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.

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