This is a printer friendly page
Free for educational use

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, competition, documentary genre, sport, see all tags


Even Tennis Stars Need Their Coach

How to Download the Video Clip

To download a free copy of this Video Clip choose from the options below. These require the free Quicktime Player.

download clip icon Premium MP4 fifthset_pr.mp4 (11.4MB).

ipod icon Broadband MP4 fifthset_bb.mp4 (5.4MB), suitable for iPods and computer downloads.

Additional help.

buy iconYou can buy this clip on a compilation DVD.

buy iconYou can buy the program this clip comes from.

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


This Digital Resource can be used to achieve the following outcomes:
P.5 A student describes the ways different technologies and media of production affect the language and structure of particular texts.
P.6 A student engages with a wide range of texts to develop a considered and informed personal response.
P.7 A student selects appropriate language forms and features, and structures of texts to explore and express ideas and values.
P.12 A student reflects on own processes of responding and composing.

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies 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.

Literacy Activity: Focus = Listening / Responding

  1. How important is practice and teamwork? (1 mark)
  2. What does John Newcomb’s job entail? (1 mark)
  3. Why do you think the background shot behind Newcomb’s close-up is an old black and white photograph? (1 mark)
  4. What were Harry Homan’s rules? (1 mark)
  5. Why aren’t these rules any good now? (1 mark)

Further Resources


Go to John Newcombe from Infoplease, all the knowledge you need
Go to John Newcombe from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia