May/19

18

The ITF Junior to Pro Journey

Facing SerenaWhen a coach has total control of a player and shields this player from any outside coaching influence, no matter how valuable,  to protect his own ego, there is one way to overcome this. Offer information and advice here because the player has revealed curiosity to read this site.

Yes he is a good coach or fair coach. Who recognizes you are the perfect young player to develop – willing to work extremely hard, determined beyond belief, loves to play, loves to compete, will sacrifice anything for tennis, a good tennis body and mind, uses emotional adrenaline, fears no player. The perfect computer. That’s why it’s so important to put the right software and programs into this computer.

This coach has worked with several perfect very young computers in the past who became top WTA pros but he did not coach them, he just had them at his camp. They left after short periods. His web site says “the best player in the world started her journey in Florida here.” Translation: I didn’t coach her, I’m legally not allowed to say I coached her. But Osaka started playing in Florida at my camp.

In three decades this coach has never created a single pro. But he thinks he can now and wants this family to commit this player to his guidance for the next four years, even though his record is of only creating good and fair juniors and college players.

This player is doing well, good results since starting with this coach. A continuation of the results before this coach, nothing spectacular, just good solid consistent results. So she is not going backwards. She is progressing. Anyone will only progress if they hit for four hours a day and do one hour of fitness for six days a week.

The quality of play looks the same. All baseline grinding, no transition game, no net play. Serve slightly re-worked but still a work in progress, but goes soft under pressure. And the follow through now is actually going backwards instead of off the the left side.

Of course there will be improved play with four hours a day on court, hitting that many balls has benefits. But the question lingers, does this coach have the knowledge to transform a very good junior into a pro? He has never done it before. Are his limited and outdated coaching ideas and drill ideas up to date to the modern game and training techniques. He says my way works, you have to trust me for me to trust you. But his way, or the way he teaches it, has never worked. In three decades.

The big question is, can this player and the family entrust all this responsibility into this coach, who is known as a big talker who also exerts psychological pressure onto the family not to leave him, by wanting to coach the player for four years.

But a truly good coach not out for his own interests will not do that. He will say, give me six months and let’s see the results. If the coach truly cares for this player he would allow the player to get input from other coaches. To refuse that, this coach is showing insecurity and selfishness, fear that he will lose the player, as he has lost so many quality players in the past.

It’s easy to pressure and manipulate a family to stay with you when they have nowhere else to go.

This coach has a rep for being a good talker. I have learned this from two other top Florida coaches. This coach is known for being good with younger players and building their foundation of skills, but not creating a pro player.

This player already has the foundation of skills from the coaches in the Eastern section. She was already a high quality player with very good results.

I wonder what the rate of improvement would be with a coach who has worked with and created ATP and WTA players, Davis Cup, Olympics, who has seen this player in December and is offering a scholarship from June to December with string and clothing endorsements.

This coach, a former ATP champion and Roland Garros quarterfinalist, sees the potential of this player and wants to work with it for six months. Not lock the family down for four years. If a new coach does not work, the player can go to another or always go back.

This current coach of the junior player even told me he admired the intelligence of Richard Williams to move his daughters around to many different coaches during their teen years.

This player reads this site. Maybe this player deep down realizes a real professional coach can uplift her game and skills far more than the minor leaguer with the big mouth is doing despite his very best efforts.

If this player is being locked into a situation because of emotional pressure and manipulation and fear of breaking his heart, it has to be one of the worst decisions I have ever seen in tennis. I always remember a quote by my friend from the metal group Pantera…”To be the best at anything you have to get blood on your hands.” – Philip H. Anselmo

To give all trust to one single coach who has never once created a pro player in three decades makes as much sense as Naomi Osaka firing Sascha Bajin two weeks after he guided her to her second Grand Slam title, and a year after he uplifted her from 70 in the world to no. 1.

It makes as much sense as Marcelo Rios firing Larry Stefanki shortly after he became world no. 1.

Tennis has a history of players making bad coaching decisions.

But it’s more frustrating to see a junior possibly cheating herself because of a poor decision. Time moves fast. How would adding a new voice, a new coach, new ideas, new training, new software benefit to this computer player?

Would Andre Agassi have made it big if he stayed with his father in Las Vegas and not gone to Florida and gained all the knowledge and wisdom of all the coaches at Nick Bollettieri Academy?

Would Serena and Osaka have made it big if they stayed with just one coach through all their teen years?

Nobody could be sure but I think we all know the answer.

 

 

 

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5 comments

  • Dan Markowitz · May 18, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    No one is manipulating this player to train with this particular coach. I’m sure this player and her family is going into this relationship with their eyes wide open. I can see where coaches say to players, “Trust me. I will bring you results, but you have to stay with me for a while.” So its a tough decision and you can cite players who stayed with coaches for their whole careers like James Blake with Brian Barker and I don’t recall Barker having a great resume as a coach until he mentored Blake.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    Oh yes he is Dan, he’s working the brainwash, I witnessed it. “If I’m going to trust you, you have to trust me. Let me take my sunglasses off so we have better eye contact in communication. Let me cross over the net so we are closer when I tell you something.” I saw and heard him say these things and he wants total control, no one else is allowed to coach her, not even Hans G or when i set up a meeting with Emilio Sanchez, they wouldn’t go. It’s a good thing that he is showing so much interest and belief in this girl’s potential which surely inspires her, like CuS Damato believing in Mike Tyson and his belief convinced Tyson who didn’t have any self belief. But Cus Damato actually created champion boxers before Tyson so he had experience doing it before. This coach never succeeded before, he only created good juniors and college players. He does not really know the drills and secrets that can really help a player progress. Gildemeister knows these things, he knows the drills and things to fix her flaws, he said give me six months with her and I will have her in the Australian Open and US Open junior draws in 2020, in the top 100 ITF. Gildemeister believes in her too. Brian Barker actually did have success with other pro players, But he was so under radar, nobody knows. Barker was with Kokkinakis in Miami when he beat Federer. Kokki’s old agent Rock Montz told me Brian Barker is the best motivator in tennis. But he’s so low key nobody knows it. Boris Sobkin was also with Youzhny from childhood all the way to pro. But he also helped coach young Safin and other girl players who made it pro.

  • Valerie B · May 19, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Mark, loved the comments about the coach. It was so gutsy and real. I really like that about your journalism. It has the potential to make a difference. BRAVO! Valerie

  • Vijay · May 19, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    What does 4 year commitment entail? 4 years is a lifetime, for all practical purposes. And the only lifetime commitment you make is to your family. This is a business relationship and no business makes a 4 year commitment. I hope the parents read this, far more than the kid in question.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 20, 2019 at 7:12 am

    FOUR years total commitment of giving this one coach total control of this girls development. But after four months I saw no change in her game, technical, tactics, just the serve has been tweaked but it’s no more effective than it was. This coach does not deserve such a player that has potential. She makes him look like a good coach but she was already a strong player before he got control. He has no other quality players. He’s desperate to use her as a symbol trophy for his image as a good coach and most likely charges little or nothing.

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