Whilst I have been busy writing lately on another site and putting together some factual information about the sport of tennis I took the time to stop and think about the game and how it is now portrayed and perceived. The one thing that I kept getting back to was the lack of credibility that is now required for someone to become a 'successful tennis coach'.
Now you will have to excuse my lack of respect for today's 'gurus' of tennis but it is becoming rather farcical as to just how little success you in fact require to be known as a 'Coaching Guru' of the game. Gone are the days of having to even know how to play the game, this is definitely not even on the radar, you just have to know how to talk yourself up. Showing a student that you own intestinal fortitude is way gone, like the woolly mammoth. You no longer need to play a local tennis tournament to prove you know how to hit a tennis ball. It used to be a NECESSITY. After all, don't you have to know how to play a sport to be able to teach a sport ?
When I was a lad this was my choice of a tennis coach; I had a local bloke by the name of Holmsey who had such an aura about him that if you in fact won a game off him in practice it was the stuff 'legends' were made of and you made it front page news at school the next day. The other option for a tennis coach was well beyond your means and affordability but a lesson with a guy named Rob Casey from Perth was what you strived for because Rob actually told you how you were going, not how you thought you were going.
The Facebook Tennis Coach arrived at the height of the Social Media storm, like the tech stocks of the 90's with 'hype' written all over them yet those stocks disappeared without so much as a whimper. So what of the new breed of tennis 'coach' ? Well it's a known fact now that these guys and girls only require a very bright Social Media page to have people knocking on their door at all hours of the night to be involved in a program that has glamour written all over it. On further inspection it seems that Walt Disney characters have more credibility.
While writing a book currently on my travels in tennis and how it took me to Europe to see just how tough the sport really was I shake my head in disillusionment on how the sport currently rewards people who look and sound great yet deliver nothing. Most deliver absolutely zero as far as results are concerned.
Yet it is all accepted now days as 'part of the journey'. Most Social Media Tennis Coaches will tell their adoring fans and the like that 'winning is not the goal, it's just a bonus as the journey itself is what's important' as they pocket another $90 for the hour or a few hundred for another road trip.
Yet when the student has a win then it is the stuff that legends are made of and the ensuing media stories are front and back page performances that are also accompanied with the obligatory quotes, : Jimmy has been a student of mine for quite some time now and he is now achieving the results we expected'...... You know the write up I am talking about.
Guys like Rob Casey are no longer sought after because their pages are not bright enough and their shoes lack the Xmas tinsel that have people lining up at the door for the privilege of being able to unwrap a parcel that delivers a Pro Tennis career through the expensiveness of the Zen Master's footwear alone ( Isn't that what makes a champion now days ?? )
The Facebook Tennis 'Coach' is here to stay for the moment folks but we can only hope that the tech wreck is something that 'real' tennis coaches can perhaps take heart from and hope that common sense and an honest evaluation from parents on just how the student is going despite the ludicrous amounts of money being spent to 'learn' the sport is eventually taken into account.
It is no longer a requirement to gain a result in tennis from certain programs, more so a requirement to be part of the in crowd as the song goes 'I'm in with the in crowd, I go where the in crowd goes'.
Yes I am showing my age as far as that song is concerned I know but it typifies the Industry that is now being run by people who know nothing, deliver nothing and CAN'T EVEN PLAY THE GAME.
I know some that disappear altogether when tournaments are on yet swear by their own technique and their philosophies that sound great yet are never even shown to the public through being found out for what they really are; ALL HYPE, NO SUBSTANCE, PLENTY OF DOLLARS TO 'LEARN' WITH, INJURY PRONE WHEN THE 'REPUTATION' IS ON THE LINE.
Sound familiar ? The sport owns plenty of 'em, you quite possibly have one 'working' at your local Tennis Club......