Monday, July 27, 2009

So You want to be a World Class Tennis Player

This is my first in a series of "So you want to be a World Class Tennis Player".I have been running a poll on what is the key ingredient to make you a top Pro!One of the choices was have a crazy tennis parent.Now History shows that this works so let's look at this , get rid of the "u beaut tennis academies, the high tech training programs ,and replace them with an over the top crazy parent!I mean when you think about it tennis patterns and tactics are reasonably simple,there's a few basic strokes ie serve, forehand and backhand, volleys are not used that much these days and Mum and Dad could pick up one of the many instructional video's available.Ok there's a few tips to get you on the road but one important ingredient is that you need obsessive devotion to getting to the top , you have to eat ,sleep and drink tennis and when your at the bathroom you had better keep your thoughts attuned to when you are going to hit that next tennis ball!And guess what?Someone who can keep you focused on this is Mum Or Dad they are only too willing to lend support and drive the program for you.

Can you have a normal youthful childhood, Birthday parties,going to beach with your friends,proms,parties , family holidays ha ha forget it the closest family holiday your going to get is Mum or Dad entering you in another tournament interstate or overseas.Or maybe if you get lucky they will send you to another country to train and live.Just in New Zealand I have heard from parents how they have taken a second mortgage to pay for their child's tennis.A huge financial investment with no real Statistics for success for a country like New Zealand and nine times out of ten will most likely be a poor investment if you are looking at making money.I will discuss location as an issue in a later post. Now the Williams sister's are a success and its thanks to their father Richard yes the obsessive parent!So as the story goes , their father, Richard, upon learning of the lucre that women's tennis offered, decided to make his next two kids into tennis pros. That his wife, Oracene, didn't want any more children was a minor obstacle—he simply hid her birth-control pills. He taught himself the game, coaching his proteges on rotten courts where their sessions were sometimes interrupted by gunfire before shipping them to a Florida tennis academy for refinement. While his girls racked up Grand Slams (17 singles titles and counting), he made headlines with his histrionic antics at tournaments, erratic ramblings, and general weirdness—he insisted on meeting his daughters' first hitting coach at a public car wash because he believed the FBI had bugged his car and house.And now the rest is history!

It seems that obsessive and demanding parents do come into the news for all the wrong reasons.Dogmatic Damir Dokic ,he himself nearly won a grand slam getting himself ejected from three out of four grand slam tournaments, he's threatened to kidnap daughter Jelena Dokic and drop a nuclear bomb on Australia.But hey come on Jelena Had her best ranking when he was in control!

And what about Yuri Sharapova who had his degree of "craziness" was caught making a throat-slitting gesture from the stand that Anastasia Myskina refused to play in the Federation Cup if her countrywoman was named to the Russian team.Read that story here
And Maria has had grand slam success , so I guess another win,win story for the Crazed parent syndrome.What about Mary Pierce's father Jim Pierce screamed, "Kill the bitch!" during one of his daughter Mary's matches.Stefano Capriati, Mike Agassi, and Roland Jaeger were all trained as boxers and in some instances i guess were "punch drunk" in some of their methods.But again their children met with success!

And the list goes on if you have a crazy tennis parent story please leave as a comment on this article and I will publish it, I could keep going and this is just the international examples , boy have I seen some Parents lose it at a local junior tournaments that have resulted in Car Park showdowns with the opponents parents.

What i guess I'm trying to say is be realistic of course there are many success full parents and players that create little drama , not everyone will go onto win Wimbledon or be ranked in the top 100 even and if your from a country like New Zealand more probably not , however it does take a certain obsessiveness if you like to call it that to become a World Class tennis player. It takes total Focus,sacrifice and dedication from both child and parents.The underlying feature here is that your child has to want it ! if they do then as a parent provide what ever support they need.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Sunday Read

I will try to post this each Sunday just some articles I have read on the net that you may find interesting.The first this week is an article about Andy Murray who turned out for an amateur teams event recently having to call his own lines and buy his own lunch!Link

And this tongue in cheek article about French Player Richard Gasquet cleared of Drug Charges ....his defense he kissed a girl!Link

And who can forget In 1993, when Monica Seles was 19-years of age, an incident on court changed her life and forever altered the career of what may well have been the best female tennis player in the history of the women’s game.LINK

And finally a book review , The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.LINK
Coyne in his book writes about practice and repetition "“Repetition is invaluable and irreplaceable. There are, however, a few caveats. With conventional practice, more is always better: hitting two hundred forehands a day is presumed to be twice as good as hitting one hundred forehands a day. Deep practice, however, doesn't obey the same math. Spending more time is effective—-but only if you’re still in the sweet spot at the edge of your capabilities, attentively building and honing circuits. What’s more, there seems to be a universal limit for how much deep practice human beings can do in a day. Ericsson’s research shows that most world-class experts—-including pianists, chess players, novelists, and athletes—-practice between three and five hours a day, no matter what skill they pursue.”

This is a very interesting read and many sections of the book applies to the game of tennis.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Best Tennis Location In the World

I have had a lot of email with enquiry's where I am based,What is the location so I have made a video showcasing the beautiful surrounding area and the Tennis centre.It was a magic winter's day when i shot the video footage with great water views with snow capped mountain backdrops.The tennis centre as you will see is one of the best in New Zealand and the location i think puts it in one of the top Tennis Centre's and location in the world.The South Canterbury area is a beautiful area so if your coming this way make sure you drop in for a hit or just to enjoy the scenery. Please be free to email me regarding tennis in the area or any coaching enquires. Or just leave a comment, would be happy to hear from you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ellis Goes Down fighting in 12s National Indoors Final-Christchurch

Annabel Ellis lost a close tussle to top seed Paige Hourigan 7-6 6-4.Ellis went to a 5-3 lead inthe first set and Hourigan started to lose the plot emotionally,however she was able to regain composure and forced a tiebreak, it was a tense affair , with Ellis unfortunate on set point to have a close call go against her.Hourigan with some strong backhands took the tiebreak 8-6.Ellis again went to a lead of 4-2 in the second set before Hourigan again staged a comeback winning 4 games on the trot and the set and match 6-4.All in all Annabel should be pleased with her performance and shows she can mix it with the best in the country and with this hopefully will provide the incentive to work harder and strive for more success. Good news also for South Canterbury and the coach Sam Lane won the 5th place playoff beating Kai Lee of Canterbury 6-3 6-2.Lane had been defeated by eventual winner Kyle Butters in quarter finals in a close three set match.Butters won the final defeating Pannu the top seed 6-3 6-0.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

After the Dust or Ice settles from the National Junior Indoor Titles

I was pointed out some interesting Stats in regards to the girls National Events just recently held and it looks like the Girls events have become basically regional tournaments.Here is the break up for these events.

*In the 12’s in CHCH, 12 of the 18 entrants or 66% were from Canterbury.
*In the 14’s in Auckland, 20 out of 26 or 77% were from the Auckland region.
*In the 16’s in Auckland, 17 out of 25 or 68% were from the Auckland region.
I think if New Zealand wants to compete on a World stage these questions must be answered

Why the small number of entries, why no true national representation?
What is TNZ doing to keep the number of Girl’s playing and competing in these events?

Annabel Ellis Shoot's for National 12s Indoors Title-Christchurch

Annabel Ellis (South Canterbury) scored one of her best wins of her young career to defeat 2nd seed Rosie Cheng (Auckland) 7/5 6/1 in today's semi final.The first set was tight with the first few games riddled with unforced errors from both girls.Cheng got the early break to go to 3-2 but Ellis showed a lot more determination and application ,when under pressure in the past Ellis sometimes has not handled that situation too well but showing a lot more composure and willingness to chase the wide balls and play defense, broke back and at 5-5 all again broke Cheng and then held for the first set.This was a decisive advantage to get that first set ,and with Ellis who had the power advantage it was key.The second set Annabel grew in confidence whilst playing attacking tennis also was able to defend when she had to. Cheng became frustrated and more unforced errors of the forehand side aided Ellis as she tried to press to hard.Ellis ran out the second set 6-1 to a well deserved victory. She will play Paige Hourigan in tomorrows final.Good luck Annabel.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mixed Fortunes at 12s Nationals

Annabel Ellis defeated Olivia Smith 6-3 6-1 to reach the Semi Finals of the 12s Indoor Nationals played at Wilding Park ,Christchurch.Ellis had too much power and will meet second seed Rosie Cheng of Auckland.Cheng hits a lot of balls back and will test Ellis's patience and execution.Sam Lane went down in a hard fought match with 3rd seed Kyle Butters.Lane lost the first set 1-6 but won a second set tie-break 7-6 to take the match into the third.At 3-3 Lane had a chance to go to 4-3 but missed a relatively easy forehand and Butter's held on to gain the advantage and win 6-3 in the third.Semi Finals begin Saturday.Canterbury Tennis has shown great initiative with live web cam views of matches played on Number 1 court.Here is a link to that site .LINK
I will be travelling to Christchurch Tomorrow for Annabels Semi
and hopefully have some video available on my blog Monday.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lane and Ellis Feature in 12s National Indoors Christchurch

Annabel Ellis will play Olivia Smith ( Canterbury ) in the girls quarterfinals on Friday. Ellis having defeated Smith in the past few encounters will start favourite but as in any tennis match its not over until the final Handshake.Ellis is seeded 3 for this event.Sam Lane will have a much tougher match in his quarter final against Kyle Butters the third seed from Wanganui.Both Ellis and Lane had comfortable wins today.Its interesting to note and its the same on the pro circuit that some players adapt better to indoors than outdoors.There's no weather effected factors such as wind and sun that can upset certain players so it can level up the playing field a little.Like any match however players still must have a game plan and try to adapt this game plan to their style of play. I have heard coaches tell their charges to try certain tactics forgetting that technically their player cannot execute their well laid plans.Again having an experienced coach with a strong tactical background is an advantage.Its very important as a coach to understand the players strengths but also their weaknesses.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shout Out To Countries that are visiting my blog

The web is a powerful tool and it's always of interest to see where my readers are coming from around the world.So I thought i would list the countries that have visited me this month in a shout out!With Wimbledon of course Ive had hits from the UK including Ireland, Wales and Scotland,Netherlands,Switzerland,Czech Republic, Spain ,Portugal,Bulgaria,my good friends in Egypt,Qatar,India,Singapore,of course Australia and New Zealand( lots) Canada, and USA and from states such as,Oregon,California, Texas,Alabama , South Carolina,Minnesota,Pennsylvania,New York,and Mexico.Thanks to all that stop by and hope you have found something of interest.

Its Not Wimbledon ---But who knows it could be the start

Young junior tennis players enjoyed the great weather last week in South Canterbury and of course the chance to learn the basics from an experienced tennis coach.Pictured left to right are Duncan,Carlo and Harper and front is Max.Tennis for some is a slow progression and its very important that as a junior you start the correct way.Get a good coach that can teach progression and make it fun, my advice stay away from the backyard coaches, the ones that dabble in coaching in their spare time , there are many coaches around that I call text book coaches and they put methodical steps in place for their juniors and most of these coaches have a common trait, put them onto a tennis court and watch them play you will find or be shocked they cant even play themselves ,and sometimes a player needs more than theory. Yes I can hear them say well Nick Bollettieri wasn't a great player, well there is a little difference hes in Florida coaching has his own academy and has a proven track record and your just still in your own backyard.For most youngsters starting off the first thing they will say is "can we play a real game now" my reply is always the same ....."you are playing a real game, every progression we learn is a game" Once a junior steps onto a tennis court the game commences.My poll this week is What's the Key ingredient for a junior to progress to a World class tennis Player .There are a few choices to what you think is the most important ingredient.My first tip is start with a recognized tennis coach that has a history of developing elite junior tennis players but that is just one and I will touch on a few more in my next few posts.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wimbledon 2009 Tribute

This is just a simple slide show I put together highlighting moments from Day 1 to Day 13 of the great tournament. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wimbledon-Day 13

Rodger Federer became history when he defeated American Andy Roddick 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 16-14 to earn the record for Grand Slam singles titles overhauling the total of Pete Sampras who was in the Royal Box along with fellow legends Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver.A dejected figure after the match Roddick knew how close he had come to winning the title and the 6-2 lead in the second set tie-break will be told to his children and grandchildren how he nearly held that Wimbledon trophy that day.I must say that Ive never been a great Roddick fan but today in the 5Th it would not have worried me to see Roddick win,he has worked hard at his shortfalls this year , his new coach Larry Stefanki has made him a true top 3 player once again.There always has to be a loser and whilst many hope Roddick can come back and win this title, I hope he can, he may join player's that have came close and never quite got over the finish line and maybe this will be as close as Roddick will get.
Federer said at presentation he has been on the losing end and knows how it feels to lose an epic final, Roddick was quick to say "well you have won five" meaning how individually important this moment was for Roddick in context of Roger's titles.It will take time for Roddick to move on from this match knowing how close he was to winning it.Another great Wimbledon final showcasing the men's game once again. Roddick was asked a question how he coped with losing the second set he replied “You know, at that point, like everything else, there's two options: you lay down or you keep going. The second option sounded better to me." After some time when the dust settles from the match lets hope Roddick will keep going.!In other Finals today Mark Knowles and Anne-Lena Groenefeld won the mixed doubles final, beating top seeds Leander Paes and Cara Black to bring the curtain down on Wimbledon 2009.Earlier a new boy's champion was crowned when unseeded Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia beat Jordan Cox USA 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.Another Wimbledon passes great matches and great story's ...Bring on The US open and the return of Raffa.

Finally i have enclosed a link for a tennis blog, pro Roddick.... I read with interest the article that had some valid points , about the presentation, sponsors erred in supplying Federer or the monogram as the writer calls him with a Jacket already with the 15 titles on it to wear at prize giving, I to think it belittled a gallant opponent. Here is the link

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wimbledon- Day 12

I cant say it was a memorable match but Serena Williams beat Sister Venus in straight sets, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 in 87 minutes.Serena out served Venus played the big points better and earned the victory.The sisters also combined to win the Doubles title beating Sam Stosur and Rennae Stubbs 7-6 6-4.The men's doubles went to Defending champions Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic by defeating top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan in a high-quality doubles final.The 7-6 (9-7), 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. And the junior girls singles title went too Noppowan Lertcheewakarn( Thailand), defeating Kristina Mladenovic in three sets 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Mens Preview

Andy Roddick vs Roger Federer

Andy Roddick has played his final defeating Murray in the semi's.I doubt if Roddick can recapture , well recapture is probably not the correct word I doubt if Roddick playing his best can beat Federer playing his best.They have met before in a final and I am sure the result will be the same.Federer will not let Roddick go forward and he will be more aggresive than Murray was.When Arthur Ashe upset Jimmy Connors in a Wimbledon final by playing smart tennis and mixing his natuarally attacking game with slice and no pace ,Roddick must beat Federer with his own game and simply it just isnt good enougth in a Wimbledon final to take out the Great Roger Federer.
Federer in 4 but would not be surprised if he won in three.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wimbledon Preview Vid- Rog and Andy Havin A good time

Just put together a pre Wimbledon final video featuring Andy, Roger and Rafa!. Hope you enjoy.

Wimbledon Day 11

Federer had too much class in beating a gallant Tommy Haas in the first men's semi final on centre court,7-6,7-5,6-3.Federer will start favourite for the final against American Andy Roddick who ousted British hope Andy Murray 6-4 4-6 7-6 7-6 in a very even encounter.Murray served more aces than Roddick but only converted 2-7 break point chances on the Roddick serve.Roddick was the more dominant player advancing to net, winning 48 of 75 with a 64% winning total, Murray had a better percentage on his net advance of 75 % with 15 winning times to 20. Had Murray been a little more adventurous on attack it could of made all the difference with Roddick keeping him at bay by taking the net when he could.

Venus Williams Vs Serena Williams

Taking form into account and lead up matches no one would bet against the defending champion Venus Williams ,once again older sister will dominate ,they may keep it friendly with Venus winning in three.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wimbledon -Day 10

The Ladies finally produced a match worthy of epic Wimbledon matches with Serena Williams Defeating Elena Dementieva 6-7, 7-5, 8-6 for the win.The result was expected but not this close,Dementieva showed the benefits of a new fitness program which has worked to strengthen her especially in the service area.Serena now meets again her sister Venus Williams who gave Dinara Safina a grass court lesson and thrashing 6-1 6-0!

Men's Semi Final Preview.

Federer v Haas

This will be a good match however Federer will prevail,Haas has had a great tournament he has nothing to lose and can throw everything at Federer without too much expectation.Federer the favourite will feel some pressure and he knows Haas is a strong shot maker and his play suits the grass.Federer is who he is and this in the end will get him through but at times this will be an even contest.Federer in 4.

Murray v Roddick

Now if this wasn't Wimbledon I would say Murray ,Murray, Murray but this is England and the British public are just craving for a local to reach the final,Roddick has had the experience to not let the crowd support for Murray worry him.Murray knows what is expected of him, Henman could not handle this ,Murray mentally is tuff but Roddick is going to keep him honest, and at the end of the day I have gone for Roddick in 4 sets as even Murray cannot give the public what they so desperately wants and its this hurdle that once again will effect the outcome of the match.

Quotes about the semi's

Federer: I’m glad it's Haas and not Djokovic – he’s from my generation!"

Haas: "I always felt that on the grass maybe something is still there for me

Murray : "I understand that I can lose the next match if I don't play my best," Murray says. "That's been one of the things that I've learned, and it's made a huge difference to me over the last year or so. I feel confident because I've won a lot of matches on the grass. But every day when I get up to play the matches, I know that I'm going to have to perform very well, and that gets the nerves and the adrenaline going and makes me play better.

Roddick :With my serve, I can give myself a chance in any match. I've been in this situation many times," Roddick says. "I'm not gonna predict anything. I'm going to have to play well, and hopefully he would probably say the same. You know, so we'll get to it."

And from the Ladies

“You know, I wasn't sure if it's Serena or Andy Roddick on the other side, 125 all the time. You know, it was a huge percentage of the first serve.”
Elena Dementieva on her semi-final defeat to Serena Williams.

“My forehand didn't show up today. I think she went to Hawaii. (Laughter). But I've called and asked her, I should say, to come back for the final. Hopefully she'll be back. But, you know, it's always good to win when one of your stroke's on vacation.”

Lucky that the No.2 seed had her serve at home to make up for the loss.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Andy Murray Rules The Waves

Just a little tongue in cheek presentation i made, it may not happen but at this stage its looking like a Federer ,Murray final

Day 9 Wimbledon

Federer wins in three and now meets Tommy Haas who took out Novak Djokovic in somewhat of an upset.Roddick battled Hewitt and survived to win in five and meets marvelous Murray who had the easiest quarterfinal win against Ferrero.Semi Finals of the women's will be a William's roadshow to the final.

Women's Semi Final Preview.

S. Williams v Dementieva

We want something exciting to happen in the Womens'event but alas it will be all one way traffic here with Serena to win in two sets.

V. Williams v Safina

The only thing Safina will win in this match is the tantrum throwing award.
Although i don't think she will beat her efforts of her last match.Venus to
win in two.

The best matches yesterday where played on court 1 and apart for the thrill of being on centre court i don't think spectators are going to get value for money with these two matches.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 8 Wimbledon

The Williams sisters moved towards a rematch of last year’s final with their respective quarter-final victories on Tuesday. Top seed Dinara Safina and fourth seed Elena Dementieva now stand in their way defeating their respective quarter final opponents.Here is my preview of the men's quarterfinal matchup's.

Karlovic v Federer

With a serve like Karlovic all sets will be tight and no doubt some will be decided in tiebreaks.Federer has to seize the opportunities when they arise ,no one likes playing Karlovic because of the way he plays does not allow to much rhythm, there are very few rally's and most points are quick.Federer's class will come through at the crucial stages.Federer to win in 4 sets.

Roddick v Hewitt

This will be an interesting battle ,if Hewitt can ge any where near his form that won the Wimbledon Crown then this will be a great match.A lot will depend on how Andy serves but we all know Hewitt on his day is the best counter puncher around.Hewitt in 5.

Murray v Ferrero

Rule Brittania ,Murray will march on to the Semi's.Murray in three.

Djokovic v Haas

Another great match up! This will be tight at the business end Djokovic of late in slams has failed to deliver.Haas is the veteran and maybe youth will be in Djokovic's favour.Djokovic in 4.