Over my 35 years on a tennis court, including both playing and coaching I have seen enough to write a book on, so basically that's what I did, I wrote a book over three years and I put the final pieces together in October, 2016. Some of you may have read it, hope you enjoyed it.
Obviously I could not put all of my experiences in the book as it would have resembled more of a 'cynical' look at the sport of tennis than anything else so I simply put those 'cynical' thoughts together and post them from time to time. Some of you may have read them, hope you enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
I do it because I take pride in letting the public know that tennis isn't what it seems in many aspects due to the many 'people' in charge of the sport who could get a job as a 'con man' or 'con woman' if their current 'job' ever fails. As always I will elaborate.
Over my 29 years of coaching here in WA in the City of Perth, in sleepy hollow here in Albany and in Queensland where I first started hitting balls to kids I have witnessed certain examples of what I simply refer to as 'pissing in someone's pocket'. Some are funnier than others. If you are not certain what that terminology means then look it up, it's relevant in the following examples.
I once coached a kid who was showing all sorts of potential however this particular student's parents' felt obliged to send the prodigy to both my program and one other as they knew another coach in the area so why not share the love, so to speak. So they did. The kid had two coaches however as we all know in tennis this is a tough gig so eventually something had to give.
One day I get a call, " The hot shot won't be coming to your program anymore, we have been offered a 'scholarship' with .......... and we are taking it ".
Fair enough, all the best with that.
Around 18 months later the hot shot is back. "Yeah we feel that ......... is not gaining anything by being in that program and the forehand is a real issue, do you mind taking ........ back " ?
Sure, why not ? What are 'friends' for ey ?
Took me two lessons to fix the forehand technique, another few hitting sessions to refine it and a beer or two and a chat about what had transpired over the previous year and a half.
"So how was the 'scholarship" ??!
"Surprise, surprise, no scholarship ey ? So don't tell me, a few discounted sessions, maybe a free racket, free restrings, perhaps a free trip or three thrown in as well ? Am I warm " ?
Red hot Thommo........
You see the success starved 'tennis coach' will try all sorts of things to gain clientele and the 'scholarship' idea is definitely worth a go if you are that way inclined however it also helps if you know how to actually teach the game.
For that particular child, well they left at a vulnerable age as far as tennis knowledge was concerned but during that 18 months or so of hitting tennis balls 'aimlessly' the light globe eventually went off and they worked it all out.
So to another story that was emailed to me and one I may have touched on already however we will give it another run.
Another child 'prodigy' currently receives training from someone totally different than who claims the current accolades for their recent success. In other words, 'Billy Bloggs' coaches 'Mats Nadal' yet 'Donald Duck' is on the books as the coach of 'Mats' and 'Don' receives the accolades. Why ? Well that's simple.
'Don Duck' has pulling power, so to speak and knows the right 'people', can find rackets at cost price or even cheaper and will throw in free restrings, travel etc whereas Billy Bloggs is in fact a good teacher of the game but doesn't really have a name and hasn't been to as many high profile bbq's as Don.
It's how the game works now days, it's full of the new breed who barely know how to teach a topspin forehand yet follow programs that Governing Bodies preach to them and then receive awards for their 'great work'.
I know for a fact that most tennis coaches who receive accolades on 'Awards Night' have had minimal success with their students or none at all whereas the 'real' coaches of the sport are overlooked. In fact they aren't even interested in an award, their students' successes and improvement are the only awards they require to run a successful program.
They do their own thing, usually without the help of the 'latest methods' from the Governing Bodies who think they know how to make a tennis player however all they are doing is creating clones or robots who lack the creativity of a champion.
Yes folks beware the success starved 'tennis coaches' of the World, they usually offer all sorts of things, particularly to the better players as they fail to own a tennis mind of their own so they make up for it with gimmicks and gifts.
Silly sport tennis........