October 13, 2007

Scott Paschal Deals with Abusive Tennis Coaches

Posted in christian tennis, Christian Tennis Academy, Christian Tennis Camps, Christian Tennis Player, Cult Buster, Faith, Hope, scott paschal, Scott Paschal Tennis, Sports Ministry, Uncategorized at 4:11 pm by Scott Paschal

Oftentimes the tennis world tends to focus on the “shiny” side of the sport. There certainly is a lot of upside to tennis. Personally, I love the sport. And I would think millions would agree with me that tennis is a great form of exercise and fun.

Yet, in my 8 years in tennis ministry, especially as a coach of pro players and world class juniors, I’ve seen some of the “rust” tennis has created. I’m not just talking about the legions of angry tennis parents at junior events, or tennis pros who cheat while coaching at tournaments. Heck, Bolleterri himself recently recently bragged on his web site about all the cheating he has done over the years.

The “rust” I’m talking about is serious stuff. Not that I condone cheating, but I’d like to go deeper.

I have a new player here with me. She is a teen and has trained for years at one of the most famous tennis academies in the world. It didn’t go so good for her there. Recently, she wanted to take her life. I won’t mention her name or the name of the academy or the coaches who allegedly abused her. That’s not the point of this blog. There will be a time for that, but not here, not now, and in another arena

She claims she had dealt with weeks and months and years of coaches brainwashing her into thinking she was fat, slow, and a terrible tennis player. She says they ordered her to vomit her food, not eat in the daytime, and convinced her she was grotesque. I don’t know about them, but a teen girl who is 5’7″ and 130lbs is anything but fat!

Tennis-wise, she has little to show for the years at that academy. She is still hits like a beginner. Her father paid maybe around $50,000 a year… for the coaches to antagonize her self-esteem, and for her tennis to go nowhere. She talks about the players… cussing, cheating, lying, back-stabbing, gossiping. I’ve heard about boys and girls sleeping with each other in dorms at night… pornography on the computers… drugs… alcohol. And she was made fun of for being a new Christian….

Sad, isn’t it? She went to that famous tennis academy to reach her dreams, and left suicidal.

To be fair, I don’t know the whole story. Maybe she was the problem, and everyone else was great. Who knows? The problem is I hear stories like this weekly. I see patterns emerging that most people in tennis have no awareness about.  I tend to get the tough emails and spend a good bit of time connecting people with others who can assist their situation.

Kids and parents need to know tennis academies are not for everyone. Especially if the player has a history of abuse or mental illness. Or if the coaching system has a lack of respect for females. I’ve seen first-hand some horrific examples of coach abuse of male coaches towards female players… I type from experience in trying to repair the damaged player, and from dealing with the abusive coaches. I’ve seen girls who have been raised in incredible families have their young lives basically destroyed by unaccountable coaches at tennis academies. And I’ve seen girls with difficult family backgrounds have the same.

Unfortunately, there is no “hotline” for abused players to call. At least not yet.

Well, I am grateful God has placed this girl in our path. She seems to be doing better. Today she smiled. It was a pretty smile. I have her reading a couple of neat books… Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now, and Lee Stroebel’s A Case for a Creator (Student Edition). She needs positive stuff in her life right now. She needs to know God is real and has a plan for her. This approach worked well with top pros I have helped, and others, and I pray it will work well with her. I really like Joel’s book for foreign players who have been through hard times. They seem to grab onto it like a life raft.

Please keep this new player in your prayers. To protect her identity, I’ll call her Lucy as I send updates your way.

Tennis certainly has many positive upsides and is a great sport. Yet, there is much pain and grief associated with it. I hope in some small way some player out there reading this may discover God does love them and wants to reach out to them. Lucy is moving forward. You can too. Give me a call at 386 793 0557, or send me an email to ballboy4jesus@yahoo.com.

God bless, Scott Paschal

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: