How much to tell kids?

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by BMC9670, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    My 10YO son is starting to get seeded in 12U tournaments and up until now, I would just sign him up and let him play without telling him who else is in the tournament (outside his training friends), who is seeded, who he plays, how old they are, etc, etc. I just wanted him to play without any mental clutter.

    Do you think knowing they're seeded helps a kid's confidence going in or puts pressure on them? Curious to hear thoughts and experiences.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
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  2. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    Dont tell him. Depersonalize it!!!
     
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  3. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    You telling or not..... kids talk about these things. He'll know if he's seeded or not.
    You shouldn't tell him about his opponents though. However, if you and him could scout the opponent while he was playing on another court, that can be helpful....may be not at 10 yr old but when he is older or playing higher/harder tournaments.
     
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  4. raging

    raging Professional

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    keep it real...if you don't get excited about the fact he is seeded then he won't unless his peers tell him how good he is.That will then be normal peer pressure.
    You can explain to him how it is results based etc if he doesn't understand but it only reflects sometimes how much the other kids have played.
    They have had more opportunities to win.

    A seeding is by definition a number's game but let him know there will always be somebody better...somewhere. Having the seed doesn't mean he is any better or is guaranteed a win.
     
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  5. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    I think it depends on the kid too. Tennis is much more difficult for my older son. When he was younger he would automatically think he was going to lose if he knew he was playing a seed. My younger son is always seeded at his age level and now is getting seeded is many tournaments in the next age level. He looks at the draw sheet at the tournament, asks me who he is playing and on and on. For him it does not make much difference.
     
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  6. Rina

    Rina Rookie

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    My philosophy is don't tell him anything. Only to control what he can control, to play the right way, no to push, bounce before serving, that kind of thing. If you say you are playing a good player, he'll over think it and will lose the moment you tell him that, no point in showing up at all. If you tell his his opponent is easy and has no clue you risk your player playing at a horrible level, since why play good? Kids will see the draw and soon enough know who is who, and who beats who, but if you avoid giving too much information in the beginning when they are new to tournaments they will play better and have a mental advantage. After a few months of playing they'll will know who is how, but if they don't know in the beginning it can give them wins that they might not have if they got too much info. I am not sure if this makes sense, sorry.
     
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  7. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    I agree except don't tell them not to push tell them to hit full out. When you tell young kids what not to do their brains do crazy things. I remember this summer my daughter went into a third st 10 point breaker and I told her not to miss returns and for some reason in her mind she heard miss returns and missed 5 returns. Funny how the brain works.
     
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  8. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    I always told my kid he was playing the ball. I know its only a mindset but, eventually it becomes habit.
     
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  9. Chemist

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    Trust me that even a 10 year old knows how to get onto Tennislink to find out who he/she will play, unless this kid doesn't want to know. I always print out the draw and talked to my son about how to play a kid before the match. Tennisrecruiting.net is the best tool to find out how his opponent did if we don't know him already. However, one of my son's friends never wanted to know who she would play. She could not sleep well if she saw the draw. One can usually blame parents for giving our kids too much pressure for winning.
     
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  10. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    Agree.... Sharapova is a perfect example she doesn't care who she plays because she is gonna play her game and hit her targets.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
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  11. Oz_Rocket

    Oz_Rocket Semi-Pro

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    In my son's first ever U10 tournament his last match of a round robin (where he'd lost the previous 4 matches) was against the eventual winner. He and I had no idea who was who so I just said go out there, play your best and have some fun.

    Turns out he gave this kid the toughest match of the tournament taking him to deuce in all but one game, mainly because my son can handle pace very well. A big lesson in not making assumptions as different playing styles can throw up weird results.

    5 months on he now knows who is who but I take the approach of not telling him what to do but what are the right questions to ask.

    Even though I got beaten last time by this kid, was there anything I thought they were weak on? Where have I improved since I last played them and can I use this? What about the conditions? For a new opponent are they left or right handed? If I've seen them warm up what shots did they hit more sweetly? What is their 1st/2nd serve like?
     
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  12. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    I tell my son very little on match day. 6-8 feet over the net, wait for the short ball and put it away. If my son asks about the opponent and how I think he will do, I always say well if you move your feet and play tough you should do fine. Remember winning the day and winning the match are two different things. A winner comes off the court knowing he did his best with what he brought to the court on that day. Some days he can bring more or less than others. The score of the match does not matter. It is the journey not the day. Hopefully 30 minutes later he is saying, "Where is everyone going to eat tonight?"
     
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  13. Chemist

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    Good advice! How do you usually tell him after he splits sets?
     
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  14. nightfire700

    nightfire700 Rookie

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    Slightly off-topic but I was wondering is the 6-8 feet above the net a way to play safe or a demand of the modern game? My son loves to hit as close as possible to the net and most of his shots going within 6-12 inches above the net. His coach has asked him a few times to hit higher but my son is insistent and loves getting really flat barely touching the top-of-net shots. Is this something I should be actively working on as I see more and more advise about hitting higher above the net. He is 9yrs and not very tall at 52 inches.
     
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  15. Chemist

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    It's her strength for sure. But she lost a few big matches because she only knows or is willing to play one type of game. Serena can overpower her and Li Na can also make her run corners and miss her targets.
     
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  16. Chemist

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    I agree with his coach. A 9 yr old may need to have more net clearance to keep balls deep. Most little kids hate moon balls to their backhand. Older kids usually have low net clearance (1-2' over the net). Ask him to practice both flat and spin shots.
     
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  17. nightfire700

    nightfire700 Rookie

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    Thanks, will try and plant the idea in his brain to practice both :). BTW, about the depth, he gets good depth and thats our implicit understanding that all balls have to land beyond the halfway point between the service line and baseline and as close to the baseline as possible. He plays regular balls (very few coaches in India use dot balls) on a full clay court.
     
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  18. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Play the ball is right, but looking ahead on the draw can sometimes give you an idea of what kind of ball they should be expecting to play. For instance, this weekend my girls playing a girl who hits a pretty good slice back hand, which is not normally the case with 11 year old girls, not something she has to deal with a lot, so she spent a little extra time focusing on that in practice this week, and that helps her confidence going into the match, she knows she is ready.
     
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  19. Chemist

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    Your son must be very strong:) He will also need to hit passing shots when his opponent comes to the net. An effective X-court passing shot requires good angle and tons of spins. His flat shot works well for passing down the line.
     
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  20. nightfire700

    nightfire700 Rookie

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    Yes, he has a relatively strong arm (throws a lot of balls around while playing cricket) and good timing, though overall he is pretty small for his age. As for the opponent coming to the net, isnt a flat close to the net more difficult to volley back? I will have to observe more on his X-court returns but I think he uses a flat out shot there as well but he does lack consistency there. Maybe its because of the reason you stated. Having said that is there a need to hit way above the net (4-6 feet) to get good spin or one can add good spin even when hitting relatively flat shots (1-2 feet above net) especially if the player is only 52 inches tall?
     
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  21. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

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    It really depends on the child. My son waits for the draw to come out and if he is unfamiliar with his opponent he looks at his opponent's record to see if he can find a pattern to the wins and losses his opponent has had against other kids that he knows. He makes a plan A and plan B. My daughter no longer looks at the draw after she had a near panic attack after seeing that she was seeded number 1 in a local tournament. Her play in that match reflected her anxiety. It was awful. So now she just shows up and plays whomever is in front of her. She doesn't have a plan except hit the ball hard. When she faces a junk baller she is at her mercy because she has no plan B. I like my son's approach better because it means that he has to think on the court. He will make adjustments based on what's happening on the court. Because he did his homework before the match started he never feels helpless.
     
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  22. Chemist

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    It's almost impossible to hit a x-court flat shot to the side T, especially for a 9 yr old. You can put a cone at the side T, toss balls to him 1-2' from the corner of the deuce or add court and ask him to nail the cone x-court. You will see that he needs spin to hit it. The side T is a good target for x-court passing shot, when his opponent hits a down the line approach. BTW, he will need to practice loopy balls that are 4-6' over the net. Many of his young opponents will hit these to get him frustrated. He will need to be really patient and only step in to attack short balls with his flatter shot (yes 1-2' over the net).
     
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  23. Chemist

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    Your son must be much more matured than most kids of his age. The kid who makes his own game plan, is usually more capable of adjusting his game accordingly during the match. An earlier thread had a good discussion about the need of using a variety of shots, slices, drop shot, net games, even occasionally a moon ball - ask your daughter to watch a few video clips of Justine Henin.:)
     
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  24. BMC9670

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    Well... too late, my wife told him he was seeded #2 this weekend. He said "I think it's kind of cool" and seemed rather indifferent. He did seem to hit with a little extra today, but we'll see if it has any positive/negative effects tomorrow.

    Generally, I take the approach of "control what is within your control" - play your game, adjust if need be and do your best, no matter who is on the other side of the net.
     
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  25. nightfire700

    nightfire700 Rookie

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    Thanks for the valuable advise. He has a 2 hr session today and I will keep an eye and also try the setup you suggested to see how he plays.
     
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  26. Chemist

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    My son and I often discussed his opponent's strength and weakness before match, if you know him and if he is pretty good. I would then ask him what his game plan would be. I would add my two cents if I see the need. He is pretty good making adjustment during the match. If he splits, I would be the only person who he would talk to and he never called his coach. His after match routine goes like this, he stretches for 5-10 mins, he looks at the stats; he talks about his match, and then I talk about what I see and what we can learn from this match, win or lose.
     
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  27. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    My 10 year old is just over 5'2" 93lbs, left handed and hits a good amount of topspin. He has a good heavy ball. Hitting 6-8 feet over the net with a bunch of topspin works well at this age. Since his ball has good spin it gets over the shoulders of smaller players or forces them to hit a lot of balls on the rise.

    After he splits sets? I try to let him do most of the talking. I have him tell me what is working so that can be reinforced. I then him to make himself work really hard to move his feet and get in position to make a good pass at the ball. I figure at this point he is probably tired and he needs encouragement to keep working hard. Since he is so big this is the greatest challenge.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
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  28. Chemist

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    Yes, most kids hate moon balls, especially if they are deep and toward opponent's back hand. When my son played a kid at the 12 zonal, one boy hit a deep moon ball that jumped over my son's head:evil:. But he soon learned how to hit on the rise or move in to swing volley them. I'm sure your son can also hit flatter passing shot to guard against opponents who charging the net.
     
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  29. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    I do not really want him hitting moon balls. I just want good height with topspin to set up the point. Then go for the shot with a flatter shot when there is a short ball to hit.
     
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  30. Chemist

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    This is a very good strategy especially if he mixes it up with other shots:)
     
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  31. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Same here gpl... we are really working on the rally ball vs flat shot selection right now. Nice deep balls with spin and good net clearance (a good rally ball) is invaluable at any age.
     
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  32. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    I tell my son there are different types of shots.

    Rally shot -Most of the time when you are behind the baseline you are hitting these higher rally shots. This is where you are exchanging blows with your opponent. Since you are behind the baseline you are FAR from you target. There is no need to go for a winner because you are so far from your opponent. It takes so long for the ball to travel to the target that the opponent has too much time to run it down.

    Building shot - This is a ball that is usually shorter and you are closer to your target. You are not looking to put it away but you want to try to build a point around the shot. This is where you try to exploit a weakness or get ahead in the point.

    Neutralizing shot - This is when your opponent hit a hard deep ball or one that gives you trouble. You have to neutralize it. This is done by hitting a heavy high topspin ball, hitting the ball deep with spin, or slicing the backhand. The idea is to give yourself time to get back in position and regain your position in the point.

    Put away - Typically balls that are real short in the point and you are close to your target.

    I Sometimes hit with him and he has to call out what type of shot he is hitting (rally, building, neutralizing, or put away)

    BMC9670 you have mail!
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
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