Intensity is a Belief
That’s the motto of Alexander Waske (and his academy), with whom I had the pleasure of spending a few days with.
About Alexander Waske
Being a Top 100 ranked player, in both ATP Singles and Doubles, Mr. Waske knows what it takes to go Pro and be in a very elite group of players in the world. Some of his successes include being the Semi-Finalists at the Australian Open Doubles and Roland Garros Doubles, as well as Quarter-Finalists at the Wimbledon Doubles.
Contrary to the route most elite players go on, he did not have any ranking in the Junior ITF whatsoever. Due to this, some coaches thought his prospects did not seem too good, but he didn’t care much for their analysis.
His highest ranking stood at ATP Singles No. 89 and ATP Doubles No. 16. Having won 5 Challenger Titles in singles and 15 Challenger Titles in doubles.
Coaching, With Belief
In 2010, he got together with his Davis Cup partner and started the Schüttler Waske Tennis-University.
Their coaching system is set up around professional work, which is fundamental to their concepts on the court, of the court, in fitness, education, and the growth of a person. They believe in creating a wholesome environment where people are connected in support of one another. This has allowed their academy to thrive and be host to a wide array of players over the years.
Some of them include:
- Angelique Kerber (2014)
- Andrea Petkovic
- Prajnesh Gunneswaran
- Michael Mmoh
- Sriram Balaji
- …among many others
Training, With Intensity
It took less than 30 minutes for me to realize the reason they use the word ‘Intensity‘ to signify their concept of training. It’s because they wholeheartedly believe in it.
Everyone involved from the head coaches, the assistants and even the attending players exhibited elements of the word. You cannot dedicate yourself to a program without having that belief system in you.
Eventually, that belief leads to a notion to succeed and make others succeed with you.
When everyone is on the same page and has the focus required to execute, you can start sensing it in the general atmosphere. You can actually feel it, it’s not something I can describe in words.
Heart to Heart
We were lucky to have spent time with him, and his coaches, on court. However, the most valuable interaction was a few hours simply spent talking.
Its in the discussions that I learned what one’s position should be as a coach, as an instructor and as a parent.
Wearing all three hats (at times) I questioned myself, “How could my strengths help the development of a player?”.
He shared, it’s important to initiate the process of belief and move aside. The player needs to stop perceiving assumed inconsistencies as obstacles, which prevent them from releasing their full potential. Give them room and let them figure it out.
Being witness to an on-court demonstration of how to do it was an eye-opening event, for both the player with his game and me as the coach/parent.
The time together gave us further insight into the concept of training and player development. One that we have implemented as part of our ethos at Vision Tennis Academy.
To conclude, he told me something which might resonate with all of us here in India.
“Don’t let anyone ever tell you that Indian’s can’t be elite athletes because of genetics. Sriram Balaji holds all our academy speed records”.
So there you have it, bring on the intensity!
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