It is supposed to be our quiet time, term 2 and 3. The rain comes, the sun barely visits, but at ATA it’s all been go go go.
We have had classes at 7 schools in term 2 alone. Add this to our private lessons, group lessons, cardio and high performance, and we have a very busy term. He is just a few highlights on what’s been happening!
SOCCER SELECTION I have again put my hand up to work with some very talented 13 and under soccer players. It is such a tough age group down here, with so many talented kids. We had a massive turn out for tryouts and of course selecting a team for “Soccer” is a lot more opinionated than choosing a tennis team, which can be done on results and success. I’ve previously been gutted after our 13s girls tennis team was a state comp and ZERO of our players were selected to play for the WA Team. even though our players had gone through as winners, and some of them undefeated for the week, we had zero make the team. Forget politics, forget favouritism…Selection was clear, players must attend a camp, must attend AR events and must earn ranking points. So regardless of been 400km away, our players needed to do this. So what happens next….. well most of the parents took it in their stride, and one hated on me as it was “my fault” their child hadn’t made the team, and I didn’t do enough to get them in the team. We all have our opinions and although we enjoyed the success of winning the event, we ALL have to ensure we respect the decision of the coaches and selectors. Back to the Soccer. Coaching a soccer team is a very tough gig. There are players that play great for their clubs, there are stand out players, there are greedy players, and there are kids who can’t fit into the team environment, then there are injuries, losers limps, soft kids, and those that can’t join as part of a team. We are lucky we have some very knowledgeable people within the soccer coaching community. We were lucky to have input of coaches and selectors as we selected our teams. As a coach, I want players who are firstly “Coachable” or can abide by team rules and play a role for the team. Secondly, I want players who are competitive, don’t crumble and are up for a competitive challenge. Performance is my no 1 in sport, not results, and I need to know that those I’ve selected are going to be able to “perform” at the level expected! Thirdly “Fitness”…I want a team of players that can run out a full game, a team that can run all day and go all day. Championships are generally hot, humid and in the middle of spring which gets up there with some very hot days. I also need players to that can provide versatility and flexibility, and be able to play in a variety of positions. I have since had a couple of parents come and ask why there child didn’t get in, and one very upset coach that one of his star players didn’t get in. This kid was good too, really good, but a few of the selectors noticed a knack of dropping his head and been quite greedy. Anyway I watched this player play a game, and he dominated, and with the flick of a switch, got greedy, wouldn’t pass, lost the ball, had a go at his team mates and proceeded to not listen to his coaches instructions. Could I change that as a coach – Yes I would back myself. But more importantly, I am very keen to see how this player grows and develops as a player over the next 12 months as with a better attitude, should make himself a sure thing next year. In saying that, there are a few players who are unlucky not to make the team, the talent pool is big, and we could possibly make 3 good teams from the kids we had to select from. I hope these players that did miss out go ahead work on fitness, team skills and improving themselves for next years tryouts, and those that did make the teams will have to work hard and prove they belong in the team and that we selected them for the right reasons. Sometimes disappointment is a great chance to set goals and improve and turn the disappointment around to better yourself! Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team (early days) and Lionel Messi was told he was too small to play professional football – you get the drift!
TALENT DEVELOPMENT We are very happy to again be recognised as a Tennis Australia Talent Development Coach. Our contrct came through last week. I love working several times a week with up and coming 12s player Abbi Gibson, we work hard on her technique, movement and attitude. We think outside the square in every session. I see things every day in other coaching programs around the world that I don’t like, and I see stuff I do like. We taylor make our program for her, we don’t do what “every other coach” does, everything we do is specific to what we are building towards. It is a total team effort and she ticks the boxes for her efforts away from the court with her strength and conditioning work and efforts at the courts with family and hitting partners. Abbi is a great kid and plays 2,3,4 years above her age. The team isn’t worries about trophies and wins and going in soft draws that she will win, its about getting 2 or 3 good matches over a couple of days, not 2 days of easy matches then a tough one!. Loiving the journey so far!
COACHES INVEST IN YOURSELVES Over time we all learn that sometimes you need timeout from your job to regroup, refocus and better the job you do. Part of this is upskilling and improving yourself as a coach. I’ve talked to TA a fair bit about upskilling myself and with travel, time, availability and lack of spare time had hit a wall. My business mentor told me to think outside the square and who else can help you upskill? So I did some research and homework and upskilled myself with ATPCA. The system was fast and efficient, it didn’t cost me an arm or a leg, and I learnt along the way, and didn’t have to take time off work or spend 10hr round trip getting to different courses and workshops! I also spent a weekend upskilling my first aid and emergency response workshop. Yeah it was a Sunday, (our family day) but something very important as we are seeing 1000s of students every week. I read and follow some really good sites, not just tennis but several college tennis coaches, several academy coaches, and sites that offer words of wisdom. When I get to the age where I think I know everything, that’s time to shut up shop, or hand the reigns over!
USA COLLEGE – So proud of former ATA junior Sally Partington who is off to the US to go to College at Portland State University. Having only come back from the USA a few months ago myself after visiting several colleges, I know she will have a ball. As Aussies we have an amazing way of life. And sometimes our players develop a little later. Look at Barton, Millman, Rafter etc etc. Can’t wait to see the results Sally gets for the Vikings and I am sure she will have the time of her life! Again proof that sport can take you any where in the world!