Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Exclusive Tennis New Zealand Pathway !

First of all thank you to all that have signed the petition re the National Junior Teams event , and those that took time to add comments some of which have been enlightening ,Coaches Parents, PLAYERS and supporters a big thank you keep spreading the word.

Here is the latest link to an article in the NZ Herald calling for "Heads to Roll" in the current Northern Administration.LINK

A big thank you to Clint Packer Central's regional Head Coach for allowing me to use his comment he left on the Petition yesterday. His thoughts are very logical and I think practical and hence my Topic Exclusive vs Inclusive.

In the past decade I’ve noticed a growing trend -
- we continue to lose our best coaches to overseas positions – or worse, they quit coaching all together
- internal structures are dying or failing such as National events and Regional strategies
Last year we had 7 National selectors not reapply for their National selector roles (I was one of them) and now we are on the verge of losing another important event, the National team’s event.
5 years ago, with the support of an incredible Tennis Central staff, I knew our region required a change and a new challenge for the both the players and the coaches. I introduced 4 new events and a point’s race with a final Masters event in order to select our Central Team to compete at the NZ team’s event. Some of the events have evolved and possibly require further adjustments, however since –
- Events/Tournament numbers continually improved
- Under performing Tournaments received more support
- Players “earned” their way into our team – no one is a “targeted athlete” and
automatically selected regardless of their performance (TNZ)
- New coaches emerged and regardless of what they individually thought of each other or
me personally as the Performance Coach, they now had an event structure to coach
towards to develop their own culture in a competitive environment
- Mini tennis climates and training grounds were noticed and rewarded
- Tennis coaching ‘brands’ are now everywhere in Central
- Most Coaches/players all support our Performance Centre
(35 from 38 local reps train in our RPC – 5 years in a row)
TNZ need to understand that coaches at the coalface are their biggest asset for building the game from the ground up. The NZ team’s event will reward our kids for their efforts and provide our young coaches with further opportunities. It’s a culture building opportunity for everyone in our Region as it should be across our sport within NZ.
Tennis New Zealand’s very first objective in their HP strategy is -
“To have a performance driven program with a shared organisational culture and strong strategic relationships with stakeholders all focused on our HP vision”
Given the numbers involved having the opportunity to represent their region under the TNZ ‘brand’, surely the National Teams event needs to be a major part of this objective?
What’s also contrary to this objective is that National selectors and National coaches have recently made decisions to only select their ‘targeted athletes’ above kids who actually performed at their own National titles. This included selection of players who don’t live in NZ and one player in the JDC team who hasn’t even played in New Zealand….I don’t even know if he’s a member of a club?
What message does this send to both the targeted players and “everyone else”?
- TNZ’s targeted kids now require zero accountability at our own NZ titles
- the rest of the contenders now have nothing to play for
- coaches have nothing to coach towards
- Parents of non-targeted players can stop spending their money attending National titles because “targeted players” have already been chosen, in fact they might not even be there to play against.
This philosophy is not exactly “Performance Driven” and is simply an example of the culture killing attitude occurring within our sport in NZ
What about this concept
- Free up all the HP money and stop paying National Coaches and stop the funding for these targeted kids
- Use that money by investing in event structures with financial or opportunity rewards for all players at all stages with more prominent rewards at our National events
(12’s through to adult ‘futures’ level)
If you do that then everyone’s culture, abilities and environments are in play!
Now to me that’s a “performance driven program with a shared organisational culture and strong strategic relationships with stakeholders all focused on our HP vision”

My personal view is that I am sick of losing important events and opportunities for our juniors who deserve much better. Start implementing strategies that coaches can coach towards and players can play to – It’s about time we stop shifting the goal posts for terrible kickers. CLINT PACKER
Well said Clint!New Zealand Tennis continues to lack credibility ,as Clint says what message are you sending our juniors! I feel sorry for the NZ 16 year old boy that missed out on selection for Thomas Guy not living or playing in New Zealand , no Top Dog ranking , no Head to Head against his peers! I believe he is the son of former NZ Davis C upper Steve Guy who coaches in Europe.I am not taking a shot at this boy simply the current selection and pathway TNZ has developed!UNACCEPTABLE!
My question is how on earth can this happen? Clint says it all above. To-morrow I will dissect the high performance paper and it wont be pretty!
Finally another comment from the petition page from a current Top New Zealand tennis player
"bizzarre that tnz consider college tennis one of their "pathways" to the pro tour, but abolish the only teams competition that is similar to college tennis. I played 12s 14s and 16s teams events and benefited greatly because of the team aspect, not to mention the preparation it gave me for college. Everyone that knows anything about tennis on an international level know that nz juniors have played so few matches compared to players from strong tennis nations, so why abolish an opportunity for tough matches against the best players around the country. Please explain"
Indeed TNZ you have some explaining to do and Tennis Northern I guess you used the exclusive pathway so when Parents queried aspects of Northern's costing they decided to teach these parents a lesson , exclusively not to send any Junior teams to Nationals! 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The balls in your court Tennis New Zealand and Regions and its time to come out and support The Junior National Teams event other words put your money where your mouth is and financially back this event

Great support from all over New Zealand for this event after Tennis Northern decided not to send junior teams to the National Junior Teams event along with Waikato who could not field a 16 girls team.

Now some Regional CEO'S would like us to believe that a revamped teams event that may just include North Island teams was supported by all regions and put to TNZ , this is just not true!

Waikato CEO Leslie Wilkinson along with David Franks Northern CEO are in favor of a upper North Island Tri Series, remember the last one you tried two years ago?Northern and Waikato pulled out of the event it ended with disaster , Central was the other region involved in the series.

Get this the Waikato 16 girls team probably would have been seeded 1 for the event and the excuse was not to send a team was the number 5 would be pushed into the number 1 position as Waikato had players picked for overseas events.Hang the experience the others would receive Leslie, hang the next tier below being given an opportunity Leslie ,Hang the rest of the regional teams having less matches Leslie. Shame Leslie your attitude along with David Franks from Northern is not needed.Who appoints regional CEO'S such as these?

As readers of this Blog may be aware of there has been a petition circulating. It is still open so you can still sign at this LINK. The lack of support from TNZ is disappointing , not even considered an event worthy to be in their High Performance strategy.Comments have been left on TNZ's Facebook page from angry parents for their apathy in responding to the paper articles.
 Another Article also appeared in the North Shore Times.

The Teams event is a great event and the petition page has had some great comments left by supporters!

The national teams event was almost the epitome of junior tennis for me growing up, a chance to not only compete against the rest of NZ, but to play with close mates in a team environment. I was lucky enough to be part of the winning 16's boys teams event back in 1989. It is without doubt one of the finest tennis memories I have. To discard this event is a complete disgrace and I would hope this crazy nonsensical decision will be overturned!

*For some players in Southern this is the only time they are able to play the best in NZ. Our juniors strive to make these teams and take great pride in representing their region. For this event to be seen as non important is ridiculous - I know 30 current Southern players who would disagree!

*Tennis in general is an individual sport with very few junior representative opportunities. It is sad that junior players living overseas, that don’t even play regularly in NZ, be given funding to further their tennis careers when the children who actually live and play week after week in NZ getting little or no funding towards tournaments like the National Junior Team Event. Each region should be made to consider the top 12 players in each age group for the Team Event and not rely solely on selection due to their ranking points. Unless you can afford to travel around the country, juniors don’t get that many opportunities to play a variety of other children. The Junior Team Event is important and there should be a set of guidelines to ensure all regions participate without players having to withdraw due to the cost involved. We are a small country and there are ways to make it affordable for everyone. The only people who lose out at the end of the day are the children. 

Simply Tennis New Zealand you should be funding and helping the regions attend this event! Is it true Tennis New Zealand you are funding one of the Targeted athletes $50,000 a year who does not reside here , does not participate in local events such as the Nationals .Readers  in the know will no doubt work out who I am talking about but to spend this amount if  true on someone so young is ridiculous!?You cannot find $0.01c for the National teams event? I am also wondering what club this player is registered to in NZ?I am sure all Team's event juniors are in fact registered members of clubs affiliated with TNZ. Bigger threat is a defection to Australia later in the players career,may not happen however precedent has been set by Sasha Jones AU and Cameron Norrie GB.

Just a word on posts I allow all comments and if you do not agree I will also post , however I have allowed Anonymous posts in the past but if you are leaving one please add you name.

Thank you to some of the coaches that have signed the petition but come on coaches there should be more adding their names after all you are coaching kids that are striving to make events such as these and taking their money! Are you scared of repercussions from the powers that be? 

Finally this slogan


Perhaps it should be changed to


Sunday, March 16, 2014

NZ Tennis Junior National Teams Fiasco!

Continuing from from my last article I again must bring to your attention events around the National Junior Teams events.My last blog revealed that Tennis Northern was not sending any teams in any age group and Waikato could not send a 16 girls team. I read with interest an article sent to me from a local Northern Newspaper you can Read here 

For those that have problem opening the link below is the article.
Click on the above and it will open a new window and this will be bigger for reading.What disturbs me is that Local juniors have been let down by administrators at regional level and even at National Level by TNZ.Not only Local juniors but also the Juniors and regions that have supported and fielded teams!

I noticed that parents were unwilling to give their name as repercussions on their children could occur by the powers that be.It has been reported to me that a local Administrator from Northern has used their position to threaten outspoken parents before.

A major concern of mine is the new Strategy papers 

All papers have been signed off by regional body's but with very little consultation with their regions. I am led to believe that emails had been sent by TNZ and informed that they were available for reading on the tnz WEBSITE.
So was this just one person signing off without out good discussion with local representatives? Surely someone would of picked up on that the Teams event was not even worth mentioning and did not rate in their competition pathways or Hp strategy.

I have read all papers and will make a special blog re these, but let me say I am dissapointed and on the surface appears little substance.

Ok moving on if you feel strongly re the JUNIOR TEAMS EVENT please sign this petition!

I've started the petition "Tennis New Zealand and Regional Bodies: Provide the support and funding that the National Junior teams events deserve.To make sure this competition is placed in their junior and HP programs pathways." and need your help to get it off the ground.
Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here's the link:

You can comment on this article by using the comments section on this particular post.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rest In Peace NZ National Junior Teams Events.

In March 2013 I wrote an article in regards to the National Junior Teams events , you can read this here titled by clicking on the title.

National Junior Teams Event a Positive but receives little support from TNZ.

I have always had the view that Tennis New Zealand never valued this event and does not understand why it should be one of the events to receive financial support and backing by the governing body.I know that many juniors play tennis,go to tournaments seek extra coaching to make their regional team to play at Nationals its a great goal for most junior players wanting to take their tennis to the next level.

For an isolated region such as the Southern Region ,Juniors making teams for Nationals are inspired by this event to keep playing tennis , take events such as this out of the pathway then you will lose juniors to other sports.

This year Tennis Northern one of the 6 regions has indicated they are not sending any Junior teams to this event in any age groups. Waikato another one of the 6 regions are not sending a 16 girls team to this event in April.
First of all I have read the excuses and all I can say is SHAME!  your feeble excuses do not add up. I can remember when they condensed the regions from 8 to 6 for the better of the game, a move that has not worked especially when two main players cannot field teams.

What Tennis New Zealand fail to realize  this event encompasses all players the elite (nationally ranked) and the juniors not so high on National rankings and rest assure that the Local Tennis communities will be benefiting from the later as Parents and Juniors of ranked players chase unrealistic dreams.The 3 4s and 5s of a regional team are the heart and sole of tennis.. the players that do not want to travel on the pro circuit and are  vital to clubs and associations for local competitions and local events and local tournaments.

OK! I was critical of the regions earlier in my article but it is Tennis New Zealand that needs the biggest serve in devaluing this event.A few years ago they stopped funding regions to help cover costs to send teams. The powers then decided to change the event from January to April ...the reason because all the top ranked Juniors would be available every one knows this has not been the case and just added costs to families to play this event in April.
It always followed a National tournament in January it made sense..more players play the national title event and then follow up by the teams events.Common SENSE for most.

Take a look on the TNZ website and their new Strategy papers that has just as many spelling mistakes as I have on my blog.NOT ONE MENTION IN THEIR PLANS OF THE NATIONAL JUNIOR TEAMS EVENT!. Below is areas of their tennis competitions focus.

The national secondary school Competition is for 

boys, girls and mixed teams across the country. The 
competition gives players the chance to compete 
against some of the best players in the country. 
Teams first play in a Region-wide competition with 
the top two teams in each Region progressing 
through to the national finals. The finals are held 
in different location each year but are always run 
during Easter weekend. The national competition 
and local Inter school competitions will be reviewed 
and revamped if necessary with the singular goal of 
getting more teenagers playing tennis. 

Yes to some extent however Schools competition are just that School competitions you need the next level which are National Teams events built by you regions clubs and associations.

The current state of tennis participation and 
competition in tertiary institutions will be reviewed 
with a view to building a stronger tennis presence 
at universities and polytechnics. The establishment 
of tennis clubs and creating more opportunities 
for regular casual play at both universities and 
polytechnics will be explored to better engage with 
the 450,000 people enrolled in tertiary institutions 
throughout new Zealand.

Good luck with this one! New Zealand Culture shows that this age group has other things on their mind than tennis! You will not break this culture!

The possibility of reviving the once fiercely 
competitive national Tennis League will be 
explored. This national competition once served 
to keep the more competitive adult players in the 
game and inspired people to represent their area. 
A national adult competition will inspire people to 
start or continue playing to compete against each 
other in a bid to become national champions in a 
similar way to the national competitions of other 
sporting codes.

Yep propping up old players and paying them ridiculous amounts to represent a region.I have highlighted a ridiculous statement , get your head out of the sand TNZ you have this with the Junior Teams event and you are instilling what you say at this junior event!.Get rid of the National Junior Teams event! continue not to fund these event !, continue to overlook them in your Junior pathways! then WHY on earth would you have players to play at Adult level!

When I first arrived in New Zealand I was very impressed with the National Junior Teams event, I went on to Win Gold, Silver and Bronze as coach with junior Southern Teams over a 10 year period.I urge the tennis community to value  this event and place more emphasis and create more funding to what is a great event and a highlight of most Junior tennis players sporting goals!

*The Junior National Teams events bring all of New Zealand's regional juniors together playing in 12s 14s 16s boys and girls age group. This year Auckland ,Hamilton and Christchurch are hosting age groups.

Monday, March 3, 2014

For those that Care - Bernard Tomic Update!

'For having had bilateral hip surgery, he's doing very well, a little bit better than I thought he would at this time,'' said Gutierrez, the Australian Open's head physio, who also has extensive AFL experience.

''All the time that we've been working together he's been committed to the treatment, and he knows the importance of it because all his career is just going to hinge on that, and hopefully he will be back soon and be able to play without pain, and regain more flexibility than he used to have.

''He's been very restricted, because tennis being a flexion, or bent-over type of a sport, and him being so tall, his limitations were significant, especially playing on grass and hard courts. It forced him to bend a little bit more than he had to, hence irritating the hip joints a little bit more than you normally would.

''Now he has much more rotation both ways - internal and external - so he'll be able to displace and change direction a little bit better, so I think he'll be much more comfortable with his movement on court … I'm expecting between 20 to 30 per cent on what he had. We're hoping for 30, but 20 would be great.''

Tomic has been swimming and cycling, and recently resumed hitting balls from a largely stationary position. A Monte Carlo comeback suits the time frame, 12 weeks post-operative, and clay the most suitably benign surface.''

Clay is Tomic's worst surface GOOD LUCK

Hope it improves his below form!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Exclusive Tennis Podcast with Fred Itsnotovatilitsova

Always looking for new blog Items and thanks to Fred for giving me exclusive rights to his Tennis Podcast.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Aussie Open the Final Match Wawrinka defeats Nadal for Title

Congratulations Stan you deserved your win, to Rafa a gallant display under duress.As I said yesterday once you try to predict a tennis match it can bite you on your ass.I think if possible Stan will need to add another tattoo.

You know true champions even in defeat can turn around this to make them stronger for the next event.Juniors often treat defeat as a major life threatening event. Take some positives from defeat after reflection and I am sure Nadal will be doing this.Sometimes a Loss will tell you what you need to work on to be better , sometimes you have to be able to change attitude and stop looking for excuses as you alone are your master of destiny.I think Wawrinka has for sure looked a lot deeper and has changed his thinking and ways to some extent to succeed.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Aussie Open Day 14

Congratulations to Li Na winning her first Australian Open .Cibulkova had a great tournament but Li Na showed how a 4th seed should dispatch the 20th seed.Controlling the court and attacking the second serve of Cibulkova Li Na was never going to be beaten.A few other noted players could do as well to play with a game plan and use it to exploit the opponents shortcomings .

Nadal to equal Pete Sampras wins at Grandslam's and defeat Stan the Man, would love to see an exciting match and if Stan can serve well is a funny game and just when you think it can be predictable it can bite you on your ass.

Finally what does Stan'S Tattoo say?
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.”

If he wins tonight I would not class this as a fail and he may need to add another line.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Aussie Open Day 13

Do Fairy tales come true? I have been impressed with Cibulkova all tournament, Li Na has had her battles and is a little lucky to be here.The facts are Li Na has never lost to Cibulkova head to head it is 4-0. My Heart says Cibulkova my head says Li Na.

Well just a few comments re Fed vs Rafa, this picture says it all. Head to head Rafa leads 23 matches to 10 which is very convincing.Last night Rafa played the best he has played all tournament , he was faster, hit the ball harder with great depth and his passing shots and defense was spot on.His serving not spectacular were placed strategically so Rafa had the best opportunity to control the Rally.

I don't think Federer played badly he had to attack and keep the points shorter. Rafa has always had Feds measure and another win just adds to this. In saying this its because of Federer that Nadal, Djokovic and Murray have lifted men's tennis and worked their but off to be able to compete with Rodger.!!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Aussie Open Day 12

Its been an incredible rivalry that has produced incredible matches , I hope today this is another for the tennis fans. Wawrinka summed it up the other night "when Federer plays his best tennis , he is unbeatable" I have to ask is Federer past his best ? Nadal has beaten Rodger more times and has a substantial lead in Head to Head but a lot of those victories have been on clay.This is going to be tight the stylist vs the scrapper.Fed will try and take control he has to to have any chance! A lot will depend on how each other serve and Nadal has to serve better than his last match.I eagerly await this clash! Well done to Stan Wawrinka on his win and first grandslam final!

Matches of Interest for me today.

Gajdosova/Ebden Vs Mirza/Tecau -Mixed doubles semi finals featuring Aussies!!

Zverev vs Mousley- Semi final Boys singles the Aussie Mousley up against the top seeded German.

Fett vs Birrell - Semi Final Girls singles. Very interested in the Australian Kimberly Birrell who is the daughter of Roslyn formerly Toynton who was a reasonable tennis player herself and Hailed from my local area the Central west of NSW Australia.Roslyn actually came on one of my first Junior tours to New Zealand before I moved here many many years ago!Good luck!

Nadal vs Federer - My Pick is Nadal he has again set himself for a win at a Grand Slam tournament. This match i will not be dissapointed if the Fed gets the result.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Aussie Open Day 11

Just when you thought he was on his last legs "Bang" another Australian Open Semi Final! Federer has recaptured his dominance over players, his raquet skills are second to none and so are the variety of shots he possesses.Am i seeing a more aggressive Federer looking to finish more at the net?He is one of the few players that can do this playing the modern game and its great to see he has been looking for opportunities .If Federer remains positive AND can get control of the court to finish at net he will be very hard to beat.What a great semi final looming against his old nemesis Rafa Nadal.

Tip for Juniors-Finish at the Net

This is a lost art of the modern game many rely on belting winners from the baseline.Watching tennis its frustrating to see a player bury a groundstroke into the corner and watching the opponent try to get it back ..two hander's will release and slice the ball balanced and stretching with one hand and if on the forehand side same thing stretching wide off balanced they will float it back the best way they can.Now you know if you have hit a very good shot !...and you can see the other player struggling to get to the ball..OK GET TO THE NET AND FINISH IT OFF! Yesterday Federer won 49 points out of 66 net approaches.Just as a matter of interest Murray approached the net 27 times winning 17 points.For me this is a standout stat .Juniors if you see the player struggling put the floater away at the net aggressive!

You have to laugh at players antics and its always fun to watch in a highlight package like the one below.

Matches Of Interest for me today

Bouchard vs N.LI - Age and experience to Li Na , Bouchard has had a great run ..surely it must end here!

Cibulkova VS Radwanska - I am tipping the winner of this match to take out the tournament. Radwanska you are a pleasure to watch as you search the court looking for a way to win,,using the head over muscle. The modern player sometimes cannot change their game ..look at Sharapova for example its slam bang and hit it harder! and if that does not work then like this week on the first available flight outta here!

Wawrinka Vs Berdych- I am going for Stan! he has the game it will be tough but lets hope he sets the arena on Fire like last match against Djokovic. I always worry about Stan's fitness level and I hope after a days rest the Djoker match did not take a lot out of him!.Will be close could go either way for sure.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Aussie Open Day 10

What a match Stan sent Novak packing with an outstanding display of power and aggression.It was the best match so far and I hope Stan can keep this form all the way to the final!

Anna Faltered as I feared she might to the young Bouchard and Li Na and Thomas Berdych had wins.

Put together a few pictures to capture some of the scenes so far.

This tweet sums up a tennis player and what it takes! Legend Jimmy Connors had this to say.
How true this is. 80% of juniors and parents treat tennis as a social outlet!Very few are prepared to have their life fit into tennis,even if they think they do!Sacrifice is the key Jimmy and that is where the buck stops with many pretend players.

Matches of Interest for me today

Radwanska Vs Azarenka - I am expecting Azarenka to win the match especially with Redfool in her corner.

Nadal vs Dimitrov -Grigor has the game to worry Nadal , does he have enough between his ears is what may sway the match to Rafa.

Federer Vs Murray -What a match up ..Please Rodger summon up all the skills you have to send the Scot/Brit on his way.

Some interesting Junior Matches today the Top seed in the girls has gone out and the boys seeds have all been tested.