If you could go back, would you have chosen tennis?

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by TennisNinja, May 6, 2012.

  1. TennisNinja

    TennisNinja Hall of Fame

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    I can honestly say that I would not have chosen tennis. It's the sad truth but if I could go back, I would rather have spent my time and energy on another sport. Or rather, I wish my parents would have chosen a different sport for me.

    Like so many other players tennis is not as enjoyable as I wish it was. It's funny, but in college all my classmates are shocked that so many of the players on the team dislike tennis. Too bad the tennis system is a brutal one and spits out players who are burnt out and sick of it.

    If I ever have kids I know that I will never push them towards tennis. Unless they choose to pursue it themselves they are not going to be signed up for any tennis lessons.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
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  2. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    ^Sad that the people who are good enough to compete don't like it. The people who love it picked it up late and are not very good. That's a sad statement which I hope is not universal.

    Well, I'm pretty sure there are exceptions and maybe even some middle ground.

    By the way, I don't see any end to the phenomenon you are describing. Kids are specializing earlier and earlier in tennis, just to compete. Repetitive use injuries are at an all-time high....but then again, so is fitness and nutrition (at the elite levels). The game is more physical than ever, too, which does not bode well for the growing population of soft youngsters.

    Then you have an international superstar ambassador like Andre Agassi with teasers of his book that lead off with how much he 'hates' tennis. LOL!

    Oh, and EDIT...back on topic, if I could go back, I'd probably play all the sports I did, have the well-rounded, athletic life I had and be a tennis player for the most part. Great game. Still love it even though my skills are waning, haha.
     
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  3. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Look at some of the best. Wilander is a 50 year old gym rat. Courier is a cut of the same cloth. Stan Smith, Brian Gottfried, Vilas, etc... these guys still love the game!
     
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  4. TennisNinja

    TennisNinja Hall of Fame

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    But would they love it if they weren't the best? Even then, you have players such as Serena and Agassi who have explicitly said that they do/did not enjoy playing tennis.
     
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  5. USERNAME

    USERNAME Professional

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    Football... Wish I stayed in football. I was so much more built to play that game.
     
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  6. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    I wish I would've played tennis as a kid.
     
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  7. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, football's awesome. And it's so good for the body in the long-term. We were all just saying that over a carrot juice the other night after our 40 and over football game, LOL!
     
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  8. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    That's hilarious.
     
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  9. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Sorry, haha^. I took it another direction. USERNAME probably meant that he would've played football at a high level...and that would have been fulfilling.

    I respect that. But, I went with the long-term approach. In my 40s, I'm pretty happy tennis is a lifetime sport. I absolutely love hitting with my kids.

    I know lots of guys who wish they had picked up tennis as kids.
     
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  10. floridatennisdude

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    I would have chosen golf or baseball. There's more money in them and you can play longer.
    - Mike Agassi, when Andre asked if he would have chosen a different sport in hindsight.
     
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  11. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Personally, I would have spent more time golfing as a kid. If I could have played golf at UF...oh man, what a life. That's just me, a 15 handicapper and 4.5 tennis player.
     
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  12. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    My kid isn't playing tennis for the money...love of the game.
     
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  13. Milan

    Milan Rookie

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    Wow, I probably agree. Tournament system is terrible. Team Tennis in College was a terrible experience.

    Most of all, it's a big Fraud. Top 20 in World get all of the plaudits, and really the Top 5 are celebrity's. You're virtually broke for being 150 in World, which makes no sense.

    It's an incredibly loanly sport, expensive, and has many deficiencies. Unlike Soccer where the coach calls the shots, in Tennis parents call the shots, and they never know what the hell they're doing. Many make bad choices and regret them later.

    It's really a big mess. It's a great business to go in as a coach, as good coaches can make 100k plus, and ones that own clubs even more. But, 99% of the players lose (tournaments there are only 1 winner), and to get to a point which is fun (Professional Tournaments), traveling with an entourage to keep you feeling comfortable, only a few ever feel that. Everyone else travels alone in lonliness. Terrible sport, when you think of it.
     
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  14. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    I LOVE TENNIS!!!! I have been addicted to tennis for over 35 years.My whole family plays or at one time played.Tennis has given me sooooo much.My kids play tennis hours a day.My daughter says she wants to play pro one day.I would never kill her dream and tell her that her chances are slim to none.Kids need dreams.So many kids are told what they cant do.I tell my daughter she is the future of American tennis.Why not?Tennis gives me so much time to be with my kids.Traveling to tournaments every weekend gives us memories that will last a lifetime.So no way do i ever wish i would have picked another sport.
     
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  15. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    We've had a few great coaches along the way, but I know plenty of coaches that don't know what they're doing. A good coach will know how to handle a clueless parent.

    I don't buy into the lonely sport argument, particularly in junior tennis. My kid is always surrounded with other tennis kids, except when he's playing a match.

    Tennis is so rewarding and teaches independence, respect, competition, and accountability. You'll get out of it what you out into it.
     
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  16. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    Only the top athletes of any sport get notoriety. I can't name more than 3 golfers or football players or baseball players.

    That's not why one should play sports. Individual sports in particular build character, mental and physical toughness, competitiveness, etc. Every kid should be heavily involved in sports, it'll save them from all sorts of trouble and make much better people out of them.
     
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  17. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    We don't get many juniors/college players posting their thoughts,
    mostly we get parents projecting their own thoughts onto their kids here....

    So, I am very appreciative that you took the time to share your junior/college experience with us.

    Parents do the best they can, but often we are clueless...
    So, it is with the best intentions if we mess up.

    My son came from a team sport to this individual sport.
    I am glad he had the opportunity to be on a team, and spend the weekends with 12 buddies during our travel weekends.
    I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    Tennis is lonely.
    For tennis tournament weekends, we always eat dinner with another junior and their family.
    And after he is done playing a match at a national, he will go watch a friend play.
    But, it is not the same as us sitting with a bunch of parents, and my son sitting with his whole team.

    And while he loves, loves going to practice ( can't wait),
    the same sentiment is not expressed for a tournament....

    Oh well.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
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  18. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps I'm spoiled because we live in Florida. There are so many kids that play, it has a team feeling.
     
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  19. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    It's your duty as a parent to "expose" your child to every possible sport/activity. When they find one that they enjoy or are proficient in, they you support them as much as you can.
     
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  20. Milan

    Milan Rookie

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    Very True. The only Dream that's a lie is the American Dream.. Because you have to be Asleep to believe it...

    -George Karlin
     
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  21. treeman10

    treeman10 Semi-Pro

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  22. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Now this, I can see. They own you these days.
    Back when I played (full ride) you had to study and fit training in...and squeeze in the ladies and the parties. Now it's the other way around at some schools.

    I love college tennis, but it's gotten so far from the amateur ethic. E. Digby Baltzell is rolling in his grave.
     
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  23. andfor

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    I really think that those who are proficient at the top of the game and say they don't like it were likely coached to win at all costs. For their parents it was all about the wins and losses and is my kid better than that kid and so on. Players who focus on what's my ranking, what will my mom or dad or friends think if I win or lose to so-and-so are usually burn out cases in the making.

    I really believe that those who are coached to focus on working hard to improve, always give your best effort and doing so with a good attitude and sportsmanship still make up many of the top ranked players at any level. Even the best pros know they will not win every match. They respect all opponents and fear none. Most of them focus on playing their game. Playing with a purpose and giving max effort with a good attitude every match. The best players believe that if they play their game well they will have a chance to win. Athletes who always look to learn from wins, losses and all their experiences to be better the next time often do. That's what's the best and happiest athletes strive for.

    Focusing on the journey/process not the destination/outcome most often leads to the most successful and happiest athletes long-term.

    This applies to all sport and endeavors. Not just tennis.
     
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  24. Ash_Smith

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    I would like to go back and give 5 year old me the 30 year old me as coach - i'd be freakin awesome by now if that could worked out somehow!!!

    Cheers
     
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  25. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Good for you guys! Wish more saw it that way.
     
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  26. treeman10

    treeman10 Semi-Pro

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    ------------------
     
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  27. TennisNinja

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    So true, the chances of even making it onto a college team are so low compared to football, basketball, or baseball. The benchwarmer on an MLB team is making bank, and in other sports players' salaries are guaranteed.

    Sure, I made a lot of friends as a junior, but my best friends are not my tennis friends. That's different from college where the tennis team makes up most of my best friends but in high school I only had a couple of tennis friends who I would have over at my house or hang out with outside of tennis. Part of the problem is how far apart everyone lived from each other. Hanging out with people at a tournament is different from actually being really close friends with them.

    Another thing is with tennis you compete against your friends, not with them. It can be kind of difficult making friends with someone you lost a heartbreaker to.

    Nobody in high school understood how hard tennis is either and my friends were often confused as to why I would have to be gone so many weekends for tournaments the entire year. "Dang you can't hang out? Let me take one guess, tennis".

    It's definitely an under-appreciated sport that receives little to no attention.

    You are correct. Just to clarify things I don't play D1, I play D3 at Carleton. While tennis does not limit anything I do here, it can make juggling schoolwork and practice/matches a challenge, especially at a school as rigorous as Carleton. That said, the tennis team is one of my favorite parts about Carleton because all the guys and are coaches are so great. There are quite a few guys on the team burned out in junior tennis. I've missed some school events because of tennis but that has not made a significant impact on my college experience.

    But, it is not as if that type of team environment is exclusive to tennis.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
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  28. treeman10

    treeman10 Semi-Pro

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    ............................
     
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  29. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    ^Meaningful post, oozing the wisdom of a sage. Well-written, and well-thought out, andfor. Thank you for sharing it with us. This is what an internet forum is all about.

    Oh, and fanboyism, of course.
     
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  30. andfor

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    Thanks SBC!
     
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  31. Woolybugger

    Woolybugger Rookie

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    +1. I quoted this in its entirety because it is spot on!
     
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  32. gatorbait01

    gatorbait01 Rookie

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    Agree Ga tennis hit it on the head.

    Any sport that you play constantly as a kid and either take too serious, or are somehow influenced to take too serious can burn you out. I know with baseball, by the time I was a senior in high school I absolutely couldn't stand the sport anymore. My whole life basically revolved around baseball from about the age of 9. I can relate to missing out on activities with friends because of baseball and so forth.

    I always wish now as an adult I had the attitude towards baseball that I have towards tennis. I just love it and get so bummed out if there is a rainout or can't play for whatever reason. In high school I would always get happy when it rained and I could go home and not play.
     
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  33. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    ..................
     
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  34. TennisNinja

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    TennisEarth, reported for spam. That was a really poor attempt at trying to divert traffic to your site.
     
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  35. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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  36. Swissv2

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    There are people from age 19-72 at my tennis location who all love tennis. We all play for the fun of the game, and we have a great location to play at. It's the people you get to play with that makes the game exciting; not just having a competition all the time. Some of the weaker players at our location enjoy the game the most.

    I feel sorry for you that you are unable to enjoy the game.
     
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  37. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    TennisNinja;

    Thank you very much for starting this thread.
    For sure, you gave us parents insightful comments on what might have been going on in the head of many juniors being trained and compete most of their young lives.

    I can see that many adults posting here love tennis and keep on playing till later in life.
    I am certain that if many are required to practice 15-20 hrs a week and compete most of the weekends, they will not enjoy it as much.

    There's no doubt that junior competition and college tennis today requires a lot more from the player than it used to be. It is not surprising that ones can feel burnt out.

    Hope you can take a vacation from tennis and feel fresh loving it again.

    You had given parents perspective on how to prevent junior burning out.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
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  38. floridatennisdude

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    is it the parents job? I just find this line fascinating.
     
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  39. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    I think parents are their own child's advocate/agent. I am certain that most parents, including myself, will not want their children to resent them for their tennis journey.

    If coaches drive the process of burning out, parents (of up to certain age children) could put a stop to it.

    I am not sure for older juniors or college players, who will handle that better....a junior him/herself ?

    If juniors drive themselves too much, parents can still monitor the burnout syndrome and intervene.
     
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  40. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Agree. It was very insightful to hear from a junior. Wish more would share their journey on this board.
     
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  41. OriginalHockeytowner

    OriginalHockeytowner Rookie

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    Too true. I have loved tennis all of my life, I can remember watching the US Open every year with my mother from a very early age, and always rooting for Agassi. But I didn't start playing until last year, for reasons I don't fully comprehend.

    If I could go back, I would've started in tennis earlier, and also played other sports, like football. Who knows, maybe I would've had a DI scholarship for football :)
     
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  42. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Its a matter of stages in tennis. Agassi still plays tennis. Why? He has no need to play. In tthe past, I think he just did not like the pressure his dad put on him. the extreme training, etc... but his dislike was not toward the sport as such.

    For me, I did not care for tennis when I was a a kid or teenager (eventhough I played) but now as an adult Im hungry to go to the court and compete.:)
     
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  43. duusoo

    duusoo Rookie

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    I played D1 in the early 70s, 3-5 player. I think a lot is where you are at when. It's fun, bunch of guys, no one really going to make it on the Pro Tour. Then you get into your career and family, and you have so little time to play, your game goes down, you take some years off, go out and play, and you are not good. So the frustration gets to you, and you play less, until your kids get into it. Then you play more, game returns somewhat, but you still like it.
     
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  44. HIGH-TECH TENNIS

    HIGH-TECH TENNIS Rookie

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    We have heard many parents say if they knew then what they know now, they would have never gotten their children involved in tennis.
     
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  45. willshot

    willshot Semi-Pro

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    NOTE. Don't spend all your money in junior tennis. Let them play but save the money on all the travel and lessons unless you have disposable income to dish it out. I say keep playing but dont go broke because of it.
     
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  46. HIGH-TECH TENNIS

    HIGH-TECH TENNIS Rookie

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    Completely agree with you, willshot. The money is insane. But parents want to give their player the best shot at "making it" - and it's only after spending mucho money that they realize the chances of actually making it in tennis are about the same as the chances of winning the lottery...3 times. Just an observation.
     
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  47. Wuppy

    Wuppy Professional

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    My dad wanted me to be a pro golfer. I played golf since I was literally 2 years old. Played with Tiger Woods in SoCal CIF leagues in high school (never beat him though).

    Never liked the sport though I was very good at it. I got to college at a DIII school but then never joined their golf team. I did other stuff in college and had a great time.

    Now that I'm in my 30s I've taken up tennis, which I always enjoyed far more than golf the few years I played it as a kid.

    If you read "Open" by Agassi, he says he hated tennis too.

    I have a cousin who was trained from a young age to be an ice skater. She hated it and never does it any more.

    I think when you're a kid and a sport is pushed on you, it makes you dislike the sport except in rare instances.
     
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  48. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for sharing your story. Some similarity with the OP whose tennis was chosen for him.

    Lots of take home messages for many parents.

    You might have done many children big favor,......making their parents stop to think for a minute.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
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  49. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    And I know many, many families that have absolutely no regrets with living the tennis life...kids and parents both.
     
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  50. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Chances of making it as a pro are about the same in any sport. Sure some are better than others, but overall it's not good. The aim for those who want to compete at a high level should be to work to see how good you can get. If the path leads to pro great, if it leads to college tennis even better, if leads to learning a game you can play for life wonderful.
     
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