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.