it's tough being a tennis parent

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by fitmom, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. fitmom

    fitmom New User

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    #1
  2. seminoleG

    seminoleG Semi-Pro

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    I know all these kids work hard and some are very good athletes others are very good tennis players very few are both, BUT they all have very few life experiences and that is where the Parents should fill in the white space.

    How do I view my role as a Tennis Parent. Varies by age but for now, I simply eliminate as many variables in competition until she gets old enough to take them on.

    For Example my daughters routine for Tournament play last year:
    - She'd wake up breakfast ready, bag packed, drinks, towels, outfit layed out ready to go. I'd warm her 30-45 minutes specific routine.

    Now - She packs her bag, gets her drinks, picks her snacks, her outfit and what she wants for breakfast. Do you want to warm up on the wall or the court? What shots do you want to hit in warm up besides serve and return?

    Parents decide when to pass them task. How much, How little that's what we get paid the big bucks for. We make our $$$$ before a point is played, and after the match is done.

    No false praise, point out the negative always finish on a positive and by the time the car hits the park exit Tennis Talk is done. If you want to talk some more ok back to the park and we talk. Leave it there.

    I stress only 2 Tennis related points:
    1- Serve and Return account for 66% of every point in a match (G12s avg rally 3 shots). Did you win the Serve and Return game?
    2- Be fair to yourself. If you get mad at yourself on mistakes you must find a way to smile on your good points. I'll cheer you on but not if you can't cheer yourself.

    My little one is VERY VERY aggressive. So yes it is PAINFULL to watch her go for angle after angle, but that is what she is being taught. If the ball is short the point is over. So she is judges in the context of what her coach has set for her. I then must also temper my reactions based on what she is taught.

    I do clap and say Nice Try, or give her Thumbs up on as many misses as winners. She knows I am responding to EFFORT not results.
     
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  3. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    ^^^^^ excellent post,

    My 9 year old son played the # 1 U10 player in the U12's. The kid is a known character ( serves when you are not ready, does not call double bounce on himself, calls good serves out on strategic points etc.. ) who has a 4-0 record over my son, several of them 0 and 0. In the locker room my son was down on himself having to play this kid yet another time let alone in the 12's with regulation balls. He said "Dad I am just going to go out and lose 6-0 and get it over with". I told my son to go out and give yourself (not me) the best effort, raise your head up high and be positive. My son went on to win the match and put the other kid on tournament retirement for a month.

    In this case his effort produced the result.

    But when my son walked off the court, I told him "even had you lost this match you should be proud since you displayed,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, effort "
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
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  4. rptennis

    rptennis New User

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    Really nice posts to read both Seminole and Pro Tour - seems like you guys got the right attitudes!


     
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  5. LMK5

    LMK5 New User

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    Happy to find another clapper. I see too many parents reading magazines or lost in their iPads. The kids will remember later on.
     
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  6. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    I do not clap, my wife claps ( out loud ) that is why she is not allowed to come to matches.
     
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  7. LMK5

    LMK5 New User

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    It isn't golf and it sure ain't church.

    I find that when I clap, some of the other parents feel comfortable enough to start clapping. When they see that I clap for their kid's well-played points, they start clapping when my kid does the same. The tension goes away; everyone wins. Best of all, the Blackberrys find their way into pants pockets.
     
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  8. seminoleG

    seminoleG Semi-Pro

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    ^^^^^
    Yes and Great point ladies no matter who won it just breaks that parent tension.
    I have made more friends and exchanged more numbers for hitting partners showing I have no hidden agenda.
     
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  9. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    I just don't clap ( nor do i say good shot etc..) , it is considered coaching IMO. So I do not clap for nor against, nor on good plays etc... I just watch and yes i do have an ipad with a tennis statistic app :)
     
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  10. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    At what level is it no longer considered coaching? Or do you always consider it to be coaching. For example, I've seen Uncle Tony clap for Rafa. Would you consider that coaching?
     
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  11. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    It's stories like this that make tennis such a phenomenal sport. Thanks for sharing!
     
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  12. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    We just had a good thread on this, but it got removed....

    Anyway, the problem with clapping, or "good shot", or "great serve" is that it becomes a slippery slope,
    and one could view it as coaching.

    I am sure the majority of parents have good intentions with a polite clap, but the minority cause issues.

    And, the minority, I have seen clapping for:

    1) Their kid's opponent - hits the ball into the net.

    2) Their kid's opponent - double faults.

    3) Clapping in doubles or triples. Clapping code.

    Really egregious clapping for strange things that are basically bad sportsmanship.

    I have also seen words used that are code for hit it to the kid's backhand.

    So, I just think it is easier NOT to clap and NOT to say anything......

    Silence is golden.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
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  13. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    I hear ya tennis5 - great examples too as we've all seen the clapping used as a coaching device or gamesmanship but, a gag order? I think that takes the electricity out of the game.
     
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  14. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    No, no gag order... It is America, freedom of speech.

    I can't ask other people to not clap or speak, I just hope to lead by example :)
     
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  15. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    College I clap , HS tennis I clap, ATP/WTA I clap, team tennis I clap, davis cup fed cup I clap.

    I do not clap in USTA jr's U10 to U18

    Just like the poster above said it is slippery slope with USTA jrs
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2012
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  16. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    Also yelling out "great shot" when their kid's ball may be out to intimidate the other player from calling it out.

    I've seen that one many times.

    It's better to be quiet.
     
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  17. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    I usually try and keep out of the way unless I see a greatly contested point - running, effort, great gets, all out - then I'll clap and let out a "great point, guys/girls!". I think it's right to applaud great effort in a neutral way, and it seems to be appreciated by the players and spectators, who usually join in.

    BTW... I do this for any match I'm watching, not just my kid's.
     
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  18. hound 109

    hound 109 Rookie

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    This is what i do as well.
     
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  19. seminoleG

    seminoleG Semi-Pro

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    So the youngest, most immature, fragile, group with least confidence we leave alone in quiet but we cheer players that could give a BLEEP!

    Once again I come from a different background and have heard 90+thousand roar, but I to this day remember pitching @12 and hearing my dad clap after I mowed down opponents. Say what you want, CLAP, CLAP and CLAP again. Not every point, not every game but few times during a set for both kids goes further than anything WE as parents can do.
     
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  20. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    Again you come for a different background, I played and competed in Jr tennis since age 10 in 1978, you have not? so you can not possibly know how it feels like when someone claps as a Jr. tennis player which is different than any other sport. I have been coaching jr. tennis since 2000 and I have seen my share of clapping. I came to the conclusion that it is best to stay silent and quiet when it comes to Jr tennis. This is just my opinion after over 30 years being around Jr. tennis. You can clap (maybe a little) at the end of the game and give all the love and advice to fill the whole court; But I can change the outcome of certain matches if I clap at certain key points. One time my son was playing a match and I was sitting near the baseline of the other opponent. At 40/40 no ad, my son hit a shot near the baseline that was questionable, I thought it was in so I clapped once. My son's opponent looked at me and called the ball in after hearing me clap. A second later, I thought the ball might have been out but I reacted quickly without thinking. My son went on to win the game, set and match. Clearly I was bothered by this and knew that my clapping affected the kid not to insist that my sons shot was out. This is just one example, there are many ( clapping after first serve fault, intimidating opponents and other parents etc...)
    BB claps in favor of his sons opponent which fuels the fire in his son:confused: revers psychology etc..... is that coaching? it works for him and his son. One clap may mean down the line, two claps might mean cross court. Three claps might mean keep on doing what you are doing etc..... My biggest match that I can remember as a Jr. when I was down one set and down 2-5 40 love triple match point and I looked over to my coach with tearful eyes and bloody hands/knees as he clapped and said common you can do this, that is all it took. I came back and won the tournament. This bothers me because several times my son was in a similar situation and he looked over to me as he fell exhausted to the ground and I could not help him. He is on his own and needs to fight for himself. Once I gave my son a fist pump on a key point and it worked. Why do you think it is illegal to fist pump your opponent? you can fist pump not facing your opponent but facing the fence.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
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  21. BMC9670

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    I think we as tennis people tend to micro-analyze this issue a bit too much. Is encouragement coaching? Is reacting to good play cheating? Debated to death. If things are misconstrued, so be it. You know your not a cheater. Are there cheaters? Sure. But why let them stifle the game for everyone else? Hundreds, maybe thousands of minute things can influence the outcome of a match. Such is sports. IMO, I think tennis needs to loosen up a bit for the sake of the players and the spectators.

    There are two sides to sports, playing them and watching them. Both should have a good experience and one plays off the other. I personally love it at team tennis matches when the atmosphere gets a bit rowdy and there is cheering, clapping (for both sides) and most of all appreciation for good play and good effort. Look at pro matches. Is the crowd involved? You bet. If we can't do this, why watch? And if no one watches, why play?
     
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  22. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    To me it feels like junior tennis tournaments really are not about spectator enjoyment or participation in the same way that say Little League baseball is.

    It seems like they are more for the benefit of the players themselves in terms of match experience, etc.

    Part of that is probably because there are no on-court officials there throughout an entire match the way there are in other sports.

    So spectators can really do some crazy things and influence play a lot more than in other youth sports.

    I think it is better for parents to stay out of the matches all together.

    Unfortunately, this stuff happens all the time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
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  23. INTO10s

    INTO10s New User

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    You know, if someone wants to go through all that trouble to set up a coding system based on claps or other obscure gestures, then let them. I see it more of a distraction for that player then a benefit.
     
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  24. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Hmm... doesn't sound like much fun for the kids playing. Maybe that's part of the reason a gazillion more kids play little league than tennis.
     
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  25. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    correct, if we like cheering and going crazy, we should go watch davis cup or fed cup and bring drums and horns. ut these kids are on their own with no officials and no coach beside them. In team tennis we are there saying all kinds of corrections at almost every other point. At U10 level they are trying to put officials on every match, fine, let the cheering begin. It is going to be fun anyway with no rankings and several winners. At the U12 level it is a whole different ball game. If there are no officials, it gets very touchy. With soccer and LL there are paid officials. You can take a break, get coached and go out again.
     
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  26. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    yes either the whole team wins together or loses together :)

    With Jr tennis, it is not fun, sometimes. There is no one to blame but yourself, very harsh reality sport. Unfortunately, USTA Jr Tennis is a lonely sport. Tennis parents do not make lots of friends outside the tennis circles. And the ones they do make friends with ( other USTA Jr tennis families because you can relate what all of yous are going through), sometimes there are friction and jealousy between the families. Then you have the "you and your kid are alone against the whole world" mentality.:cry:

    remember this thread B. http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=5071399#post5071399
     
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  27. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    there are all sorts of codes in baseball, but that is a different sport. In doubles there are all sorts of codes ( I have four codes for serve) heck the players even cover their mouths when they talk to each other.:oops:
     
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  28. seminoleG

    seminoleG Semi-Pro

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    I could care less if a parent coaches. Hell they could yell to their kid ........ I could care less.

    That is why I guess I am from a different world, and why the US Junior system has so many issues.

    Funny how convenient it is to bring up Soccer, Baseball, Football when the Tennis Powers want to PUSH 10U or Quickstart.

    But when we also woner why other aspects of these sports aren't adopted (COACHING DURING PLAY) you guys have every excuse in the WORLD how Tenis is just different. That is just BS.

    So no coaching, no cheering at 12 (or 10) you need to know a book of rules with no adult to help. Oh I forgot kids referee themselves and some cheat but there is no recourse.

    So lets agree to this the comparisons to Soccer, Baseball need to just stop, because the biggest difference is not the equipment, not that they are team sports, not the fields, its the fact THOSE kids are encouraged thru cheering, helped with rules by coaches, and have umpires to ensure fair play rules. These might be some of the issues that need addressing to get Junior Tennis in the mainstream.

    I don't know about you guys, but having seen a few of these 10U matches you are getting a whole new parent for these events. AND THEY AIN'T QUIET!
     
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  29. DB_Cooper

    DB_Cooper New User

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    Parents in tennis are haters!! I don't care what you say. Jr tennis is entirely different than other sports.

    Have you ever seen parents helping another child? Less than 5% will. Is it because of the lack of skill or knowledge they don't have? Basketball and Baseball parents volunteer. They coach for free. Pat all the kids on the back and teach the children more than the sport. In our community it's very common to see many parent's that are admired by kids. You witness happy smiles and comfort at local school events or social outings. It's neat to see. The kids are not told to stay away from so and so because that's Tony's dad and he struck you out. Usually Tonys dad will show the other how to hit His sons ball out of the park. Tennis parents could volunteer to call lines for other kids. It could be more open to the community aspect. That's a big problem I see. The great divide between parents and parents and kids and kids. It's disgusting. And lets not forget the always present parent against kid scenerio. The most hateful thing ive ever seen!! How can any grown person with kids act like some do? This is kinda where social class division starts. You have a sport that some feel is for elite social class only. They are not interested in teaching acceptance. They promote the division. Shame on the majority of tennis parents. Funny thing. The parents who do great things for the game and the kids are ridiculed for being normal people. Ha

    JrTennis is missing that for the most part.
     
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  30. seminoleG

    seminoleG Semi-Pro

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    Agreed.

    I hate to use such a broad brush, but it seems that compared to other Junior Sports a lot of the Tennis Parents aren't ex-Athletes even at the HS level. Not that Ex-Athlete's corner the market on how to act (some are the worst) but they can be more civil if they choose so.
     
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  31. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    It seems when we are supposed to stop comparing tennis to other sports we turn around and encourage cheering, coaching, referee etc.. just like other sports :confused: and now tennis parents are not athletes like other sports:confused:

    It seems in order to bring Jr tennis into main stream we aught to consider turning Jr tennis into UFC extreme cage fighting.:roll:
     
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  32. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    Tennis parents can not see past what is best for Jr. They will do anything in their power to make sure Jr is on a silver platter and not harmed in anyway. Who cares about the other kid. God forbid a blue star or five star is seen anywhere near ( within a mile) of a 3/4 star player let alone on the same court, the tennis parent will make sure this will never happen. That is the problem in Jr tennis. The coaches go along and fuel this mentality with their proprietary attitudes.
     
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  33. seminoleG

    seminoleG Semi-Pro

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    I think you are taking several points trivializing them and fliping words.

    The USTA keeps comparing Tennis with other popular sports

    ( I never did )

    BUT several aspects of those same sports make the comparisons impossible

    Those aspects are:
    - Coaching (on and off field) duing the Game
    - Cheering, Encouraging verbally
    - Parents most parents did play those other sports

    So to pick and chose what TENNIS folks LIKE and continue to compare is disingenuos.
     
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  34. seminoleG

    seminoleG Semi-Pro

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    ^^^^^^^^
    Agreed! I was even more shocked that to ask someone to hit was out of the question, until I started asking and ignoring the Jerks who think they have the next Sharapova!
     
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  35. BMC9670

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    That thread was a really different issue. I'm talking about encouraging the players and cheering good play. It's part of sport. It's part of why players compete. It's a big part of the fun. Kids should have fun. Tennis should be fun. That doesn't mean hit and giggle. You can't train hard, play hard, have big goals. Competing should be fun. Just my opinion that the fear of coaching or cheating really stifles the sport at the junior level.
     
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  36. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Doesn't have to be that extreme and never will be... but the atmosphere doesn't have to be like studying calculus either.
     
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  37. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    I am not picking and choosing, I think you missed this about QS

    I am all for cheering if they put officials at the U10 on every match, heck coach them as well, it is all fun anyway and there will be no ranking in the future.
     
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  38. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    I was at a chess tournament for my 6 year old son who is blowing kids twice his age off the board, and yes they do have ranking. Guess what, there are no cheering nor coaching, just few refs. The atmosphere was just fine.
     
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  39. BMC9670

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    You know, it's funny. We have all these threads debating how to get more kids to play tennis.... and yet comparing a tennis tournament to a chess tournament. We want more kids, not less.:???:
     
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  40. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, but that's with orange chess pieces... wait 'till he gets on regulation!:twisted:
     
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  41. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    You are right but cheering, and encouraging is part of what parents go through at Jr tennis, this whole thread is about tennis parents and so was your thread.

    That is the problem, it is not as fun as you think it is in the U12-U18. At some point the serious kids know they are going to work, it is their job and some even hate it deep inside. When you start competing at this level and you see the crazy parents, the cheering and the encouraging between points, it is a big turn off. The lack of respect, it gets ugly. Sometimes you just want to quit.
     
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  42. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    you would be surprised how many entered that tournament. There were over forty four kids. The good thing is girls can play against boys, we do have co ed at the u8 level in Jr Tennis maybe we should extend that to U10. In the end chess is a strategy game (100% mental), you have to be patient and quite to win, similar to tennis which is 90% mental and only 10% physical.
     
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  43. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    no only back and white :) the mind is an organ that a 6 year old can use to beat an adult in chess. My sons coach was #1 in the nation by age 6 in his age group. Now he is 5th in the nation and 15? in the world; at age 16, it is scary. He plays tennis like he plays chess.
     
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  44. High Rustler

    High Rustler New User

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    Good read. I was never a fan of cheering clapping, anything, and do my best to keep totally quiet during a match. I beleive in the kids setteling it on the court completely free of distraction or influence. I do the fist pump to my kid when he makes a great shot. I will occasionally cheer a good point, but I beleive it's extremely difficult to do so without favoring your kid, and I try not to do it at all.

    I've come to appreciate like-minded parents.
     
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  45. andfor

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    Continue to reinforce giving his best effort in practice and match play. Really all a tennis player can control is their effort and attitude. Focus on improvement, max effort and a good attitude over results. It has to be fun on some level to stay out there long enough to have productive practices leading to the improvement.

    Here's some good stuff on how to play a pusher from, shhhhh, it's from the USTA. http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Game/Instrcution/Strategy/Playing_Against_a_Pusher/

    The best advice I've heard when playing a pusher is to serve them out wide and run them back and forth over and over. Attack the second serve and don't make unforced errors. Many true pushers don't like to hit on the run.

    Here's a link to the best mental stength coaching I've come across. I'd recommend you listen to it before giving it to him. The author is legit.
    Purchase the "Fearless Tennis". I have not listened to his "The Best Tennis of Your Life" but I bet it's also great. http://www.mentaledge.net/
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
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  46. BMC9670

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    Jeff is great. I've read "The Best Tennis of Your Life" and re-read various chapters for reference, reminders, and inspiration. This book would be great for a young tennis player as well, maybe age 12 and up. It's an easy read and each chapter is a "strategy" for the mental game and are no longer than 2-3 pages. Easy to remember and apply.
     
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  47. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    I like Jeff's "Fearless Tennis" so much and recommend it so often, one might think I am Jeff or getting something for recommending it. I'm not, it's just great stuff for any level tennis competitor.

    I'm going to get "The Best Tennis of Your Life" now. Thanks
     
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