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The Genetic Base

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  • The Genetic Base

    Let's discuss Rick Macci on "The Genetic Base"

  • #2
    The idea of genetically testing kids and then enticing their parents with money for scholarships seems to me misguided at best. But even if you could catalog and rank the "fast twitch" muscles of a child, I don't think that would really help you identify a future tennis champion.

    The height of your vertical jump or the explosiveness of your muscles doesn't, it seem to me, necessarily translate to a highly technical sport like tennis. What makes a great forehand for example? Could you have pricked Roger Federer at 7 years old, run the numbers, and determined he would one day have that "liquid whip" of a forehand? That gracefulness on the court? That exquisite timing on the ball?

    Ignoring the moral implications of this, the more immediate danger, to me, would be all the kids you would eliminate because their numbers weren't right. Sania Mirza, the current number one doubles player in the world and the best female player to come out of India, was told to go home as a kid from her first tennis lesson because she was "too small". Would anyone have predicted Marion Bartoli would be a grand slam champion based on her foot speed and build? The USTA has already given up on Taylor Townsend, whose body type seems to be a nightmare for tennis, but whose natural gifts with a racket made her the first American to hold the No. 1 year-end world ranking for junior girls since 1982.

    And then there is the flip side. The kids who were projected to be the next great thing and then fizzled. Where is that kid who was dubbed the future of tennis at 5, Jan Silva? Or the piece Rick did on Monique Viele, who was considered a sure bet?

    Venus and Serena were referenced as evidence for the "genetic base", but their father, who trained them from a very young age, would wholeheartedly disagree. He says over and over again how it was their "mindset" he worked on more than anything. Hard work, dedication, years of planning, and a fearless belief in yourself against all odds. And the importance of family - the bond between parents and daughters, and the bond Venus and Serena share with each other - in developing tennis champions.

    I know it sounds enticing - run the numbers on a kid, ship him off to a tennis academy, and your champion will be engineered like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. But I just don't think it works this way. And I know Richard Williams doesn't.
    Last edited by jeffreycounts; 06-02-2015, 09:05 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
      Let's discuss Rick Macci on "The Genetic Base"
      Nice video article from Rick. I like Rick. He's enthusiastic and born promoter of the game. He's right in what he says. Make tennis fun and give kids opportunity....opportunity is a massive word in life when you think about it. It's the difference between doing something or not...of even being someone special or not.

      Perhaps the greatest player ever starved to death ten years ago and was never the greatest player because he was never given the opportunity to play. Who knows...

      At my club we are embarking on all sorts of programmes to attract youngsters to tennis. We lay on a dirt cheap membership for the under 10's and provide rackets and balls. It's not easy because all the other sports are advertising and promoting their sports also. It's competitive!

      I don't judge kids harshly at all at the start. If they are coordinated and can run fast...I sign 'em up.
      Stotty

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      • #4
        The mind is more important than any gentic/training base. It fashions: desire to win and improve, revenge emotions, adrenalized play, character to win and practice, intention to find your own game/equipment/partners/technique/coach/mentor/etc. The mind, often born of poverty and deprivation, from ghetto areas, from poor families, from war torn nations, determines who will become world class and who won't.

        Extremity required to become world class, is missing in the US for the most part. "Them against Us.", Richard Williams motivation trained their minds.

        "This is a white sport. They have every advantage. You are going to make them pay for it."
        Last edited by GeoffWilliams; 06-03-2015, 07:57 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GeoffWilliams View Post
          The mind is more important than any gentic/training base. It fashions: desire to win and improve, revenge emotions, adrenalized play, character to win and practice, intention to find your own game/equipment/partners/technique/coach/mentor/etc. The mind, often born of poverty and deprivation, from ghetto areas, from poor families, from war torn nations, determines who will become world class and who won't. Extremity required to become world class, is missing in the US for the most part. "Them against Us.", Richard Williams motivation trained their minds. "This is a white sport. They have every advantage. You are going to make them pay for it."
          Great post Geoff.

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          • #6
            The Genetic Base…Permutations, Combinations and Mutations

            The Genetic Base…Permutations, Combinations and Mutations


            Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
            Let's discuss Rick Macci on "The Genetic Base"
            jeffreycounts…good to hear someone else mention the word ethics. But it is an old fashioned concept and not likely to gain any momentum anytime soon. This whole idea about "farming" the inner city and pricking them for DNA samples or identifying kids at a young age that are predisposed to be professional tennis players sounds a little too futuristic. It makes me proud to be so obsolete.

            Whatever happened to "Tennis for the Bloody Fun of It"? What was the paradigm when it worked? Anybody remember the 1970's? Public courts, high school tennis, USTA sponsored tournaments, college scholarships and private clubs. The college system really provide a nice "farm" system as a training ground for potential professionals. All components working hand in hand locally. Grass roots teachers and programs…mom and pop stuff. There was a nice tier of local, regional and national organization. The greatest era of tennis ever. It isn't that complicated if you take the money out of the equation. But that's the thing…the money is in the equation and it is here to stay. Another strike against the children. A big feather in the caps of the shucksters. It makes me glad to be obsolete.

            Originally posted by licensedcoach View Post
            Perhaps the greatest player ever starved to death ten years ago and was never the greatest player because he was never given the opportunity to play. Who knows...
            Apparently the academies are brimming with no talent wannabes…paying out the big bucks. Meanwhile the deafening roar in the public sector is mute. The sounds of silence. It's a number game…the more people that play the more likely a Mozart is going to come along. If you put enough monkeys in a room big enough with enough typewriters sooner or later one of them is going to type out the King James version of the Bible. It should be even simpler these days with computers and spellcheck. Shouldn't it?

            But the numbers are down…way down. The opportunities are fewer and harder and more expensive to come by. The game was sold down the river about the time that the game went open and the racquets went big and this is what you are left with. Guys talking about genetics and shit like that. Does anyone else other than jeffreycounts see how far off we have strayed? What am I talking about…I am certain that I have lost jeffreycounts at this point too.

            This business of prophesizing on the basis of genetic makeup is far-fetched. It's such a mental game. Sure being quick is a big asset…but what about the fact that it is an individual sport and the human being doesn't take possession of his or her destiny until a certain level of development. That age being somewhat more advanced than the current scheme of trying to identify five and six year olds who have a predisposition to play the game. But you see…that is the business paradigm. It's all about identifying kids that have parents that have the money to pay…to invest in the possibility of getting a return on their investment in the future. They are banking on their children.

            How about a little reality check here boys? It ain't working. The Bolletieri and company scheme has pretty much run it's course. It never did actually produce anything…it was based on the theft of already existing talent and other peoples work and then marketing it as theirs. Again…let me remind you about what used to work in the greatest era ever in tennis. It was the era when the game went open and before the introduction of the oversized racquet. Anybody remember? I do. It was local development. Local tournaments. Local coaching programs. Local…local…local. Not global.

            Global doesn't work. It destroyed the American economy. Thanks Bill Clinton and George Bush. NAFTA and all of the rest. There is your globalism working in action. It took down the greatest manufacturing economy in the world in only thirty years. It just destroyed the working middle class in America. There are you politicians at work. Now all that is left is a war economy. Perpetual war. Is it just a coincidence that the greatest tennis program in the world went along with it? It's a big picture. One that is too big for the average mind to grasp. You not only have to be old but you have to be able to discern. The ability to discern being obliterated with cable television 24 hour news stations…and Hollywood. Not that my mind is anything but average…it's only that I dare to connect the dots.

            "Slick Rick" at his absolute zenith. Pricking kids in the leg for DNA. Surely he cannot be serious! In 1984 (there's that year again) the United States of American had 42 out of the top ranked 100 players in the world. 42!!! Do you get it yet? Not a single one of those players were actually developed by an academy…but they were certainly beginning to defect to academies. Every single one of those 42 players was developed by a combination of the local, sectional and national tiers that I referenced above. I wonder how many took their first steps through a college scholarship program. Get it? We have been dumbed down. In more ways than one. That's the bad news.

            Last edited by don_budge; 06-04-2015, 12:50 AM. Reason: for clarity's sake...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by don_budge View Post
              "Slick Rick" at his absolute zenith. Pricking kids in the leg for DNA. Surely he cannot be serious! In 1984 (there's that year again) the United States of American had 42 out of the top ranked 100 players in the world. 42!!! Do you get it yet? Not a single one of those players were actually developed by an academy…but they were certainly beginning to defect to academies. Every single one of those 42 players was developed by a combination of the local, sectional and national tiers that I referenced above. I wonder how many took their first steps through a college scholarship program. Get it? We have been dumbed down. In more ways than one. That's the bad news.

              The Russian's did this in the cold war. One problem, they could not test for Flin Flon Saskatchewan's Bobby Clarke, a skinny slow footed diabetic who was willing to break ankles to win.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRlnqthpTbM

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