Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Matches are Just as Important as Your Coaching Lessons

I cant stress enough that Match play is vital to any junior wanting to improve their game.The more matches I believe lead to a greater skill level.Junior Tennis is about learning and honing your skill. Many are spending huge amounts on coaching but fail to get that vital tournament and match play experience.Below are the recent National 12s quarter finalists in both boys and girls with matches played and recorded on top dog after the 12 National Harcourt's and Teams event and until April 14Th the last update of top dog.Getting vital matches leading up to April Nationals as a coach would for me play a lot of importance so it was with interest I made this chart just to see what players are doing what. Boys winner Alex Klintcherov lead the boys playing 35 recorded singles matches on top dog,whilst Rosie Cheng lead the girls.I think a balance of quality ie playing better opponents yet also experience the winning feeling is very important when setting a tournament schedule.I think the charts are very revealing and improvement and ability can be matched against statistics such as these.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lane and Ellis Win on Final Day -Wellington 12s

Sam Lane capped of a great 12s Nationals by defeating Fellow South Canterbury junior Lawrence Darling in the final of the 5th and 6th playoffs 6-3 6-2. Lane went into the match with a "game plan" and stuck to it playing smart tennis mixed with control and agression to gain his first win over Darling.Yesterday the boys combined together and went down to 3rd seeds Kyle Butters and Tai Durie 6-3 6-4 in a hard hitting final of the boys doubles.Lane with his wins in Wellington will no doubt rise in the National Top Dog rankings and will be pressing for New Zealand selection with further strong performances that he acheived during this weeks 12s event.Annabel Ellis had lost to Gabrielle Coates the last couple of times they had played however Ellis turned the tables this time and stopped Coates run against her with a strong 6-2 7-6 to win the playoff for 7th in the 12s girls event.All players should be very proud of their efforts at a National Event.

Results of Maindraw Finals: Alex Klintcharov[1], Auckland, AK d. Kiranpal Pannu[2], Wellington, WN 6-0;6-2; Pang Suwanaposee[1], Christchurch, CB d. Paige Hourigan[2], Wanganui, WG 6-1;6-1

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mixed Results for Wigley and Ammar at 16s Nationals-Hamilton

George Wigley reached the round of 16 after knocking out 11th seed Sam Bennet ( North Shore) in three sets,2-6 7-5 6-2, It set up a meeting with 5th seed Cameron Norrie. Wigley could not match the consistency of Norrie and was beaten 6-0 6-1.Ryan Ammar met a tough first round opponent in North Islander Alex Hamilton and in a tight match lost 6-2 6-3, Hamilton then went on to knock out the 15th seed in his next match.Combining together in the boys doubles today they knocked out the 8th seeds Jonathan Merchant and Scott Moir 6-2 6-1 and will play the 3rd seeds tomorrow.Ammar and Wigley are now competing in the consolation singles with Ammar winning both rounds, they both meet beaten main draw seeds tomorrow.

At Wellington today Both Annabel Ellis and Same Lane went down to top seeds in their quarter final match up s today.Lane made too many unforced errors against Klintcherov from Auckland going down 6-1 6-1 ,Whilst Ellis played a competitive match against Pang From Christchurch with the scoreline 6-0 6-0 no indication of the match.Lawrence Darling also lost his quarter final to Pannu from Wellington. Lane and Darling lived up to their No 4 seeding defeating Connor Heap( Cant)Trent Smith (Auck)the 5th seeds
in a power hitting match 6-4 6-4, they play the top seeds tomorrow.Ellis and Overton ( southland) continued their run and reached the semi's with a 6-0 6-2 win over Canterbury's Ilsje Erasmus and Olivia L Smith .They also are drawn against the top seeds tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lane Fire's at 12 s Nationals and takes out 6th seed.

Sam Lane took out the 6th Seed Connor Heap from Christchurch 6-4 6-4 to reach the quarter finals of the National 12 boys singles played in Wellington today. Lane had defeated Heap last time they met in Timaru ,but Heap was coming off a solid Canterbury Easter junior result in the 12s.In a close first set Lane maintained control in the vital points showing great point construction to gain the "put away" shot.He found himself down 1-4 in the second set but fought back and stuck to his game plan to win 5 games on the "trot" to close out the set and the match 6-4.Lane now plays Top seed Alex Klintcharov tomorrow. Annabel Ellis seeded 7th in the Girls singles also reached the quarter finals with a very convincing win 6-0 6-0 over Emily Murchland of Wellington.Ellis will also play the top seed Pang Suwanaposee of Canterbury tomorrow. Ellis and partner Laura Overton from Southland "knocked " out 3rd seeds Rosie Cheng and Kelly Drew from Auckland to end a great day.At the time of writing Lawrence Darling was trying to battle into the quarter finals also playing Kyle Lee from Christchurch.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Low Compression Balls for youngsters----Make sure they are used but not "overused"

I came across an article titled "Who wants to work for British tennis?",it reported the continued loss of key staff members including Carl Maes, head of women's tennis which followed after the removal of head of men's tennis, Paul Hutchins and Gary Stewart who left as head of coach support.Here is the link which you can also read the article.Out of this article I took a valid reference to the use of low compression balls and mini tennis for the 10 and under age groups.Whether its Mini Tennis, Hot shots, or Grasshoppers all of these programs certainly have a place in a development pathway, but lets make sure it does not stifle those juniors who will move to the conventional tennis balls quicker than others.Here in the article it gives an example of an occasion where I could see it could cause a problem for development, the writer tells us of a letter he has received "Which brings us to the most interesting correspondence I've received in a long time, from a couple of small tennis clubs with some talented juniors.

These clubs wanted to play a couple of 10-year olds in the 12-and-under division of the National Junior Club League - kids who are decent players and, according to their coaches, ready for the step up in class.

But the response from head office? The players are too young.

According to LTA guidelines, 10-year-olds are meant to be playing mini-tennis with softer green balls so therefore can't play 12-and-under matches, where regular yellow balls are used."

My opinion is that these balls should be used for entry level players and club junior development programs.Recently Canterbury tried to use the balls in the 10 and under division at their Junior Championships it met with disapproval from parents and players. One has to ask the question when did Andy Murray or Roger Federer switch from soft balls to yellow balls!!! In Murray's case the age was seven!.Open junior tournaments should always advocate the use of conventional tennis balls for the younger age groups.Low compression balls have their place make sure they are kept there!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lane shows form before Nationals

Sam Lane defeated Liam Wilby(Wellington) today to win the 12s Otago indoor champs played in Dunedin.What a difference a few days make in the Life of a tennis player Lane lost a close three setter to Wilby in the Semi Finals of the Canterbury Champs however in the final today completely shut Wilby out winning 6-0 6-3.Lane now moves to Wellington to compete in the National 12s champs .In Christchurch the 14 Nationals are well under way with quarter finals being played today , I will give a summary on this event soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

South Canterbury Juniors excel In Canterbury Easter Junior Tournament

Ben Deeley ended the tournament with two wins, claiming both the 8 boys singles title as well as the doubles title.In the singles final he defeated Manawa Rakete-Shea from Dunedin 6-4 after both boys had won their respective pool matches.They then combined to defeat Canterbury players Chapman - Murison 6-3 in the doubles final.In the 14 boys singles Tom Deely went down in a close three setter to Southern 14s Representative player Dunedin's Henry Hailes 6-4;5-7;6-4.He then lost another close match to Canterbury's David Clay 4-6;6-2;tb10-8 in the Consolation Round.Last of the Deeley brothers Jack lost a competitive quarter final of the boys 10s singles 9-5 to Cameron McCracken .Jono Ellis also played well in a close tussle losing to Jack Murison 9-6 in the quarter finals of the 10 boys singles.In the boys 12 singles semi final Sam Lane went down to second seed Liam Wilby of Wellington 6-4 4-6 6-4 ,Lane leading 4-2 and 40/30 in the final set could not quite finish it off .Its disappointing to always lose a close match from this position however sometimes to win these close matches you first have to lose from this position,I am sure Sam did after the feeling of disappointment and will take some positives for the upcoming Nationals.Annabel Ellis will play in the Girls 12s Final and will play Canterbury's Gabriella Coates after defeating local player Jessica Shaw 6-4 7-5 in the semi's today.Ellis will be looking to reverse the result of last time they met and no doubt will be in for a tough match.All players competed in the doubles and results can be found at this link

Friday, April 10, 2009

Most National Tennis Programs suffer from the Lost Sheep syndrome

Another article headed U.S. Tennis Losing Ground in Developing Players can be found at this link.Some interesting points that where listed are Robert Lansdorp, the California stroke guru, and Pete Fischer, who developed Pete Sampras’s serve and his tactical all-court game, say the focus is misguided.

“Everything is fragmented,” Fischer said during a recent telephone interview from California, citing conflicting coaching techniques and different competitive priorities as inhibitors to producing champions. “I don’t see one vision. The U.S.T.A. is graded on how their players do in I.T.F. events. Who cares about that? Short-term goals get in the way of long-term goals.”

One of the most practical points made in this article is this by Lansdorp ,Lansdorp said, “but you don’t get a champion out of a group. You have to find talent. And then you have to develop that talent.” I think this is an important statement and very much relevant to what is happening on a local issue. We have heard it time and time again that tennis is an individual game but yet many programs are created for team environments. I think around the country their are many coaches developing and finding talent, I hate giving examples but here for me in South Canterbury I have coached 6 national winners and runner ups for a population base of 30,000 i think not bad obviously I have been doing something right!.In 6 years not one phone call from the National Body to say well done or more importantly how can we help you and your players!!! I certainly would of liked some assistance in upskilling , latest training methods and information for me and the players , this is support and recognition that a National body can give. Here is the problem National body's are so spent on doing it there way they encourage juniors to leave an established and working relationship with the coach and join a better system(perhaps!).

Don't you think that if you can provide more support to their individual coach then that will filter through to their players as Lansdorp suggests a more individual approach and forget the idea that a champion will come from a group.This will not happen.So I will still go about my work helping juniors to aspire and wait for a call from the National Body. And here is a great example the William Sisters. For all of his eccentric off-court pronouncements, Richard Williams recognized his daughters’ natural gifts and work ethic, and extracted mechanical refinements and support from a number of quality coaches (Rick Macci and Nick Bollettieri, to name a few). The result: the Williams sisters have combined for 17 Grand Slam singles titles in the last 10 years.Its time the Lost sheep syndrome ended.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Sometimes even champions crack"

This wasn't the best game of tennis on the men's Atp tour but it did show that Federer continues to show his vulnerability to his opponent's.He lost to Djokovic but he also lost a little bit more than the match.Federer is feeling frustrated and his once dominating forehand was riddled with unforced errors.Its hard to win when a player is not only competing against the person at the other end but also himself.Never let your opponent see how you really feel try and keep it together if you are losing, it certainly helps the opponent more when he See's his opponent lose it mentally it like Roger did.Tossing the water bottles away wasn't a good look of a guy in composure either during the change of end.The sooner the Fed express can mentally overcome his fears the better, the game still needs a champion like Federer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Top Level Tennis is only for the tuff!

The road to the top in any sport will be a tough and sometimes dissapointing journey,but if you make it then you know all the hard work and hours you have put in,the personal sacrifices you chose to make,the sweat and the tears you have shed to get where you are will be worth it and rewards are great.However only those that are prepared to give will succeed and there will be many that will fall trying to do this as they find the mental side and committment just too hard to keep going day in day out.
The old saying when the "going gets tough the tough get going" can be seen at junior tennis tournaments world wide,its that fighter ,the one that never gives in,the one that dosnt make excuses,the one that takes the battle full on and gives all whether they win or lose.They leave what they can on the court and accept losses and dissapointing matches as learning curbs to make them stronger for the next outing. They are prepared to acknowledge mistakes and can take opportunity's when they come along ,even if it means sacrificing something else to do it.True champions are a rare breed, we have a lot of pretend champions in the game but sooner or later they are eventually found out.The best advice I can give is be prepared for dissapointment learn from mistakes dont be one of those that say if only! make sure you take the right options you get but one chance give it your best shot!No matter what happens you will be a better person for trying!