Fun vs Form

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by gameboy, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    I have a 10 year old daughter that I have been teaching how to play since she was 6. During summer, she spends 90 min each week day at a clinic held at my club. It is a pretty popular clinic with about 50 kids aged from 10 to 16. I like the fact that she gets to play everyday and have fun with other kids.

    HOWEVER...

    Her form deteriorates remarkably fast when she is playing in the clinic. Her stroke becomes flatter and flatter and her serves become nothing but a flying pan.

    I spend the weekend to straighten her out with her strokes (and footwork), and stress pronation on serves, but it is pretty futile as it all unravels during the week.

    I understand that the clinic is mostly about kids having fun and they don't spend much time on forms. It is mostly king of the courts and few drills. During the king of the court, kids end up just pushing the ball back (because they are trying to keep the balls in) and generally, other kids' forms are lacking to say the least.

    So, the question is, do I just let her have fun and give up on trying to keep correcting her form? It is just getting me frustrated and it is showing during our time together. Or should I pull her out of the clinic and just keep working with her myself?

    I don't know what I should do. Some advice will be appreciated...
     
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  2. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    Talk to her...

    ...about being different. That she has skills others in class may not have yet and that it important or cool or awesome if she could be an example to the others, by playing like she learns. It is a delicate conversation. When you practice with her, remind her in the lightest way possible to show off her moves at the clinic and to resist playing like the others. Good luck Dad. Keep her in the clinics, but keep practicing with her.
     
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  3. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    I feel your pain.

    My daughter started semi-private lessons at the age of about 4 and progressed very nicely. Her fundamentals were great. She was a sponge, you show her once the right way to do it, she soaked it up and it was great.

    At about 8, she started playing team tennis with much older kids(12's) who didn't have her form. Unfortunately, she was sponge and soaked it right up....

    I finally puller her out and found a much smaller group with a 3-1 or 4-1 coach ratio and no more than 10 kids at a time. She gets grouped with three or four other kids with that have similar ability.

    This balances her need for "socializing" while avoiding the things you mentioned above. The large groups really set her development back quite a bit, we are now trying to undo a lot of bad habits she picked up.

    I really suggest you get her out of that environment as soon as possible.
     
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  4. gameboy

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    Aloha, you are reading my mind.

    She used to have a BEAUTIFUL stroke. But, she ends up copying the way how everyone else does it in a group environment.

    But I do hate to pull her out of the clinic...
     
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  5. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

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    if tennis aint about fun it aint worth playin

    we all play tennis 2 enjoy ourselves. sounds like thats exactly what ur kid is doin

    i would rather my kid be havin fun than learnin good form. if form is that important, keep workin on it with her outside class

    pullin her out of the clinic where she is obv enjoyin herself might b a good coachin move but it would b a terrible parentin move
     
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  6. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Like I said, I didn't remove my child completely from group tennis, I just moved her to a different environment where there was a better balance between learning and "fun". You just need to find the right environment, it sounds like they place she is now is not working. My daughter got over it real quickly and in fact enjoys it more becuase it is more challenging. A lot of the "fun" in the large groups comes from kids horsing around becuase they are bored/unchallenged.

    It may cost more but will be worth it.
     
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  7. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    find a more challenging environment /group, somewhere with a better balance.
     
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  8. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

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    dood forget 'balance'. it aint school. tennis is ABOUT fun. if the kid is enjoyin herself then the clinic is 100% successful

    if the kid is bored n wants more challengin tennis then pull her out. if she's happy leave her there. simple

    bein good at tennis is overrated. Makin new friends n havin fun is impossible to overrate
     
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  9. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Good advice dood. My daughter has fun playing video games and watching mindless Disney shows and eating chocolate ice cream. I think we'll just give up on the tennis and have her sit in front of the TV all day eating ice cream. Afterall, who needs balance ? How many kids you got Tom ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
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  10. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

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    typical tennis parent u are

    I aint talkin about balance in life. Of course nutrition, socialisin, gettin outside n exercisin are important. But she's doin all those things at the tennis camp already!

    tell me, y should u sacrifice her enjoyment of playin tennis with her friends to get a bit better?

    we r all amateurs. the ONLY reason we play tennis is 4 fun. the kid sounds like she's lovin the camp

    sounds like tennis is 100% successful in this case
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
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  11. pkshooter

    pkshooter Semi-Pro

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    Take her out of the class, I resent the fact my parents didn't care about my tennis. Aloha sound like he knows +1 on the semi private classes, playing more serious tennis also gives a sense of accomplishment at least for me it did/does.
     
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  12. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    I had the same dilemma when my daughter was 10 and I could not find a decent clinic so she ended up without clinics. Just privates and tournaments for a few years. She lived. She had enough social life outside of tennis.
     
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  13. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

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    we're settin the bar high I see
     
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  14. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    You realize that this Section is called Junior League and Tournament Talk and it is about kids who aspire to play tennis tournaments, right?
     
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  15. ClarkC

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    No, if the clinic is fun AND challenging AND promotes good form, then it is 100% successful. If it is fun and not challenging and promotes bad form, then it is only partially successful. How successful? That depends on priorities, and it also depends on alternatives. Is it the only way she can have fun? Or is there another clinic that would also be fun but would promote better form?

    100% is an absolute term. If you put ZERO weight on everything besides fun, good for you. If others put at least a little weight on other factors, that does not make them bad parents in comparison to you.
     
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  16. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

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    at 10yrs old, good form is a bonus

    any parent who pulls a kid out of a clinic where they r havin fun n makin friends just cos they think they could be learnin better elsewhere has got screwy priorities
     
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  17. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    Reason her strokes break down is that they have not yet been grooved.
    If her strokes are not grooved yet, then they will break down at anytime, tournament play or workouts.

    Chance of making the pros is less than .0001%, chance of playing college, 80%.

    From what I've read, she does the workouts 5 days a week for 90 min. each day?

    My suggestion, work on grooving her strokes 3-4 days a week, and let her "ENJOY" the workout the other days.

    It's a long, long road to the 18's/college, let her have fun, competitive tennis is a lonely, tough sport.
     
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  18. gameboy

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    My goal is to get her started in tournaments when she turns 12, and my long term goal is to get her to be a high school all-county level player.

    I am not counting on her playing pro nor even college.

    But I would like her to have a really solid foundation. It is true that her foundation is not grooved and that is why is it is breaking down. But is this something I can fix later once the clinic is done or is this something I need to stop right away?
     
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  19. chalkflewup

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    Are her goals the same as yours? My parents never set my athletic goals as a kid.
     
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  20. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

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    I faced something similar years ago when my kids first started tennis. At first they took private lessons once a week on the weekends and then I would take them to the park myself twice a week so they could work on groundstrokes. I would make sure they would do exactly as they were taught by the coach. After several months they went to the Summer Camp offered by the coach. They went every morning for the entire summer. Since I work I didn't see any of their training. Once the school year started again and they began going to the after school tennis program where I would watch them train, I saw that the form on their groundstrokes were completely gone. My daughter was slapping at her forehand. My son was now using an extreme Western grip and was hitting every forehand off his back foot. I was not happy. I felt as though my kids had wasted the entire summer since they had to now get back to the basic level they had before the summer started. But they had a great time.

    Long story, short. We started back at private lessons and we were able to easily get them back on track. However, I realized that no one but me as the parent cares enough about my child to make sure that they do the best that they can in whatever they do. Since then I'm at my kids training 99% of the time. I listen to everything the coaches say and make sure my kids are doing it. They've returned to the Summer Camp for the past 5 years but we still go to the courts as a family so I can make sure that their tennis is still solid. By now their strokes are definitely grooved and they're at the point of making sure everything is consistent.

    I don't know if I even answered your question but I guess 1 summer won't destroy everything.
     
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  21. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    You have been teaching her since she was 6 so why not continuing that this summer. You can do that even once or twice a week to retain her "muscle memory".
    In the group session this summer, she is having a good daily exercise and it is fun. If you're afraid adding 1:1 is going to be too much for her then scale back the group hitting some.
     
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  22. BHiC

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    I agree, that sounds a little weird to me, that the kid is not the one with the goals. My parents never pushed me to do anything I didn't want to in the sports world, and let me decide what sport I wanted to play, and how seriously I wanted to take it. I decided by myself at about 8-9 that I wanted to play tennis, and play at a D1 college level. My parents did not come up with that, they just facilitated me reaching my goal.
     
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  23. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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    My player decided he wanted to play and by the time he was 10yr we gave him the choice he could shoot to go pro or find something else to do "less time consuming and $$$"

    We figured forcing him into deciding, would at worst end up with a full ride or on the better side go pro . So far we are on target both are looking very attainable.

    Now its time to sit back and see where we end up.
     
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  24. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    Becoming an all-county level tennis player is not exactly "setting athletic goals" as if she just keeps playing till high school, if she has any kind of athletic ability, it should be something very achievable (especially starting so young).

    That is like saying me expecting her to graduate from college is setting an academic goal.

    I am pushing her to make sure that she can get into an Ivy League school. Now THAT's setting a goal.
     
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  25. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

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    your child has my sympathy, and my pity
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
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  26. chalkflewup

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    First of all, I wish you and your daughter all the best. If you go back and read your original post, you stated what your tennis goals for your daughter were. I don't think you're alone in your rationale, however; I think you're driving down a slippery road.

    I hope it works out for her. Good luck.
     
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  27. floridatennisdude

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    Wow. I don't mean to sound condescending, but you should talk about your goal setting strategies with a professional. There sounds like some deep issues here with parent running child's life and demanding outcomes. I could be way off, but the way you are stating things is a little odd.
     
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  28. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    So your tennis goal for her is to be at least 50-100 in the country on TR by her junior year while maintaining very good grades. This is not exactly an all-county player. Kid needs to have some level of athletic talent, hand-eye coordination and desire to run after the ball to achieve that. Starting tournaments at 12 is too late - sign her in now and see how she reacts and if she likes to play them. If she cannot handle the heat or ingredients listed above are completely missing then it may not be a good idea to rely on tennis to achieve your noble goal. If she likes competition then dump her "fun" clinic and find her a good coach and/or a good clinic.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
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  29. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    I had to dig through the posts to find GB response but it was not in his OP. Anyway, below is what GB said later in the thread.



    GB I may be wrong but you are not counting on your daughter to play college level but you want her to be a solid Top COUNTY player which is a plus or added bonus even if small ( among best grades SAT etc.. of course ) for her to get into ivy league. Again, not sure if your daughter has top athletic ability "genes" but if you are playing in a high level county even kids with bad strokes who have been playing for a long time will not be able to compete at the top level. I am a HS tennis coach at a top level county and almost always my #3 and #4 always had some type of bad form, they are super athletic but no one showed them the proper way to hit a ball they will remain at #3 #4 and will never do well in states but I have seen one exception though. In order to be #1 in HS at a top level county and do well at states you need to have proper form and a solid stroke foundation.


    You are the only one who knows your daughter well. But from what I read and from my experience, pull her out of clinics and sign her up with a private coach twice a week at least. You should not be involved in her strokes, if you want to take her out once a week, do not say one thing about her strokes just hit and have fun with her. I wish TCF will come back and we can really have some fun with this debate but I think he would tell you to pull her out of clinics as well. Every time my kids does clinics his form deteriorates but he is having fun and I let him participate but with caution. Sure I can fix his technique but it becomes harder and harder even for seasoned coaches.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
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  30. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    read several of Gameboy and Chalk's posts before the last. They are debating athletic and academic goals of his. All county tennis is what he has in mind.
     
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  31. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    not sure he is relying only on tennis to achieve his noble goal for her. if his daughter is gifted at school, doing well in music for example even tennis at the local level might give you an edge into ivy, of course among other things as well.

    We had a similar situation with one of my HS players. His strokes were not the best but he excelled in everything. Music, arts, community service ,social skills etc,,,,,,,, AND captain of tennis team three years, #1 DOUBLES player for several years, all conference several years, all helped in getting into YALE and separate him from the other thousands of applicants with similar grades. Of course his tennis skills were not good enough to play at YALE. We did have another student, a female with similar resume only she had additional private coaching since she was 10. She not only got into YALE but played on the tennis team and did well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
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  32. chalkflewup

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    As a parent, I think it would be dangerous to set results oriented tennis goals for my kid at any level.
     
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  33. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    ^^I am not on anyone's side on this so don't pull me into it.

    My last post to klu was to point out an example of a poster misunderstood another poster's viewpoint by looking at just the last post.

    Reading the whole thread or at least original post and skim some might prevent misjudging people's point of view.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
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  34. chalkflewup

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    ^^
    Didn't mean to pull you into it so sorry for that. The only side I'm concerned with is my own kid. I'm moving on from this thread.

    As I said earlier, good luck to the daughter.
     
    #34
  35. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    Hm, maybe I totally misunderstood OP's intentions. For a girl to play on HS tennis varsity team and to achieve all-county status with just parent's coaching - no big deal (in most counties, may not be enough in some rich suburbs). But to get into Ivy she will need some serious EC that she spent many hours on and had some serious achievements to show for it. I do not believe all-county tennis status qualifies.
     
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  36. Swissv2

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    She can always go back to a clinic. But remember this...bad habits are very hard to break, and those that are not broken last for a lifetime. You are beginning to know that pain.

    Would you rather her have fundamentally sound strokes, or be constantly in need to fix her stroke?

    It is up to you.
     
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  37. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    Talk about tangent discussions... :)

    Not sure what you mean by "top 50-100 player". I said all-county, not all-country. I think becoming a top 20~30 or so player in your county at high school level is not that difficult starting out this early. If I am wrong in that expectations, I would love to hear why.

    I am not expecting her to play in college whatsoever. It would take too much away from academics to chase that. ROI is just not there.

    She is enrolled in a gifted children program in her school district and is one of the best math student in the district. The kids in the program have almost 100% college entrance rate and many of them have been accepted to Ivy League and other comparable schools like Stanford and Berkeley.

    So expecting her to graduate college is not much of an expectation either.

    Tennis is just to keep her in shape and be involved athletically, but I want to make sure she has a really sound foundation. This might be the last year I let her take this clinic...
     
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  38. gameboy

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    Trust me, what I am doing is very common among Asian households (and probably on the "too relaxed" side of the scale). How do you think you have all these Asian kids over-represented academically throughout the country?
     
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  39. Swissv2

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    Quoted for truth ;).
     
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  40. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

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    You sound as though you are an involved and engaged parent. You know what is best for your child. There is absolutely nothing wrong with stating reasonable goals for your child. Children do not come out of the womb knowing what is best for them. That is why they have parents. Unfortunately some children have crappy parents and these children will most likely end up having crappy lives. Children are more appreciative of parents who have structure and goals as opposed to permissive parents that just go with the flow.
     
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  41. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

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    the job o parents is to instil in kids the desire 2 succeed of their own bat, not set their goals for em

    its idiocy 2 expect ur daughter 2 get into an ivy league school

    gameboy's daughter will end up with depression, anxiety n self-esteem issues. i feel sorry 4 her
     
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  42. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    But you have to let the kid choose their goals in their activities. A parents job is to provide opportunities and support the kid in pursuit of their goal. Not to drive them to goals that the parents choose.

    Now, if gameboy's daughter wants to be a top 20 HS player in her area, state, etc...good for her. But, what if she doesn't really like tennis a lot and just likes being with her friends at the clinic. Isn't that great too?
     
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  43. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    I think Gameboy asked for an opinion about a tennis clinic, not a lecture on how to parent his child. I think that's a different thread, on a different message board, on a different site..
     
    #43
  44. chalkflewup

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    This is the right thread, the right board, the right site. Threads often change directions.

    There's a fine line between a lecture and an opinion. When you ask for an opinion on a forum, you gotta be prepared to hear stuff you might not agree with.
     
    #44
  45. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    :)

    She is 10. The only goal she has on her own is to conquer Pokemon on her Nintendo.

    If she decides she does not like tennis when she is older, she can stop playing. Like I said before, I am not setting some lofty goals here.

    Now, if she decides to stop her piano lessons, that ain't gonna fly.
     
    #45
  46. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

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    The key word is reasonable. If a child struggles throughout life in school, then it is not reasonable to expect for her to go to an Ivy League university. If the child has two left feet and trips over herself when she runs, then it isn't reasonable for her to be an athlete. If a child hates tennis then it isn't reasonable to push her into that sport. As a parent you guide your child, sometimes you may have to nudge them, sometimes you may have to push them. But at no time should you, as a parent, do nothing. They are children. The brains are not fully developed until they are young adults. Some of the biggest regrets that we have as adults is that we didn't do things or accomplish things when we were young. How we wished our parents had pushed us in the right directions.
     
    #46
  47. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    .........................
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
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  48. jigglypuff

    jigglypuff Rookie

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    It must have helped you get into a good college, right?


    ... or maybe not?
     
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  49. Swissv2

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    what the heck happened to you? I took piano lessons from a very young age; it was difficult, but I did not regret anything.

    did you get beaten if you didn't do something right or something?
     
    #49
  50. TeflonTom

    TeflonTom Banned

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    Problem aint gettin kids to do stuff thats good for em that they don't wanna do. Problem is settin big goals for the kid

    Exercise is good. Just don't tell ur kid they have to get better instead of playin in a clinic with their friends

    Artistic stuff like piano is good. Just don't tell ur kid they have to get into an ivy league school

    Parentin is about givin ur kids opportunities, not tellin them what they should achieve with their life
     
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