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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Local coaches, Local Clubs, Established Coaches, Academies, Federations?

    So you have got a talented child. Everyone is telling you he or she can make it to become a pro. And you must make a decision about what to do next. Everyone will tell you it all depends on how much money you have got. How dedicate you are. Are you wiling to take risk?
    Should not be that way. Tennis is not ( anymore ) sport for upper class white boys and girls . I agree majority of old stile Couches and some Tennis politicians are still thinking “ If he won’t his child to play Tennis he mast have many “ Nothing can be fare from thru then this statement . From database of yang players that I got 85 % come from ordinary background or even worse. So way is still so difficult and expensive to bring up young players?
    Major problem actually lies in difficulty that coaches, managers and academies face of forcing parents of players to honour the contract. The majority of tennis players start their tennis journey very young. So they need help from age 5, 6, or 7 years old. If for example parents of those children sign any kind of contract with a coach, manager or academy when the time comes to pick the fruit of the hard work parents can simply rip up the contract without any sort of consequences. So the academy, coach, or manager invest a huge amount of work and money in the player from age 6 to 16 years old thinking that they will have their money back by taking a percentage from endorsements and sponsorships that the player will have once they become a professional or earlier. That coach, manager or academy can not protect themselves from being dropped before the 16th birthday by the player and his or her parents without receiving any money back whatsoever. Kornicova did this to IMG, sister Williams’ to Ricki Macci,and many more. Because of that to the time that the law changes it’s going to be wary difficult to mace couches, academies or menageries to trust parents of young players. We should really follow rules of football clubs and there academy contracts.
    So until that time comes we should learn how to survive the upbringing of young tennis players.

    Local Coaches

    Very important part of grass- roots tennis and making tennis more accessible to the masses. But there is a limit to where the local coach can take your child. If your child is one of these characters who like to change things that they want to be in life and their emigrating from the football player, to basketball player, to handball player, to a singer, back to being tennis player the local coach is the best thing for your child. And you never know maybe one day they will stick with tennis and you can then take step 2.

    Local Clubs

    The 2nd step of tennis life; Your child will be exposed to natural selection without protection. Local Clubs don’t have money or manpower to make a bespoke program to suit your child. Their main concern is to cater for every member of the club. To participate in locally organised tournaments, usually organised by the Federation. They need to make the federation happy and “show them numbers” because the Federation is where they get their main finance from. They don’t need one Nadal only in their club; they need 100 little players on their books. It’s a very important part for you and your child there. You will learn what “Tennis Parent” means. Start living with your first frustrations; learn that your child is not the best in the world and that really the Head Coach of the club does not have “all the time in the world” just for your child. The reality of tennis has now arrived in your life.

    Established Coaches

    Oh come on! Do you really think that famous and established coaches will dedicate themselves to a boy or girl of 7 or 8 years old? If you consider that the price per hour for a famous coach is 300 euros or more do you really think that they will drop that because of the dream that one day your child will be a Grand Slam winner? Don’t be fooled by some posts in U Tube and personal websites where you can see a young child playing with a famous coach that, that is an everyday equation. The parents of those children paid a lot of money for that day with that top coach. That will actually damage sponsorship possibilities for your child and make you look really… I will talk about this in more detail in future articles.


    If you are careful in choosing the right academy for your child you and your child can not lose out by joining the academy. With tennis programs all good academies will give you an academic program. It’s much easier to achieve sponsorship if your child is a full member of a recognised academy. Don’t forget sponsors or people who make decisions for the sponsors are usually businessmen/ women or marketing and PR people. Their backgrounds come from usually Colleges and Universities and they understand Institutions. So they would much rather give money to an academy then to private people like parents. The most important point is that sponsors don’t want to be seen sponsoring very young children, (they will be eaten alive by the media for exploitation) so if they like certain young players they can always make a deal with the academy or manager of the player that sponsorship will be received by the child and their parents indirectly through the academy or manager. It’s a very complex system that I will try to simplify further in future articles.


    Very important part of your tennis life. Not many federations can boast that they produced many very successful players through their system. But do not forget they are people with money and power. Always try to have a good relationship with the federation of your child but don’t go to deep. Take what you can and stay away from their day to day suggestions of “how to” raise and coach a young player. They are politicians at the end of the day and they gain and lose power quickly. So don’t tie yourselves with any of them because you never know how long they will stay in their positions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England

    Greetings Jtas ~

    Thank You for your input & philosophical views on how one should or should not follow their dreams. Your writing was very interesting given I seem to find the fluidness strikingly familiar at times and yet not so during other sections, as if two different persons were writing these comments.

    My purpose is not to discredit your sentiments however I will tell you that much of what you've written for the benefit of our Members is not entirely accurate.

    The World of Sports Professionals have a vast multitude of avenues taken to achieve their objective, which for most, standing above the fray. What makes one participant successful and another unsuccessful in their quest for acceptance?

    Based upon your contention, one would surmise money is the sole ingredient in the pursuit of notoriety. It is true that in order to excel in any given venture, you need the best of training. Whether it be the better school or the better coaching. Each & every Coach worth their salt can provide a summary of which student displays promise and/or potential. Of course that's true and why not. You watch these kids all day long, you can see who plays with purpose and intelligence. You can tell which young player proceeds through their drills with a determination to get it. To understand the game and be better than the kid standing next to him/her.

    Many Coaches will volunteer their observations while others will only make mention if asked. Few local level Coaches will be offered the chance to coach a gifted child beyond the Public Parks if that child's parents think they might wish to take the next step, which unfortunately deters many coaches from making a bigger deal about a kid than necessary simply because, well it's about, "what's in it for me if this kid should grace the big stage?"

    We call that self-serving but when parents get that bug in their heads that with the right amount of this and that, their kid could be the next Andre Agassi or Steffi Graf, that's when the fun starts.

    Do you need money? Hell yes and lots of it because Coaches don't come cheap. Coaches aren't going to bank a million dollar paycheck for a winning tournament and like you've mentioned, Players change Coaches like they change their socks So coaches like to get theirs up front if you please.

    Then there's the Academy which is Tennis 24/7 and they aren't taking Food Stamps last I heard. So bottom line is, if you want to make a career of a sport like Tennis, the majority of personalities you'll encounter will want a piece of the pie and they aren't willing to wait until it's baked.

    The United States Tennis Association much like the Russian Tennis Federation and a host of other Countries that I could list all want the very best to represent their respective Countries, therefore these prominent Tennis Organizations have put forth money in the form of Scholarships that they want you to come and get as soon as you can but there's a few small little details they require. You know, things like, you have to be convincing that their money will be well spent.

    Everybody and their brother thinks they know somebody who can hit the crap out of a tennis ball. Heck even I thought at one time, my game had game. I met a former professional player named Dan Goldie in California so years back when I was at as close to my peek as I've ever been. During that time, I was beating people on a regular basis and I loved Serve & Volley Players the most because in my head, they were so damn one-dimensional. So this guy named Dan Goldie, who also had serious game found himself at our Tennis Club in Huntington Beach, Ca. giving a small exhibition to the members attending, Of course a few of us asked if we could hit a few with him since he was banging balls with guys like Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Tim Mayotte and others, it appeared his credentials were in order. Heck, if you could make him look bad, then you really had something to brag about.

    You see there's an inherent problem with being a 5.0 Rated Tennis Player. When you're rated at 5.0, you've learned to hit pretty much every shot in the book with authority. You can return serve with ease of mind and you generally go out onto the Court with a feeling that you ain't giving away an inch. The word 'Pop' becomes a regular part of your vocabulary and the biggest ego boost of being a 5.0 Rated Player is, people will listen to what you tell them when you're giving tips.

    But it has absolutely nothing to do with knowing a damn thing about the Game of Tennis. There's a reason guys like Dan Goldie would typically find himself in the Round of 32 or 16 at Wimbledon against guys like Ivan Lendl. Believe me when I say, if you're a 5.0 Rated Player, you ain't getting to Wimbledon.

    Consistency is a major factor in this sport and you will not discover your lack of, until you play against someone that's considered a Professional Tennis Player.

    My friend, I understand your frustrations like every Coach in the World, who cares about the dreams of others but just because you think you're good or somebody is telling you you're good, doesn't make you good. Just ask the people who try out for American Idol.

    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Dear Coach,

    I must admit I admire your enthusiasm and romanticism especially knowing that you are a Vietnam veteran and also a man that who is involved in financial forums hit by the reality of every day life.

    I will love if it's possible to go back to certain facts:

    To bring up a child to professional level of Tennis one needs between $750,000 to $1,000,000

    The process usually takes between from 10 to 12 years

    Parents change the coaches depending on the improvements of their children.

    Some parents leave their coaches and their academies because they can not face the reality that their children are maybe not good enough.

    98% Tennis players' who reach the top 50 change their coach who brought them to the professional level.

    The majority of tennis players' don't change their parents' when they reach top 50.

    All these facts are the reason of break down of trust between coaches, parents and tennis players'.

    More to prove this point the day before yesterday Andy Murray left his management agency who brought him up to this level for someone who he thinks is better.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England
    Ok I'll bite, so what's your solution to this dilemma? BTW, when you say a majority don't change their parents, I'd like to know which ones do change their parents? And how do you change your parents because I might wish to do that myself ...

    You too my friend show a fair amount of passion in your convictions. What financial service(s) website are you referring to btw?
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Ha ha ha,
    Hi coach, I do not believe that you want to change your parents. But a few tennis players did. Jelena Dokic, Jennifer Capriati, from the top and quite few lesser known. Sorry about financial services I was meaning to say Political Forums (but my passion got in my way so I read wrongly, ha ha ha). It's very true I'm very passionate about what I do and I'm proud of that, but at the same time very realistic what to expect from young players' and their parents.
    "Changing parents" is a term used for sports people who after years of their parents involvement in their professional sports lives decide to sack them and move on.

  6. #6

    Talking Coaches of the gifted?

    I was playing at the club were Samatha Stosur was trained by Nick Watkins. Nick is a good local coach respected by most everyone. He gained status by bringing her to that level but with a lot of unpaid hours under his belt as well.
    Nick is still a local coach while Sam is in the newspaper.

    I have been around a lot of coaches and tennis parents and my observations are that a lot of coaches prefer the young kids for the babysitting money they get without too much trouble. When a parent feels they want more for their child these coaches are happy to pass them on. On TENNIS PARENTS most need eye checkups.The amount of money they will spend is beyond belief. Being a coach is a large part sales always was always will be.
    I see France has had a lot of players comming through maybe taking a look at their model would be worthwhile.
    By the way COACH Vietnam is a pretty country but, i never went back because i never lost anything there

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England
    The Role of a Coach doesn't vary much between sports. Some prefer to think of themselves as simply Trainers. I've always considered my role as what it describes itself to be. You are essentially coaching an individual as their personal feedback on what they can do better. Considering oneself as a Babysitter is somewhat of a demeaning sentiment of the responsibilities.

    A Player comes to you and places their hopes of being a more confident player that results in better on court results. You are responsible for assessing their strengths & weaknesses then developing a strategy (game plan) on how to use those assets to their advantage. As my kids has learned, even a weakness can become a weapon if you clearly understand the fundamentals.

    Example: Why people fear the backhand side is beyond my understanding. The sheer mechanics of hitting a backhand shot is technically more suited to the way your body functions in terms of foot movement & pivoting.

    I don't take just anyone into our Class. We are very selective in who is accepted into our Classes. You don't have to be a good or even competent Tennis Players from the start but you must play for awhile to evaluate what attributes you have that we feel can be worked with. There are many who've come before us with absolutely no skills and we've determined it would be far too disruptive to the Class in needing to spend the amount of time needed to just one Player.

    We do have a set philosophy in conducting a Class Session. We want to bring everyone's skill level to a place where their parents will consider taking them to a more intense level of training. So with that, I suppose you are correct that we are the first line of Preparatory [Yes] - Babysitter [No]
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    I never aimed to debate about coaches and their systems and beliefs. I wanted to point out that relationship between coaches, parents and players need more protection and definition. We all know that a coach whichever level they are, are licensed by their federations to do a job. They are police checked and put under any scrutiny that any new legislation brings up. They are judged on a daily basis, by their peers, colleagues, other players and parents of their players to name a few. Still the majority of parents think (especially female players’) that they could do a better job then their coaches.

    So I’m just asking a question:

    We all know that parents can leave coaches or an academy even if the coach or academy “with a lot of unpaid hours under his belt as well” and no one can do anything.
    So the question is what will happen if a parent of a tennis player paid a certain coach a month in advance and the coach simply didn’t bother to turn up for the sessions?
    I think that would be all over the newspapers.
    In the Soccer world if a certain club or academy accepts a player even if he is very young that club or academy needs to pay the previous club or academy money that they invested up to that moment. No one can do anything about it and we all know that they make extreme successes. Because of that we can see so many players coming from Africa, Asia, etc, which didn’t happen before. So for example any small African club or academy knows that if a big club from Europe comes to take a young talent to their club or academy they will be reimbursed. That small African club can then reinvest that money into future players. So today it’s almost impossible to find a top European Soccer club in any country without at least 2 African players, and more is still going to come. Then we have a phenomenon of soccer parents thinking twice before they take children out of their local club or academy.

    To put it into tennis terms local coaches, clubs or academies will be happy to take children for no money at all and put hard work into them because they will know that if a big academy comes (like Bollettieri, David Lloyd, Bruguera, etc) they will be obliged to settle expenses of previous local coach or club before they make a big claim how they found a new talent or signed him or her. So obviously parents will not just emigrate from a coach to another coach with out consequences.

    And I’m more then 100% sure that more children and their parents without money will have a chance, competition will be better, and most important of all we will not have as much disorder that is booming in the business of tennis now.
    Last edited by jtas; 01-23-2009 at 07:30 AM.

  9. #9

    Talking Baby sitting

    I will still say BABYSITTING is going to be a part of most local coaches life.
    Its part of what the different level of squads are designed for.
    It is not putting any less effort into them its just in a different way. Its more what some parents want than a job discription.
    So some coaches might chose not to but others choose to do so for finacial reward and goodwill.
    My real point is it gives different coaches an opportunity to make a living in a way they are comfortable with.
    If a coach works in this area it might only be part of what he or she does in the tennis world. This all part of the whole and is not less or more than any other part

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