Free Press Journal

Motivation key to players’ overall growth


Paul Klevermaan (C) along with young players at Ajmera iLand Sports in Wadala, Mumbai.

Often the lack of inspiration from coaches cause the youngsters to drop their interest off tennis, says former World Doubles Champion Paul Klevermaan

Mumbai: Tennis might not be seen as a traditional sport in India, but the passion for the sport certainly seems to be catching up with the younger generation. In the recent past, even the best of Indian players have opted to go overseas for their advanced training due to lack of proper facilities. Players had to spend large amounts of money for their travel and coaching; forcing many good players to discontinue playing tennis in their early age.

During last few months, The Sports Gurukul in collaboration with Australian Academy of Tennis Coaches has conducted education programs for coaches and youngsters wherein many coaches are being trained on how to prepare players internationally.

The camps are being conducted at Ajmera iLand Sports Academy by the likes of Paul Klevermaan and Chris O’Mara. Paul and Chris together are holders of the Senior World Doubles Title (2010) and have over 25 years of coaching experience amongst them. “When you have to improve the condition of the sport in a particular region, you have to start from the grassroot level, which is a long term process. In Australia we have facilities but kind of passion seen in India cannot be compared to elsewhere. I have seen children rising from the slums and being driven solely on their passion. So, it is all evens I feel” said Paul.

“If the kids wake up every day and all they talk about is that day’s game or practice—if they’re truly excited to get out on the court that often without being pushed—then, by all means, let them have at it.”

“Similarly, if a player is only moderately interested in the sport, it’s important that his or her interest be cultivated and maintained.”

When asked whether lack of quality Indian coaches is the reason behind India’s confined progress, Chris O’Mara, the former doubles exponent said, “You have to keep the players motivated, and that’s where I feel the role of a coach is very important”

“When the players are not being groomed properly, it becomes tough for them to pass their skills onto others. This doesn’t mean there aren’t good coaches in India but the level certainly needs to be increased,” he said.

India hasn’t produced quality players off late, the best Indian player in the fray Somdev Devyawarman is ranked 96th in the current ATP World Rankings. Though India ranks 23th in Davis Cup, but the golden days of 1920s seem too far when India had beaten France, Romania, Holland, Belgium, Spain and Greece in Davis Cup ties.