Friday, 29 July 2016

'A CATHARTIC EXERCISE'

Throughout my book writing exercise lately I have expressed many emotions towards a sport that no longer appeals to me to play and that I find increasingly difficult to teach. Why ? Because the delving into the rather large suitcase in my mind and sifting through the paperwork has made me realise that tennis is a sport that toys with your mind after a while.
I have often said that I find tennis to be nothing more than an argument between two players that can only be resolved with a series of correct answers. After 35 years of playing the game and around 28 years of coaching it I find the argumentative side of it to be no longer appealing in any way.
Anyone who has tuned into this Blog over the past four years or who has known me personally will be well aware of my fight with officialdom, particularly locally however on many occasions the argument in fact was started by others. I merely retaliated, as I do.
We could quite possibly go back as far as ten years ago if we really want to shed some light onto the GT vs The Rest type of situation that for some reason tainted me as the bad guy. Having been given no choice but to hand over my advanced squad players to another program which was being run by a combined total of less than half of my experience had issues written all over it right from the start.
The manuscript stated that if any kids wished to be considered for regional selection then they had to be a part of the new training program which from memory was run fortnightly. My argument was simple, as always.
I train my own students, others train theirs', we then put their names forward if they wished to be selected and challenge matches would decide the eventual team. I am still unsure to this day why there was a problem with my idea. Perhaps it made too much sense.
My retaliation at a local meeting was rather comically documented in a transcript to the local association that was put together with a one eyed view and one that lacked the reasons behind my frustrations. Ok I admit that my verbal spray towards the person at the meeting who had no right to even be in that position could have been a little more 'refined' however I am locally 'famous' for having an ordinary serve, this was no different.
The biggest issue with people like that sitting on a committee is a common problem in sport and particularly tennis because they lack any ability whatsoever to play so they try to make up for it in the board room. On my departure that night I was most disappointed that I didn't include a parting shot at this particular person who should have been held accountable for almost inciting a riot.  
'Make sure you give ....... an extra kiss tonight because you two are obviously sleeping in the same bed' would have been an appropriate line but that may have just compounded things further.
That was quite possibly the first thing that put me off side with a few of the locals in the tennis fraternity but when you think about it I wonder how others would have reacted if the shoe was on the other foot but unfortunately with tennis someone always knows better than you do.
Just as Australian tennis legend Paul McNamee suggested in a letter to the ATPCA ( Australian Tennis Professional Coaches Association ) it is a sport where unfortunately others who own 'higher credentials' quite often try to assert their 'authority' on others all too often. The problem with that is simple, on most occasions it lacks intelligence but it sounds good.
Maybe I should have taken it all as a compliment as after all our program was head and shoulders above any others in the region and it all came from a vision to improve without burning out. The one and only article I wrote for the local paper one particular year as the season concluded stated a very valid fact. The club I was coaching at had no less than ten juniors regularly playing senior club tennis on a Saturday afternoon which proved that our program was working.
All of those juniors aged between 11 and 18 came through several seasons of hard work and also a Saturday morning junior club which ceased to exist not long after we left. That weekly three hours of supervised match play was crucial in their development and paved the way for them to take on the adults. In fact it had shades of my old days playing as a kid at the now defunct C and S Tennis Club where we would play in the morning, have an hour for lunch and then play against the adults for another three hours. How could a kid not improve ?
Now that program of ours had no input from anyone else yet what we had to endure throughout the season was the regular letters and newspaper items that stated Tennis Australia recommends only programs run by qualified Tennis Australia Coaches. Neither myself or my assistants had anything to do with TA yet what we were doing locally was proven to be working because it all came from a mindset that delivered a common sense training routine.
We had no superstars, just kids with a good honest ability to hit a tennis ball well. Not once did we ever burn a kid out through the offer of too much court time for the sake of a few extra dollars and a slight chance of stardom. If a kid ever wanted a one on one lesson I did it for $35 for 70 minutes because I was not interested in putting the price of learning out of reach of a regular family's income. 
I see that the latest recommended one on one session price from TA is $60 to $80 per hour. Not sure of the $20 discrepancy but what will most 'gurus' charge if that price is put on the TA website do you think ? 'Stuff $60, we can get away with charging $80'......
I thought about including this chapter in my book and then I thought better of it because whilst my book is somewhat controversial in some aspects I am wary of giving too much air time to people who I have little time for. I simply use those examples to write about on this site which has a cathartic type of effect on me but I will not give them  space in my book.
A while back I wrote that I had written 22 new chapters which was in fact incorrect, they were 'posts' which I have now put into chapters which now add up to thirteen. I am aiming at 20 chapters and then my book writing is done and dusted.......
Back soon, Regards GT

Catharsis

Catharsis is the purification and purgation of emotions—especially pity and fear—through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration
Wikipedia
 ( Just thought I would add that meaning for those of you who have been kind enough over the years to send me anonymous comments, just in case you weren't sure what it meant. ) 




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