Wow what a year – was having a quick look back over results, social media and photos on New Years Eve and 2014 was an amazing year!.

We have had players compete in 4 states

We have had tennis at over 18 schools

We have happy clubs with lots of kids playing

We have done some amazing trips and tours

We enjoyed working at the national 10s camp in QLD (our players here are on track)

We had a big increase in players making semis and finals of AR events

We gained TA selection as a Talent Development Coach

We have a booked up timetable for 2015

and finally we still love what we do and what we bring to the community and the game of tennis!

Check out these great pics https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152676053759825.1073741831.88110779824&type=1&pnref=story

Personally on court I played one AR event, kept the points up, there’s not too many older than me in AMT draws, just a lot of fit kids who learn a lot playing someone with more brains that fitness and a big forehand and serve and 100/100 slice backhands. I’m reminded all the time about the importance of touch and placement and having a weapon that can be executed on demand.

I would however much rather be teaching our next crop of players at tournaments etc rather than playing myself. Results are important, we all love winning, but in a 64 man draw, there’s only one winner and a heap of players who lost, only the uneducated can think unless you win its a failure (believe me there are parents and coaches out there that think unless their child is winning they are failing) you can win in Perth, But there’s a better player in Melbourne, you can win in Melbourne but in Russia there’s a better player and so on. But enjoy every win, soak it up, take photos, sent pics to rellies etc, its a great feeling winning is, and like a wise coach once said “Every win you have gets you closer to the next loss!”

We all play to our ability with players of our ability and if we are really serious about comparing athletes, we first need to get a mirror and take a good hard look at ourselves. Every athlete is different, their progression, maturity and physical attributes are different and thats why every athlete needs to be treated differently on court, in training and at tournaments.

At ATA we all know its great to win but as our motto goes, #PerformanceIsMandatory, something one of our former National coaches really instilled in me, performance is everything. Some players can come off court after losing and there is nothing better than them saying “I got closer to them than I did last time” or “I made them earn the win, I stuck to my game plan and improved”. There is also that moment when one of your top players cruises through 12s AR finals and trains even harder to play up in the 14s. This is where the attitude and talent along with work ethic and perseverance. There is a reason some athletes can be in the top 5 in Australia for their age. Time and effort and following a evolving plan.

Personally team sports were amazing in 2014 – Our Rovers Vets (football/soccer) won the double (league and cup) – these blokes are great sportsmen, great blokes and great fun. Also our Mighty Drakes basketball team kicked off the season with 5 wins in a row. I have always recommended players play a team sport (or two), great for socializing, great for fun and improved skills and movement, and great for a change up.

To be honest after spending 50hrs a week on court coaching, plus running a business with staff, bills, paperwork, tax, as well as working as a volunteer in various club and association roles, as well as been a dad and a husband and having a close family unit – sometimes the last thing I feel like is playing tennis for fun. Balance has to be important in all parts of your life and those in the know have an understanding of that. Some mates who coach less hours love the game and love the competitive side. I am usually on court Saturday afternoons coaching while social tennis is on.  I can handle myself on court, I don’t know of anyone in the region with a winning record head to head against me over the last 15 years.

ATA did however put a team in the LGSTA Tennis League, I’ve played a couple of round with two of our junior players. There is a definite change of intensity for the juniors, but its fun cause I see it as a lesson, I can continue to talk to the student and lead by example on court tactically and with the execution. I haven’t dropped a doubles match yet and enjoyed my only singles against my mate Nathan!

Looking forward to next week we are off to NSW VIC for events, some of these kids have done 2-5 of our tours now and are well rehearsed is whats coming up.  A couple of our players attending the tour are still loving the game at 17 years old playing AMT’s. Just wait for the photos from the 10 year old to the now 17 year olds – still loving he sport and doing really well!

Finally knowing 2014 was a ripper was a text I got from a parent after his daughter lost in a quarter to a higher ranked player, it read simply “____ was more aggressive and had the better shots, the harder hitting and had the opponent on the back foot –  when she went for it and she missed the killer shot, and it missed, it was close and not by much, we couldn’t be prouder of how she played” THIS IS MUSIC TO MY EARS – I could coach a player to moonball all day long, it wins matches at 10s, 12s and some 14s, but as athletes become bigger and stronger and more complete as players, moonballers fade out of the game at the higher level, (now i am talking moonballers as the players who cant hit winners, at all, and win on opponents errors), not to be confused with players who simply get every ball back and can hit winners off both sides. Players of this ability we are looking at where they will be at 15-18, not winning at 12s.  We are looking towards the players future development and not immediate win win wins, and it is great when parents, players, coaches, support unit are all on the same path working towards a common goal.

So happy new year everyone – all the best for 2015. See you at the Hopman Cup next week and then the Tour and then the Aussie Open. Can’t wait to meet Nick Bollettieri and enjoy the Melbourne Park atmosphere!