Written by: Anonymous
Pierre, your articles are excellent and you are doing a great job of creating discussion and debate about tennis development in our country.
Much of the focus recently has been national associations taking on a more active role, with a hands on approach, to the development of its players. One of the earlier arguments (which was interesting fair) was whether public money should be used to compete with, and steal business from, the private academies. It then moved towards the actual efficacy of these national training centers and whether they do indeed provide a better environment for the elite juniors. And now we have the issue of how demoralizing it is for local coaches to lose their players to the National Centers where their talent, hard work and commitment is robbed from them and perhaps in many cases, from the player as well.
I think it is important now to point out the somewhat hypocritical nature of these points being raised. For the pro, the academies are just as much “sharks in the water” as the National Training Centers. As you pointed out earlier, your academy is very generous with scholarshiping players, as are many others. Although these scholarships are framed as “need based”, the reality is they are for marketing purposes. Players often move from academy to academy depending on their view of the coaching caliber and the scholarship available to them. I’m sure many pros inside of your own academy have poured their heart and soul into a player only to have that player move to another coach and/or academy for financial reasons. What does it matter to that pro whether their player will be stolen away for financial reasons by another academy or by the National Training Center? It’s also my opinion that the more aggressive an academy is with scholarshiping, the less revenue they bring in, leaving them with fewer dollars to spend on quality coaches. I think that some pros may prefer their player be stolen away by the deep pocketed national organizations where there won’t be financial/coaching constraints caused by aggressive scholarship marketing that is present in some of the private Academy’s. Food for thought…
You stated in your article above that “What I have problems with is how we have abused the basic player/coach relationship through the present system”. Don’t you realize that you have done the exact same thing to numerous pros by taking their players away under the premise of offering more hours on court with better level of practice partners and scholarship monies? Pierre, this is the pot calling the kettle black.