
Well it's like this, in the last few years in Australia we have seen minimal success, many bad moods from Tomic and Kyrgios, a suspension, a less than 40 minute tennis match from an Aussie, the premature retirement of Australia's most promising tennis talent Ashley Bartey, a failure by Sam Stosur to perform at home once again, the overlooking of John Peers to be awarded the John Newcombe Medal for best performed Australian Tennis Professional despite his ridiculously superior results and superior ranking than any other Australian tennis pro and the farcical decision to play Lleyton Hewitt in the Davis Cup despite his 'retirement' and the availability of other players. 
Who is running Tennis in Australia ? Walt Disney ? 
It seems that the sport of tennis in Australia is in a state of confusion currently. Wayne Bryan, Father of the Bryan Brothers summed things up in his Country recently when he suggested the sport be turned over to the private sector as the system in the US is beyond repair.
Perhaps here in Australia we should do the same as not even qualified coaches know who they should be paying their fees to and some even belong to both associations just to cover all bases. Any advantage in this ? Absolutely. One will willingly give you an accreditation just for the sake of a few bucks in their bank account whereas the other will actually ask for a little loyalty.
So to put that into perspective, you may have a 'Mickey Mouse' Level 1 with a certain organisation whereas another will allow you to be 'elevated' to another level simply by you showing some interest in them, no course is necessary, trust me, I have seen proof. Just send through a few bucks.
Silly sport tennis, run by silly egotistical people with half baked ideas with no sense of what is morally correct or for the good of the game.
Going to put in an application to Tennis Australia tomorrow to add to my ATPCA Advanced Pro Level 2 accreditation, just for good measure to add to my list of personal 'achievements' to dazzle any future students.
Someone once told me that a guy with a loud car most definitely owned a small dick, sounds similar to the guys who need to fill up their tennis 'achievement' file with things that look glossy yet fail to own any intelligence about it whatsoever.......

'NO PROVEN FORMULA' ( PART 2 )

In the sport of tennis there are certain organisations who swear by their programs yet do not have the success rate to back up their 'big talk'. It's commonly known as 'hype with no substance' and fails to hit the mark. Unfortunately the paying public simply accept the fact that tennis may just be all too hard to learn because of the failure by the organisation to teach the game with that word again, substance.
Many programs look and sound great yet forget to even start a lesson with the correct grip ( that takes time and there are gimmicks and games far more important to learn first apparently ).
So to coaching the sport of tennis in this country, who is right and who is wrong ? Well according to Tennis Australia their way is the ONLY WAY and any other organisation who dares to teach the sport Down Under is wasting their time because apparently no other coaching provider will be recognised as far as an accreditation is concerned. Let me explain this in more detail;
In Australia we have both the ATPCA ( Australian Tennis Professional Coaches Association ) and Tennis Australia who hand out accreditations to budding tennis coaches. Personally I am a member of the ATPCA which has been in existence for over 47 years and accredited over 5,000 tennis coaches both in Australia and overseas. Not bad for an organisation who apparently are not recognised by Tennis Australia as even having a heartbeat.
I received a letter some time ago from Tennis Australia because once I was a paid up member of TA as my local tennis club paid my membership just in time for our courts to be resurfaced with the blue Australian Open surface so it was a good look if I was part of their organisation. Personally I wasn't really interested as I have always done my own thing when it comes to teaching tennis, I rely on my own initiative and not a list of 'latest methods' to dazzle my students with. So back to the letter, it's a ripper, possibly the most farcical letter I have ever read as far as an organisation trying to convince not only themselves but anyone prepared to listen that Tennis Australia is head and shoulders above the rest.
Among other things the letter states that 'No other provider of coach education in Australia meets the standards of, or is endorsed by, the Australian Sports Commission or the International Tennis Federation. Consequently Tennis Australia cannot recognise the coaching qualifications of graduates of courses provided by non-endorsed tennis coaching providers.
These non-endorsed courses create a number of challenges for the coaching industry'.
Yes that's just part of the letter, much more to come as I dissect this whole rather comical issue.
So just to create some more confusion, what about this; There are programs being run in Australia by Tennis Australia qualified Coaches who also have ATPCA qualified tennis coaches working for them. Not sure about you but I find that rather confusing. You either follow the Tennis Australia direction or you follow the ATPCA as an alternative.
Identity crisis ? Most definitely. Part 3 to follow......

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

' NO PROVEN FORMULA' ( PART 1 )

The thing most people need to remember when it comes to the sport of tennis is that there is NO PROVEN FORMULA for the success of a student of any age. The reason for that is simple, there are way too many perceptions of how the sport should be taught. Because the success rate of churning out champion players is minimal it should be rather obvious that no one has found the key to unlock the mystery of tennis success.
By a 'champion' player I refer to a World beater, a Nick Kyrgios for instance yet he has been the first Australian player apart from Tomic to sneak inside the World top 50 for many years since Lleyton Hewitt dominated the Australian tennis scene as far as titles and rankings are concerned. So where do you find another Nick Kyrgios ? They don't come along too often.
Good question.
I once wrote on my site that I firmly believe the next Novak is sliding around on a clay court in an obscure South American Challenger Tournament however he can't afford to take his time getting to the main stage in World Tennis because you need money to survive. Don't expect to be handed any financial favours in this sport, you have to win regularly or have an unlimited amount of zeros in your bank account.
The best junior talent that I have ever witnessed was a kid from Perth by the name of Paul Kilderry who at age 11 was playing and beating 16 year olds in State Championships. He was a freak. It is still somewhat of a mystery why he didn't crack the World top 100 in singles though he won three doubles titles and one was against Jarryd and Nestor, two of the greatest ever players in the two on two format. Paul reached World number 67 in doubles.
I suppose the story of Paul really puts tennis success into perspective as you can be one of the best juniors in the World as Paul was but there is no guarantee you will take that success into the senior ranks. Was a vital cog missing in his game or was it just where his ability lay ? Certain players almost steamroll their way to a certain ranking position then run out of puff for one reason or another and don't seem to be able to break through any higher. Fact of life, not every player can be a top 100 player.
Some coaches are so clever that they can take a player from average to bloody good in a short space of time and there are none more high profile than the Agassi / Gilbert partnership. That whole story was living proof that a coach who had no weapons as far as his own play was concerned but who possessed a brilliant tactical mind could take a player with no brains yet brilliant shots to tennis success. That partnership was nothing short of fascinating as they were such different players yet they simply clicked right from the start because the 'student' knew his limitations as far as his thinking was concerned so he hired a 'tennis brain'.
I wonder if Gilbert could have taken Kilderry further ? Many stories floated around the circuit that Paul was asked to hit with some of the biggest names in World Tennis, Agassi included because his hitting was as good as anyone's, albeit in practice. How do you take that practice form and turn it into a substance worth bottling ? You need a mind as good as your shots if not better, that's a tough ask in a sport such as tennis.
So where do you find a good, sorry, a smart tennis coach ? Do you look up the most expensive one ? Do you look up the one who has had the most years on a tennis court ? Do you throw a dart at the page of tennis coaches in your region and just go with the one it hits ? The reality is this, if you had a lesson with every single tennis coach in that phone book you will quite possibly be taught something different by each one on how to hit the same shot.
If you asked about tactics you will also most certainly be taught a different way to play by each coach because every coach will have their own ideas about what is the right way and the wrong way to play the game. The differences in opinions on tennis are so great that if you did take that path of learning and paid for a lesson with ten different tennis coaches you may just find yourself asking to be put into a straight jacket by the end of it all for your own personal safety.
Learning the art of hitting a tennis ball as well as grasping the tactical side of it all can turn a relatively sane person insane in a short period of time, no risk at all......

Saturday, 12 November 2016

'TA OR ATPCA ' ?

I wrote the following piece around three years ago however the whole debate now has resurfaced. Why ? Well it's like this, Tennis Australia coaching programs now have guys and girls from the ATPCA working for them, it's easy to look up. All you have to do is look up a tennis coaching organisation anywhere in this Country and look for a coach.
Once you have put the coach's name into the system it will then tell you where this coach is aligned to, whether it be TA or the ATPCA. All rather confusing ? I believe so yes. All of these TA 'gurus' who swear by their programs in fact have assistant coaches working for them who are paid up members of another organisation, interesting. Read on.....
 I once read a rather amusing statement in the paper regarding Tennis Australia Coaches as opposed to 'others' , namely The ATPCA (Australian Tennis Professional Coaches Association), the Association I currently belong to .
Whilst I do not have the article in front of me it read something along the lines as ; 'Tennis Australia recommend Tennis Australia 'Coaches' only for junior Tennis Programs, nation wide, etc etc. Let's put this into perspective ; Woolies recommend their food over Coles , Dan Murphy's Liquor recommend their product over other Liquor providers as does Toyota over Mazda , but they word their sales pitch's a little smarter than what was written regarding Tennis Oz vs 'others'.
It is no secret that The ATPCA and Tennis Australia do not have much time for each other so rather than me try to explain it I will simply put the Link at the bottom of the page , it's worth a read , it is fairly easy to see where the issues began . So back to the newspaper article , this was written by a 'Coach' who is aligned to Tennis Australia , so where does his point lay ? 
Nowhere , it is a small minded opinion and lacks any substance or credibility. It is a rather humorous way of trying to degrade other Tennis Coaching Associations but falls short of doing anything except embarrassing himself and his 'Organisation'.
Tennis is an egotistical Sport without a doubt , you have to have an ego to play it and an even bigger one to teach it , but some people know how to keep their ego's under control , others abuse their 'Authority'. I have plenty of views regarding the game of Tennis so i write about it on this site , people can choose to read it or ignore it .
I do not publicly state that the ATPCA is in any way a better Organisation than Tennis Australia , I simply choose to be with these guys because i believe their direction is for the good of the game. 
Anyone who is prepared to publicly write that their Provider is better than any other's without a detailed description as to why , including the performance win / loss ratio compared to the other's , in my opinion has his or her head firmly stuck up their own ....  'Ego' may be my next chapter...... 
(I urge you to click the following Link , worth a read )
http://www.atpca.com.au/about/faq/

'A MUST READ '

The following piece of literature is from someone who did the sums on tennis, it's tough to read if you are looking to make the sport your career but here it is , word for word from 'tennis insiders.com;
'Right now there are about 14 US players on the ATP and WTA tours who are earning a net profit. They span about 17.5 years of playing on tour. That means that the US as a Country produces about 8 1/10's of one paying job per year as a pro tennis player. If you are pushing your child for that 8 1/10's of one job then you need to have your head examined. The pro tennis system is broken beyond belief. It is nothing short of a flat out Business catastrophe perpetrated against our sport .... but it is still our catastrophe. So unless you are going to start a new pro tour ..... you are looking at 80 percent of one paying job per year. 
It cracks me up that the 100's of 1000's of dollars that people spend on their kid's tennis, berating them after their losses, devoting their entire family's live's to the cause ..... only to find out that the average professional tennis player loses money as opposed to makes it.'

Thought that was worth a repost, I put it on this site quite some time ago as I thought it had merit.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

' THE HACKER '

 Every player owns a style that they are comfortable with, some are effective, some aren't. Some look good, others look a little less glamorous. Either way we all have a particular style about us when we step onto a tennis court. So how would I describe myself ? Well I don't really need to as others have already done it for me. Yes folks I am officially 'the hack' ! 
It has been said to me and about me on at least two occasions but I would suspect there have been many more 'hack' comments sprayed in my direction over the years. So why am I a hack ? Well that's an easy one to answer, I simply keep getting the ball back into play and I am not really that interested in putting it back into the hitting zone of my opponent. 
So what is a hack ? Most kids will tell you that the terminology is not a compliment, more so a derogatory remark about a player who does things a little differently on court. Those things may include things like moon balls, plenty of lobs, sliced backhands as opposed to the 'cooler' topspin drive, softer hitting and an uncanny ability to do it all on a regular basis. This style drives opponents absolutely nuts because that sort of style should not be effective, yet it is, it is very, very effective. 
If you don't believe me then take a read of Brad Gilbert's best seller 'Winning Ugly', it confirms it.
I once wrote a post about a match that I played locally against a hot shot teenager from the City where I was in total awe of his hit up form yet that's where his ability to intimidate me ceased. Apart from being down an early break I won the match in straight sets but once I started getting on top his frustration became obvious, 'This guy is a hack'. 
That's the best he could come out with, he said it loud enough for me to hear it which gave me all the information I required to keep doing what I was doing as I knew it was getting to him.
So what was I doing ? I was annoying him in a way that he quite possibly had never been annoyed before because his game was big, particularly the forehand but he only hit it well if I gave him a hard ball in his hitting zone. After the first few games I realised that I was almost trying to play his game so I changed it up and gave him nothing that he liked and he did not recover from my change in tactic because I believe he fitted the mould of a lot of young tennis players. 
The player I am referring to is the ball machine player who can hit for an hour against a machine and believe that this is what is going to make them into a smart tennis player. 
It's all very well to be a 'macho man' when you play a sport like tennis however very few players can win by blasting winners at will all day long, leave that to the pros, in fact leave that to a player with few brains because even pros don't expect to blast winners all day. 
A smart tennis player or pro will actually win a match by making less errors than his opponent, not necessarily by hitting more winners but that's me stating the obvious, most people with an ounce of tennis grey matter will know that anyhow. 
I also apologise once again for giving a personal example on this site of mine however I firmly believe in relevance when writing about tennis and I have played a lot of tennis matches in my 35 years on court.
The smartest tennis players and coaches are the ones who have played a lot of matches, it's how you learn the game. You can be a 'seasoned tennis coach' in your own funny little World or you can draw on some past matches whether they be a win or a loss when you are looking to teach others the intricacies of tennis.
I was no star, in fact I was an average tennis player, a 'hack' to be more specific but I played enough matches to know what is right and wrong and what is effective when it comes to tennis. 
Happy to be a hacker, it can frustrate your opponents beyond comprehension, trust me and if you don't then please feel free to read 'Winning Ugly' by BG. He knew how to win without a conventional 'big' game........

' THE TOWEL, NECESSITY OR HABIT' ?


There is no way in the World that a tennis player requires a towel handed to them after each point by a poor little ball kid who actually signed up to chase tennis balls and not a pro who keeps pointing to his towel. How did this ridiculous habit even start and who let it happen ? ! Talk about pampered indeed.
I watched Groth ( who does sweat profusely ) sometime ago ask for the towel at an Australian tournament after each point he played and one thing occurred to me, it was a habit not a necessity. Let me elaborate. Groth asked for his towel after being aced after towelling off just moments earlier at the end of the previous point. 
Sure he won't stop sweating once he's started if he is that sort of person however a sweat band surely can do the job on the ace points as opposed to asking the ball boy to keep running the towel his way. 
To me it does nothing for the sport, in fact it gives it a prima donna type of aura as sweating and sport go together, it's like bacon and eggs. I don't see the big guns like Murray, Federer, Rafa and Novak going for the towel after each point. Sure Rafa has his funny habits however getting ball boys to run a towel to him after each point is not one of them. 
Roger simply uses his sweatband to wipe away the flow from his brow. McEnroe used to use his sleeve, Cash had a towel on his hip and Borg, well I don't believe he sweated at all, he was from another planet.
Let ball kids do their jobs, let them chase tennis balls and let the pros chase their own towels. If that means that they use all their time in between points risking a time violation then so be it but don't give other professional sport people the ammunition to call tennis a sport for the pampered......

'TENNIS, A RICH PERSON'S SPORT'

The recent post on the ATP site in regards to Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic is one of those typical tennis stories that have you both proud of the man himself yet almost angry at the sport and the way in which it is run. Victor didn't even turn pro until he turned 26 years of age, Borg was the same age when he retired.The reason the inspirational little man from the Caribbean didn't turn pro earlier was because he couldn't afford to, pretty simple really. The article begs the question, what if he had the funding to turn pro as a teenager or in his early twenties at least ? Many what if's with Victor Estrella Burgos.
I wrote a post on my site quite some time ago about this man because I was taken back by his desire to earn his spot in the Tennis World amongst the big guns albeit as a 'veteran' right from the very start.
I believe the yearly expenses of a tennis pro add up to around $150,000 including coaching also which means that three grand is needed per week just to make ends meet. Now that figure has not been plucked from thin air, it appears to be a fact.
The USTA has stated that it costs around $143,000 per year to fund the life of a Pro Tennis player however that figure could actually be halved by some. Apparently it costs $70,000 alone just to fund a travelling coach for the year so if you are a struggling player you may not even consider a coach. Tough to get better if you don't have someone analysing your matches and explaining where the improvement needs to happen.
I have always been rather bemused at the ever increasing prize money at the Grand Slams in particular as I am sure that all players would be more than happy with a 'capped' two million for a title win. Yet each year we read on in awe of the three or four million dollar first prize for a Grand Slam win which is more than an average Lotto win in the land of Oz.
I have often stated that I firmly believe the next Novak is sliding around on a clay court somewhere in an obscure South American Challenger event relying on a semi final showing just to break even for the week. The pressure to perform would be nothing short of enormous. Some say that it's the nature of the sport where only the strongest survive but I disagree with that.
If you have bucket loads of money you do not have to make the semis each time you play because you have a financial back up and no pressure as far as a time frame is concerned. Look at Victor's circumstances, he saved his coaching money and received nothing else to help him speed up the process of getting him on tour. 
That to me is a blight on the entire tennis system that boasts $100,000,000 in Novak's account now days, ( Before Tax of course ). 
Unless you are a 'once in a generation' talent such as Zverev or Coric you will scratch around for years on the Challenger Circuit earning the equivalent some weeks of a Check Out chick's K Mart wage. 
You know what I would love to see one day ? I know this is a real pipe dream but a portion of the Grand Slam title winner's purse to go into a fund to help the struggling future of the game simply make ends meet. Whip out a hundred grand before the cheque is even written, he won't even notice it's gone.
Victor Estrella Burgos is a man who could have been a top twenty player if he had the funds to support himself at an earlier age, no risk whatsoever. It is inspiring to read his story and how he will do his best to make sure in his Country at least the youth of the sport do not struggle like he had to.
As one last example that I believe to be most relevant, when Victor was just 23 he defeated a then 18 year old Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay in three straight sets in a Davis Cup match. Victor was ranked 1,110. Yes that isn't a mis print, ONE THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED AND TEN. Cuevas sits currently at World Number 21.
As Victor says on the ATP World Tour site, he had the ability, just not the finances to make it happen. A rich person's sport indeed is tennis........

Monday, 7 November 2016

'JUST A THOUGHT FROM GT'

I have always wondered why on earth Pro Tennis players receive new balls after seven games because surely those balls are still rather hittable after those seven games. To me all it really does is give guys like Karlovic, Querry and Isner even more ammunition for their already ridiculously fearsome delivery.
Let's look at the average Saturday at your local tennis club, new balls at 1 pm, still in reasonable shape albeit either a little fluffier if played on synthetic grass or a little worse for wear if played on a hard court. So what's my view ?
Well as always I have a theory on what I believe should in fact transpire in a tennis match remembering of course that it is the same conditions for both players. New balls each set, nothing more, nothing less.
At least that way if it gets to a tie breaker between Isner and Karlovic it may just come down to the return instead of the serve which when you think about it is far from a spectacle for the crowd. Ace, unplayable serve, Ace, Ace, Ace, unplayable serve, pretty ordinary tennis for the public who pay good money to see the ball hit over the net more than twice during a point. Call me old fashioned but I love a good rally in tennis. A barrage of aces and unplayable serves will not wear a ball out like long arduous rallies so giving the big servers new pills after seven games really is not helping the sport become entertaining.
So what of two baseliners ? Should they receive new balls after seven games ? Well maybe they have a more solid case for it to happen however a certain style obviously cannot dictate a ruling in tennis so the rules must not favour one or the other. Baseliners may argue that their style will in fact warrant new tennis balls every seven games however it may just come down to tactics if each player knew that each set was to start from scratch with a new batch of furry things in a tin.
I firmly believe tennis players are pampered way too much and watching a pro dig for a new racket to go with the new balls even if that racket has being doing magic things thus far defies logic. New set, new balls, toughen up, spare a thought for the club player who is lucky to see one set of new balls each week let alone each seven games.
Allow for tactical matches as opposed to adding gunpowder to some already heavy artillery, just a thought......

Thursday, 3 November 2016

' WORTH A READ'

I had a lesson recently with a teenager who had spent around five or so years playing tennis in various programs around the State as he and his family moved around a bit. He spoke to me about wanting to improve his technique so we hit a few balls and then I brought him up close to the net.
" Show me how you would treat this ball thanks buddy " as I dropped a ball in front of him nice and low about half way between the net and the service box. He netted the first three balls that didn't even look like clearing the net. We tried again, 'Just a little more height on your follow through mate, let's clear it this time, nothing fancy, not too much pace".
Net, net, net and net again on the next four balls I drop fed to him. " What would you say is the problem with your forehand Champ" ? as I asked the obvious. 'Not sure, maybe my grip'. So we had a look at his grip which wasn't totally incorrect but we made a slight adjustment then I fed another five balls to his forehand and he cleared the net just once however his shot went long.
Here's what was going on. The kid had never been shown how to loop a ball into court. All he knew was how to drive it hard with a net clearance of a bee's proverbial. The kid had no idea on topspin or how to take the pace off the ball and simply roll it into play and he had been playing for around five years.
"Have you ever had a one on one lesson mate ? "  'No, just group lessons'. So as usual I did the sums on the whole thing. What is happening in many programs is rather obvious, too many kids in a lesson, kids running around looking busy but no real substance to the sessions and definitely no work on technique. I asked the kid whether he had been shown how to abbreviate a shot, you know, break it down into parts and his reply was 'no' again.
Sure it's a requirement for a kid to have a fun session , run around and come off the court saying 'That was great fun Dad' ,but surely part of those sessions must be about slowing the tempo down and at least looking at the mechanics of a shot. Or are some coaches worried about boring a kid to tears ?
Are gimmicks taking over from learning ? I asked this particular student to throw me a few balls just as I did to him and I showed him how to simply roll a ball into play without the drive type of motion that he thought was the ONLY way to hit a tennis ball. I broke the shot down into parts and even started with holding the racket up near the throat to prove I could hit a ball into play with plenty of clearance and not so much as a racket handle to help me.
I also hit a few balls over with just my hand as he threw the balls to me. I struck the ball with the palm of my hand and proved that I could also hit topspin without a racket. ( Sorry, maybe a gimmick there ) I wanted him to see the motion that was required to come up on a tennis ball from underneath it to create spin.
He gave it a go himself and actually had some success with it which I was not surprised about because I have always found that hitting a tennis shot in parts is how to build technique. Tennis teaching to me is all about thinking outside the square and not necessarily following programs that look great yet miss the mark as far as technique building is concerned.
I still am rather bemused by certain programs in tennis that are a total waste of time yet are seen by some parents in particular as a program of substance for their child. Forget the 10 or 12 student classes, total waste of time once again and find something that has a bit of bite to it like a program that explains the game in detail at an affordable price.....
Hang on GT, that may just make way too much sense.....
Heading to the Wheat belt again this weekend to spread the word on the game, you know the word that explains the sport of tennis without all the glossy stuff that seems to be associated with the sport now days.....
See you all in a few days
Regards GT

Friday, 28 October 2016

'THANKS FOR TUNING IN'

As always I send out a big thank you to those who read this site and in particular for those of you who have taken the time to read my book 'Delusions of Grandeur'.
The book is dear to me as it retraces most of the steps that I have taken in tennis from a 12 year old kid to a 47 year old who still gets a kick out of playing occasionally but who focuses more time on teaching the game now days. 
Like the old adage goes, 'you are a long time retired', so I suppose I drained every ounce out of my ageing legs and played every local tournament I could while I was fit and willing. There's plenty of time to coach, not so much time to play, fact of life.
In case I have forgotten to say thanks to an old mate of mine I will do so now. To Pete Rundle who partnered me in the Albany Open Mens Doubles two years ago, thanks heaps mate as it was officially my last local tournament due to a buggered wrist and a knee that simply doesn't run fast enough anymore.
Legend Pete, thanks for 'carrying' me.
So to coaching, it's funny but I always preferred to play the game than coach but now that the body is no longer able to do what it used to it's a natural thing to focus more on tuition.  I can still run the young players around when we play points though as you find ways to outsmart your opponent as you age in tennis, you only get smarter in this sport, trust me.....
The Wheat belt coaching sessions are nothing short of inspiring as the breed of player in those small towns have a desire to hit a tennis ball that you don't see every day of the week, they quite simply love it and they remind me of the Tambellup kids of 2006.
My good mate and Albany Open partner of 2012 Dave Bignall and I taught a group of kids at the Tambellup Tennis Club that I swear were the best group of kids I have ever seen for two seasons. They hit balls to Dave and myself that you would swear were being hit by 16 year olds and they were just 11 and 12 years of age at the time. No fear....
Now that the body has resigned itself to just teaching the game I have been working on some tactical improvement sessions as the years have taught me one thing in particular, it's all very well to keep refining technique however that part of the game is useless unless you know how to put it into a match.
This season is a little different for me, I am no longer chasing a title, I am simply chasing the improvement in players from the regions that I am teaching the game in and I am focused on giving a player some ideas to help them think their way through a match.
My tournament play however over 35 years has put me in good stead to guide the youngsters and the 'experienced' tennis players through the difficult times in tennis and by that I simply mean the mind games that go with the sport.
Anyone can hit a tennis ball, very few actually know what to do with it, that's where us 'old blokes' fit in.
I look forward to seeing you on court this season, thanks for tuning in.......