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post #63 of (permalink) Old 02-02-2004, 06:45 AM
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Re: Andrei Pavel- he's back- cheering thread

Here is something that you may not have read, it's about Andrei growing up in Romania.

A Tennis Upbringing
By Jeff Tarango and Andre Pavel
If you think that the tennis learning environment is grueling and difficult, read about this learning environment and see how hard it is in other parts of the world.

Andre Pavel grew up in Romania at a time when Eastern Europe was dominated by a Communist government and it's philosophies of strict discipline and social policies of the State. Recently, Andre started telling me a story about one of his youth's experiences. He said: We (Romania) had so many children that were interested in tennis and so many were very good and would have been great players, if the system would have allowed it."

Sound familiar? He continued: “there were 10 to 15 thousand children in the first camp of every season. They would line up and each would hit a shot and move to the back of the line. Once they got to the back of the line, they were told to go home. The coaches singled out what they thought were the best children until there were only 20 to 30 children left." Wow!! Talk about the importance of making a good first impression.

After this minor adjustment in the natural order of the screening process, the lessons or season of lessons would start. Andre continued by explaining how his best friend always had to go in front of him. When running, he would push himself to the limit to make sure he finished in front of Andre. No matter where they went or what they were doing, his friend so badly wanted to be better than Andre Pavel. He would do anything to stay ahead of Andre or he felt a responsibility to always stay a step or three ahead of him. This ambition to be the best is different for everyone, but this was his motivation.

Practice consisted of one line with the child in front playing a rally with the instructor. Then, going to the end of the line and waiting the next turn. The tennis court was a parquet floor like a basketball gymnasium and was very fast. We are talking "lightning fast". What did Andre's friend discover? Going first is not always the best idea. He missed the first ball and was told to advance to the net. The instructor came to the net to speak to him, or so they thought. Upon reaching the net, the instructor forehanded Andre's friends face, then swiftly backhanded him, forehand and backhand again. Four cracks to the head. The instructor said: "No one misses the first ball or they get the same". Andre said: "Of course, I didn't miss the first ball, but talk about pressure, that's pressure."

The next time his friend went to rally with the instructor, he missed the first ball... again. Wham!!, four smacks to the head, face, whatever. Ouch!!. Now you won't believe this, but the next time, Andre's friend missed the first ball again... and four more smacks to the head. He was now black and blue. Adding insult to injury, when they were done with the practice, they went over to their parents to go home and quess what happened. The father of Andre’s friend also started hitting his son on the head. Yelling, "Why did you keep missing the first ball? Andre never missed one ball. What's the matter with you?" ... boom, boom, boom, boom!
The moral of the story is: Don't miss the first ball! Got it?

Now in today’s day and age we feel that parents and instructors should be reprimanded and prosecuted for striking a child on the tennis court. But, in Andre's day in Romania, the issue of abuse was one of the least of ones worries. Instructors had their positions in society for a reason and their authority was not to be questioned. Andre said: "Without this strict disciplinary attitude, which is obviously over the threshold of behavior, the children would not have had the concentration spans or discipline to listen and learn at the incredibly fast rate that a child needs to learn in order to become a top world contender".

Obviously there are other methods that can be used to learn the principles of discipline and concentration. The proven best tennis instructors need to be given a sort of "Carte Blanche" about how they train and mentally form a child into a competitive tennis player.

In the United States, Harry Hopman and Robert Lansdorp used this tough concept to instill an “overdrive mechanism” into their top-flight players. Both coaches had critics who said their methods were “too harsh” or “a child shouldn’t be subjected to their harsh criticism, discipline and training in order to be a champion” But no one, and I mean no one, can argue with these two coaches success rates for developing world class tennis players.

Life is never easy for those who choose to attain a level of excellence in some chosen field, but the game of tennis is easy and that is why the best performers are those who push themselves hardest (or are lovingly persuaded) and can discipline themselves to follow the necessary difficult regimen required to be one of the best.

That is why a child should not be led to believe that life is easy just because they have the means and desire to play tennis and have countless instruction. The “real world” ideas of hard work, discipline, grinding, fighting for a steak, earning a place, climbing the ladder, can all be learned in the “glamorous” world of tennis. In fact, players that are the most successful gradually learn and understand how tough the world can be and are willing to endure the “grind” in order to reap the rewards.

The child must learn to recognize that to be one of the best that they can, and must push themselves beyond the normal rationale. They must be determined. Without this cognitive recognition a parent can coax, yell at the child, or can pay forever to have a coach blow wind in their sails but nothing will come of it except hot air.

This self recognition is not easily taught. The list is three miles long of children that had the talent but never made the grade. The list of coaches that tell parents that they can develop a champion are just as long. The ATP and WTA are filled with good professional players and coaches. But generally, year after year the players with the talent and the best coaching always seem to be on top.
So you say there must be more to the puzzle than just this article’s motif:
“If all it takes is hard work, every donkey would be in the Kentucky Derby.”

That’s right! So read the next edition’s article for the next piece to this complex puzzle.

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".

Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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