Local role models important for budding Indian players: Henrik
As someone who has almost two decades of specialisation in player development and coaching, has mentored Robin Soderling among the many top players and whose job requires him to travel all the time, Henrik Ekersund's reputation surely precedes him. It was apparent as a day after the CLTA-AITA Rs 1 Lakh men and women tennis championship, the coaches, dressed in their whites, stood at the periphery of the red clay court and paid attention to every minute details that the Swedish coach had to offer to them.
His inquisitive mind had already collected information related to CLTA and the various programmes run by it- specially Chandigarh Academy for Rural Tennis (CHART)- and he seemed impressed lot. He had also seen the National Tennis Academy (NTA) at Delhi, which offers training to players from rural background.
"Tennis works in two ways- centralised and decentralised. In centralised, you take the player out from the place where he had learned tennis and decentralised, in which the player continue to train at the same courts with the same coaches. Environment plays very important role for the development of a player and that's why decentralised way of training has been more successful. Look at Nadal or even Andy Murray. Nadal trains at Mallorca, far from the Spanish city while Murray doesn't train in London but at Scotland. But these players has the access to the facilities and they follow a certain timetable. And there is absolutely no need to destroy the relationship between the coach and the player. Yes, but these association need to organise long-term programmes for the development of the players," shared Henrik, 38.
With such a rich repertoire as the national coach of the Swedish Tennis Association and research works on the player development models of top tennis nations like Spain, Russia, France and former Yugoslavia, Henrik has plenty of suggestions to offer to AITA and the Indian coaches.