Pierre ‘The Bear’ Lamarche: Thoughts on Competition

A wise old coach once said: “If competition was not the ultimate goal of tennis there would be no nets, no lines, no scoring”.

Playing well in practice and not in competition only indicates that you have not mastered the sport of tennis. Skills to master the sport of tennis can be acquired, developed and practiced, but you have not mastered any component until you do it repeatedly in competitive situations.

If you don’t like tournaments, you probably don’t like the stress that comes with competition.

If you don’t like stress and do not learn to handle it, then there is a good chance you’ll also have a difficult time dealing with the realities of every day life. Tennis is a vehicle for the development of excellence in people and that includes enjoying the competition for the opportunity to test ourselves.

Real self-confidence is acquired in competition…

So, if you want to develop your son or daughter into a tennis player and if you want to make your player into a champion, have them play tournaments to learn to play under the stress of competition.

The more stressful the competition, the better the opportunity to practice the required skills for handling pressure.

My observations:

  • Canadian players do not play enough competitions
  • Winning is a habit which is acquired only through competing
  • Winning tournaments is what competitive tennis is about
  • How many tournaments did you win this year, last year, in your life?
  • Good players win matches, champions win tournaments
  • Want to be a champion? Then win tournaments
  • To win tournaments you must play them

What needs to happen:

  • Make sure you play as many tournaments as you can
  • Learn to compete, tournaments are the best laboratory
  • Learn to win tournaments, become a champion

Winning tournaments is important regardless of who is playing the tournament. You will remember winning the tournament, not who was in the competition.

Misonceptions about Tournament Play

  • “I am not playing because no one else is playing”

PL “Winning is a habit, acquire it whenever you can”

  • “Playing this tournament will hurt my ranking if I lose”

PL “The long-term benefits of competing far outweigh the possible short term setbacks. Being a player is what matters, not having a ranking [which is subjective]”

  • “I’m always playing the same guys”

PL “Winning is a habit, acquire it whenever you can, against whoever you can”

  • “I have to play better tournaments”

PL “You are only right if you are winning the tournaments in your backyard”

  • “I’ll play better if I am in Florida”

PL “You won’t play any better, just get a better tan and have more fun as a tourist”

One of the major factors why we do not create great Canadian players is that we do not have an adequate competitive structure in this country.

We don’t have enough tournaments and as a result we do not have enough champions.

From champions will emerge the champion of champions. Every Canadian player who plays on the international scene has been a champion, we just need more.

A deeper dive into second serve statistics

The two most widely reported second serve statistics in professional tennis are the number of double faults a player hit, and their second serve winning percentage. If we’re trying to understand the effectiveness of a particular player’s second serve, relying only on those statistics has significant drawbacks. Article by Michal Kokta.

Yves Boulais: No Excuses… Get Working

Yves was proud to work with players including Greg Rudsedski, Patricia Hy, Oliver Marach, Eugenie Bouchard and Rebecca Marino, who achieved excellent results on the world stage. He was an Olympic Coach in Barcelona 1992 & Atlanta 1996, and Captain of the Canadian FedCup Team 1998 – 2000.

Update on UK Tennis Situation with Master Louis Cayer

I would like to share a mindset I instil in all the players I coach, one I believe has greatly influenced all of the player’s performances; “whatever happens, I can handle it.” This mindset is achieved through a systematic, tactical development process, so that whoever the opponent, whatever the surface, regardless of the environment, or scoring, the players can, and will rise to the challenge as it is presented.