Earlier on this site Coach Robert Lansdorp responded to a post from Dr. Ray Brown entitled “The Fall Of American Tennis”. In it Robert took issue with the idea that “now” it is the “parents”. I am sure he is as tired of all the different voices chiming with a different reason for failure as anyone else. In his response he explained it is much more the fault of the coaching today here in the USA than it is the parents. He places the blame squarely on the Player Development system the USTA has here in the USA.
I wrote back to Coach Lansdorp because I wanted him to clarify what he spoke of when he said the coaches and coaching is bad in the USA–is not the same thought process Patrick McEnroe and the USTA Player Development are thinking or what John Embree and the USPTA are thinking. I do not believe Coach Lansdorp would want to see any more players given to USTA Player Development.
So here is his full response below and his ideas about a few other subjects in green below. He also wanted me to direct people to his website. Find out more about his philosophy by clicking on the link: Robert’s Website!
J.P., I probably should have said, “There are a lot of coaches that don’t know what they are doing, and there are also sicko parents too. I would rather get a parent involved and have them understand what I am teaching their kid. But I don’t think there is confusion when I say, that there are a lot of coaches that don’t really understand what they are doing.
Of course there are coaches that know what they are doing. But do you know how many “coaches” there are in this country?? I never said that the USTA coaches know what they are doing. Let’s face it Patrick McEnroe does not know what he is doing and Jose Higueras only knows “clay”. Is he still around? I never hear or see him any more. Maybe he moved to Spain.
On the subject of “burnout”:
Burn out I think happens more in girls than guys . I think burn out happens when they don’t really LOVE the game and they become less successful. They start to lose and other things become more enjoyable. I think it usually happens around 15 or 16 in girls. Sometimes they have to work too hard and it could happen when the parent puts too much pressure on the kid and the kid cannot take it anymore. I even think that an ”injury” is not for real sometimes.
On The Playing Of Different Sports:
I don’t believe in playing different sports, may be a little on the side, but not full time. Not when you are 12 and up. Not if you love tennis and want to become a Champion. If you are realistic, you have to realize that when you are an 18 year old girl or a 19 year old boy , and are playing in the Nationals the window to become a great TOP pro has probably passed you by. It is sad but true. You have to show greatness at 14 and 15. Maria won Wimbledon at 17 and got to the finals of Jr. Wimbledon at 14. Davenport won the Swiss Open, on clay, at 16 and Sampras won the US Open at 19 .
On USTA Player Development:
The USTA Junior Development always has been a waste in the past and will always be a waste. They do more harm, than good. They should open centers all over the USA where kids can go and play matches. Supervise the match play, have discipline on the courts but don’t tell them how to hit the ball. No parent involvement at these centers. If they do, throw them out. Let the kids compete. The USTA should be a support system, that’s all !!!
On Maria parting with Jimmy Connors:
I think Maria was smart to get rid of Connors, before too much damage. I mean 63 unforced errors?! Made that many in 5 matches when she was with me. Maria should call her Dad Yuri, right away. He will know what to tell her. He could turn her around hopefully, before it is too late.
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