Wednesday, 16 November 2016


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......

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