THIS MONTH

 

  • Technical Analyst Course Terrific!

  • Althea Gibson

  • Rafa Nadal

  • How to get Black Americans introduced to tennis

  • USTA New England unresponsive

  • College Tennis Demise

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Technical Analyst Course Terrific!

November 23, 2020

 

One is never too old to learn! It has been my motto for many years, and it will stay my motto for years to come. What did I learn this time? After receiving a convenient 10% discount through Tennis Club Business I signed up to become a Certified Technical Analyst, an online course offered by Tennis Analytics. Warren Pretorius and Will Boucek have done an outstanding job putting together a well-organized, very informative, and professional curriculum.

 

Video and video analysis have been around now for a while but being able to actually do it all on your smartphone makes this course unique. Using Dartfish Express - https://www.dartfish.com/mobile - makes it even easy for those who are fairly new to analyzing players. A really cool feature is that it allows a side-by-side comparison of your student with a top player. Demonstrating the key “reference”-points provides your student with a clear understanding of their current technical skills.

 

The course concludes by submitting your “Certification Project”. In this final project, you are required to utilize all the features and learned editing skills and complete a side-by-side analysis of one of your students. Please check this link to get an impression of what that looks like: https://dartfi.sh/RNoTyunC1K3

 

Upon completion, you will receive an official certificate and you can also earn 4.0 USPTA CEU’s and/or 8 hours of PTR Continuing Education (after submitting separately)

 

Interested? Learn more here.

Hans Römer
Yarmouth, Maine, USA

Currently in Europe

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Althea Gibson

November 5, 2020

 

Hi Rich, I only met Althea Gibson once.  She was a special guest of Marilyn Fernberger's at the Women's Virginia Slims Tournament at the Palestra in Philadelphia in the '70s.  This was in the days before her agoraphobia completely cut her off from the outside world. I have to confess that I did not then know just how much her barrier-breaking accomplishments had buoyed not only the women's game but all of tennis.  I was more focused in those days on the quiet progress being made by a young Lieutenant named Arthur Ashe.

They both had first names which began at the beginning of the alphabet and in many ways were the beginning of the long-overdue integration of tennis.

We're still progressing by the alphabet...Althea, Arthur, nd the ATA were the pioneers and now maybe we've reached a more diverse set of letters...Venus, Serena, Naomi, Katrina, Frances, Yannick...the letter pool for first names is just as diverse these days as our beloved game has become.

May it ever be thus...only better.  

Jay Snyder

Rafa Nadal

November 18, 2020

Hi Rich,

 

Congratulations, to Dustin Johnson for his record-breaking Masters victory over the weekend. Now that Johnson has his treasured golf trophy, he only needs a dozen more to equal Rafael Nadal’s Roland-Garros silverware. It was only several weeks ago that Nadal won his 13th title in near-perfect form beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets on the famous red clay court. Dustin captured his golf title at the beautiful Augusta National course in November. If all goes well, the tennis champion will be back in Paris and Dustin in Georgia, USA  defending their cherished tournament in spring 2021. That’s not much time for preparation to peak-performance again for a major event. I think Rafa, is a good bet to be up to the task and challenges.

 

I bring Rafa up again and again because his 13 French Open championships are remarkable. It just strikes an emotion when a top athlete wins for the first time on the grandest stage especially, in record fashion. Kudos to Dustin Johnson and for golf worldwide for the number one player to win the popular green jacket.

 

For two weeks and seven grueling matches, Nadal has to be at his best and not have an off-day against the best players in the world in a head-to-head matchup. Just like in golf, a bad hole can ruin your round and in tennis, a service break can easily mean a lost set. Imagine Rafael has played 26 weeks or half a year of undefeated match play to win his thirteen clay court championships. Golf tournaments, on the other hand, are for 4 days of pressure-packed quality play against the field of great players. Rafa has 20 major victories and many finals, and Johnson has two with several runner-up finishes. Two future HOF’s for sure for their winning records.

 

Nadal has 100 match victories on the stadium court and many more expected before his career is completed. He’s won as a teenager and now as a seasoned young gentleman and sportsman. He’s the Cal Ripkin, LeBron James, and Tom Brady in their respective sports…endurance, longevity, and workmanlike ethics, day after day for seasons.

 

If there is ever a time to acclaim the greatest athletes in sport, add Rafael Nadal to the shortlist of historic names. Tennis should be proud to claim Rafael Nadal as one of their own. If dominance is the factor in gauging and defining greatness then Rafa stands atop in the tennis world…13 and counting.

 

If Sports Illustrated honors an individual with their annual Sportsman of the Year award for 2020, I nominate Rafael Nadal.

 

Leo Estopare

How to get Black Americans introduced to tennis

and also get some on the ATP/WTA tours

October 31, 2020

Hello Mr. Neher,

 

I have read some of your articles here and there for some time now. I enjoy many of your articles. They are very informative and entertaining. Now, on to your question. How to get more black Americans introduced to tennis is a loaded question. In my humble opinion, the next few points can help. 

 

1. I believe the people in power/leadership must be knowledgeable about the sport of tennis. I have seen many organizations headed by people who do not understand tennis. They then hire the wrong people to head the tennis programs. These people doing the hiring are, essentially, the gatekeepers of who has access to some of these talented athletes. I am talking about programs that have large populations of black students. 

 

2. Something that is not spoken about very often in the tennis community. The black family in America is fractured. The single motherhood rate is something like 70 percent among black families. Why do I bring this up? Because I have lost track of how many hoops I have had to jump through to get both parents on the same page for practice schedules and tournaments. For example, I may agree with the father that playing the sectional championships in 3 weeks would be great for their son or daughter.  But if the child is with their mother that weekend it probably won't happen. This of course could be the other way around. Also, with all the single mothers in the black community, it can be difficult to get to practices and tournaments consistently, not to mention expenses. 

 

3. There is a cultural aspect as well. As a black coach, I can give many examples of how something works or mindset based on our culture. For example, I had a former student who was scared to hit his forehand. Scared to hit big for fear of missing. He began slowing his swing down and even slicing it. We had previously talked about DC comics. I reminded him of how Bruce Wayne became Batman. Bruce was afraid of bats but went into a cave filled with bats anyway. He then began waving a light at the bats which made the bats fly towards him. He got over his fear of bats by facing them head-on. In other words, he faced his fear head-on. From that point on I told the student to walk into the cave and he knew exactly what I was talking about. In other words, be brave and face your fears directly. I told that to a prominent coach who is from Finland and of course he didn't get it. He found it silly and juvenile. 

 

4. There must be a concerted effort to get more qualified black American coaches. Seeing coaches who look like you has a powerful effect on participation and motivation. 

 

Lastly, just consider the best black tennis champions of all time. I'm talking about Ashe, Gibson, Williams sisters, Osaka, and for the purposes of my argument Coco. I know Coco hasn't done much yet. They all had strong black coaches around them at some point. 

Just my 2 cents.

 

Thanks for all you do!

 

Kenny Callender

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USTA New England unresponsive

November 3, 2020

Rich,

 

I am unable to get the USTA Southern New England to respond to my requests for leagues and adjusting my rating due to health/injuries. Very disappointed with the handling of my issues.

 

Three years ago I was asked to play on a men's 4.0 NTRP team. I had been rated 5.0 way back around 1990. Hadn't played competitively since 2001. Had reactions to Prednisone after coming down with a bacterial infection leading to pneumonia, injuries resulting from reactions to the medication. Torn Achilles tendons, both feet, a torn labrum in the shoulder and both hips, and more. Provided the USTA New England with dates and MDs. Nothing was done for over three months. When I asked about the status and nothing had been done I said drop it and haven't paid for a USTA membership since. And they did not refund my payment for the year at issue.

 

Michael Cervantes

College Tennis Demise

November 1, 2020

Hello Rich,

 

It was with much dismay that I read the recent statistics with regard to college team programs being discontinued. Our sport experienced a similar situation during the enforcement of 1972 Title Nine legislation during the mid to late 1990s. Not that Title Nine was not needed to secure equal opportunity in sports, but the colleges and universities were never going to sacrifice revenue-generating sports entertainment properties such as men’s football and basketball. During a three-year time period, we lost approximately seventy men’s tennis programs in New England alone. It took a few years but the college kids who played tennis at these schools eventually took matters into their own hands and began to form Tennis on Campus and club teams. Some of these programs circled back into the re-formation of college teams. Let’s hope that this trend replicates and that the players find a way to continue to create and support team tennis at our colleges and universities. Where there are courts, there can always be programming if someone is willing to take the lead.

 

 

Robert W. Greene Jr., USPTA