Wednesday, 27 April 2016

'THE C and S DEBACLE' ( Part 5 )

My days of playing at C and S included sets against my School Teachers which always made for a bit of light banter either during or before a timed set on a Saturday afternoon. 'Hey Glenn if you want that A in Maths'......
That tennis club was so busy with players on a Saturday that it was not unusual to play a set against your local Doctor, Accountant, Vet or anyone else who owned a title of esteem in the Community. The Country and Suburban Tennis Club was THE place to play tennis in Albany, WA.
It's not to say that there weren't other tennis clubs in town but if you wanted a great hit then you wouldn't look any further than the Albany Highway facility. 'Hit and giggle' tennis was not on the agenda at C and S, it was a case of pride as the Senior set play from 1 pm onwards was your chance to make a statement amongst the elite of Albany's tennis community.
The club was fortunate to have Mark Leuba as a member, an outrageously talented kid who was in fact coached by his Dad. Bill Leuba took Mark to the top of the State rankings for the 12's and 14's training him at C and S three or four times a week. Mark would also play the senior club sets on Saturday afternoon but he was way too good for the junior club.
One of my first experiences playing Mark was in the afternoon tea break hit for the keen juniors who would never go and have a coffee with the 'oldies', it was a chance for that little bit of extra court time.
I thought I would try my luck and asked Mark for a few games, he obliged, nice kid was Mark. It was another one of those early tennis 'educations'. It only took him around 15 minutes to beat me 5-1, ( I never forget a score) with the afternoon tea bell ringing to save me from total humiliation. I knew I would have to get close to Mark's standard if I wanted to make an impression in Perth but at least I had that bench mark ( pardon the pun ) of ability etched in my mind. 
How lucky was I ? Fair dinkum I had the best Tennis Coach this town has ever seen and one of the State's best ever Country juniors both playing and coaching at my tennis club. Spoilt rotten no doubt about it when I first commenced the journey into my chosen sport. It took around six months of coaching with Peter to become competitive enough to play sets with Mark but I recall telling Peter that I wanted to get to Mark's standard and we worked hard.
Mark and I would hit regularly once I became good enough to play him and I regularly won sets from him both at C and S and the indoor facility where we hit throughout winter. In an old chapter I wrote of the devastation of losing to Mark perhaps a year later at the State Schoolboys Championships in Perth at Trinity College. I lead Mark 7-5, 4-3 and won just ONE more game which I put down to my mind seeing the finish line way too soon yet I remained philosophical. I knew I was heading in the right direction as Mark lost in the final to David Culley in the 16's that year so my standard was thereabouts but I lacked the polish that guys like Mark owned.
The C and S Tennis Club was a place to forge your game against some talented players no doubt about it and the hallmarks were all there to raise your standard if you used your brains as far as training was concerned. By that I mean it was up to you how well you took your opportunities as far as junior club, senior club, hits with the better players when the chance arose and taking a lesson from Peter was concerned.
It was as though you were a kid in a candy store at the courts on the highway with an abundance of sweets to treat yourself with. If you had the inclination and the desire to get better it was all out there at C and S yet one thing has stayed in my mind from those days more than anything else and it was the amount of POINT PLAY that we did.
We learned drills from Peter and worked on technique in those sessions however I firmly believe that it was the hours and hours of point play throughout the whole of Saturday's matches that was the deciding factor in our improvement.
Point play is 'KING' when working towards tennis success because when you play points you develop a sense of knowing what to do and when at different stages in a match.
Players who train too much without point play lack that vital ingredient that is required to win at tennis.
It's the one thing that separates a good hitter from a good player, court intelligence. Plenty of great hitters out there, not as many great tennis players.......

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