It was unbelievable, how he remained not impressed by all grumblers and disbelievers, how well has he learned to deal with frustration and losses, how determined was he when following his way and first of all – how much joy was he bringing every day to the training. He did not complain at all no matter how he was “plagued”, he never had doubts and questions about what we were doing.
The highlight for Dominic was to hit some balls with Stefan (Koubek – PRF). Stefan was doing this with pleasure, he liked Dominic just like me – but Stefan was an exception. As a rule they were hitting partners like this bald head 30+ hobby player, not able to win a point but could get the ball back all the time. Dominic’s task was not to do the same, but be aggressive, win points.
“You get the bald head every day now. Until you kick him out of his shoes”.
Over about two years Dominic was losing every day to the hobby player his two or three training sets. Or four.
“How is the last set gone, Dominic?”
“Well. One more. Go! I don’t care about the result of the set. I want to see you hitting ten winners, so the bald head does not touch the ball.”
Many coaches think, they should give their pupils hitting partners, who play nicely, regularly, with which you come easily “into the rhythm”. But I like hitting partners, who can exploit weaknesses of my players. And this hobby player was just toxic or a balsam for Dominic – depends of your point of view.
I even gave the bald head extra training hours to make him even more difficult for Dominic. His task was to be that annoying for Dominic as possible.
If someone can withstand things like this over years, how should it be called?
I call it passion.
A power allowing to overcome every resistance.
The sixth milestone
Dominic needed to learn to understand tennis as a fight and to use his tools as weapons.
At the end of each training Dominic was a better player than on the beginning. And it all started slowly to get shape. The Israeli coach Ofer Sela – brother of the professional player Dudi Sela, who was training in my academy – had visited us once in the Südstadt (part of a municipality in the neighborhood of Vienna – PRF) and told a sentence, I would never forget. “Günter, who is this boy there? He plays curious way. Not like a youngster. He plays mini-adult tennis.”
Dominic was then 14 or 15. He started to catch sight of people knowledgeable in tennis.
Ofer’s observation was right. Dominic’s shots were a real tennis in Lilliput version. The ball started to sound like it must sound when it goes away from the racket: full, grainy, a dull explosion (still a little one then).
Dominic has learned to hit the forehand not only faster but with more topspin. Players call it “heavy” – it’s technically very demanding but at the same time very effective.
Here you go to PART4
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