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tennisputz
08-06-2009, 12:59 PM
I have noticed a trend in southeastern junior tennis that the very young boys are playing a high number of USTA matches per year. For 10 and unders, the top players play 80 to 100 matches and for the 12 and unders, 100- 150 matches per year. In Georgia this trend started about 4 to 5 years ago and is getting higher every year. The number of these matches only include USTA sponsored events and not team matches, little mo, or other sponsored matches that drives this number even higher. I have noticed that in other areas of the country the boys appear not to be playing this many matches. Is it wise emotionally and physically for a young player to do this? What is happening in the other areas of the country and what are your thoughts?

stanfordtennis alum
08-06-2009, 01:03 PM
there is no such thing as too many matches however it may lead to burnout, play your schedule where you give yourself 1-2 months of rest per year and enjoy playing the game..playing lots of matches is the key to success

tennisputz
08-07-2009, 05:28 AM
I guess what my main question is: Is playing this many matches most conducive to developing a young personís game? Would the time be better spent in practice, drilling, playing practice sets, etc., as opposed to playing so many tournament matches? Would 50 matches be better with more practice time instead? How many tournament matches do you think is optimal?

120mphBodyServe
08-07-2009, 06:01 AM
That is way too much. Not even I could play so many per year...
I guess the little critters have a lot of energy to burn...
I've experienced burn out a couple of times, and it's not fun.

arunstennis
08-07-2009, 06:04 AM
too much as a just turned 16s player i only play like 10-15 tournaments a year

gully
08-07-2009, 06:13 AM
Keep in mind, the very top players are reaching the final rounds of their events and thus playing 6-7 singles matches in each event they enter. (There was a thread on this, mostly discussing the girls juniors, a year or so ago.)

It's obviously NOT too much tennis IF the child thrives and improves, has sufficient time and energy for instruction and practice, and is succeeding academically--and if the travel is not sending the parents, or whoever is writing the checks, to the poorhouse.

Personally, I could never afford it and would never endorse it for my own child, but it appears to work for some of the others.

arunstennis
08-07-2009, 06:31 AM
and i know kids on the exact opposite they play very few tournaments and win them all, and i played about 30 usta matches(about 10 tournaments since some don't even have a lot of participents) last year and went 16-14

TennisCoachFLA
08-07-2009, 11:45 AM
there is no such thing as too many matches however it may lead to burnout, play your schedule where you give yourself 1-2 months of rest per year and enjoy playing the game..playing lots of matches is the key to success

This is 100% wrong. At that age the boys need deep practice to keep pushing their skill to the edge of their current ability, practice matches where chances are taken and corrections made on the spot, strength and flexibility training, playing other sports to expand their athletic base, and rest. Just about all the best players played other sports like soccer until age 14 or so.

Playing that many sanctioned matches, many against lesser boys or pushers, many where boys are afraid to take chances, much time and energy wasted traveling, is utterly ridiculous and a waste of time.

momtogrif
08-11-2009, 09:25 PM
This is 100% wrong. At that age the boys need deep practice to keep pushing their skill to the edge of their current ability, practice matches where chances are taken and corrections made on the spot, strength and flexibility training, playing other sports to expand their athletic base, and rest. Just about all the best players played other sports like soccer until age 14 or so.

Playing that many sanctioned matches, many against lesser boys or pushers, many where boys are afraid to take chances, much time and energy wasted traveling, is utterly ridiculous and a waste of time.

I agree with you but I have a question for you. My son wants to play tournaments and he wants to play in as many as I'll let him. He seems to thrive on the competition and the environment. So, do I just hold him back? I've told him no to a few tournaments especially if they are farther than 45 mins away so he's stuck playing locally. I don't want him to get burned out, quite frankly, and that is my biggest concern.

Now, in my sons' defense, he has been taking a bit of a break lately(in his opinion). Summer morning tennis camp is over and he's now down to taking 1 lesson a week with his coach, 1 practice a week with his JR USTA team, 2 times a week for 2 hours each time at another tennis program. They spend the first hour on mechanics and fitness drills and the second hour is match play. He also will go out and hit with my husband and play some point drills for about 2 hours on Saturdays or Sundays. When we had summer camp, he was playing 2 hours minimum for 4 days a week on top of the rest of the schedule and I, personally, was getting burned out....not him, LOL!

Also, in Arizona we have USTA tournaments called Super Sets and I find these to be a nice tournament 'environment' that takes only 2-3 hours of our time. The kids play 1 set against various players and earn nominal USTA ranking points for their wins. It seems to give them good match play experience and it's a one shot deal for the parents; you're in and then you're out! No coming back the next day and the next day for the semis, finals, etc! So, I encourage my son to play in these type of tournaments over the weekend long tourneys.

TennisCoachFLA
08-12-2009, 07:05 AM
I agree with you but I have a question for you. My son wants to play tournaments and he wants to play in as many as I'll let him. He seems to thrive on the competition and the environment. So, do I just hold him back? I've told him no to a few tournaments especially if they are farther than 45 mins away so he's stuck playing locally. I don't want him to get burned out, quite frankly, and that is my biggest concern.

Now, in my sons' defense, he has been taking a bit of a break lately(in his opinion). Summer morning tennis camp is over and he's now down to taking 1 lesson a week with his coach, 1 practice a week with his JR USTA team, 2 times a week for 2 hours each time at another tennis program. They spend the first hour on mechanics and fitness drills and the second hour is match play. He also will go out and hit with my husband and play some point drills for about 2 hours on Saturdays or Sundays. When we had summer camp, he was playing 2 hours minimum for 4 days a week on top of the rest of the schedule and I, personally, was getting burned out....not him, LOL!

Also, in Arizona we have USTA tournaments called Super Sets and I find these to be a nice tournament 'environment' that takes only 2-3 hours of our time. The kids play 1 set against various players and earn nominal USTA ranking points for their wins. It seems to give them good match play experience and it's a one shot deal for the parents; you're in and then you're out! No coming back the next day and the next day for the semis, finals, etc! So, I encourage my son to play in these type of tournaments over the weekend long tourneys.

Seems like you are doing very well balancing things out. There is no formula for each kid, but you can look for one thing....is he continuing to get better and maintaining excitement about his tennis?

My only concern as far as many tournaments for the 8-10-12s is that I see some kids who play tournaments every weekend just for the points. They play the same safe game week after week.....not working on their weaker shots, just trying to get a win each weekend. Their 'practices' are low energy and pretty lame. Its like in their minds practice is a waste as they are 'tournament players'.

Those kids get passed by most time by the kids who play less tournaments from 8-12 and play multiple sports to increase their overall athletic ability and who practice intensely to work on their weaknesses.

I see so many highly ranked, tons of tournament, kids 12 and under who just vanish off the face of the tennis world by age 13-15.

You have to balance it all for your boy....tournaments, avoiding burnout, and how to keep him improving so he is a great player at 18 and does not peak at 12. Sounds like you are on top of it mom!

Double-Bagel
08-13-2009, 01:34 PM
I play in Belgium, vtv, 75 matches/year

tennisputz
08-14-2009, 07:44 AM
Seems like you are doing very well balancing things out. There is no formula for each kid, but you can look for one thing....is he continuing to get better and maintaining excitement about his tennis?

My only concern as far as many tournaments for the 8-10-12s is that I see some kids who play tournaments every weekend just for the points. They play the same safe game week after week.....not working on their weaker shots, just trying to get a win each weekend. Their 'practices' are low energy and pretty lame. Its like in their minds practice is a waste as they are 'tournament players'.

Those kids get passed by most time by the kids who play less tournaments from 8-12 and play multiple sports to increase their overall athletic ability and who practice intensely to work on their weaknesses.

I see so many highly ranked, tons of tournament, kids 12 and under who just vanish off the face of the tennis world by age 13-15.

You have to balance it all for your boy....tournaments, avoiding burnout, and how to keep him improving so he is a great player at 18 and does not peak at 12. Sounds like you are on top of it mom!

You mention that there is no formula, but ask if the kid is getting better, enjoying it,etc. If so than it may be OK. The kids that are playing this many tournaments are the best and are getting better. Playing this much compared to other kids, how could they not be the best. They enjoy playing this many tournaments and are exited otherwise they wouldn't be doing it.

They are not chasing points because only the top 6 tournament results count in the rankings and for many of the tournaments they enter, even if they win, the points don't add anything to their ranking. So on the surface it appears that everything is OK. I still can't help to feel that maybe it would be better to play say 50 or 60 matches and spend more time practicing and playing other sports. Would less tournament play benefit them long term? Should the clamps be put on playing so many tournaments even if the kid wants to?

deltox
08-14-2009, 08:28 AM
My son is 11, he started playing tennis 2 years ago when he came to one of my tournaments. he literally eats drinks and sleeps tennis. he wakes up before school eats breakfast and plays top spin for half an hour, after school he completes his work, eats and walks to the middle school right beside our house staying for hours on end. I feel like any weekend i cant take him to another tourney im holding him back. he plays baseball in the spring, but outside of that its only tennis. i cannot imagine telling him he has to take some time off tennis, i disagree with limits on time or tournaments. I would never tell my boy he cant play the game he loves at 11 years old no matter how much he wants to play in organized events.

LeftyServe
08-14-2009, 02:49 PM
My son is 11, he started playing tennis 2 years ago when he came to one of my tournaments. he literally eats drinks and sleeps tennis. he wakes up before school eats breakfast and plays top spin for half an hour, after school he completes his work, eats and walks to the middle school right beside our house staying for hours on end. I feel like any weekend i cant take him to another tourney im holding him back. he plays baseball in the spring, but outside of that its only tennis. i cannot imagine telling him he has to take some time off tennis, i disagree with limits on time or tournaments. I would never tell my boy he cant play the game he loves at 11 years old no matter how much he wants to play in organized events.

The point is: Where is the drive coming from? If it's from the child, there's a much smaller chance of burn-out. It sounds like your son is self-driven, and what a wonderful thing that is.