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.

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