How Do You Know If Your Child Has "It"?

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by Tcbtennis, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,342
    In another thread in this section a few of the posters who are coaches describe players who have "it". What is "it" and how do you know if your child has "it"? Is it something that you see in a child from the time they start playing or can "it" be developed. If you have "it" does a child always have "it" even if they have long layoffs from injury or burnout, etc?

    From the time my son started playing I've had strangers (parents and coaches) come up to compliment me on his playing ability. Even when he loses strangers compliment him and tell him that he was the better player. They tell me that they love the way he moves, how he fights for every point and how much pace he can generate for his size. TIs that "it"? Or am I a deluded parent? I love watching him play and sometimes think it would great for him to play professionally but at the same time I know how exceedingly difficult it is and we are heading towards the college route.

    I would love to hear the opinions of those of you who have experience. Thanks.
     
    #1
  2. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #2
  3. jgriff

    jgriff New User

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Messages:
    43
    yes this should be an interesting thread. as for my little guy @ 8, he's technically solid/clean from both sides and he's the kid that will run through a fence to get the ball. i have to sometimes make him hit 2 bounces on wide balls because he's about to do a header on the court. i'm convinced hiis work ethic and drive is not the norm for 8 year old. my sample of of his peers are small, but i haven't seen any kids doing push ups or running or working with resistance bands on their own, but i'm sure there are many out there. it must have skipped a generation since i never had this motivatiion when i played juco tennis. once he's competing then we'll see if he's got "it". i'm optimistic but wouldn't be disappointed. just glad we get to spend time on the court 4-5 days a week at this age.
     
    #3
  4. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    449
    The "it" for me is the ball striking. The other ingredients are all necessary- the will to fight through exhaustion, the willingness to run down every ball, working hard in practice, great footwork, etc. But I need to see great clean consistent deep ball striking involving great hand eye coordination. Because of these attributes the ball at times jump off the racquet. Once a kid has that I look for the other stuff. Believe it or not the other stuff can be worked on and improved, but the ball striking has to be there. Maybe a kid like Kozlov is an exception, not sure. Haven't seen him play in a while. When I did see him 2 years ago the ball striking was not A+, maybe A- to A. But the other stuff- never really seen anything quite like it- off the charts.
     
    #4
  5. TennisEko

    TennisEko Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Messages:
    40
    Just ask tcf he/she knows who has the it
     
    #5
  6. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #6
  7. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    182
    Location:
    Bay Area
    I don't really follow junior tennis but along with the ball-striking, I think the kid also has to be an exceptional athlete. Defense is starting to really rule the pro ranks. The kid has to show that he can also excel in other sports. If he has the skills for tennis only, then he/she is probably not going to make those "wow" defensive plays or "impossible" shots from awkward positions that only an exceptional athlete can make. If the kid is not a high-level player in at least one other sport, they will likely not make it.
     
    #7
  8. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #8
  9. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #9
  10. jgriff

    jgriff New User

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Messages:
    43
    thanks man. it just hilarious to watch him doing push-ups yesterday on our beat up public courts. i've told him that we will practice if he wants to and the homework's done. i'm pretty sure in the last couple of years i've asked him to play just a handful of times. if he could play every day, he would. another thing that's helped him is chess. he's on his school's chess team and that is awesome for head to head comp and concentration. competed in state regional and nationals. so we'll see. the little dude is a good kid who absolutely loves this game.
     
    #10
  11. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #11
  12. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Messages:
    1,342
    Thanks for your answers. Do you think it's possible that that special something that separate the good players from the great players comes together later in their young career? What I mean is that you have a player who has all the tools but the thing that holds them back is their mental. Do all the great ones have that mental strength from day 1 or can they have all the athleticism but achieve the mental strength when they're older. I have another child who has received the same training, same coaches as my son, is bigger, stronger and quick but is so far behind my son in terms of tennis IQ and mental strength. It can be very frustrating to see your child that you know has the tools but it is so inconsistent. When it's good it's awesome, but when it's bad it's horrid.
     
    #12
  13. SoCal10s

    SoCal10s Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,778
    in SoCal.. you go to a sanctioned open jr. tournament,60 out of 100 families think that their kid(s) has ""IT"" .. I've been around tennis quite a long time.. my criteria for the ""IT"" is simple.. you'll see the way your kid sees the ball.. 1 of the very few kids I've seen has ""IIT"" .. I said it on these boards a few years ago.. and that kid is Christian Harrison .. I can tell that he sees everything .. his eyes are better than Jack Sock(another one).. after that ,it's just about working you butt off to make things happen ... DB doesn't know how to see everything,like those guys.. .. I haven't seen Koslov play so I can't say.. but here's the thing.. if your kid is young,it can be taught ... it's not a ''GOD-giving talent""
     
    #13
  14. BirdieLane

    BirdieLane New User

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Messages:
    81
    Great question that I'm sure we all wonder. If anyone of us actually could accurately predict that child has 'IT', I think IMG would would pay us handsomely!

    Here's my thoughts:

    First, what level of 'IT' are we talking about? A state champ? top D1? ATP top 100?

    At age 7 or 8, even a perfect definition of 'IT' really can't mean anything more than a strong sectional player - way too many variables ahead. I recently tried to see where one of Macci's recent 'sure things' was at and it looked like she's playing golf?? And what about that kid that was on cover usa today and went to france?? (silva I think)

    As you hit 10 you can maybe get excited to graduate into the 12-14 'IT' group - of which a very small number will be say top 50ish D1 players.

    So now, if we're talking ATP top 100?!? Not only does the kid have to have IT, but a hundred other things need to fall into place, much of which you may have little control over. That includes coaching, mental and emotional stability, toughness/injuries, finances, patience/persistence.

    As to what IT is, I definitely would not start with ball striking. I'd start with heart, persistence, determination, and movement/athleticism. I see hundreds of local and sectional kids with great ball striking but missing basic determination/mentality/atheltism to do anything with it.

    Running through the proverbial fence/wall as reference above is certainly a prerequiste and dragging them OFF the court (unquenchable passion) is also a very good sign in my opinion.

    At the end of the day, a really good athlete with incredible mental fortitude and persistence and passion is who I'd put some chips on. Next I'd look for anticipation and decision making/court sense. Then hands and techinque and ballstriking are the next level items I'd say.

    Just my 2 cents...
     
    #14
  15. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #15
  16. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    991
    You have it back wards. Kid has to have the ball striking first, it's something that they either have it or not.
     
    #16
  17. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    449
    I totally agree. There has to be a very high level of ball striking early on. If a kid doesn't have that by age 11 or 12 they will not be a top D1 player. I have not seen it any other way. The mental toughness and court sense sometimes come later.
     
    #17
  18. jcc309

    jcc309 New User

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    I think IT has to be the dedication to put your heart and soul with it. I can see the argument both ways and a player needs both great natural ball striking and determination. But I believe that determination and dedication and heart cannot be taught. Either you work hard or you do not. A person who works hard will learn ball striking skills. They may not be the best ball striker but their dedication will push them past people who are "better" tennis players because they refuse to give up or be beaten. I just do not believe that can be taught.
     
    #18
  19. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    991
    Your characterization is correct once a player reaches a certain level.

    Once a player reaches say top 10-15 in the world, then what your posted, is what separates the best from the rest.
     
    #19
  20. BirdieLane

    BirdieLane New User

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Messages:
    81
    You mean you 'think' I have it backwards. We disagree and I don't think IMG is asking either of us anyway. Like I said, it's my opinion and others have their thoughts, which I enjoy reading and contemplating.

    In my observations, SOOO many parents and coaches get all excited when the 6 or 7 year old is nailing the ball in the center of the racket and its zipping over. I've seen it for years. But it turns out that very few of these kids have the insane work ethic and movement and mental fortitude that this game requires.

    On the flip side, when you see the 6 or 7 yr old with great movement and 'you can't believe he got to that ball' and shows freakish determination and passion for the game...funny how good their ball striking gets after hitting on the backboard for 5 hours a day, every day.
     
    #20
  21. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #21
  22. Anyone4tennis?

    Anyone4tennis? New User

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    47
    I would think that the opinion from someone reputable who has worked closely with a top ATP or WTA player (former or present) since childhood would be able to tell you something about the presence of the "It" factor. If your kid catches their attention, then maybe you have someone special on your hands.
     
    #22
  23. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    991
    Yes, you are correct. All these "hack" opinions are just a, hackers opinion.
     
    #23
  24. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,450
    Hers how you know if your kid has it !

    A few years back I watched a junior playing the Carson ITF this kid was about 6'3 at the time and he got his 'rear' handed to him in the 2nd round by the future ncaa champion name Klahn .

    Now at this point you lose 2nd round at Carson this kid definatley does not have 'It ' and should go to college but instead Milos Raonic decided to go for the pros ,which is a stupid move if your losing 2nd round at Carson at 17 but instead he went pro let me tell you he does not have it and should have went to college,

    In the end we really don't know !!!!!
     
    #24
  25. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #25
  26. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,450
    IF he was so freakish he would not lose 2nd round after playing multiple tourneys at that point !

    He was serious at 17 or he would not be traveling to Carson and according to his resume at that time had 4 years of travel under his belt or more .

    Freakish would be having 4 serious hits a month if your lucky having your dad hand feed you balls at the age of 16 and with such minimal resources being able to climb into the top 10 in the nation and climbing to no.2 in Ca one of the toughest areas to play throughout the world by the time your 15.

    "Saw" him here at Carson nothing special ,, Oh wait he had a work -ethic and a dad .

    great job Milos for turning down UVA



    Do the math Milos 17, 6'3 out 2nd round Carson

    DB 16 6'5 out 1st round US Open HHmmmmm seems similar to me except the age and height
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
    #26
  27. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    3,771
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    Raonic won three matches in straight sets at Carson before losing in the quarterfinals (not the second round) to Klahn. But, I will concede the point that Raonic lost a lot of matches to guys who went to college, and Raonic has since surpassed those guys. But he also came up with good wins against blue chip juniors his own age. He had some tough three-set losses against Ryan Harrison, but also beat Ryan Harrison 6-1, 6-1 at the 2008 Astrid Bowl in Belgium. That is a quality win.

    We don't want to pick on someone for a single loss, because every junior player will play not to lose. We do want to look for quality wins, like beating Ryan Harrison 6-1, 6-1, because then juniors will play to win.
     
    #27
  28. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,450
    TCF a question for you one that will help you.

    Did you ever see Milos at 8 or 9 yrs old in person ?

    Did you ever see Gasket in person at 8 or 9 yrs old ?

    Or Rafa ?

    The answer is probably No!

    So when you say Milos was freakish your going off what some person said "hear-say"

    they film mr.B in his own living room and posted it world wide that he ran with the Crips not true it was the Bloods but the Crips are better known and it bolstered the story .

    thats why when they say these kids are freakish or prodigies in the end there was some crazy parent pushing them and the only thing freakish is they survived the parents!

    All I see is the Jrs. is where you learn alot and where you decide if you want to take it to the next level and make a lot of sacrifices to get there.

    nothing freakish about good old fashion hard work.
     
    #28
  29. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,450
    who were the wins over quality players ? if they are not on the tour or playing 1 or 2 on some d 1 college team the Milos beat scrubs in his own age division .

    Thats how we measure on TW

    Your right it was the quarters I was there to watch Klahn the one that had "it" , Thought it was earlier cause it was such a mis-match .
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
    #29
  30. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #30
  31. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #31
  32. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #32
  33. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,710
    ..................
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
    #33
  34. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Messages:
    450
    Don't forget your son too. You said "my kids"!
     
    #34
  35. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #35
  36. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,450
    Well I guess I would tell him " your uncle left you this trailer and 5 other rental propertys ,don't be and idiot and sell any of them , good luck and enjoy what he left you
    responsibly" and then see what happens with his injury .

    Why what would you tell him ?
     
    #36
  37. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,450
    Well the true test will be DB at carson next year just turning 17 and filled out at 6'5 not 6'3 like the canadian boy and all thise possiblities floating around in his mind "is Payton Manning thowing a touchdown" and see if he quarters or not, will just have to see if he gets tooled by the future ncaa champion.
     
    #37
  38. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,450
    Hey GA you get that pic I sent you of the postcard ?
     
    #38
  39. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,450
    Unless your girl is from the inner-city "black" or a foreigner from some other country she does not have it right TCF ?
     
    #39
  40. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,056
    Top 10 ATP or a slum-lord. Awesome! The heck with college...
     
    #40
  41. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,450
    you get it .
     
    #41
  42. mikej

    mikej Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    2,384
    [self-deleted]
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
    #42
  43. mikej

    mikej Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    2,384
    this post rocked me to the core

    i have been assuming all this time that brad never puts a spin on anything - clearly he would never intentionally cut raonic's wins in that tournament down to a third of the real number - that's not like him
     
    #43
  44. Freak4tennis

    Freak4tennis Guest

    As accident scenes go this is a 5 car pile up.
     
    #44
  45. mikej

    mikej Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    2,384
    in addition to being a great tennis coach, i think brad could be a fantastic tutor preparing future law students for the logic games section of the LSAT

    they come and live with him for a day and every five statistics / results / etc he throws out trying to convince himself DB has a future in tennis - his pupil has to figure out which of the five statements is true
     
    #45
  46. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Messages:
    449
    Let's get back to a real discussion.#1 Coach does has a valid point here. Once in high school the top juniors have to make either tennis or school the priority. Can't do both because the very top academic programs require too much studying. Same thing at the top tennis colleges- tennis is #1 school is secondary. In high school a lot of top juniors make academics priority #1- but tennis suffers. Been there done that. I favor the college route and believe it has value. But we have to recognize that at the top programs tennis is the kid's higher priority. The college player is not a "real" student. Even at Stanford they have a list of courses for athletes to take. What do you think Mike, you have seen both sides.
     
    #46
  47. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,710
    ......................
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
    #47
  48. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,710
    .....................
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
    #48
  49. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #49
  50. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ================================================
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #50

Share This Page