Coach Writing...

Off-season: what’s now?


So 2016 junior tennis season is officially closed for Sashka. I think it was a very successful tennis year… in wrong & unhappy environment.

For sure, it is not a big deal to finish season on #430 position of ITF Juniors rankings. But this is a huge achievement if someone takes into account where Sashka started (#1000) and what this year looked like for our family.

When Sashka played quali in Italy ITF Grade 2 this spring, we had money enough only for 3-nights stay in the cheapest hotel and auto gas to reach the tournament venue & return home. No budget for food at all!

So I put in the car some canned meat, potatoes, vegetables and bread from home, and cooked it in the hotel bathroom (!!!) using compact multi-cooker. Sashka played excellent quali there – probably because she was tired of my food 🙂 & aimed to get full hospitality (incliding meal) after entering main draw.

Anyway, we are at finish point of year 2016 and simultaneously ready to start into 2017.  But… where to go?
First of all – I still believe in Sashka, as well as her coach does.

During this year she fully showed us her main strength: ability & willingness to fight.

Yes, sometimes she can’t manage her emotions, like recently in Zagreb or earlier in Losinj. Then she got burned out and lost to playable opponents. But you can imagine what’s in the head of teenage girl when she sees the whole situation around her tennis & her family.

Sashka during her practice

Sashka during her practice

Now we are going to sit on our training base and… work hard, harder and harder! Almost every technical part of her game needs to be improved; we should do TONS of things regarding tactics & mental training. Finally, she will play several matches with boys and girls where we will try to implement & test a distinct model of game which we believe suits best for Sashka.

Next tournaments are preliminary scheduled to be in the end of January – beginning of February 2017. I still hope Sashka to play Latin America series, but our chances to find financing for that trip before December 20 (sign-in deadline) are really small.

So the most probable outcome is to start next year with Croatia Winter Nationals (which take part in January) and then play everything we can reach with our budget at the moment: Bosnia, Slovenia & whatever.

From one point of view, it is a sad to say this. From another, if Sashka manages to survive & progress in such harsh conditions, can you imagine how good she will be when conditions gradually improve?

Who has never tasted bitter, knows not what is sweet.

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