Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tis The Season To Play Tennis

All over the world million's of kids will awake to find "under the tree" or in their Christmas stocking a brand new tennis racket, used wisely this item will provide you with a lifetime sporting opportunity.No doubt their are some that will go onto win a "grandslam" However there will be many that wont reach this achievement.Their will be many people such as me that through tennis has made lifetime opportunities, new friends and lead you on different pathways of life .For me the sport of tennis has brought many people into my life ,pupils and opponents,administrators and parents.Its given me great opportunities to travel and experience different cultures not only within my own country( Australia) but all over the world,Cairo,London,Los Angeles etc , I have experienced the highs an lows as a coach and a player,become a surrogate parent at times and above all have met many people that have affected my life through this game.I came from a small country town in Australia population 300 , I haven't won a grand slam !,but this game has been so much a part of my life.And yes just as Life will deal good and bad times so will tennis,for all those juniors opening their presents and receiving a brand new tennis racket ,grasp what a great game this is and it too will become part of your life ,lead you to many adventures and take you to many exciting places.I could never imagine when i received my first tennis racket that I would end up coaching and playing in many countries, making friends worldwide,remember not many of you will become world number 1 but enjoy the game and it will open the world up to you MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sam Lane "Tears" Up Otago 12 boys Field

Sam Lane convincingly won the 12 boys singles at the recent Otago Junior Championships defeating Henry Hailes 6-0 6-1. Lane attacked continually and Hailes had no answer to the power and accuracy of Lane.On route to the final Lane was a dominant force in all matches defeating Tom Russell ( Southland) 6-0 6-1 in the quarter finals then Paddy Ou ( Otago) 6-0 6-1 in the Semi's.Lane will be hoping for a success full 12s nationals and teams event in January. I have said it many times before that only in competition do you know where you are really at with your game,parents are unfortunately at fault in side stepping tournaments delaying answers that will only be all too late in their child's next important competition game.Tournament play is often the best learning curb of all ,Its my advice for parents to think carefully what build up is most beneficial and take the hard yards in making sure that tournament play is to the forefront.
Congratulations to all juniors who chose to play events leading up to Christmas, of course it is acknowledged that family commitments around this time can take precedent, however those that did have the opportunity are certainly ahead of the Field come nationals and I am predicting some huge upsets in January and some disappointment for players that have been absent from tournament play leading into nationals.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Its been a "blue blue day" Courts improve vision for tracking a tennis ball.

The Australian open has gone blue and intern so has the US Open in having blue as their court surface colour.Tennis South Canterbury are changing the court surface color also at the association courts in Timaru.Tracking the ball should be easier as players no doubt will enjoy the new change in color.4 courts are in the process of "make overs" in ready for the 12 National teams events next January held in Timaru.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Christmas Wish list

Dear Santa,
I know you had to check your naughty or nice list a few times just to make sure my name turned up on the nice side, but I assure you; I tried to be a much better tennis coach than in 2007, and in 2009 ill even try harder, this game of tennis has its ups and downs players and coaches but Santa its such a great game one can enjoy for a lifetime.And so Santa i present you with my Christmas wish list.
#1 May all my tennis pupils receive exactly what they put into their game and realize that by working harder and keeping their tennis constant they will reap the rewards that this game has to offer not just on the court but in their personal lives also.

# That my top dog ranking rises and that players overcome the fear of entering events and playing opponents that may lower their grading number.

# That parents realize that winning is not everything and that losing matches often help more in their child's development,let the coaches coach and enjoy seeing your child compete,realize that improvement rates are different for each individual and be prepared for a lull and above all remain positive, remember that practice is a key component and this goes hand in hand with tennis coaching.

#That the Pacific region will once again become a world power in tennis, Santa I know that this is a hard ask due to our isolation but try to work on it.

#That all players remain healthy and play for the right reason and if they do that then Santa we will see the passion come out in this game.

#No ones perfect Santa and coaches and players all make mistakes its a human trait help us move on and acknowledge the good things .

#One more thing Santa there are a lot of volunteers behind the scenes to make tennis a success, these people know who they are so make sure you look after them.

#Oh one last thing an Aussie winning the Australian Open would be good also ,can you work on that, and that more money is spent on players and not on needless bureaucracy,it is time to acknowledge coaches and players that are doing a good job and help them .

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winning a tennis match not a simple formula

There is a formula for winning a tennis match however solving this equation is often beyond a lot of players and may take many matches to get the answer and even then that answer may be different depending on the opponent, yourself and playing conditions.There really is no logical solution especially in sport and especially tennis .For example during a match there are so many momentum changes eg drops of concentration,nerves,anger,choking,luck both good and bad,one of the keys to solving the formula is too only deal in the NOW try not to spend too much time in thinking what has just transpired or in fact thinking too much on an end result.You may find you are playing not just one game but three, past ,future and present. This is a common fault with a lot of junior tennis players , they generalize outcomes before they have occured and you spend time playing an imaginary game that has not happened. The end result will take care of itself as long as you can address what is actually happening in real time.!When you play a match you must give a 100% effort in all departments.One common error is taking your oppenent too cheaply and before you know it its a set all,you may not have done your homework in discussing a game plan with your coach or devising one yourself .As we know some players take the court and assume they will win the match before the ball is hit then cannot mentally prepare for the moment when you are 4-3 down ,you spend too much time thinking this cannot be happening, im better than this .....again playing games that are just not happening in the NOW.One of these formula's that you must realize sooner rather than later is that you create the future by what is happening in real time.We can control our actions ie playing to the backhand 80% of the time,attacking and finishing at net all these must be done by you, if you can think what is happening at the moment you will eventually find the winning formula, dwell on what has happened or what might happen is a losing formula for sure.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Amelia "races away" with two titles at South Cant Hardcourt Junior Champs

Amelia Race played consistent tennis to win both the girls 10s and 12s singles titles at the Hardcourt Champs played at the South Canterbury Finance Tennis centre today. Race defeated Tony Thompson in a third set super tie break after losing the first set 7-6.Amelia fought back winning the second set convincingly and then the ten point tie-break.Amelia scored a default win in the 10s after Anna Cochrane unfortunately had to withdraw with injury.There was some great tennis played today with a few surprise results.In one of the best matches of the day Henry Race returned to the winners circle with win over Lawrence Darling in the 14 boys singles final again a third set super tie break decided the match. All juniors benifited from the day and results can be found at this linkAs a coach its important to advise juniors what events they should play and give their parents direction as to what tournaments to enter,the Hardcourt champs with non champ events and championship events are local events that local coaches need to encourage their players to enter,often by particpating in one event can mean a huge improvement for a junior and the experience gained by participating is very important and as a coach its your advice and encouragement that juniors new to tournaments need to overcome their doubts about entering events such as these.Pictured below are Harrison Darling( left) and Ben Deeley( right) finalists in the Boys 8s singles.Harrison came out the winner in a very good matchup.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Grady plays Second Caro Bowl Final

Gabrielle Grady hopes for better luck in this years Caro Bowl Final( Aucklands premier team competition) on Friday evening.Grady suffered a serious ankle injury playing in last years final.Royal Oaks the club she plays for will be underdogs for the final.Last week Royal Oaks caused a minor upset by defeating defending champs Mangere Combined 4-2. It was the traditional determined effort by Royal Oak who were runner up to Mangere last season.They play Parnell who won their semifinal over Mission Bay 4-2 .Grady is getting more match fit with each match and will be very determined in both her singles and doubles matches.Gabrielle is seen having a last minute hit out at the South Canterbury Finance Tennis Center in picture right. Meanwhile this weekend the South Canterbury Junior Hardcourts Champs will be held locally.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Competition is a great indication to see where you are really at with your Game

Competition and tournament play are so vital to any player trying to develop and improve their game.Juniors can get a false picture on where their game is really at from just attending coaching and playing fellow competitors from the same area or club ,Coaches should encourage their players they are working with to compete in tournaments on a regular basis not just locally but outside their area. Here both player and coach can get a true indication on how they are travelling with technique and match experience.From these matches a pathway on development and goals by player/coach can be set.

Congratulations to Tennis Southern for putting on the Southern Closed champs held in Timaru at the weekend.Some great matches were played and juniors that participated really benefited from the great weekend of Matchplay. It also helped no doubt Southern Selectors in determining southern team places for all junior National teams events to be held over January. South Canterbury players fared extremely well over the weekend and as Coach I was pleased with all participants.Many of our juniors new they had to step up this weekend and consolidate their form for selection and its pleasing to report many did.

Sam Lane won the boys 12s ,Annabel Ellis finished runner up in the girls 12s, Elliot Darling defeated Hamish Race in the boys 14s final ( an all South Canterbury match up) whilst Geraldine Prisk was defeated in the 14 Girls final. Hector Garcia Aquilar won the Mens Open from Dwayne Cleugh runner up and Andrew Van Rooyen in third place.All three players are pictured Dwayne left ,Hector centre and Andrew right. Cleugh in matches against Van Rooyen used his strong serve backed up by forehand to dominate thoughout against the South African.Against Aquilar Cleugh could not match the consistency off the ground as Aquilar won both encounters.Van Rooyen also found the going tough against the Mexican born player as Aquilar with heavy ground strokes and strong serving was able to win both matches in straight sets.
All results can be found on the results web site at this link.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lost in Translation

There is no better experience than first hand experience and one of Hector Garcia Aquilar goals in coming to New Zealand on a working holiday was to improve his English.Hector is from Mexico and speaks Spanish with English as a second language learned in school.I do know the difficulty after spending time in Cairo Egypt and myself not knowing any Arabic was a huge culture shock at first , from grocery shopping and speaking to many of the coaches via an interpreter it was a huge learning experience as one adapts to a new environment.Let me say Hectors's English was not that bad on arrival,he struggled at first with our every day "slang" and there are still words and sayings that do get the better of him.Getting out there and getting the point across in coaching lessons has been a great way for hector to work and improve his English,conversing and organizing over 350 juniors in the schools program is a huge challenge which becomes easier as each week passes.Hector is hitting his "straps" as a tennis player also unbeaten in local premier competition and handing Southern Development Officer Dwayne Cleugh a first set thumping 6-0 in a practice match.I recommend any young person from abroad wanting a unique experience by working in a sport they have "grown with" in a different country. This will be no doubt for Hector an experience he will use and remember throughout his lifetime.

I have been using a lot more visualization for the juniors just starting out and very impressed how certain techniques I have instigated in the Schools programs and beginner classes have helped juniors easily learn swing paths and improve co-ordination.After 3 weeks there is a noticeable improvement.I had one boy come to me at Fairlie primary last week "telling me he had shown his mother all the skills he has learned over three weeks of tennis in schools program, his mother was very impressed and said she had no problem in paying for lessons as this was money very well spent and commented that the coaches must be very good.Tennis South Canterbury through their sponsors help subsidize the schools program in the local area. Pictured below are some "Pee Wee " stars.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Game Set and Match and Check mate

Above are pictures of South Canterbury juniors who participated in the annual quad held in Dunedin last weekend.It was a great contest with all cups up for grabs until the final round.Unfortunately South Canterbury came up short this year losing a few close contests.Pleasing however was the form of the boys in all age divisions for South Canterbury, the 14s never lost a single rubber ,and the 12 boys dropped only 2 matches for the whole weekend.Whilst a few regard this event as important for selection to Southern teams it is my idea that this should not overshadow the reason you participate.The first and foremost is the fact you are representing your provence whether you are the Number 1 player or the number 4th player and you are participating in a team environment not an individual event. The number 4th ranked team mate is just as important as the Number 1 ranked player , Otago had success with this at the weekend, whilst no superstars they where indeed solid from Number 1 to number 4 and it was this strength that saw them clean sweep all the cups.These events are all positives for juniors that compete winning or losing everyone learns from participating.Against Southland we lost a 12s tie by a single game and then lost a count back in the 12s against Otago, every game you win, every set you win regardless if you have lost the match is very important in the overall outcome of a match.Juniors often can fall into casual play after winning the first set easlily.Theres an old saying in sport "never give a mug an even break" if you can win a set 6-0 or 6-1 make sure you repeat this intensity in the second set.

Friday, November 7, 2008

60 kids on a tennis court- definately a challenge

Part of my role for Tennis South Canterbury is to deliver a schools program.We cover a large area of South Canterbury during the week and a total of 16 schools are on board this year with increased numbers at participating schools confirming the popularity of the program.Thursday for me is a very challenging day coaching wise, I start at the center in Timaru at 7-15am for a early 1 on 1 lesson then depart along with assistant coaches Andrew Van Rooyen and Hector Garcia ( a truley international team , I am Australian, Andrew ,South African and Hector ,Mexican)and leave for Lake Tekapo where we have 24 keen juniors.We are on court from 9-15 to 10-15 and pictured right are some of the Tekapo participants.After finishing its a drive back to Fairlie and on court at St Jo's Fairlie where we have over 45 students,I leave early to organize Fairlie Primary and its a total of over 65 smiling kids ready to participate in their skill of the day when the other coaches arrive.After Fairle primary 30 Mackenzie college students are put through their paces.We then make our way back to Timaru but not before we stop at Albury School where around 20 students are waiting for us, very keen.I'm back at the center in Timaru by 3-30 for normal lessons and finish at 7-30pm for the day.During the day I have driven a total of 210 klms . The secret in dealing with large numbers is to maximize participation, entertain and keep the session fun and moving along .This year we have had a great start to the season and although a challenge its made easier by having a successfull background in coaching.I would say this type of coaching is a skill that one can only get by experience and a "hands on approach" to coaching and managing groups of this number. Pictured below are Juniors left St Jo's Fairlie and right Fairlie Primary.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You have to be kidding!!!!!

Will this innovation by developer Lionel Burt change the face of tennis and how its played, I hardley think so.I am sure it will however create a fair amount of interest.The raquet took Burt 18 years to develop and had little trouble getting ITF approval.Two American Brothers Dann and Brian Battistone pictured with the raquets play with them in competition.The racquets have allready brought them success,they have now risen to 206th and 207th world doubles rankings and beating the worlds number 11th pairing Lukas Dlouhy and partner Tomas Zib.Will other players start switching over, maybe the eye of the tiger will make a comeback and use this hybrid raquet.Watch this space for further news.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grady Wins a tight one- Royal Oaks goes down to Mission Bay

Playing in Caro Bowl on Friday in Auckland Gabrielle Grady scored a tight three set win over cagey Diana D'Audney. Grady won 7-5 ,4-6, 7-6. Grady was able to wear down the former college player with her power. D'Audney used the dropshot to her advantage and showed her experience in testing Grady in all three sets.Its a tiring day for Gabby as at 6-45 am she was on court in Timaru for the elite squad program and then drives two hours to Christchurch catches a plane and arrives in Auckland ready for that evenings matches which did not finish until 11pm. Grady did gain Top Dog points as D'Audney is ranked higher on the rankings list.Royal Oaks lost crucial doubles rubbers both in three sets as Mission Bay won 4-2.Grady arrived back in Timaru Saturday and then helped out with a Grasshopper Tournament today.Juniors from South Canterbury had their first taste of game play in the modified junior tennis progam.Grady is pictured on the left with eager juniors along with sister Kirsty Grady who also assisted on the day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mid Canterbury Junior Tourney-South Canterbury Success

It was a weekend of extreme temperatures with Sunday testing players and supporters with rain and freezing temperatures,however perfect tennis conditions and warm weather was the order of the day for Monday -finals day. Again players that competed learned valuable lessons that only tournament play can give.Tennis is a unique game and a match is never won until the final handshake,Two South Canterbury players both staged comebacks to win their respective singles final Lawrence Darling 12s Boys and Annabel Ellis 12s Girls.

Ellis had lost the first set 6-4 and was down 3-1 n the second against Otago's Hanna English ,two contrasting players Ellis relying on attack and English relying on defense.Ellis started the match making many unforced errors but gradually worked her way back in the match with better point construction.Ellis won the match 4-6;6-4;6-3 .Darling lost the first set also 7-5 to Young Baek who was unseeded and had earlier disposed of South Canterbury second seed Sam Lane 6-3 6-2 in a major upset.
Darling started slowly with numerous double faults as Baek took advantage.The Key Game was the first game of the second set which Darling won and kept this advantage throughout the next two sets as Baek wilted in the heat and the pressure of playing from behind.Darling finished stronger of the two and deserved the win.George Wigley defeated Ryan Ammar in the final of the 16 boys singles,Ammar had a good win in his semi final against Canterbury 16s winner Joe Bray 6-2 6-2.Ammar found the power of Wigley to much on the day with Wigley serving well throughout the match a key.Wigley took advantage of many short balls from Ammar and was on the front foot for most of the match winning 6-3 6-1.South Canterbury had a good squad of players participating and featured in many consolation plate wins and main draw doubles wins, many players came away learning lots of important lessons to work on and no doubt the coach will be focusing on these at your next session. Well done to George Gibson on competing in his first tournament with his new single hand backhand.You can check all the results at this link

Sunday, October 26, 2008

You havn't won the first set until you win the first game of the second set.

How many times have junior players won the first set convincingly only to find themselves trailing in the second set.What can happen after a player wins a set 6-1 is a drop of intensity that can transpire at the beginning of the second set.Players MUST! come out at the beginning of the second set and think its the start of the match,just because you have a set under your belt you can not have a let down in intensity. You must try very hard to keep the pressure on your opponent and give it your all in trying to win the first game of the second set.Time and time again I have seen juniors dominate the first set then casually go down 0-2 in the second set.This gives your opponent a re surge of energy and focus as they leave the despair of the first set and start to gain in confidence .Then self doubt can appear in your game as your opponents body language starts to change and shots they did not make in the first set start to go over and in.Juniors must make sure they take the break after winning the first set , sit down at the change of ends and focus on a new set as if it was the start of the match, make sure that after this break focus and intensity is as high as when the match began. By making sure you get those early games of the second set after winning the first can make your opponnent think that there is know way possible to win the match. The relief of getting that first set can often cause you to relax too much, the break after the second set is the perfect opportunity to refocus your game plan and intensity ,players use this break to your advantage!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grady Gets Royal Oaks Only Rubber against Parnell

Gabrielle Grady won Royal Oaks only rubber in Fridays clash with Parnell.Parnell has a strong lineup with Di Hollands at 1 , Pavlina Nola at 2 and Nicky Tippens at 3.Grady had revenge against Christine Foote who defeated her in the semi's of the 16s Nationals winning the first set 6-2 before Foote defaulted.Defaults are getting a little out of hand especially in the juniors as players default rather than let the opponent get the win the way it should happen ,its a fact that players are defaulting and not turning up depending on who they play and whilst Tennis New Zealand close a blind eye to this it is actually happening and brought about by certain aspects of the Top Dog Ranking system.Grady and Swinkels lost their doubles to Tippens and Foote 6-4-6-1.

Squad in South Canterbury Kicked off last Thursday and pictured below are juniors and coaches.Squad is held every Thursday with 10s and 12s and 14s and 16s age groups. Missing in Action Guy Slater has been found and after a severe injury at Senior Nationals in Rotorua earlier this year which kept Slater off the court the good news is he has recovered and started the hard haul of getting back into the form that won Southern their only match win of the Nationals Teams.Slater has a Top Dog Ranking of 800+ but I am sure this will be on the rise after a few matches under his belt this season. Guy is pictured with Hector Aguilar after a practice session below also.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Canterbury Spring Open Wrap up- valuable matchplay as players find that sometimes losses are the most valuable learning lessons of all.

There's nothing like a tournament to test your strengths and weaknesses and to see how you are travelling.For eight South Canterbury players the Canterbury Spring Open provided this opportunity.As a coach there is nothing more valuable in watching pupils and players compete in a tournament situation, it helps define their improvement with technique,and of course it determines area's the player and coach needs to work on.Of course your regular coaching sessions are valuable but tournaments and quality match play goes hand in hand and you have to combine both.The five days did provide different challenges for players and strong wind on the first few days certainly tested players and coaches as your natural game needs to adapt.Those that could reaped the benefits and those that did not improvise struggled.Theres an old saying that "windy conditions can sometimes even the match up" and this certainly was true in some cases. Anna Cochrane participating in the 10s girls singles and doubles drew a tough first up match with Pippa McCaw ,wind and just getting over a bout of the flu did not help as anna played her poorest match of the tournament going down to the eventual finalist 9-3.Anna struggled with conditions and with a player with little technique but very consistent and made very few unforced errors.Going back into the consolation event Anna won three matches to win this section.These matches certainly helped Anna as she played better with each win.Anna partnered McCaw to win the girls doubles title 9-5 over the top seeds Lauryne Ashby and Lily O'Fagan.Anna was the dominant player on court in this match and certainly showed a return to form.Geraldine Prisk lived up to her fourth seeding before losing to a very much in form Lousise Oxenvard 6-0 6-1,Prisk had trouble with the power game of Oxenvard who served extremely well throughout the whole match.Prisk had survived a three set quarter final against an improving Amanda Coeland 6-3 4-6 6-3.In the girls doubles Prisk was partnered with Lauren Tyler-Harwood and were beaten by event winners Amanda Coeland and Paige Hourigan 6-2 7-6. Margot Robinson seeded 9th in the girls 16 singles reached the quarter finals before going down to Australian Emily O'Neill 6-1 6-1.Robinson short on match practice found the consistency of O'Neil to much to overcome.In the Consolation Margot was defeated by B.Fisher 6-2 6-2.No doubt Robinson will be all the more better for her next tournament from the matches played in Christchurch.In the 16s girls doubles partnering Scarlett Cuthill they lost their first match against Annabelle Nichols and Suzanne Sandridge 6-3 6-4 in a match they could have won.Top seed in the 12s Girls singles Annabel Ellis went all the way to the final before losing to Gabriela Coates 6-4 6-2 .Coates had never beaten Ellis in their previous encounters and not taking anything away from her win ,she struck Ellis who in the final made a lot of unforced errors along with some untimely double faults and in previous encounters Ellis was very tough with ground strokes and serve to secure the wins. On this day however a more consistent Coates took advantage of the errors and recorded the win.Ellis and Coates combined to win the 12 girls doubles against Jessica Shaw and Olivia Smith 6-3 4-6 10-5 tb. Robbie Wigley playing in the 12 boys singles learned important lessons about technique and putting into what you work on in coaching ,into your match .Wigley unfortunately struggled with keeping his technique consistent and this proved the difference between losing and winning matches.In his first match in the 12 boys Robbie was defeated by Ryan van Grinsven 6-3 6-2.He then lost his consolation match to M. van Grondelle 6-3 6-2.I am sure Robbie learned some valuable points from these matches.In the boys doubles partnering Ryan Hampton they lost a first round match to Andrew Brash Simon Coleman 6-1 6-2.In their consolation match they also lost a close match to Neas - van Grinsven 6-1 7-5.Older Brother George Wigley reached the final of the bOys 16s singles going down to Joseph Bray 6-4 6-2.Wigley survived a close quarter final against Brandon J Ng 4-6 6-4 7-6 and then beat a player hes never beaten before ,Benjamin McGillivray 7-6 6-1. Wigley had to come from behind in both matches and found Bray too tough in the final.Wigley fell away in the second set and needed to play far more consistent tennis to beat Bray.Wigley tried to trade power shots but made too many errors to put Bray under pressure.He partnered Ryan Ammar in the 18/16 boys doubles to go down in a Semi Final Match to the unseeded pair and eventual winners Hector Aguilar and Alex Hunt 6-3 6-2.Ryan Ammar lost a very close 7/6 7/6 to inform Alex Hunt in the round of 16.Ammar had his chances in both sets but failed to capitalize.In a disappointing consolation semi final Ryan was defeated by Fin Bar Argus 6-1 6-2.In the 18 boys singles Mexican and now South Canterbury player Hector Aguilar showed glimpses of form.This was Hector's first tournament in New Zealand and the clay court exponent defeated the 3rd seed Kenta Naka 6-4 6-7 7-5 in a match over 3 hours long.Aguilar who had surgery before arriving in New Zealand and was bed bound for a month found his fitness lacking as this match took a toll on the body and surprisingly lost his next round match to Brandon J Ng 6-1 6-4.In the 18 boys doubles he combined well with Alex Hunt to win the final against Caleb Mooney and Kenta Naka 6-3 6-2 .Aguilar will benefit from the hit out and is a class player and once fitness improves will be very hard to beat.So in all a good tournament for all players and the "eye of the tiger" was impressed with some of the improvements made by some Cantabrigian players Joe Bray and Ben Johnston.Pictured Below are Anna Cochrane and Hector Aguilar.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Grady helps secure Royal Oak wins in Caro Bowl

Gabrielle Grady returned from Auckland after spending the school holidays there playing Caro Bowl for Royal Oaks .Grady playing against Pompallier defeated Alexia Barritt 6-4 6-2 and then partnered Nicola Kaiwai to defeat the pairing of Alexia Barritt & Madeline White 6-0 6-3.Royal Oaks defeated Pompallier 6-0.Playing against Kohimarama Grady defeated Danielle Feneridis 6-0 6-2 and partnered again with Kaiwai defeated Monica Chen & Danielle Feneridis 6-1 6-2 again Royal Oaks winning 6-0. Grady returned yesterday to Timaru and the above picture was taken at the South Canterbury Finance Tennis Centre today at practice.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Winner's are grinners's Canterbury Spring Open Success

Playing in the 10s girls events Anna Cochrane returned from Christchurch with two medals both winning ones!Still recovering from an illness Anna lost her first match to the eventual winner P. McCaw 3-9, Anna then entered the Consolation event which she won defeating C.Sprott 9-5.Partnering McCaw Anna played strongly in winning the 10s doubles final defeating the tops seeds Ashby - O'Fagan 9-5.Internet Access has been dificult this week but will have a full summary of the Christchurch event by Sunday evening.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Grady "Chalks up" two Victories in Caro Bowl Competition- plus a wrap on whats happening and coming events for Sth Canterbury Juniors

Gabrielle Grady again playing for the Royal Oaks Club in the Premier Caro Bowl Competition started the season with two wins.In her singles match she defeated Tiffany Baxter-Smith 6-0 6-1 and had a doubles victory partnering Nicola Kaiwai defeated Tiffany Baxter-Smith
Deanne Alter 6-1 6-2.Royal Oaks defeated Glendowie 5-1.She again turns out this Friday. Caro Bowl is Auckland’s top Inter club competition, it got its name from the trophy “ Maurice S Caro Memorial Bowl” which was donated in memory of the late Maurice S Caro killed in action on the 2nd of July 1916 in the first battle of Somme (WW1)

I have all ready wrote about Sam Lane and Ryan Ammars wins in the South Canterbury Spring open but Special mention must go to Charlotte Lamb who won the 12 girls singles after losing the first set 0-6 against Canterbury's N. Dickison, Lamb fought back and won the next two sets 7-6;6-3 . For the full results and draws of this event please click on the highlighted text
Otago Spring Open is currently being played however no South Canterbury Juniors are at this event.The "eye of the tiger is watching closely some of the matchups from local Southern Juniors as well as Col Mahers Australian group of girls participating. Otago has very good entries for this event and great support from Local players entering.

I am packing my LAPTOP, racquet and tennis balls and heading for the Canterbury Spring Open where juniors Anna Cochrane, Annabel Ellis , Geraldine Prisk, Robbie Wigley, George Wigley ,Margot Robinson and Ryan Ammar will be participating.Hector Garcia is also entering the 18s event and no doubt this player from Mexico will create Local interest.I will have regular reports on this site hence the theme of the picture accompanying this blog.

Anna Cochrane hasn't had a great run in the Hamilton tournament and is battling illness having to withdraw from a couple of event.Hoping she recovers fully for christchurch.Again you can check the results

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sam Lane finally conquers Cantabrian Connor Heap to win South Canterbury 12s Spring Open

All players have a Nemesis that time after time they just cant get that win over,but having a Nemesis can create a goal and an incentive ,today Sam Lane defeated his Nemesis Connor Heap( Canterbury) 6-4 6-4 .Lane had lost to Heap numerous times but today finally turned the tables and recorded a well deserved victory.Lane went to a 3-1 lead in the first set playing aggressive controlled tennis before Heap won two games to level at 3-3.Lane again steadied and after some long rally's which both boys attacked when the opportunity arose Lane again went to a two game lead and 5-3, Lane went on to win the set 6-4.The second set started well for Lane winning the first game however Heap took advantage of a poor service game from Lane and went too a 4-2 lead and the match looked like heading for a third set.Lane however had other ideas as he retrieved well to keep the pressure on Heap and then his forehand started to find its range and soon it was 4-4 all.Lane took the next two games but had to play some great tennis to secure the set 6-4 and the match.Heap never gave in and continued to attack the ball on the rise for most of the match as did Lane,it certainly was a great match to have on number 1 court.Sam is pictured just after the win.It was a good tournament for other South Canterbury players which i will update in my next blog.Ryan Ammar convincingly won the 16s boys singles and no doubt used this event as a warm up to the stronger Canterbury 16s tournament to be played next week.Whilst his serving could of been better Ammar had a much more all round game to beat the Canterbury player Chris Read. Ryan is pictured below also after his win.The tournament was hampered by weather on the Saturday but Sunday provided perfect tennis weather

Thursday, September 25, 2008

South of the Border "down Mexico way"

Its a long way from Mexico but top player Hector garcia Aguilar has arrived in South Canterbury, Timaru.Hector is here for the summer and already top Juniors have benefited with some top class hitting.Pictured is left to right Geraldine Prisk , Hector and Gabrielle Grady. Top junior Elliot Darling is benefiting from hitting with Aguilar.Not only is Hector an experienced tennis player but has been known to have competed in the odd Bullfight.
Hector is from Irapuato, Mexico population of 600,000.Hector has played ITF and Futures and was top 10 in the 16 years age group.Hector whilst in the juniors won a national sportsman award , meeting and having breakfast with Rafael Nadal.Hector is also looking forward to competing whilst here, and his first tournament in New Zealand will be the 18s boys singles and doubles in the Canterbury Spring Open Christchurch.Hector will also be helping with some of the South Canterbury Coaching programs also.Regional Coach Stephen Dries says that having someone like Hector ,especially someone that has been brought up on claycourts will be of benefit to many of our top juniors.

Pictured with Hector Geraldine Prisk and Gabrielle Grady both have busy schedules in the School Holidays.Grady flys to Auckland Tomorow for Caro Bowl Matches ,playing for Auckland club Royal Oaks. She will also have the opportunity for some hard training whilst there with fellow team mates . Grady has returned from an injury suffered in Spain and is hitting the ball well.Prisk will be competing in the Canterbury Spring Open and is looking forward for the competition.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Summers Coming and we are ready!

Pleasant Point Juniors who have participated over winter in the South Canterbury Junior Tennis Program are excited that summer is now approaching and confident that keeping up their tennis skills over winter will play dividend. Pictured in the Back row left to right Henry Race, Patrick Lee's and Adam Beck and front is Amelia Race.Winter sports often take precedent over tennis which in New Zealand is a Summer Sport however the keen juniors who are excelling in the sport do keep up their play over winter with coaching and some tournament play where possible.

Today on Radio Sport an interesting conversation was held about Men's Tennis in New Zealand and of course the defeat by China over New Zealand in Davis Cup Play held at the weekend. Whilst CEO Steve Walker was happy with the improvements by the squad it was noticed that New Zealand's Top Player Dan King Turner had dropped over 100 places from earlier this year.Players of the future where mentioned with Marcus Daniel and Finn Tearney being touted as younger players that could come through.It also questioned where were the top Kiwi's in the game of tennis with the CEO of New Zealand Tennis being Australian and many other positions in NZ tennis being filled by non-kiwis .You can listen to this interview and chat by going to Radio Sport You want to look for Tuesday and the 11.15am -11-30 am time slot.It also continues into the 11-30am to 11-45am ( Midnight to Midday)slot also.Certainly some interesting points brought up in this interview.There is a little Rugby chat and then the tennis interview starts.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

China Proves "Its never over till its over" -defeats New Zealand 3-2 in Davis Cup Asia/Oceania World Group Final

What if the All Blacks were up 20 nil at halftime against Wales and then lost the match in the last minute of play!How would the media react? Well of course not on the same scale But China came back from the "dead" to Defeat New Zealand 3-2 in the Asia -Oceania Group 2 Final.Media Coverage Nation Wide was terrible you had to be virtually in New Plymouth where the tie was played to know what was the score, especially on Sunday with the two crucial last matches played. No Television coverage and no constant updates from TNZ except an occasional web insert after a result. As the last match hung in the balance Radio Sport did have some live crosses,thank goodness the rugby match had finished for that to happen.

Tennis New Zealand CEO Steve Walker said on their Web site that despite the loss he was still happy with the advances of the Davis Cup Team this year.That indeed might be the case but the fact that this was a home game, 2-0 up and in The History of Davis Cup in five meetings with China New Zealand had never lost .There was indeed "no pot of gold at the end of this result" as New Zealand still remain in the same group.

This was a great chance to get promoted, New Zealand had the highest players ranked on the Mens Circuit in Dan King-Turner(413) and Rubin Statham(460) whilst Chinas's singles players are ranked Bai(492) and Sun (553).Statham suffered an injured thumb during his first match and could not take part again in the tie so G.D Jones(612) gained a singles rubber for Sunday.China however were always favorites for the doubles with Zeng and Yu ranked 142 and 141 in doubles whilst the Kiwi Combination of King-Turner(190) and GD Jones(486) where the inexperienced doubles pairing compared to the Chinese.The Fact also that China's singles players did not have to play in Saturday in doubles whilst Jones and King-Turner both would have to back up for Sunday's important singles matches was to be a great tactical ploy by the chinese.

Fridays matches could not have gone beter for New Zealand King -Turner defeated Sun 6-3,6-2,6-4 and Statham defeated China's number 1 Bai 4-6,6-2,6-4,6-2 but in doing so injured his thumb . China took out the doubles rubber as their specialist team won 6-2,6-4,5-7,6-4 against Jones and King-Turner.

On the Final day with New Zealand having to win one of the two singles matches to advance Bai shocked King- Turner in straight sets 6-4,6-3,6-3 to level the tie. In a see-sawing final match fitting for Davis Cup Competition Sun defeated Jones 6-3,6-7,7-5,4-6,6-3.As the match went into the 5th Jones who was cramping in the 4th set sought two medical time outs early in the 5th set.Loss of mobility was very noticeble for Jones and Sun Closed out the match 6-3 final set.And so as China celebrated a remarkable comeback New Zealand had lessons to be learned as China both mentally and Physically had the edge when the going got tougth,out playing New Zealand in team combination .

Australia will lose to Chile however these two nations will not have the chance to renew past battles as New Zealand will now remain in the same Group for next year's competition and China will find themselves in the same Group as Australia.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Player Watch

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov was the winner of the 18 Boys US Open defeating qualifier Devin Britton of the U.S. 6-4, 6-3 in the Final.Dimitrov also won the Wimbledon junior champion Boys title earlier this year.And last weekend won his second Men's Futures Title in the Madrid suburb of Mostoles.Dimitrov was victorious against local favourite, third-seeded Ignacio Coll-Riudavets, in straight sets (7-6, 6-3) after one hour and 45 minutes of play.
To reach the final Dimitrov had to go through another Spaniard, David Canudas-Fernandez. He won in two sets (6-4, 6-4).Dimitrov did not lose a single set during the entire tournament. He is now concentratiing on the Mens Tour with sights firmly set on a top 10 ranking there.Transitions from The Junior Circuit is dificult but this player certainly has the ability and form at 17 to make it with the "big boys"

Sibling tennis teams such as the Bryan Brothers are just like normal family and still have their family "spats" .One occasion when the Americans were sitting in the back of a car after a match at Wimbledon, and Bob punched Mike. When they reached the flat they were renting in Wimbledon Village, Mike "mule-kicked" Bob in the ribs, and so Bob took Mike's guitar and cracked it against the wall. Bob and Mike are the Tom and Jerry of men's tennis.Recently Andy Murray and his tennis playing brother Jamie have had a family fued. Read about these brothers here

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weakest Team in History of Davis Cup- Australian tennis depth shown up

Next weekend some important battles world wide begin as the next round of the Davis Cup begins,AUSTRALIA has named its most inexperienced line-up in Davis Cup history for this month's daunting World Group play-off in Chile.Yes Hewitt is recovering from surgery and Doubles specialist Paul Hanley is also having an operation,World No. 87 Chris Guccione is the only certain selection, as Peter Luczak (171) has only just returned from a hip injury, and Carsten Ball (188), Brydan Klein (239), serve-volleyer Sam Groth (234) and Tomic (818) would all be representing Australia for the first time, Tomic is only 15 and showing plenty of promise but not up to this level of competition yet on the physical side. Australia's last two trips to South America have ended in 5-0 whitewashes at the hands of Argentina in Buenos Aires - in 2006 with Hewitt and four years earlier without the country's most prolific Davis Cup singles winner.Questions will once again be asked on Australia's development programs at high performance level,it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work things out,! there is just not enough money being spent on players and coaches that are doing a great job but not being recognized if they are outside "the boys club" of Tennis Australia's High performance programs.Some of the best coaches are simply not being utilized.Money is continually being spent on administration and over payed executives in charge of running or sometimes ruining the game of tennis ,and not on the athletes or the coaches that are shedding blood sweat and tears in doing the best they can with limited resources and funds.TNZ need to watch very closely the failures of the Australian system and learn by them, one of the biggest factors is isolation and distance, the fact is numbers wise depth and standard its all on the other side of the world. When New Zealanders travel to Australia they are in awe of their depth but really in World standards Australia is lacking in this department.40 years ago we had the bulk of players playing the game and this is an important factor.To get this international exposure its beyond reach for most players and family's financially,Money is the key for players this side of the world because competition depth and standard is just not here and this means to be any good you have to travel.New Zealand take on China in their group final and will be expected to win and if Australia loses the two Nations may once again meet in Davis Cup. And if that happens support and interest will be very much on the decline as Australia falls behind other improving country's.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Champ is Back

Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray in straight sets 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 to win his 5th straight US Open title.Murray came up short in most departments as Federer was able to break Murray at crucial times.Pundits say that Murray will lift the silverware of a grandslam title one day, however the sooner Murray can concentrate on what he is doing on court and can curb his constant muttering and looking for divine help from his support group then maybe he can become the first male Brit since Fred Perry to win a grandslam singles title. Congragulations to Serena who I didnt think would stop jumping for joy after defeating Jelana Jankovic 6-4 7-5 in the ladies final.She also showed the tennis world that she is far from finished winning majors.True champions have that X factor that no matter how hard the opposition tries they cannot overcome that special ability to hit that winner or serve that ace on vital points,and Roger and Serena are true champions that have that X factor.
How do juniors get the X factor , I think this comes from your genes and the X factor is all ready their for those few that inherit this at birth, lets take Murray and Federer if they both play to their potential Federer will always come out on top, and that is because he has that little extra than a Murray has,thats why he is perhaps the greatest player of all time the X factor for some of us is beyond reach, hard work and self belief can go along way in helping you create your own special quality.For most of us this is the best way we can combat the X factor or at least compete with those that have this special gift.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Its Raining Tennis Balls- Local US Open Connection

Pictured left to right Geraldine Prisk,Gabrielle Grady and Elliot Darling,were presented with a Carton of Wilson Tennis Balls each.Albury Farmers Anne and Phillip Munro made the presentation,Wool from their Waiwera Station is being belted back and forth at this years US OPEN.The station has supplied six containers of wool a year ,each containing 140 conventional bales to the American Company makers of the Wilson Tennis Ball.No Doubt the Juniors presented with the carton of balls will put them to great use and will provide further inspiration and motivation when they next step out onto the practice court.Read the full Timaru Herald Story here.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sometimes its good to release your frustration

Down a set and just been broken at 4 all in the second Andy Roddick let out what he was feeling smashing his racket as he went to change of ends, it obviously helped because Andy broke Gulbis in the very next game who was serving for a two sets to love lead and went on to win the set and the match in 4 sets in a recent US OPEN encounter.On the other Hand once Marat Safin starts breaking frames its to the opponents advantage.Junior tennis players probably should follow the method of not showing your opponent to much emotion especially if your are sending out negative vibes, smart players will take this on board and use it to their advantage.

There will be an interesting Asia-Oceania Group II final when New Zealand comes up against China, to be played in New Plymouth 19-21 September.New Zealand Players have the following world rankings Dan King Turner 411, Rubin Staham 418, G.D Jones 618,Adam Thompson 813. Whilst China's team has not yet been announced ,their top 4 players and world ranking are Yan Bai 502, Peng Sun 518,Shao-Xuan Zeng 566,Zhe Li 573
Home Ground advantage will be an asset for New Zealand.

In the finals of Asia Oceania Group One, on the same dates in September, Australia will play Chile (at home, in the city of Antofagasta). If Australia loses that tie (their team is currently without Lleyton Hewitt, absent through injury), and New Zealand wins against China, then the two trans-Tasman rivals will be competing in the same Group next year. And this is a huge possibility, great for New Zealand but Australian's will not be happy and you can bet that this will be the last nail in the coffin for key administrators in Tennis Australia.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Southern High Performance Weekend

South Canterbury Players,Gabrielle Grady, Geraldine Prisk and Elliot Darling joined other players Ben and Riki Mclachlan and Harry James all of Queenstown for the Southern initiated High Performance weekend in Dunedin.Players had Video anaylisis with Pete McCraw ,Muscular Skeletal Screen testing, Sports Psychology seminar as well as advice of a Nutritionist and Fitness Testing.

Tennis Australia "throws toys from the cot"

Critism of Australia's Junior Development by articles in recent Australian Tennis magazine have not gone down well at Head Office."We were notified, out of the blue, that Tennis Australia has withdrawn Australian Tennis from sale at Melbourne Park, citing poor sales," Michelle Michie, the managing director of Nicholson Media Group, told The Sunday Age. Tennis Australia's response was "In regard to the Tennis World (Melbourne Park) outlet, our commercial team made the assessment that they were not making adequate retail sales. It was simply a commercial decision."In the recent issue of Australian Tennis Pat Rafter writes "There is a bunch of respected past champions willing to make a contribution to the development of elite juniors, yet currently at Tennis Australia there is only one view and one way forward," .The debate continues to escalate as the US Open is about to commence, and the Annual General meeting Of TA nears,in another revelation in this articleThe Age revealed that a damning independent audit of Tennis NSW by leading consultancy firm KPMG has deemed the body in desperate need of overhaul.This article also comment's on Rafters views

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

So you want to become a World Tennis Power! The method, send your junior players to "Boot Camp"

An interesting article from the New York written by Geoffrey Gray gives an inside view as America searches for a new generation of stars. The USTA’s answer? Tennis boot camp.In the article Highly respected coach Nick Saviano had this to say "So now everyone wants to restock the pool of American tennis talent, and the debate is over how this should be done. “ . “One school is that the USTA should be a part of the development process. And the other schools are that they shouldn't’t be involved in the process and that it should be left up to the free-enterprise system.” Saviano belongs to the latter school. His point is one of global economics: In order to create the Next Great One, the USTA must concentrate on what America does well, which means keeping the focus on this country’s traditional tennis ethos—independence and innovation." I am also a believer to this theory their are good coaches in all countries getting great results but for some reason National bodies do not give enough recognition to them or provide them with resources and funding which often is spent on training programs that simply don't get the results and players are back to square 1 and many go back to their individual coaches to make up "ground lost".National Body's are very important and their help in fostering performance coaches within the country is vital. At the USTA 'S new academy One player tells of its stringent policy's for participants, the player in his interest section of a survey stated "girls" but girlfriends on campus were against the academy’s rules. So many rules! No smoking of any substances, tobacco or otherwise; no drinking of alcoholic beverages; no romance (including hand-holding, smooching, or petting of any kind); no posters on walls; no cursing; no leaving the grounds; and on and on.And here is the difficulty for most junior tennis players the difficulty in determining what focus and "distractions" you can have to become a World's Top 10 tennis player.Juniors in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand do have simply "too good of opportunities in lifestyle" and I think why Erakovic( New Zealand) has had some success she has been able to "shut out" some of the distractions life throws at young sports persons and give the training side full attention.Very few can do this and that's why only a small percentage can make it.The article also tells of USTA juniors enrolled to Boot Camp where They did push-ups and more push-ups. They learned how to make their beds. They assembled and reassembled M16 rifles and shot the guns in video simulators. They learned martial arts. They spoke in commands. Sir, yes sir! They were deprived of sleep.This is definitely worth the read and the article is titled Building an American Nadal.Here is the link.This article certainly provided me "food for thought" as it highlighted other factors with High performance juniors and coaching structure.Can some of this be applied in New Zealand?Is becoming a top tennis player a matter of toughness?The sooner we come to terms that tennis is not a team game the better.Individuality is a very big component in this game be it as a player competing or as a coach in teaching players No one player is the same and "text book" coaches will always struggle with this fact as do some National body's.Out of the top 20 men players in the world 18 are listed with different individual coaches.This includes the Argentines and "The Spanish Armada"

Monday, August 18, 2008


Now the medals at Beijing's Olympics have been decided Nadal overcoming Chilean Fernando Gonzalez 6-3 7-6 6-3 and the Women's an all Russian Final with Elena Dementieva defeating Dinara Safina 3-6 7-5 6-3.Obviously all players that compete at this elite level have great talent ,is it in the "genes" ?or can it be manufactured?.Its with interest I read an article written by DANIEL COYLE of the New York Times.How to Grow a Super-Athlete. In this article he writes about genetics and "myelin" being found in top athletes.He also visited Spartak a tennis academy in Russia usually preceded in the tennis press by the word "famous" or "legendary," had produced three of the top six Russians (Dementieva, Safina and Anastasia Myskina).To put Spartak's success in talent-map terms: this club, which has one indoor court, has achieved eight year-end top-20 women's rankings over the last three years. During that same period, the entire United States has achieved seven. Its a very lengthy article but well worth the read
click the highlighted text and this will take you to the artcle.The most relevant point was by Robert Lansdorp, a tennis coach in Los Angeles"You can't keep breast-feeding them all the time," "You've got to make them an independent thinker." Lansdorp, who is in his 60s, has coached Sharapova, along with the former No. 1-ranked players Pete Sampras, Tracy Austin and Lindsay Davenport, all three of whom grew up in the same area and played at the same run-of-the-mill tennis clubs near Los Angeles. "You don't need a fancy academy," he said. "You need fundamentals and discipline, and in this country nobody gives a damn about fundamentals and discipline." Although he speaks about American Juniors,I do think that this point is very relavent to a large percentage of New Zealand junior tennis players and coaches.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Australian Update- Tennis Games off Court

"It's time for a rethink on junior development and a time to consider carefully who sits at the boardroom table running the game," dual US open champion and former No. 1 Pat Rafter writes in September's issue of Australian Tennis magazine.Former Australian Open boss Paul McNamee is still being touted as leading the new board.Read latest story here.

Roger Federer and Swiss partner Stanislas Wawrinka beat Sweden's Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 as Federer claimed his first Olympic medal in three attempts.In other results Djokovic won a slug-fest with US number one James Blake 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) to clinch the men's singles bronze, compensating for his disappointing semi-final loss to Nadal.Dinara Safina ousted Li 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 to set up an all-Russian final with 2000 silver-medallist Elena Dementieva, who beat compatriot Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).Sydney 2000 champions Venus and Serena Williams reached the women's doubles final by beating Ukraine's Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the only all-sister match-up in Olympic history. They will face Spanish duo Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual, who ended Chinese hopes of a second successive doubles gold by beating Yan Zi and Zheng Jie 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).