Does the 10s, 12s, and 14s really matter?

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by momtogrif, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. momtogrif

    momtogrif Rookie

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    We've been trying to explain to our son that what happens in the 12s doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. He seems to place such a huge importance on rankings and his 'place' amongst the other players and I get a bit tired of it!

    So, how important are the lower age brackets if your child is looking to play college tennis? Is it important for them to establish their place in the tennis community early or is it something that can wait. What should they be focusing on at this age(he's 11, by the way)? We also tell him that we just want him to have fun and as long as he's coming out of the bigger tournaments(think level 4's and 5's) with at least one win, then he should be pleased. He's been playing tournaments for exactly one year and I think he's done great, but he gets so disappointed when he loses that it's hard for a mom to watch, LOL!
     
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  2. duusoo

    duusoo Rookie

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    They are essentially meaningless. Seldom does the top 10 yr old become the top 16 yr old. For Boys especially, 16 is the critical year. Now this certainly isn't an absolute, but I'm comfortable saying it's at least 80% accurate.
     
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  3. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    duusoo basically nailed it. The 10-14s are meaningless, most especially for the boys as they mature later and you don't see the real athletes until later than with the girls. The real male players emerge in the 16s-18s.

    In fact many long time tennis experts say that if you look at the top ranked 10-12 year olds you know who will NOT be a highly ranked 18. Of course there are exceptions to every 'rule'.
     
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  4. tennismom42

    tennismom42 Semi-Pro

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    Testoserone, don't under estimate it. Boys are becoming men and there aren't many ideal settings for it.

    They get "training" by competing in the 12s & 14s. They learn lessons in every match. Exposure is important. Coachse look at 16s rankings. Remember, they want recruits in November of the Senior year, for first signing. That's when the boys are going from 16 to 17, typically.

    You can't just show up in the 16s and be stellar.

    Maintain great grades.
     
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  5. freedomtennis

    freedomtennis Rookie

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    Its not like its completley useless because playing in these age groups can give you an expirience to what it is like to play in a tournament. Whats important is to not to stress alot of tournament play during this age and focus more on practicing, drills, and conditioning. If you play too many tournaments kids get burned out, injuries(happened to my friend, and loss of interest. Baisically they are for expirence and a stepping stool to the place where it matters 16s-18s.

    You should tell your son to have fun and play his best for now. Tell him that this is more like the basis of tournament play before you get to the 16s-18s and thats where it really matters. Turn his attiude to positive and tell him to work hard. Try to focus more on his coaching because if you can teach better technique now it will go long ways even if you dont see immediate results (nadals forehand didnt do well in the begining but later the results showed). Also make him do more conditioning to increase strength and speed. By the time he turns 15-16 he will become stronger, taller, and faster. This will instantly sperate him from alot of players.
     
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  6. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Guess our experiences are different. In mine, many of the the 12s-14s higher ranked kids are dinking and obsessing over points and rankings. Coaches just don't care about the boy's rankings at that age.

    And yes, many boys do magically appear and are "stellar" in the 16s...the ones developing a strong game in the 12s-14s and not giving a hoot about rankings yet.
     
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  7. USERNAME

    USERNAME Professional

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    10s and 12s are not really important in terms of rankings, at this age you wanna make sure that your helping them build a sound foundation. 14s are when they should start to show alot of technical improvement and this is as late as any changes should be made to their technical game, at this age ranking starts to become more relevant. 16s are where they need to make their move to the top tier and really play a ton of tourneys.
     
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  8. tennis-silver

    tennis-silver Banned

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    agree.....
     
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  9. momtogrif

    momtogrif Rookie

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    His coach is from Bolivia and lived and played in France for 10 years and then taught in Switzerland for 7 years. He believes that my son needs to learn consistency and accuracy right now and that the proper stroke techniques he's learning now will pay off when he's in the 14s and 16s. He says my son is losing now because he's playing kids who play junk ball and dink ball and that this type of game won't hold up in the 16s so he encourages my son to be patient and to STOP obsessing over rankings, LOL! I like his approach but I have to say that it's hard to watch my kid lose to kids who have no true technique. I'm thinking of backing off on tournaments like the local ones and level 6's and just focusing on the bigger tournaments and go from there. Luckily, tournaments around here are tapering off and I'm hoping he can get together with some friends for some match play over the next few weeks.
     
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  10. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    agreed...

    I would talk with your kids coach about implementing game plans that are effective against junk ballers and pushers. Not sure what advice your child is getting here for strategies to use in these matches but I'd have the conversation with the coach. Just trying to outlast a pusher for kids who don't push will most often lead to frustration. Serving out wide and running a pusher corner to corner is one game plan that has worked for my child. Mixed in is an occasional serve out wide and volley to the open court on close out points has shown to be effective. Often kids who like to hit get sucked into a pushers game hitting back down the middle or pushing back down the middle and allow the pusher to control the center of the court which is what the pusher wants.

    If your kid wants to play tournaments now is as good a time as any in the 12's and 14's to learn to deal with the pusher. Pushers are still going to be there in the 16's. When your kid learns effective strategies and further develops weapons as he gets older he'll love playing pushers cause he'll begin to crush them easily.
     
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  11. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    andfor offered some great advice. The junk ballers are all over junior tennis and your son can not get to caught up with losing to them.

    However, it also can not be an excuse....he junked ball me! He will see some junk even at higher levels. So he has to stay tough and game plan for the junkers.....just don't obsess about the rankings.
     
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  12. momtogrif

    momtogrif Rookie

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    True! I get junk balled in my 3.5 matches all the time!!! And, yes, I come off court thinking, "Gee I have nice strokes, so why did I lose to a 65 year old lady with a racquet as big as Goliath's head?" OH, that's right! She had better strategy and placement.

    I will talk to his coach! He's actually going to be participating in a new elite training program at our club(his coach is at a different resort) and they are really going to work strategy and drills for the kids so I'm hoping he'll learn something there, as well.

    Edited to add: As for the rankings: I swear I need to block certain websites from his computer b/c he's checking them daily! Drives me crazy!
     
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  13. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    Exactly. Of course early competition is important, but not necessarily in the most obvious way. Developing a positive and constructive mindset for dealing with setbacks, ie losing, is one of the hardest and most important things for a young athlete to learn. The most successful people in and out of sports do two things differently than everyone else. First, they are more willing to take risks and therefore fail more frequently. Second, they use their failures in a positive way as a source of motivation and feedback to improve. Ideally, we would like to see a link develop between the child's emerging will to win and their unconditional faith in their coach's and parent's long term plan to achieve the highest level of personal excellence.

    In other words, the young athlete wins tomorrow if the experience of losing today motivates them to listen more closely to their coach and parents, redouble their efforts at doing what they are asked, and continue putting what they learn into action.
     
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  14. borg number one

    borg number one Legend

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    I'd say that as far as becoming really good and highly ranked, playing college tennis, etc...you don't make your career in the 10's-14's, but you can in essence, lower your probability of success quite a bit if a player does not train/develop much at all during these growing years. So, as others have mentioned, it basically "sets the stage". You don't start learning to win matches and suddenly "get it" all of a sudden at 16-17. It's a gradual process that really starts by the time you are about 12 or so. To the OP, it sounds like you have a real good attitude and it sounds like you have a very competitive son. That kind of "fire in the belly" may really help down the road. Let him know though, that there are plenty of juniors that struggle early and end up doing really well. Having said that, I don't think that his focus on achieving top notch results already is completely a bad thing. Some players have such "grit" and determination to be really good and others don't. That desire to be the best can be almost as crucial a factor as pure talent when it comes to young juniors.
     
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  15. tenniscrazed

    tenniscrazed Guest

    All the way up the juniors, college and even pro's there are "junk ballers" the beauty of tennis is that the true winners transcend themselves above junk/pushers/slowplay etc.

    Fabrice Santoro has made a career out of junking every touring pro for the past 20 years.

    Lleyton Hewitt has done real well for himself retrieving every ball.

    Andre Agassi did very well for himself as a counter puncher as did Michael Chang.

    A player must transcend themselves above the game style of the opponent.
     
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  16. EP1998

    EP1998 Semi-Pro

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    Rankings are less important than meeting personal goals and how your son does against certain players. In America, rankings are tied to money and how much you have to chase the points to some extent, so you cant get too caught up in all of that. You dont want to play too much to chase numbers, but you have to play enough. And you do have to play the numbers game to some extent, especially if college is the goal. if pros are the goal, and you are well funded, then the emphasis is definitely on game development, physical development and body maintenance. I would stress to your son that in a couple of years, no one is going to know or care how he did in the 12s. It's a fine line though. You want your kid to care about the results, but not too much.
     
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  17. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    ^^^^^^^
    Who are you BridgetJones???

    You've made the most concise statement about junior tennis in America.

    Junior tennis 30 years ago consisted of 4 National junior tournaments and maybe 1 junior tournament every month.
    Today, there are many nationals (super, level 2,3) and many local tournaments every month. (at least in Socal)
    It's about MONEY!

    If you have money, they you can avoid playing all the junior tournaments, but if you don't have the money, then you are forced to play/pay to get the high ranking to get noticed by the USTA or academies to get sponsored training.

    My advice, play enough tournaments to maintain ranking so that your son can get into the important nationals, then mix in some tournaments where he plays up (higher age group) where there's less pressure, more hitters and makes for a good practice.
     
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  18. EP1998

    EP1998 Semi-Pro

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    I have been around professional and Olympic sports all of my life basically. There are a lot of "games" to be played that go on off the court, field, pitch, pool etc.. How players manage all of that is just as important as the actual sport itself. Most people fail to do that and wonder why they don't make it. Of course fate and luck play a role too!

    I think your advice to momtogrif is spot on and very well stated.
     
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  19. tennis1970

    tennis1970 New User

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    In regards to tennis, matter in the long range scheme of things...probably not

    But playing in the 12s and 14s to meet kids and develop friendships that will last a lifetime is something you cannot put a price on.
     
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  20. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    I am puzzled by the people on this forum that do not think 12’s and 14’s “count”. Continually you read the statement that top 12’s and 14’s are never top 18’s. I wonder where this information is coming from. All you have to do is go to tennisrecruiting.net and look at the historic charts from the top guys and see where they were in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades. I cannot find anyone who is at the top in 18’s who was not at the top in 12’s and 14’s. I am sure there must be someone, but I cannot find them.

    I am sure there were kids who did well in 12’s and 14’s where it did not translate into 18’s. I imagine there are a million reasons for this. I don’t see very many who did not do well in 14’s and suddenly became a top 16 or 18. ( I really don’t see any but I am sure there must be some)

    Who are these kids who magically appear and are “stellar” in 16s. If there are many name a few.
     
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  21. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    I'll let TennisCoachFLA answer for himself. Although I did not say what you are quoting personally I am not interpreting as literally are you are. He did say "many" not all. However, I agree with him. My interpretation and belief is that kids can develop in to very good and nationally competitive tennis players at or around the 16's sometimes 18's even without that track record in the 12's and 14's. For a tennis player in the 12's and 14's no matter what they are ranked to obsess about rankings is counterproductive. What should be most important to any aspiring tennis player is to focus on improving their ball striking technique, foot work, court speed, mental game, concentration, match strategy and execution, shot patterns, giving maximum effort in practice and matches at all times, emotional control, positive attitude, sportsmanship, strength, flexibility, offense and defensive skills, enjoying the battle during matches and the effort during practices, recognizing your opponents strengths and weaknesses before the match starts and making small adjustment during match, etc. Focusing on these processes will lead to improving. How much for each player? No one knows, but giving your best and seeing how good you can get will certainly get you further than obsessing over rankings.

    To me the overall message for this thread is as follows. Some kids who start later say 10, 11 or 12 will often have to play catch up. With a good attitude for improving and good coaching some of the late starters to tennis can make huge strides. Some of the top players from the 10s, 12s, and 14s peak early or burn out and may slip some later when they get to the 16s and 18s.
     
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  22. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    I have seen several posts in which TennisCoachFLA makes statement similar to the one I quoted from this thread. I would like to see some actual examples of the “many” players that appear in 16s.

    I think I agree with everything andfor said in the previous post. My son’s coach often says “we are making you the best 18’s player you can be” (my son is 13 now are has been working with his coach for a few years). My position is … if you do the things in your post andfor you will be a top 12 or 14 player. You don’t need to “obsess” over ranking. That will happen as you win matches. My second observation is … if you are not successful in 14s doing the things in your post it will probably not suddenly change and work for you when you are 16. I know kids change, get bigger, mature etc. but I don’t see kids who work hard in 12s and 14s, do the right stuff, have potential to be great at 18 and just cannot get it done in 14s. I just don’t see that. I also don’t see kids deciding to play tennis at 14 or 15 making it anywhere near the top for 18s. I am open to being proven wrong, what name on tennisrecruiting should I look up?

    I think we all agree if you are trying to be the best 12 year old pusher/moon baller in the nation, and that gets you a high ranking, you will probably not make it long term.
     
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  23. MayDay

    MayDay Semi-Pro

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    So how do you teach your kid to not focus on the rankings as much? Have them watch The Karate Kid and draw parallels?
     
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  24. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Hey dad, go with what you think works. There are more qualified people than me who follow rankings who could most likely name boys who started playing USTA for rankings in the 16s and made out very well.

    And I never said kids "decided on tennis at 14 or 15 made it to the top of the 18s"....I never said that, never implied it. Just because a boy does not have a high 12s or 14s ranking does not mean he decided on tennis at a late age, it means he just did not play USTAs at all or very much. Most of the best 16s started tennis at a fairly young age, no one is saying otherwise.

    Playing tennis and chasing rankings points are 100% different. I see kids at my club and others around Sarasota-Bradenton who are 10 and 12 and 14 and 15 and do not play USTA for rankings. They play lots of club matches, they play grown men, they play current college players, they drop in on some USTA tournies. Some of these boys are American, some not. Many started tennis at 5 or 6 or 7 or 8. They have no USTA rankings in the 12s or 14s.

    But from the USTA tournies I have seen, I think they are MUCH better players than the top ranked USTA 10-12-14 year olds I see.

    I will answer your search for names with one of my own. Please name me the USTA top ranked 10s and 12s and 14s who went on to play top level D-1 tennis? Name the ones who made money in the pros?

    This works both ways, you want names of guys who appeared and did well in the 16s. I want names of the top 5 10-14 USTA boys who went on to play tennis at a high level. Show me the correlation of having a high USTA 12s and 14s ranking and playing high level tennis as a college student or a grown man.

    Again dad, do what works for you. If my opinion does not make sense to you, I understand. In the end, no one has all the answers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2010
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  25. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    Here are the top 10 boys 18’s from the current USTA bonus point list. 8 of the 10 players had top 100 rankings for boys 12s. I could not find Blake Bazarnik in the top 100 until boys 14s. The only one I could not find at all was Daniel Kosakowski. On tennisrecruiting Daniel has a freshman year recruiting list ranking of 95%. I don’t know why I did not find his ranking.

    Do you still believe the statement “if you look at the top ranked 10-12 year olds you know who will NOT be a highly ranked 18”. It will not surprise me if you do. We are all entitled to our own opinion but not to our own facts.

    1 Bangoura, Sekou Coker Bradenton FL B12s #4 7/30/2004
    2 Sarmiento, Raymond Fontana CA B12s #7 3/4/2004
    3 Sock, Jack E. Lincoln NE B12s #1 4/4/2005
    4 Fratangelo, Bjorn Pittsburgh PA B12s #3 2/1/2006
    5 Kosakowski, Daniel Downey CA
    6 Bazarnik, Blake A. Kildeer IL B14s #89 8/9/2006
    7 Leslie, Zachary San Diego CA B12s #89 3/4/2004
    8 Austin, Gonzales Miami FL B12s #80 4/4/2005
    9 Pasha, Nathan Atlanta GA B12s #12 12/2/2004
    10 MacMaster, Casey E. Fort Collins CO B12s #29 6/3/2004

    Chase Buchanan #1 b12s 3/4/2004
    Ryan Harrison #1 b12s 7/30/2004
    Evan King #5 b12s 12/2/2004
     
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  26. LeftyServe

    LeftyServe Semi-Pro

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    I'll just go international here and point out some past winners or finalists of some of the most prestigious international junior tournaments for 14 and U:

    Les Petits As:

    1994: Juan Carlos Ferrero def. Fernando Gonzalez in finals
    1995: Olivier Rochus
    1996: Paul Henri-Matthieu
    Gasquet and Nadal also won the event as 13 year olds. Ancic, Magnus Norman, and Andy Murray were all past runner-ups.

    Jr Orange Bowl (14 and U):

    Won by Tommy Haas in 1992, Janko Tipsarevic, and del Potro...

    That's just a small sampling of players who have had success as very young juniors and continued through the pro level.
     
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  27. moonshine

    moonshine New User

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    And Andy Roddick won Little Mo, which is the top tournament for 11 and under.

    The difference here is not that the top players in the world didn't compete well at early ages, it's that most of the "top" players in any particular section at the 10-14s do not end up at the top in the 16s and 18s because they tailored their games to win matches at the 10-14s levels instead of developing a game that would win "when it counts." If you look at the top hundredth of a percent of junior players (Harrison, Young, Roddick, to name a few Americans) you will see stellar results as young kids. But this is not who we are speaking about generally. If you have the ability to do so, look up your sections 12s rankings from a few years ago and compare them with the 16s now. Look beyond the top 10 and see how many names match up, then you will understand what we, as coaches, are speaking about.
     
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  28. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    These two statements are contradictory


    I agree with everything you wrote monnshine. That is not what TennisCoachFLA has said now or in the past.
     
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  29. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    justinmadison....Your list below proves MY POINT. So the boy ranked 89th went on to play in college? Yeah...how about the 88 boys above him? I bet you 85 of them didn't do squat!! So the 89th kid did well and the 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10th boys probably went nowhere....thats my point!

    1 Bangoura, Sekou Coker Bradenton FL B12s #4 7/30/2004
    2 Sarmiento, Raymond Fontana CA B12s #7 3/4/2004
    3 Sock, Jack E. Lincoln NE B12s #1 4/4/2005
    4 Fratangelo, Bjorn Pittsburgh PA B12s #3 2/1/2006
    5 Kosakowski, Daniel Downey CA
    6 Bazarnik, Blake A. Kildeer IL B14s #89 8/9/2006
    7 Leslie, Zachary San Diego CA B12s #89 3/4/2004
    8 Austin, Gonzales Miami FL B12s #80 4/4/2005
    9 Pasha, Nathan Atlanta GA B12s #12 12/2/2004
    10 MacMaster, Casey E. Fort Collins CO B12s #29 6/3/2004

    Oh for goodness sakes, this thread has gotten silly. Tennis parents and USTA players trying to act like rankings matter at 12 years old when they are worthless. So what if you found some top 100 boys who had decent results? A boy ranked 80th may have been doing a boatload of other training where a boy ranked 3rd was pure USTA tournies. So those supposed statistics are stupid.

    You pick about 10 boys out of the thousands who have held top 10 12s and 14s rankings over the last 30 years. Ha, someone picked out Sekou? Are you kidding me? I worked with him at Lakewood Ranch Athletic Club...he did tons of training with college and pro players. So he also hit enough tournies to have a great USTA ranking? That is totally irrelevant to his tennis talent.

    How about the top 80 males pros?? You know, the guys who actually make money playing tennis. How many of them had high USTA rankings at 12?? None? One??

    How about the top 4 players for the top 10 ranked Division 1 players?? How many of those 40 guys were highly ranked 12s?

    We are talking USTA rankings at 12 and 14 being worthless. Go through the top 100 men, there ain't any USTA high ranked 12s. Andy Roddick was not a USTA kid at all, he worked within Evert and Macci etc. Yeah he won Little Mo...big deal, that has nothing to do with USTA rankings. He had zero interest in USTA rankings. Don't even use Roddick and highly ranked 12s in the same sentence, thats garbage. Andy's training as a boy had NOTHING to do with the USTA rankings.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
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  30. moonshine

    moonshine New User

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    TennisCoach, I agree with you that 12s and 14s are not an indicator of future success as a general statement. But your language is too harsh to be taken with any seriousness, and that is the problem with your argument. While being a top player in the 12s doesn't mean you will go somewhere with your tennis, it certainly doesn't mean you definitely won't.

    There have been numerous high level D1 and pro (yes, even pro) players who had good rankings when they were 12. Just scanning a few lists, I found Isner, Young, Devin Britton and numerous others who held good rankings in the 12s.

    I certainly would never coach to win in the 12s, but if my child played every match exactly how we practiced and how I want him to hit, his success in the 12s would not be a bad thing. The trouble comes when kids resort to pushing to win matches and think that is what it takes to keep winning. But I think it is irresponsible to make a blanket statement that someone who is highly ranked in the 12s will not make it to high level tennis as they get older.
     
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  31. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    Just for clarity I did not pick 10 random people from boys 18’s to see how they did in juniors. I picked the top 10 boys from the current USTA boys 18’s bonus list. 9 of the 10 had top boys 12 or 14 ratings.

    I have no idea what you mean about Sekou Bangoura. He is currently #1 in boys 18’s USTA. He was #4 in USTA boys 12’s.

    Raymond Sarmiento is currently #2 in USTA boys 18’s, he was #7 in USTA boys 12’s.

    Jack Sock is currently #3 in USTA boys 18’s, he was #3 in USTA boys 12’s.

    Bjorn Fratangelo is currently #4 in USTA boys 18’s, he was #3 in USTA boys 12’s

    These are facts, not my opinion. Don’t let these facts get in the way of your opinion.
     
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  32. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Interesting list. So it appears that for the most part,
    the top 10 in the 12's is a pretty good predictor of being
    in the top 10 in the 18's.
     
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  33. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    I guess a real statistical analysis would go like this: If you were top 20 in Boys 12s, what is the likelihood that you will be top 20 in Boys 18s? If you were 21-40 in Boys 12s, what is the likelihood that you will be top 20 in Boys 19s? If you were 41-60 in 12s, what likelihood of being top 20 in 18s? etc., on down to those who were not top even top 200 in the 12s.

    Not sure I have the time to do it, but I would imagine that there is some positive correlation here. But the actual percentages matter. If 10 of the top 20 in 12s are still top 20 in 18s, then the likelihood is 50%, which is pretty good. If 4 of the top 20 in 12s are still top 20 in 18s, then 20% is not such a great predictor.
    The fact that only 2 from the 21-40 range in the 12s made it to top 20 in the 18s means that there is still a correlation with the 12s rankings, but it means that they are not a very good predictor.
     
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  34. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    There are two ways to look at this.

    For those that are not serious about playing college or going pro, then play the 12's, 14's and so on.
    Junior tournaments are a great way to make new friends, travel as a family, and get some great exercise outdoors.

    For those that have talent and want to become a college player or pro,
    then it is well know among serious coaches that the 12's and 14's really are not important to play.

    At that young age, development of the strokes and body is most important.
     
    #34
  35. notennis

    notennis Rookie

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    Those are very good facts. Tennis Coach Florida always seems to over exagerate and make statements that often he back peddals or gets caught for inaccuracies. I rememeber TCF making statements regarding the Baughman kid about the fact that kids should play there own level and prove themselvs and not hide behind playing adults or better yet money tournaments against older players, etc. Now he seems to think that is a good things, etc.

    One comment that always seems to come up on the post is that the parents who tell there kids to just go have fun, fun, fun.......That is a recipe for disaster in my opinion. There are more things in life kids could be doing that are way more fun than practicing 6 days a week in the heat and going out to a tournament and grinding for hours at a time. It's not supposed to be fun and to all of you who makes excuses about not teaching your kids to figure out way to beat pushers, shame on you.........
     
    #35
  36. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    Just for fun I decided to check the current top 4 boys 16s to see if they were all top 4 12s like the current top 4 boys in 18s. This is what I found out.

    Bjorn Frantangelo current #1 USTA boys 16s … #3 in USTA boys 12s
    Jackson Withrow current #2 USTA boys 16s … #19 in USTA boys 12s
    Marcos Giron current #3 USTA boys 16s … #7 in USTA boys 12s
    Nolan Paige current #4 USTA boys 16s … #20 in USTA boys 12s
     
    #36
  37. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    These are the currently the top 4 boys in USTA 18s. They were are top 10 in boys 12's

    Surely we can all agree that the financial and physical effort of going to all of these tournaments is large. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that we consider the coaches of the top 4 boys in 18s to be “serious”

    Bjorn Frantangelo current #4 USTA boys 18s … #3 in USTA boys 12s
    During one year of boys 12s he played 15 USTA national tournaments …. 77 matches

    Raymond Sarmiento current #2 USTA boys 18s … #7 in USTA boys 12s
    During one year of boys 12s he played 14 USTA national boys 12s tournaments …. 67 matches

    Jack Sock current #3 USTA boys 18s… #3 in USTA boys 12s
    During one year of boys 12s he played 15 USTA national boys 12s tournaments …. 83 matches

    Sekou Bangoura current #1 USTA boys 18s… #4 in USTA boys 12s
    During one year of boys 12s he played 18 USTA national boys 12s tournaments …. 100 matches

    Papatennis .. I am not sure what you mean about “not important to play” Can you reflect on the facts above and elaborate on your statement?
     
    #37
  38. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    You should address your question to a few different college coaches. I'm sure your son would be far more likely to accept what they say and it would give you an idea of exactly what they're looking for with potential players. End of the day, this message board can be useful and a bit of fun but it's just a load of anonymous opinions. Take your question to the experts - the actual college coaches- and you'll be giving your son the best advice possible.
     
    #38
  39. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    Very simple, which is more important, working on ones skills or working on ones ranking?

    At that young age, developing ones game, (grooving strokes, technique, mental conditioning, physical conditioning) are much more important.
     
    #39
  40. EP1998

    EP1998 Semi-Pro

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    Sadly, a few of the names that appear as Les Petis As winners and runners up, junior slams etc. are finished playing at relatively young ages due to injury. I am thinking of guys like Brian Baker and another Brian (Dunn). Guys with immense potential. Then you look at the playing schedules of the current kids and you wonder how its going to work out for them.
     
    #40
  41. EP1998

    EP1998 Semi-Pro

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    I agree that this is good advice, if college is the goal.
     
    #41
  42. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    In today's system, the "experts" are looking overseas.
     
    #42
  43. jmdlaw

    jmdlaw Banned

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    In other countries , the 12's are are playing 14 and 16 itfs
     
    #43
  44. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    No offense, but I'm not buying into that story. Our top 14s and 16s boys would mop up 12 year olds from around the world.
     
    #44
  45. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    I can see the logic in this, so what does a good 12 year old do besides train? Don't they need matches to stay interested, competitive, and gain experience. If so, where should they play besides the juniors?

    Not trying to make a point, I really would like to know.
     
    #45
  46. LeftyServe

    LeftyServe Semi-Pro

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    My 10 year old's coach says that the "ideal" situation for under 12's is to play perhaps 8 tournaments a year and emphasize training over competition. However, he says, this never works with the most passionate and talented boys because they need the competition to fuel their fire, so to speak, and to propel them into higher and higher levels. Girls, he says, are a little different story because they can remain motivated by achieving techinical mastery even at this very young age.
     
    #46
  47. EP1998

    EP1998 Semi-Pro

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    They do play, but not everything. You pick a select group of tournaments. For the 12s, there is no point in dragging the kid all over the world and spending $$$ when you might need that money later in the 18s or when they go on the circuit.

    Other training options include playing practice sets against older kids, college players and wily adults. You do want to build pressure into the practices where you can. At the same time, you need to focus on development and injury prevention. A lot of parents let their kids get away with less than ideal form and that comes back to haunt the kid later. Kids also can play too much and then they are physically toast. If you take a kid and play them into the ground as a junior, then they play college for four years, especially if its at a big school. forget about the pros, or at least anything over 200s because the body will break down.
     
    #47
  48. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Makes sense. My son is 8 and I've not yet entered the world of Junior Tennis, so I'm trying to learn. He's been playing 2-3 times a week, year round, in group clinics, with me, and a few pro lessons peppered in. He also likes basketball and soccer and plays some of that.

    I'm really trying to avoid pitfalls of burnout/injury that I continually hear about. Both his mom and I play and he likes tennis, so my goal is to balance his development and the love of the game equally. I'm not a "crazy tennis dad", but I believe like all things in life, I would like him to be good enough to decide where he wants to take it when he gets a little older.
     
    #48
  49. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    Always a risk, and some kids are quite resilient. How can a parent tell when they are over the limit?
     
    #49

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