Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pigs might fly a good description for the current state of the Game


Great Article today locally by Mark Reason. I will provide the Link to the full article.HERE . I liked this interpretation "It's not rocket science. Look at Dick Tonks and New Zealand rowing or Arthur Lydiard and athletics. It's about the coach, stupid - and, in these ever more professional times, that means money. Borfiga has revolutionized Canadian tennis. “It's important not to play a good match, but to play to win. It was my first message,” he said. His second message, according to CEO Michael Downey, was “Kids need to have the right values, to be low key and be polite.”Scouring TNZ's Strategic Plan, I could not find a single mention of the word “winning.” Canada has embraced the word. Felip Peliwo and Eugenie Bouchard won both junior Wimbledon titles. Peliwo became the first man since 1984 to make all the junior grand slam finals.

A second Canadian girl made it to the Wimbledon semis. The 21-year-old Milos Raonic is the fastest rising man in the rankings and tipped for a major title. And guess who Erakovic was thrashed by at the Olympics. Yep, another Canadian.

On reading the article the eye has added his two cents worth, we can go with the flow and have more of the same or as coaches we can speak out to try and get some changes. Over the next few posts I will try and add some thought and reasoning to the tennis scene here in NZ.


I made the call that tennis in this country was for the elite and that many ordinary New Zealander's can not afford the game. For a start Club membership is way to high take for example a Club in Christchurch.An Adult single membership starts at $300+ for a couple $550 Family is $690. A Junior 12 to 18 is $170 and if you want to play Inter club for a junior 12-18 its $232.00. We are not talking American country club.A decent racquet for a junior just starting out in junior competition $150.00 , Shoes another $150.00( and we all know how long they last certainly not a season. Sports Kit $110+. You see if you turn up at a junior tournament wearing casual out for the referee's they love telling you you are wearing inappropriate clothing! For a family with three kids start doing the sums and its not cheap!!!Ok then the club from their membership fee's have to pay affiliation fee's to the association and then to NZ tennis!So once you show some promise in tennis the next step is to get lesson and they start at $50 per hour.Again I know for a fact people that can afford have booked several hours for their kids not a year....A WEEK!

I advocate very low memberships and a user pay for competitions Inter-club etc you play Saturday morning Competition you rock up with your ball fees. Here in South Canterbury we pay affiliation fees and have to SUPPLY our own balls! So you see the culture we breed .As you improve you have to have deeper pockets.I am just touching the surface. I have seen tantrums thrown at courts by children on tournament  day and cracked their racquet with a "Hissy" fit week end they show up with a brand new tennis racquet.Kids that know how to fight with grit in tennis are simply not given a chance and they are swallowed up by other sports.Most junior tennis players when the tough are to get going........they just cry and look for Mum or Dad to come out off the sideline and play for them.And you can bet these players are being groomed for our next champion.

Here is some of the article i wrote in 2010 LINK Dollars and Sense for tennis players

Lets break it down with different types of player's starting with

1.The Novice Player Ok for a start lets get that player ready to play. Initial cost will include EQUIPMENT ,New Racquet  a good junior racquet will set you back $200 NZ ,shoes $120.00,attire another $100.00 so all up $420.00 to get you started. Ok then you have to join a club $50-$100 depending on location and you have to take some group tennis lesson at around $150.00 a term.( two terms) So $420 for equipment $100 for club membership and $300 for two terms of group coaching. Outlay for the year is $820.00.

2.THE REGIONAL PLAYER -To make a regional team for say a National teams event you will of course upgraded your tennis racquet and because you will be playing more events tournaments and local events you of course will break strings more regular.So you will need two racquets which will set you back $800.00.Don't forget the new Racquet bag $100.00 ,At least 5 restrings  a year $200.00 ,the more specialized coaching from $50-$70 an hour and usually at the very least juniors will take an hour lesson per week .Do your maths over 48 weeks of the year.Now you are going to tournaments outside your local area also accommodation transport etc. So you wont get much change out of $3500.00

THE NATIONALLY RANKED JUNIOR- These juniors are winning National titles or ranked in the top 10 of their age group in the country.Juniors are committed to tennis everyday of the week.Most juniors are having 3 Individuals with their private Coach and doing at least 3 squads a week.Also they are travelling overseas  and ITF junior tournaments.There will be not much change from $16,000.00.And that is just for 1 year taking in Travelling Coaching Accommodation and equipment and clothes.

So you are Now on the Circuit - Ok you are now stepping up to ITF Men's and Women 's Futures  tournaments.These events are world wide and it is fact you cannot stay in New Zealand to get ahead and you will need to travel so lets keep your first year basic, Airfares etc 10,000.00 Food $3,500.00 Coach at $100 @ day 100 days 10,000.00 ,Car Hire /and Local travel $3000.00. I have roughly based it on playing tournament's in the USA ,Mexico,Spain,Canada and UK. Now many cannot afford a coach so do it independently and unless your Roger Federer you will not survive. So a basic year figure is around $30,000.00. You are playing mostly qualifying and not eligible for Main Draw benefits. Once you do start making Main Draw's at the Futures and challengers it gets a little easier...but unless you win a few not much!  

Whilst we continue to have wrong personnel in important key positions and staff we dont need then tennis in this country will indeed be only for the elite!


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