Josh's Fresh Take: February 2018 Edition

Sasha Boskovic, the Grizzly

Coach and Communications Lead, Josh Martin, weighs in on topics in the world of tennis and shares his two cents.
A few of the coaches and I often joke about how the inner spirit animal of our High Performance Director, Sasha Boskovic, is a grizzly bear; Intense, big, loud, and scary. Recently, I was given the opportunity to work alongside the grizzly bear himself. And let me tell you, he definitely is what is spirit animal suggests… and more. From day one of stepping on to Sasha’s court, I was immediately blown away by the sheer intensity of the class. There is absolutely no coasting or laziness as that would surely lead to push-ups, burpees, or suicides as a form of encouragement. No, these athletes are there to work hard from the get-go and right until the end. Every single class begins with a warm-up and stretching and then they get right in to their routine by finishing specific sets of high-intensity rallies, such as 100 on-the-rise shots from the baseline, 50 swinging volleys, or 50 slices with a partner. Every single set has a purpose. Once they finish their warm-up, they head right in to the next set of drills and they are usually more intense than the last.
After assisting Sasha in a few classes, I could see how effective his coaching style is with his students and how well they respond to the intensity. I became very curious of his coaching philosophy and decided to sit down with him and asked him a few questions. Below is our interview.
Q: What is the main message that you want to drive home to your athletes?
Sasha Boskovic: A lot of it is work hard and play smart. The wins come from your heart, your legs, and your mind, not from the actual technique you play with.
Q: Why is it so important for you to have a high-intensity program?
SB: Most of the time for kids playing in tournaments, there are different pressure environments. If they are not experiencing that pressure in practice, then it is hard to suddenly step up in a match and turn on your intensity when you have never been trained to do so beforehand.
Q: What is something that you’ve brought to the table here after your year at UBC?
SB: I think overall just the intensity from the kids and the different programs within the high performance levels. That and pushing different coaches, younger coaches in particular, to strive to better themselves on different levels than they were beforehand.
Q: What are your goals for this upcoming year?
SB: [To produce] as many national and international players as possible. Right now I believe we are at 5-8 national-level players. My goal by the summer is to have at least 10-15 and some of those starting to get ranked in the ITF’s (International Tennis Federation) and the Worlds, as well. I’m looking forward to this coming year.
And there it is! The grizzly bear himself. Be sure to take a peek at Sasha’s programs the next time you are at the Tennis Centre. His athletes are working extremely hard and the results are showing!
Josh’s Fresh Take, signing off.