Cheating in Sports

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Cheating in sports sadly occurs from time to time in virtually every sport and every level of competition. The drive to win at any price or cost stems from a lack of morals within a particular individual and a sports culture which places an over emphasis on winning above playing fairly and by the rules.

To some degree, cheating in sports mirrors the larger attitude of society which elevates athletes to the hero level and at times extols the virtue of the robber if he/she is clever enough to get away with it.

Cheating in sports takes many forms. In a tennis match, it might be a player calling a ball out that he knows was in. In football, it might be holding a players helmet or shirt to slow them down. In other instances, it might mean taking a “banned” substance to become stronger or perform faster.

The most recent scandal surrounding cheating in sports involved one of the world’s greatest endurance athlete’s of all time, Lance Armstrong. Armstrong, winner of seven Olympic Gold medals in bicycling, was stripped of all of them after it was found that he had be using illegal substances to improve his performance.

Sadly, when athletic heroes are cheating in sports, it sends a message to the hundreds of thousands of young athlete’s that this is what is expected of you if you want to become great in your sport. This results in a new generation of “cheaters” and the cycle is perpetuated.

Let’s hope that parents, teachers and coaches will teach ethical behavior and moral development and that sports officials will enforce rules for cheating with immediate and significant penalties. In these ways, cheating in sports will hopefully be kept to a minimum and even have a positive impact on the larger society in general.

Tennis Camps

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Tennis camps come in all types and forms these days. In my younger years I went to several tennis camps and later in my career taught at tennis camps.

Tennis camps can range from recreational programs for kids to attend after school to high performance training programs for elite athletes. Some tennis camps are more social and recreational and held at beautiful hotels, resorts and country clubs while others are more like “boot camps” and designed for the individual who wants a really vigorous workout.

Some tennis camps are geared towards school vacations or summers while others offer year round programs.

Increasingly tennis camps incorporate physical conditioning, a sprinkle of education on nutrition and a smattering of mental coaching or sports psychology in their programs. Some include these activities as part of the package while others offer them as an extra you can pay for if you wish.

It is important to have a clear idea of what is and is not offered at a particular camp. Is it mostly drills, game play and/or instruction? What is the quality and experience of the instructors? How many students will be on the court with each instructor? How many different levels of instruction are offered?  What is the opportunity to move up or down  group or level? Are there groupings by age and/or ability level? What does a sample day or week look like? Do they use cameras to video tape your progress? What “off court” programs and activities are offered? What court surfaces are offered? Hard, Soft, Clay, Asphalt, Grass etc. Are there indoor courts available if it rains?

Sometimes people are drawn to tennis camps because of the name of a well known player. For example, “The Rod Laver Tennis Camp”. It would be important to know if and to what extent Rod Laver is there and actually teaches. If so, will he teach you or your group? Will you pay big bucks to have a “private lesson” with Rod, etc.

If you ask the right questions and do your homework and some planning you can have a great experience at a tennis camp.

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