Managers, The

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01The Documentary20140510
01The Documentary2014051020140511 (WS)

There was a moment when Sven Groeneveld realised he wasn’t going to be a great tennis player, he knew he wasn’t going to be able to emulate the great players of the day such as Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, or that he wasn’t going to be able to compete with the best players and make his living playing the game.

But what Sven also realised was that he could see things in the other players, read a match, second guess what the game plan would be, what a certain player was doing wrong, and crucially how he could put it right.

Since that moment Sven Groeneveld has become one of the most sought after coaches in world tennis. He has helped players such as Monica Seles, Mary Pierce, Michael Stich, Esther Vergeer, Greg Rusedski, Caroline Wosniacki and currently Maria Sharapova win dozens of grand slams and other tour titles.

In the first part of our series The Managers, Ed Harry travelled to Sven's tennis academy in Amsterdam to meet him and to explore the role of the coach to the tennis elite. How do you spot, and then address the weaknesses in the best players in the world which could transform them from also-rans into champions at Roland Garros or Wimbledon?

It's this ability to make the small adjustments that have such a big impact that means that Sven - and the other coaches explored in this series The Managers - are so successful.

But the technical side of the game is only one part of it and Sven explains how the players have to bond mentally if they are to work and succeed together. Sven also admits that personality clashes are common in tennis and the separate egos of the player and the coach coexist. As Sven tells Ed, he has had to learn to manage his own ego as he has climbed the coaching ladder.

Born in the Netherlands, it was from his parents that he gained his competitive streak that drives him today. Sven started playing tennis with a former table tennis international and a footballer - in the small village where he lived.

Sven measures his worth on the practice court, working on the small parts of the game that make the difference between success and failure and that's the hallmark of all our coaches, the seemingly imperceptible detail they can spot that the lay person can’t, which is why they are the best in the world in their field.

Production: Richard McIlroy, Jitesh Parmar and Christopher Wilson

(Photo: Coach Sven Groeneveld speaks with Maria Sharapova. Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

01The Documentary20140510

01The Documentary20140510

There was a moment when Sven Groeneveld realised he wasn’t going to be a great tennis player, he knew he wasn’t going to be able to emulate the great players of the day such as Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, or that he wasn’t going to be able to compete with the best players and make his living playing the game.

But what Sven also realised was that he could see things in the other players, read a match, second guess what the game plan would be, what a certain player was doing wrong, and crucially how he could put it right.

Since that moment Sven Groeneveld has become one of the most sought after coaches in world tennis. He has helped players such as Monica Seles, Mary Pierce, Michael Stich, Esther Vergeer, Greg Rusedski, Caroline Wosniacki and currently Maria Sharapova win dozens of grand slams and other tour titles.

In the first part of our series The Managers, Ed Harry travelled to Sven's tennis academy in Amsterdam to meet him and to explore the role of the coach to the tennis elite. How do you spot, and then address the weaknesses in the best players in the world which could transform them from also-rans into champions at Roland Garros or Wimbledon?

It's this ability to make the small adjustments that have such a big impact that means that Sven - and the other coaches explored in this series The Managers - are so successful.

But the technical side of the game is only one part of it and Sven explains how the players have to bond mentally if they are to work and succeed together. Sven also admits that personality clashes are common in tennis and the separate egos of the player and the coach coexist. As Sven tells Ed, he has had to learn to manage his own ego as he has climbed the coaching ladder.

Born in the Netherlands, it was from his parents that he gained his competitive streak that drives him today. Sven started playing tennis with a former table tennis international and a footballer - in the small village where he lived.

Sven measures his worth on the practice court, working on the small parts of the game that make the difference between success and failure and that's the hallmark of all our coaches, the seemingly imperceptible detail they can spot that the lay person can’t, which is why they are the best in the world in their field.

Production: Richard McIlroy, Jitesh Parmar and Christopher Wilson

(Photo: Coach Sven Groeneveld speaks with Maria Sharapova. Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

01The Documentary2014051020140511 (WS)

What has made Sven Groeneveld a top tennis coach?

Italian football manager Giovanni Trapattoni said "A good manager makes a team 10% better and a bad manager makes it 30% worse".

In this six-part series for the BBC World Service, we speak to some of the best coaches and managers around the globe to find out what it takes to ensure they can improve their team or individual by 10% and avoid the ignominy of making them 30% worse.

The coaches we will meet have all excelled in their sport, winning Olympic medals, World Cup winners’ medals and Super Bowl rings, amassing hundreds of caps, goals and championships. But what sets them apart as coaches, what influences do they draw on to bring the best out of the best?

When Sven Groeneveld turns up at the biggest tennis tournaments in the world he rubs shoulders with the other coaches on the circuit, many of whom - such as Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl - have won Grand Slams and Davis Cups. Dutchman Sven never reached those heights as a player, but as a coach he has an enviable record with some of the greats in world tennis over the past 20 years. He tells Ed Harry how his not being in the super league of tennis players has actually helped him become a coaching great, most recently with Maria Sharapova.

The Managers is produced in conjunction with the Open University and with them the BBC World Service explores the methods, the motivation, and the inspiration of these elite coaches, about how they get the vital 10% out of their teams.

02The Documentary20140517
02The Documentary2014051720140518 (WS)

How you don’t need to like any of your players to coach them successfully

02The Documentary20140517

02The Documentary20140517

Not many girls played football in Sweden when Pia Sundhage was growing up, so she had to play with the boys. She changed her name to a boy’s name, Pelle, so that she didn't draw attention to herself.

Forty years and two Olympic Gold medals later, Pia was named FIFA coach of the year, she talks candidly to Jane Garvey about how she took on a US team that was riven with divisive factions, and how you don’t need to like any of your players to coach them successfully.

Picture: Pia Sundhage, Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images

03The Documentary2014052420140525 (WS)

An innovator looking to redefine the role of the coach in modern day football

It’s the tradition for the two opposing coaches in a football game to cross the field of play and congratulate or commiserate with each other after the game has finished. They will shake hands and offer some words before heading off to their respective locker rooms.

That scene at the end of the 2013 Super Bowl was particularly poignant, as the two coaches were brothers, the first siblings to oppose each other in the end of season game ever in NFL history. Jim and John Harbaugh grew up around football, footballers and football coaches. Their dad Jack was a college coach and sport - football in particular - was the constant thing in their lives. John had won the Super Bowl.

Both John and Jim would accompany their father to work, and it was natural that the game would be the path they followed. Jim was a successful player at college and in the NFL. John was less successful as a football player, but he has become a coaches who has had huge success despite a lack of glory as a player.

In the third of this series of The Managers, Peter Bowes travels to the Ravens’ impressive country club style training centre just outside Baltimore, to meet John Harbaugh. He speaks to John about his upbringing, his brother and his parents - and how he became a coach, working through the system as a specialist position coach and then ultimately with the Ravens who took a chance on him as their head coach in 2008.

John tells Peter about his philosophy of coaching, how it was shaped by his father and the legendary University of Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, whose book on coaching Harbaugh handed out on his first day with the Ravens to all his staff.

Schembechler’s message was that there was nothing as important as the ‘team’ and that’s something you see as you walk around the Ravens training camp where the word is prominent in the players area on the wall.

Harbaugh explains how such a huge coaching structure works in the game, and what he feels the role of the Head Coach is, and finally he remembers the day in February 2013 that he took on, and beat his own brother in the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

John Harbaugh is a coached shaped by his formative years immersed in the game, but he has proved himself to be an innovator looking to redefine the role of the Coach in modern day Football where tablet computers and biometric tests becoming the norm.

Presenter: Peter Bowes

Production was by Richard McIlroy Jitesh Parmar and Christopher Wilson

04The Documentary2014053120140601 (WS)

Now coach to the USA, Jurgen Klinnsman talks about empowering his players

This summer Jurgen Klinsmann will take the USA team to the World Cup final. He will be trying to become just the third person to win the trophy as a player and as a manager. The odds are stacked against him; the USA team he took over in 2011 are one of the outsiders for the trophy.

But, there is no doubt that Jurgen Klinsmann is one of the most insightful and interesting managers in world football, and in the run up to the start of the tournament Peter Bowes meets him in Los Angeles, where he has lived for the past 20 years.

Peter starts by talking to him about his childhood in Stuttgart and how his father was initially against his son having a career in football, wanting the teenage Jurgen to follow his career in baking.

But he was too good as a schoolboy player - he once scored 16 goals in a game which brought him to the attention of his local club, Stuttgart. From there he played around Europe, in Italy for Internazionale, in France with Monaco and in England for Tottenham Hotspur.

Klinnsman tells Peter how his biggest coaching inspiration was one of the two people to have achieved the feat of lifting the World Cup as a coach and as a player: fellow German Franz Beckenbauer.

He also tells Peter about his life in the USA where football, or soccer, is a poor cousin to the main sports in the country and how, as the coach of the national team, he is in a unique position of not only trying to progress the elite players in the country, but also to try and build a substantial base of for the sport to grow.

Jurgen talks about his philosophy as a coach how he empowers his players to make their own decisions and how the philosophy his team lives by must start at the top with his coaches.

He also tells Peter how he will feel when he faces Germany - the side he once managed - in Brazil later in the summer.

Picture: Jurgen Klinsmann, Credit: Paul Vernon/AFP/Getty Images

Presenter: Peter Bowes

Production : Richard McIlroy and Jitesh Parmar

05The Documentary20140607

05The Documentary2014060720140608 (WS)

When Teri McKeever took charge of the United States Olympic team for the London Olympics in 2012, she broke a barrier that many would be forgiven for thinking had been overcome a long time ago - becoming the first female to coach the USA women’s team at the games.

Teri McKeever is one of the most successful and innovative coaches in swimming. Witness one of her training sessions at the outdoor pool at the University of California Berkeley in Oakland, California, and you are as likely to see her swimmers skipping with a rope, doing handstands and dancing to Hip Hop music as you are ploughing up and down the pool for hours on end.

McKeever is the latest subject in The Managers and she tells Peter Bowes about her life and her journey from growing up as part of a huge family where sport was so integral to her and her sibling’s lives, to becoming coach at UCAL, to taking over the US team.

Her story begins with her father, Mike McKeever, who, alongside his twin brother, was a star college American Football player, who was killed in a car accident when Teri was six years old. After her mother remarried, her family grew and Teri took on a parental role to her younger brothers and sisters. What they had though when they stepped out of the back door meant that they could indulge in virtually any sport they wanted, a hockey pitch, softball diamond, and in Teri’s case, a 50 metre swimming pool, all built by her step-father.

Teri started swimming in national meets as a junior, with her mother as her coach, but it is as coach in her own right that she has excelled in the sport and she has been the head coach of the University of California Golden Bears for the past 20 years, winning national titles and accolades.

As a coach she attracts some of the best swimmers in the world to her team, including Natalie Coughlin, Haley Cope, Jessica Hardy, and current team member the multi-Olympic medallist and World Champion, Missy Franklin, who tells Peter about why she was attracted to swim for McKeever, and how her coaching philosophy has helped her career.

Teri reflects on the obstacles women sports coaches’ face, especially in swimming, and how she has navigated those to become a pioneer in her sport.

(Photo: Teri McKeever talks to Natalie Coughlin. Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

05The Documentary20140607

What makes a top sports coach? We meet six of the world’s elite coaches to find out what inspired them to inspire others.

06The Documentary2014061420140615 (WS)

What makes a top sports coach? We meet six of the world’s elite coaches to find out wha...

What makes a top sports coach? We meet six of the world’s elite coaches to find out what inspired them to inspire others.