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