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......

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.
All you have to do is look up a tennis coaching organization anywhere in this Country and put a coach's name into the system.
Once you have done this it will then tell you where the coach is aligned to, whether it be TA or the ATPCA. 
The funny thing is this, many TA 'gurus' who swear by TA in fact have assistant coaches working for them who are paid up members of the ATPCA. 
I find that to be nothing short of hypocritical.
So do Head Coaches really care who their assistant coaches are signed up with, whether it be TA or the ATPCA ?
Or is it only Tennis Australia themselves who really care ?
'TA OR ATPCA' ( written in 2016 )
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).
I also read the letter that was distributed to tennis clubs around Australia, written by Tennis Australia in 2012 who did their utmost to demean the ATPCA.
In a word it was PATHETIC.
Whilst I do not have the article or letter in front of me they both read something along the lines of ; '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 Australia 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 runs TA programs and who is a paid up coaching member of 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 Organization.
Now here's the thing, this coach is now a member of the ATPCA as well as running Tennis Australia coaching programs.
Why is this ?
Is there a lack of vision here ?
Is there an identity crisis here ?
Why would you possibly want to be a member of both the TA and ATPCA Coaching organizations ?
Is it simply just something that looks good on a resume ?
Personally I quit the ATPCA about a year ago as I did not receive the answer I was looking for. I asked the ATPCA to explain to me why TA coaches could join the ATPCA after all the crap that has been said about them by TA over the years.
I believe firmly in being a member of one or the other, not both. 
Remember, TA state that if you are a member of any other tennis coaching organization your 'accreditation' will not be recognized. 
Why not TA ?
Not recognized by who ?
Tennis Australia ?
Get over yourself TA.
The ATPCA has been in existence for over 45 years, fact.


Anyone who is prepared to publicly write that their Coaching 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 a... 
(I urge you to look up the following article , worth a read )
TA BLUNDER - ATPCA TENNIS
Good day
Regards Glenn

'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