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"

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