5-Y-Old Great Player

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TennisBro, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. TennisBro

    TennisBro New User

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Messages:
    34
    My son is 5 and a half years old and I think he has a lot of talent for tennis. I don't want to push him too far, but what he has accomplished so far at his very young age is, in my humble opinion, remarkable.

    What he can do on the court is; hit forehands and backhands from the baseline over the net, volley or smash from the middle of his side accross the net to me; and he has about 20 percent success rate on the service (from the baseline). Moreover, although on a smaller area of the adult tennis court (service lines), he's able to play really decent games with me that have rallies over 10 and at times even 15 shots which include both forehands and backhands. At times, he can well smash the ball from the air at me too. All that with an adult sized tennis racket.

    Because I've been paying attention to his tennis skills for about two years, and since we've been swimming (learnt at the age of 3), biking (learnt at the age of 4), running and playing soccer for 4 years actively, my son Jay has developed some amazing motor skills as well. His physical fitness is remarkable (we lift some light weight as well) as well as is his endurance at his very young age. On the tennis court, bike or soccer field, he's got the agility, and I just would love my son to further develop in tennis.

    I understand that at such a young age it is not wise to take up tennis so seriously as I would like him to; however, the thought of what my son may be able to accomplish with a more professional approach than mine keeps bugging me more and more often. So, I am looking for a better direction from proffesional trainers of young learners and perhaps from some tennis schools too.

    Regards,
    TennisBro
     
    #1
  2. Seth

    Seth Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2009
    Messages:
    2,433
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Now is the time for him to decide who he is.
     
    #2
  3. TennisBro

    TennisBro New User

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Messages:
    34
    Although it isn't the time for him to decide who he ought to be one day, it is the time to begin opening the doors to possibilities. In my humble opinion, the more doors we open for our kids the more opportunities they'll have to choose from when they are ready to make those important decisions for themselves. The problem I see in the case of tennis is that the development in this sport requires a more professional approach than in some other sports and that it has its unique features. Anyhow, the top level in any sport within the next 15 years will be much higher and I bet tennis will see some extraordinary players who are already preparing in many ways today.

    So, I am looking for solutions to what I should do and where I should look for help which I must figure out within next couple years.
     
    #3
  4. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,830
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Lifting weights at 5 years old? You cannot be serious!
     
    #4
  5. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    732
    Location:
    On the pitch
    I wish you and your son the best of luck. If he is showing talent in tennis at a young age, invest in some decent coaches and let him play a lot (if he wants to.)

    If he develops great technique early on, he will be able to focus on the mental aspects of the game during his early teens. Just remember not to push him too hard and make sure he is having fun with tennis or he will end up hating it for the rest of his life.
     
    #5
  6. TeamOB

    TeamOB Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2014
    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    On the Kyrgios/Thiem/Zverev bandwagon!
    Take him to a local junior coach. Pick a coach with experience. Ask how many high-level (D1, pro) players he has developed. Make sure the coach is interested in working with your son for many years. A long term commitment is very important. After you find a good coach, step back and let the coach do his thing. Playing in a junior program with other kids his age will help your son develop a love for the game in addition to improve his tennis skills. From your description, I am sure he can become a great player with good coaching. If you don't mind, please post some video so we can see the first steps of a future champ.
     
    #6
  7. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,174
    At 5 years old, work on making him the best well-rounded athlete he can be by doing things he likes to do.
    As far as tennis, just make sure his fundamentals are sound at this point.
    Don't go tennis-only at this point.
     
    #7
  8. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    I have seen this scene repeated countless times over the past 20 years. You should encourage his love of tennis, get him hitting with solid fundamentals, develop his athletic base with multiple sports.

    But in the end realize one universal truth.....what he looks like at 5-9 is not likely to mean a thing. We see it over and over again. Kids with early starts beat the pants off kids who do not play much. But a solid athlete who starts at age 9 instead of 5 can catch up in a very short time.

    To be frank....what you do from age 5-8 will not make one iota of difference as long as when he does play tennis, the fundamentals are solid. No amount of repetition will matter long term at that age. If he is talented, he will remain on par or ahead of the other players at age 12-13. If not, he will be caught and passed by at that age. Will not matter if he played lots of tennis at age 5 or waited until age 9.

    Our SE FL tennis scene is full of kids who 'started at age 2 or 3', really, 2 or 3, I am not joking. Full time, dad runs a tennis program. But by age 10-11 they are what they are. The talented ones are doing great, the less athletic ones crash right back down into the pack and have been passed by the ones who started at age 9 but are just really, really good athletes.

    So as far as what to do at age 5? Anything activity wise is great. Nothing will matter with tennis at all except decent fundamental stroke patterns.
     
    #8
  9. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    4,870
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I think 5 years old is a little late to start training, but he might be able to catch up.

    A good friend of mine started working with his son when he was still in-utero during the last trimester of his wife's pregnancy. He would play Youtube videos of internet tennis instruction through a bluetooth speaker into the womb. The voice of Will Hamilton straight into the navel for 5 hours per day. He would also have his wife mimic the kinetic chain of the forehand and backhand... which would create a stretch shortening cycle inside of the uterus. That way, his unborn son would be familiar with these things by the time he was born.

    His son is now two years old. He is a 4.5 in the south-eastern region. He started winning USTA tournaments at 16 months past birth. He uses a Wilson Juice leaded up to 12.5oz at 3-and-9 o'çlock. There are D-1 schools that are starting to scout his son. He's excited.

    Good luck to you, OP. Better late than never.
     
    #9
  10. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,892
    I second this.

    The top players today are both good tennis players and good athletes. If he's playing some tennis today, that's good. He's started early enough. Make sure he's doing other sports so he doesn't get overuse injuries at an early age.
     
    #10
  11. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,146
    It's a violation of forum rules to post your kid's name. I'm not going to report you since you're new here, but I just wanted to let you know.

    That being said, the most important thing is to have fun with your kid out there. Don't focus strongly on tennis; as others have said, what he can do now has no bearing on what he will be able to do when he's older and it counts. And cut out the weights immediately. His growth plates are not developed, and you could hurt him in the long term.
     
    #11
  12. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,751
    The only "weights" exercises that may be indicated would be olympic lifts with a dowl rod that weighs less than 2 pounds. Just a way to train the movements before he is old enough for any real weight.
     
    #12
  13. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    2,356
    Location:
    Between the baseline and netcord.
    #13
  14. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,667
    Location:
    Here and There
    Full size racket at 5 years old is never a good idea, no matter how talented you believe your son or daughter is.
     
    #14
  15. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Messages:
    5,525
    calm down, step back, take a deep breath.

    Get the kid in junior programs with good coaching at age 6-7. Keep it low key unless the kid ask for more. The key is you don't want to turn the kid off. Let him keep playing other sports. Maybe around 10-12 age he can decide if tennis is his thing.

    Also, don't get too excited because early performance doesn't mean success as an ATP pro. Al Parker won the junior grand slam playing up an age group when he was 11 or 12 years old. He never made it as a pro. He had some injuries and just did not develop as well as everyone thought. He was considered to be world class prospect. He did play on a D1 scholarship which is not too shabby but he was written up in Tennis Magazine in his early teens as the next great American.
     
    #15
  16. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    31,170
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Yes. If he waits til he's six it may be too late! :mrgreen:
     
    #16
  17. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,072
    So, there are plenty of stories of early success not translating into pro success, but none that I can think of the other way. If you go through the top 100 ATP bios, all played early and were accomplished juniors, and usually early, yet many people like to say results in the 12's and 14's don't matter. Does anyone know of a top pro, that was mediocre at 12-14?
     
    #17
  18. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    Agree 100%. If the kid likes tennis, playing at that early age will not hurt him a bit. But it will not help any either.

    BUT, you are correct....by the 14s things matter if you are talking about being a top 100 pro. Almost all of them made noise as juniors and their future talent did not just pop up at age 18.

    My point was that if he went into tennis seriously by about age 9 he will end up in the same place by age 12-14 as the other equally talented kids who 'started' at age 3-6. Seen it to many times to count down here. Its amazing how fast kids learn from 9-12 and catch right up to the kids who started much earlier.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
    #18
  19. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,092
    What's he bench pressing right now? Same for squats. If he's not squatting 2x his bodyweight he doesn't really have a chance, I'm sorry to say.
     
    #19
  20. TennisBro

    TennisBro New User

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Messages:
    34
    I appreciate the fine response here.

    "If he is showing talent in tennis at a young age, invest in some decent coaches and let him play a lot (if he wants to.)
    If he develops great technique early on, he will be able to focus on the mental aspects of the game during his early teens."

    Those are exactly my thoughts. What I am having difficulties with is the circumstances as I currently am on mainland China, Guangzhou to be precise. Not much professionalizm is offered around.

    "Take him to a local junior coach. Pick a coach with experience. Ask how many high-level (D1, pro) players he has developed. Make sure the coach is interested in working with your son for many years. A long term commitment is very important. After you find a good coach, step back and let the coach do his thing. Playing in a junior program with other kids his age will help your son develop a love for the game in addition to improve his tennis skills. From your description, I am sure he can become a great player with good coaching. If you don't mind, please post some video so we can see the first steps of a future champ."
    Precisely my idea, although like I have said above it's tough due to the fact that I am working in Guangzhou and my wife is a Chinese. As for the visual of first steps, I’ve been planning to videotape my son in action for a few months and that not only to boast of my child’s capabilities but to use it as a teaching tool and so to show him how he’s actually looking on the court and what he’s doing right or wrong. I am working on it and will gladly share his skills with the forum soon; perhaps in a few weeks-he’s very shy in front of cameras though.

    "So, there are plenty of stories of early success not translating into pro success, but none that I can think of the other way. If you go through the top 100 ATP bios, all played early and were accomplished juniors, and usually early, yet many people like to say results in the 12's and 14's don't matter. Does anyone know of a top pro, that was mediocre at 12-14?"
    Perhaps Davydenko had some issues on the age around that. However, I absolutely agree with that above statement. Federer started at 7, Djokovic, Sharapova, Nalbandian and so many others before they were 5. Worth mentioning that Sharapova's dad was so vocal about his daughter to join the junior competition at earlier than allowed age. In any case, I really don’t think kids that begin at 9 will ever be able to catch up with the competition of 2026/7. How the current stars have arrived to their success will most likely not be enough in 12-13 years.

    "Lifting weights at 5 years old? You cannot be serious! "
    When I say that he lifts weights, I don’t mean any serious loads. A couple pounds in each hand to walk with a little, to turn in for wrists strength or to put it up in the air from the seat shouldn’t be much at all. Little kids often lift as heavy toys in playgrounds anyway. So, doing this under a supervision and more systematic power training may provide the little kid some strength, and in fact has yielded some pretty interesting results; he has no problem holding the light weight 255 grams Head adult racket either for his forehand or smash from above his head. Had he not used weight, I thought he would probably have injured either his wrist or shoulder, which hasn’t been the case as he is stronger.

    "It's a violation of forum rules to post your kid's name. I'm not going to report you since you're new here, but I just wanted to let you know."
    If the rule is that I am not supposed to say my son’s first name, than I apologize and am indebted for not telling mods.

    Anyhow, if I were a professional tennis coach or owned a tennis school, I’d pay attention. None of us in any business are in it for ourselves only; kids with the potential today may offer plenty not only to their families but to a lot more people in the future.
     
    #20
  21. Sir Shankalot

    Sir Shankalot Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    Taunton, United Kingdom
    Hi OP

    I suggest that you read this article from tennis magazine written by Judy Murray (Andy's mum).

    I won't try and summarize but here is a good quote:

     
    #21
  22. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    Good article. But by the OP's last post anything we say will fall on deaf ears. I have learned one thing in the past 20 years, once a tennis dad makes up his mind he has a prodigy, the rest is history.

    Most of them will pay huge amounts of money for training, obsess on the kid playing boatloads of tennis, scour the internet for every possible training advantage. Which would all be great....when the kid is at least 10-11 years old and not 5.

    He could take the boy to the playground and let him play on the monkey bars and play tag for the next 4 years, and end up in exactly the same place in regards to tennis at age 12-14 as he will spending ages 5-8 training like a demon.

    But its easier to stop a speeding locomotive than it is to slow down a tennis dad who thinks his 5-6 year old is special. As long as it does not lead to burn out or overuse injury its harmless....a total waste of time, effort, and money.....but harmless.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
    #22
  23. Sir Shankalot

    Sir Shankalot Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Messages:
    262
    Location:
    Taunton, United Kingdom
    I hope for the sake of OP's son that the comments here do not fall on deaf ears. As the father of two teenagers I can assure you that putting too much pressure and expectation on a 5 year old is anything but harmless, psychologically speaking. And the worst thing is that young children will usually do almost anything to please their parents, and so will go along with stuff even if it is storing up problems for later.

    If you don't believe me, just read the early chapters of Andre Agassi's autobiography, Open. Maybe a bad example because he really did turn into a tennis star, but his account of his relationship with his father is absolutely heartbreaking.
     
    #23
  24. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    Oh, I could not agree more. Thats why I said in my initial response, 'If' the kid loves tennis and loves to play, let him.

    But as we all know, in many cases its the parents leading the charge and the kid just going along to please them.

    My point was more along the lines of trying to gain an advantage starting at 3 or 5 or 6 years old. In the end, kids eventually settle at their talent levels whether they start at age 2 or age 9.
     
    #24
  25. MarinaHighTennis

    MarinaHighTennis Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,001
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    A 5 yr old camera shy? They wouldn't know what a camera is. PS I have a feeling he's gonna hate tennis in the future...
     
    #25
  26. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Messages:
    5,525
    McEnroe was a late bloomer. Sampras also developed late. Have we really reached the point where we have to send kids to IMG Academy before the age of 8 to have them play pro tennis. I don't think so.
     
    #26
  27. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,072
    Mac was ranked in the top 10 nationally by age 12 and made the main draw of a major by age 18. Sampras was also a highly ranked junior, although he had a setback while changing his backhand, he turned pro by age 16 and finished the year ranked 97 in the world. Those are no late bloomers.

    Unfortunately, tennis is an all-in sport from an early age for those with pro aspirations, especially in today's age where the sport is more competitive globally. Personally, I disagree with choosing a path and training full-time to be a pro from 9-10 years old, but you'd be hard pressed to find a pro that's actually making a good living on tour (top 100) that was not all-in early and highly successful nationally by 12 or 14.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
    #27
  28. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,667
    Location:
    Here and There
    You guys gotta relax a bit. This stuff happens all the time, nothing you can do about it.

    Personally, I wouldn't put my kid into tennis if I was looking for any financial returns. Golf would be the way to go. Tennis is much more difficult to learn, takes a lot more practice hours to perfect your...well everything! and the financial rewards are pocket change. Any PGA pro who's got his tour card will earn close to at least $1mill a year. A tennis professional getting close to those numbers in the top 100, keep dreaming. The top guys make a great living but the rest are just scrambling by. Besides, looking at all the empty seats in the stadiums when the top guys aren't playing is not a good sign.

    Even as a professional coach the average salaries are a joke compared to another country club sport like golf but you know what I love the sport and wouldn't wanna be doing anything else. I'm talking only about finances here because really what does a parents of a 5 year old see when they think they have a prodigy really? Anyways, you're best to play the lottery, online poker or bet on horses if a parent wants to see some financial returns. If the parents wants to get his kid into college, free education, learn a sport for a lifetime, keep them outta trouble during their teen years etc etc then yes go for it but there's no need for the little guy to be lifting weights at 5 years old, playing with an adult size racket and being run ragged on court in the heat yet not even be in first grade yet.

    Think of it this way, in 5 years which is a long time the kid will be 10. Only 10, and by that time he might not even like tennis. Tennis has become a chore, not play time. Kids wanna play, they don't wanna work and they wanna play on their own terms. Thats how they come to love something, where there's a burning desire to want to do it all the time. It has to come from within, naturally and not be forced into it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
    #28
  29. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,072
    I agree. I'm not advocating taking a 5 year old and training them like a pro. I was simply making the point that the math is so stacked against making it as a top pro, thousands upon thousands will be all-in from an early age worldwide, and only a few will make it while the rest will flame out.

    But I'm also pointing out that virtually all top pros started early and had early success. People shouldn't "kid" themselves that if their kid is mediocre at 10 or 12 and they are not training "full time", that they can be a "late bloomer" and be a successful pro. Then it goes from a one-in-a-million chance to a miracle.

    Work hard, play hard, have fun, love the game and become good, sure, but don't put all your eggs in the tennis pro or bust basket as a kid.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
    #29
  30. Supertegwyn

    Supertegwyn Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Messages:
    4,031
    I'm pretty sure that you can't develop testosterone (and therefore grow muscle) until you are at least around that 10 - 12 age range. I'm not a doctor and I can only vaguely remember hearing that on a documentary once but I really doubt that lifting weights as a five year old will lead to any benefit at all.

    I suppose I could be wrong but you should probably check that out before you start.
     
    #30
  31. TennisBro

    TennisBro New User

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Messages:
    34
    I am sorry to have misled you into such assumptions that I am incapable to accept a good advice. My ears are just fine; and to my knowledge, I have no other defects that'd prevent me from understanding the discussion.

    My son and I have been spending plenty of time together, and a few sports, which I have mentioned on this thread, are the major part. Perhaps, i'd like it to continue the way with soccer, tennis, biking and swimming combo, but i wouldn't mind having a pro tennis development program alongside. Seeking a professional help/advice doesn't have to necessarily mean that I don't listen to others, does it?

    Last but not least, Andy Murray's mom's article is a fine source of information and I can relate to what has been said there very much. I myself was a pro athlete (soccer) and played a few sports prior to the age of 13 when I got into a youth league.

    All in all, the time we spend with our kids and decisions we make about them are about parenting. How great fathers or mothers we are may depend on what quality time we spend with our loved ones. Where or how to spend the time with our kids is up to varieties of factors. My son is a part of the decision making process of what we do, and playing sports at a young age is better than keeping kids on the couch in front of TV. Most importantly, playing such a difficult sport as tennis may be with a help of a proffessional program much better than without it, in my humble opinion.
     
    #31
  32. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    4,870
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    This becomes two different discussions. If you have the money to throw around, then you choose between paying $100k in training/coaching/gear fees for ice skating, golf, tennis, talent/pageants, yachting, or whatever.

    For the rest of us non-rich folks, I'd think it wiser to take the monthly training/coaching/gear fees and put them into a child's 529 college education fund... instead of putting them into a sports vocation with hopes that they'll become a pro. It is obviously very likely that these kids will never see any financial return on such an investment. Such a gamble which will result in forcing them to bear the burden of over $100k in loans/interest for a college education. It is almost criminal the kinds of irresponsible financial decisions some parents make regarding their kids.
     
    #32
  33. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    OP, you totally changed the rules of the game with your last post. The thread was started with the premise that a 5 year old has "talent for tennis" and went on and on about how you want to be sure to get as much professional help to maximize his tennis success.

    Your last post changed that to spending time with him, a good activity to keep him away from being a couch potato, etc. 2 entirely different discussion.

    I agree with you 100% about your last post and the benefits of tennis, and spending quality time with your kid.

    But that is not the post any of us were responding to. As I told you there is no such thing as tennis talent at age 5 in regards to long term success or failure. I have been doing this for 20 plus years. Kids do come along who can hit from the baseline at age 3, throw a ball further than other kids, run faster, etc. But nothing you do at that age really matters. Just let them play all sorts of things and have fun.

    When your kid is around 9, then if he is still into tennis, the training will start to matter. But until then, no amount of tennis training will change his eventually tennis accomplishments one way or the other.
     
    #33
  34. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,778
    With that approach, there would be hardly any non-rich tennis pros, and the game would decline. Only Gulbis will be playing.
     
    #34
  35. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    4,870
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I'm not 100% sure, but there might be things in this world more important than the level of professional tennis. Like kids having solid educations that don't send them into debt well into their 40s and cause them to be unable to do other necessary things like buy a house, a car, or provide sufficiently for their own family.
     
    #35
  36. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,778
    The fallacy lies in your assumption that this is a zero-sum game. Unless middle class or even lower kids get into tennis, tennis will decline. That means no more jobs in event management, coaching, sports science, racket and ball manufacturing, court surfacing, court lighting, club construction, resort management, transportation, law, and so on. Then lot more people will be poor.

    Sports, movies, and TV shows drive entertainment. The people in these fields have to take a risk because competition is intense and there is no job security. But they are the reason that 9-5 stiffs have safe jobs. No one would hire electronics engineers to design better TVs if there is nothing to watch.
     
    #36
  37. TennisBro

    TennisBro New User

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Messages:
    34
    What my last post's brought in is the justification for all the sports I play with him rather than that change in the direction that you are suggesting. Claiming that I have TOTALLY ALTERED the discussion is preposterous. Re-read my first post and see that I have said how "remarkable" I believe he is on the court; and how I am seeking some professional assistance in the area of tennis. Have a closer look at the parts where I mention the other sports which I also play with him.

    In any case, I am thankful for all the attention this thread has generated, but I don't appreciate your couple of posts that are way off and rather confrontational. For the sake of my kid, would you please give a chance to appropriate inferring rather than inappropriate insinuating?
     
    #37
  38. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,667
    Location:
    Here and There
    TennisBro, you do not need professional tennis advice but I will give it to you anyways :)
    All you need to do with your kid at this age is to have him play tennis with other kids. Meaning put him in group mini tennis lessons. The worst thing you can do is pay for private lessons because they will bore him to death and will cost you extra with very little benefits. Let him have fun, explore the sport with other kids and have him come off the court wanting more. Also playing with your son is great as well but keep it light and if he wants to stop its ok. Just let him hit the ball and keep instruction to a minimum and the very very basics.
    I think you mentioned you're in China which makes your situation sorta unique. Try and find an international tennis school there, I'm sure there is one as a friend of mine went to coach in Shanghai and worked with other foreign coaches. Just don't get suckered into private lessons. They are about as useful as a handbrake on a canoe right now. Once he's 7 or so and progressing and loving it then start thinking about it.
     
    #38
  39. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,430
    Location:
    Make TT better, use the Ignore List!
    I heard he was sandbagging as a 4.0 on in his third trimester.
     
    #39
  40. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Messages:
    1,165
    Tennis is a late developing sport. Success early on is great but not the only determining factor of potential.
     
    #40
  41. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,072
    Depends on what you mean by "late". Sure, there are tons of examples of top 12-14 juniors not making it in pro tennis, but conversely virtually every top 100 pro was a standout and winning nationally/internationally by 12-14, which means they had some years of development and training by that time.

    While not all with early success make it as a pro, early success is a trait in all top pros. I think it's just math. Many, many talented juniors with good training, but only a few spots at the top to actually make money as a player.
     
    #41
  42. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    Actually OP, my posts were non confrontational and done jokingly. Saying even a locomotive can not stop a tennis dad who thinks he has a prodigy was a joke, same with the deaf ear comment....but the reality is over 20 years I have seen too many dads to count say the very same thing you did in your initial post. Jokes usually have some basis in reality....many tennis dads of little kids are like locomotives or hurricanes, impossible to stop.

    Your real issue is the same as all of theirs, the truth stinks. The truth is that nothing you do at age 5 will make any difference. No tennis dad who thinks his kid has talent wants to hear that. There MUST be some way, early expert coaching, medicine ball training at age 6, hit 1000000 more balls than the other kids do from age 5-8....something.

    But there just is not. Whether you pay attention to his tennis at age 5, or decide to just take him to the playground and/or let him kick a soccer ball instead until age 9, he will end up at the same tennis place by age 13. The improvement from 9-13 will be identical as if he had trained instead from 5-13.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
    #42
  43. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,778
    That is what Agassi said helped him - hitting millions of balls more than other kids.
     
    #43
  44. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,072
    What evidence is there of this in the upper echelon of tennis? Go through the bios of the top 100 - most if not all started well before 9. Most if not all were playing national or international level by 11 or 12. Are there examples of top 100 pros starting "late" or even top D1 players? More evidence shows that top players were early starters with early success. At least I don't see anything to the contrary.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
    #44
  45. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,447
    Except most likely Al would have done very well but could not stay healthy.
     
    #45
  46. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,447
    you are very right here, but it is likely more of a numbers and finance game from there out. In other words, the ones who have the time, money and inclination to do the work to be a pro are likely well into it by 14 (statistically speaking). Pretty rare for someone to take up the game at 16, then put in the next 6yrs it will take just to have a chance to knock at the door by 22 (and 6 yrs is optimistic).

    I'm a big believer it could happen if we took 5000 good athletes and got them on track at 15-16, and even with better percentages than what we see now....but just ain't going to happen.
     
    #46
  47. cjs

    cjs Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    739
    If you want him to learn how to play tennis properly take him to a tennis coach. There are expat tennis coaches in Guangdong (I've lived there), plus I imagine your kid can speak Cantonese and/or Mandarin so I'm sure there are good Chinese coaches to be found.

    To be honest though from your original post I thought you must be either trolling or a crazy pushy parent. The fitness regime your putting your kid through sounds a tad extreme...
     
    #47
  48. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,072
    This already happens worldwide. If we did this in the US, we might get a few more top 100s, but the math is the math. Only 100 or less worldwide can actually make good money on tour. This is not basketball, baseball, or football - no teams, no "bench/practice players", no D-league/minors, no contracts with minimum salaries, paid coaching, travel, healthcare, etc. Even if 5,000 players have the talent, resources, athleticism, and luck, pro tennis is still a lottery.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
    #48
  49. Postpre

    Postpre Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Messages:
    108
    I agree with TCF. His assertions fit in quite nicely with what young kids are actually able to handle from a motor skill standpoint. As TCF said, at young age (i.e., 6-9) it's helpful to learn proper technique, and then let kids be kids by exposing them to a variety of activities that promote coordination, balance, spatial awareness, reactivity, etc.. (and a lot of these things can involve fun activities, and playing other sports)

    I very much like the approach of IYCA (International Youth Conditioning Association) with how they treat the "training" of young athletes.

    Youth Fitness - Long term training success for 6-9 year olds:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NFBjKlfvf4&list=PL92B2BFD2D3126466

    Youth Fitness Strength Training 6-9 years:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ3dDv6hUao&list=PL92B2BFD2D3126466
     
    #49
  50. TennisBro

    TennisBro New User

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Messages:
    34
    Although I am still thankful for your contribution, I find it really difficult to agree with your attitude.

    First of all, your previous suggestion that I've "totally changed" the direction on this thread seems to be exactly your case. With all due respect, what kind of a sarcasm are you trying to practice? I too am guilty of mocking others and even misinterpret postings at times; however, when pointed at for my shortcomings I have the decency to apologize rather than look for excuses for my behaviors.

    To follow a sport for 20 years and not be able to notice that the ones who begin earlier usually have an advantage is quite something. Kids can learn swimming before walking, using two or three languages before they are capable to wipe their own arses, and you want all to believe that picking up a tennis racket and hitting a few balls a couple times weekly is for NOTHING because the kid is simply not 9 years old yet. Forgive my language but that's a fine gibberish.

    So, the problem here seems to really be your poor knowledge of early and young learners as well as your familiarity with the field of education. My regards for you are there and I am certain that many others may feel the same; however, if one hopes to develop to the highest level of competence in an area, s/he'd better seek assistance elsewhere than with such a carring individual who does not believe that kids born on skates are simply ahead of the ones who are not. Honestly, if you put a beginner (9 year-old) soccer player into the same class/group with a competitive kid of the same age that's been playing for at least a couple years well, you are only putting the ambitious kid that's already learnt plenty back to the drawing board sadly. But I'd agree with you if those kids were in it just for FUN. Perhaps, that's what you've been doing for past 20 years, haven't you?

    Anyhow, even though it's understandable that tennis isn't learning languages, swimming or soccer, it is difficult to comprehend why some would be so cynical and ignorant of youth development. Riding high horses as experts and/or living out of some professions is one thing; getting hands dirty, making extra steps and taking chances is another.
     
    #50

Share This Page