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Video Clip Synopsis:
Members of the 2000 Australian Davis Cup team, including Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt, talk about their relationship with their coach, John Newcombe. For Newcombe, the role of the coach is to treat your team as you yourself would want to be treated.

1min 33sec

Even Tennis Stars Need Their Coach is an excerpt from the film The Fifth Set (55 mins), produced in 2000.

The Fifth Set: For a century, the Davis Cup has been one of the world's greatest tennis competitions. Despite the lure of big money on the professional circuit, the Cup continues to stand for sportsmanship, team spirit and national pride. For Australia, it has given us heroes like Norman Brookes, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Neale Fraser, Rod Laver, John Newcombe and Patrick Rafter. And it has helped define us as a nation, turning a rich person’s game into a country's passion.

The Fifth Set is a Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Media Giants and ScreenSound Australia. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Study Module

Curriculum Focus: English
Year: 9-10
Theme: Civic Work

Key Concepts

Hero; Biography

Curriculum Applicability Notes

ACT:Everyday texts – Language: Contextual understanding
NSW:(1997 Syllabus) C5 Mass media
(2003 Syllabus) Stage 5 Outcome 4
NT:R/V 5.1 – 5.3
R/V 5+.1-5+.3
Qld:Cr 6.2
SA:Texts and contexts 5.3
Tas:Communicating – Being literate, Standard 4
Vic:Reading – Texts 6.6
WA:Understanding Language
Attitudes, values and beliefs

Context / Background Information

Despite our relatively small population, Australians have a history of being well represented at high levels in many sports, including tennis. Often, tennis players compete as individuals representing their country. The Davis Cup is a knock-out team event, where tennis players work together to do their best for their country. The coach is an important part of the team. In this film clip, John Newcombe is coaching the Davis Cup team in 2000.

As the coach, Newcombe has the respect of the players and he is to them, a sort of father figure. His philosophy is to treat the team as he would want to be treated. As the team prepared for the 2000 Davis Cup they are guided by Newcombe who happens to be one of Australia's most famous tennis heroes.

Discussion Pointers

  1. What does the video clip show?
  2. What is the message of the video clip?
  3. How does the clip get this message across?
  4. What characteristics or qualities in John Newcombe does the clip stress.
  5. He is often called a sporting hero. Would you agree that he is a ‘hero’? Make sure that you define the word clearly in your discussion.

Suggested Classroom Activities

  1. Invite a past sporting star to class to discuss ‘life after sport’.
  2. Imagine that you have been asked to prepare a biography of a sports star. List some of the important aspects and approaches that would be needed.

Modules That Use This Clip

Health/PE Year 7-8, Health/PE Year 11-12, English Year 9-10