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post #453 of (permalink) Old Jan 26th, 2013, 10:21 PM
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Re: General Aussie Tennis News

The usual articles that pop out at this time about the state of Australian tennis. Though some worthy points about creating an overseas base and how many of our top coaches aren't involved with TA.

TENNIS Australia's greatest mistake is not using interested private Australian coaches to develop our top young players of the future.
Instead of a few state or TA paid coaches handling our top young juniors, TA could have nearly every coach in Australia working towards the same goal.
State coaches or regional directors need a car, an iPhone and a basket of balls - not to sit in an office, but be driving the game forward from the courts, assisting players and coaches to train and to take the leading players to tournaments so everyone can work together.

For more than 30 years, tennis in Australia has relied on the AIS or state squads to develop our leading players.
The fact that over this period Australia's top male players, Pat Cash, Pat Rafter, Lleyton Hewitt and now Bernard Tomic have not been a part of such a program must, somehow, reflect on its failure to produce players despite millions being poured into the system.
These champions were developed by private coaches who, in the present system, lose their top players to this system with obvious results.
Australia has some of the best and dedicated coaches in the world. In fact, no matter were you go in the world you will often find an Australian coach in the area.
Even the great Roger Federer was coached in his early days by the late Peter Carter and others such as Tony Roche, Darren Cahill, Roger Rasheed and Jason Stoltenberg continue to be prominent coaches - all of them ex-players, but totally committed to the game.
Why do Australian private coaches fight with TA instead of working together to develop top players? Because very few see the system as working and the results prove that.
Tennis is a business and in any business if you do not produce results, you either change or fail.
Some coaches give up working with good players because they know how much time and effort is involved - and if you're going to lose your top player anyway, why bother?
The private coaches need to be part of a new system, encouraged to develop players along with dedicated state coaches (not just ex-players looking for a post-circuit job).
There has to be flexibility in the program for country kids to go to a large country centre, if they cannot get a coach or the quality hitting hours and tournaments.
I have seen how a large country centre such as Albury can drive the game and have hundreds of kids playing and produce top players as well.

For more than 20 years I have advocated having a base in France for three months a year. Why France? Clay courts, a fantastic grading system and lots of tough tournaments.
Players who play in France and do well often show the guts needed to succeed on the pro circuit.
So many times heaps of money is spent on players who in the end do not want to grind out a career in tennis, but look for the easy way out. France would sort them out.
TA's response to this proposal is it is worried about liability. It does have an arrangement with a club in Spain and England. The English teams go to France and Spain (Murray) and we go to England!
Many Australians living in France would love to help in this area from Gail Chanfreau to Bob Brett, just to name a couple.

Tennis Australia has started Australian Money Tournaments which is fantastic and allow players to play for a very limited purse at tournaments around Australia. This is similar to the French Tournaments but a lot more money needs to go into these tournaments, so young players can continue the game rather than drop out at 16. This also provides more competition for our younger players coming through and gives them more experience against older players.
So many players do not peak until their early 20s (Rafter) so these tournaments keep players in the game. More money must be spent in this area and not wasted on 12 and 14-year-olds, who in a lot of cases do not go on with the game.

A new tournament system was developed last year with consequences for coaches who take groups away.
If players make the main draw in a four-day tournament they do not play the first two days while qualifiers play. If the qualifiers in your group lose in the first two days, they sit around for two days. What a nightmare.
Coaches will stop taking players away. Give the tournament directors flexibility and options in handling this so coaches are encouraged to take players away and players get a lot of tennis (e.g. a continuous feed-in).
Richard Howes has played and coached tennis in Australia and overseas since 1967. He worked with Pat Rafter between the ages of 13 and 17 and took him on his first tour overseas. At present he coaches young players in tournaments in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

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