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Even Tennis Stars Need Their Coach

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.
Year of production - 2000
Duration - 1min 33sec
Tags - biography, documentary genre, see all tags


Even Tennis Stars Need Their Coach

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About the Video Clip


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.

Curriculum Focus


Reading standard: Students read and view imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that explore ideas and information relate to challenging topics, themes and issues. They explore the ideas, themes and issues explored in these texts, and provide supporting evidence to justify their interpretations. They produce personal responses, for example, interpretive pieces and character profiles.

Writing standard: Students produce, in print and electronic forms, texts for a variety of purposes, including speculating, hypothesizing, persuading and reflecting.

Speaking and listening standard: Students express creative and analytical responses to texts, themes and issues.

The activities in this learning module are relevant to the Interdisciplinary Learning strand of Level 5 Communications (Listening, viewing and responding standard; Presenting standard) and Thinking Processes (Reasoning, processing and inquiry standard; Creativity standard).

The activities are also relevant to the Physical, Personal and Social Learning strand of Level 5 Interpersonal Development (Building social relationships standard; Working in teams standard) and Personal Learning (The individual learner standard; Managing personal learning standard).

This material is an extract. Teachers and Students should consult the Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority website for more information.

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 them as he would want to be treated himself.

Classroom Activities

  1. Discuss and write answers to the following questions.
    1. What is the message of the video clip?
    2. Who is the subject of the video clip?
    3. Who do you think would be the best audience for this video clip?
    4. Write a 100-word summary of the clip. Include the subject, audience and message.
    1. Construct a character profile of John Newcombe that includes eight points from the video clip plus your own opinion.
    2. John Newcombe is often called a sporting hero. Write a 300-word biography of John Newcombe and include whether you think he is a ‘hero’ or not Make sure that you define the word ‘hero’ clearly in your biography.
    3. Shortly after this video clip was made the Australian Davis Cup tennis team became torn by disputes and feuds between players and coaches. View the video clip again and identify any hints in the way that it portrays Newcombe that this situation could happen.
  2. The video clip belongs to the documentary genre (style of filmmaking).
    1. Construct a table that lists the three main sequences (groups of shots) in order, who speaks and what they reveal about John Newcombe in those sequences.
    2. Write a list of questions you think the filmmaker wanted answered.
    3. Add five questions of your own to that list.

Further Resources


Go to Infoplease
Go to Wikipedia