Kids: how many hours court-time a week?

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by TheCanadian, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    What would you advise in the case of a kid who wants to play at a national/international level? I've read that Federer played 15 hours/week when he was 14.
     
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  2. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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    You can do a lot less if you spread the % of off-court training between weight training and conditioning .

    I would do no less then 8 hrs a week on court if your looking to that level being achieved.
     
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  3. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    Federer also played squash and did fitness, so 15 hours total with tournament play. That's about 2 hours a day of tennis plus tourneys.
     
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  4. donnymac10s

    donnymac10s Rookie

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  5. frunk

    frunk Semi-Pro

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    That seems like a good rule. I'm 15 and play about 15 hours a week in school, and spend 5 hours a week in the gym.
     
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  6. jigglypuff

    jigglypuff Rookie

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  7. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    This question is impossible to answer. Depends, depends, depends.

    How intense? I see players practice at wimpy intensities and others go animal.

    How focused and well designed is the practice? A great practice design can accomplish in 1 hour what someone else might in 3 hours.

    What is being worked on? Some developmental issues require a slow and long practice to work out and other allow for short but intense practices.

    Where is the kid in terms of mindset? If they love tennis they might work for many hours with passion, others might be going through stages where tennis is not their #1 priority at the moment. They need less intensity more fun to get them over the hump and not lose them forever.

    How about stages of growth? Are they dealing with growing pains and need less intensity? Are they in a teen stage where they need to rest more?

    So many factors go into this topic, it is only possible to know the right number of hours on a case by case basis.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
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  8. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    ^^^^ spot on ,
     
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  9. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    My player spends 4 hours a week on the court, 1 hour on fitness. He's not going pro. Will play in college, Ivies or equivalent. 4 star. Most juniors, particularly at academies, spend too much time on court. His 4 hours are all out. When he plays tornaments and goes to final, add another 7 hours of play for the week.
     
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  10. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    You might see a lot of juniors playing a lot of hours of tennis.

    You might also see a lot of injuries...

    With kids, and growing bodies, sometimes less is better.

    My son plays 8 hours a week, but if it is a big test week, it might be 4 hours.
     
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  11. MeggieTennisGal

    MeggieTennisGal New User

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    My 11yo daughter is crazy about tennis at the moment. She'll play whenever she's got a court and a partner. Her pediatrician advised us not to let her do too much. She says she has a lot of kids coming into her office with sports injuries, some of them pretty serious. Too much stress on growing bodies. She advised my daughter not to play through pain and not to play for more than a couple of hours a day at the most. As TennisCoachFla said above, the intensity of the workout is probably as significant as time put in in terms of stress on the body.
     
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  12. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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  13. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Totally agree. Repetitive tennis strokes, impact from high speed ball rallying, feet and ankles pounding on concrete, etc have significant effects on their growing bodies and bones. Overtraining and overcompeting might give great results today but .....may lead to injuries, wear and tear and untimely osteoarthritis. I heard of top juniors in our section stopped competing because of stress fracture of the arm, spine or shoulder injury. Growth plate injury of ankles appeared to be common too. Ultimately, parents are the ones that need to monitor hours juniors logged in practice/ play matches. No parents want their children's bodies to worn out before time (I hope).
     
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  14. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    All great points.

    I think the parents are not aware of the dangers of logging so many hours.

    The people who earn their livings off the academies are not sharing any of the above info.
     
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  15. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    My kids are 7 and 9 and I like to follow the every-other-day philosophy. When they do camps or team tennis in the summer, I do as much as possible on clay (Har-Tru) and rest on the weekends. They also play other sports during certain seasons and less tennis. They are not pro track, but tennis is their main sport.
     
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  16. anhuynh16

    anhuynh16 Hall of Fame

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    15 hrs a week.
     
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  17. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    BMC had a very good point about the clay or HarTru courts. They are much easier on the body. Similarly, go with multi (or gut) strings and a flexible racket rather than poly in a Pure Drive to reduce vibration and shock to the arm.
     
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  18. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Oh no. I am in my 40s.
     
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  19. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    Well you are just going to have to bite the bullet and play 40 hours a week if you want to go pro...Oh and spend what 1/3 of that in the gym...I hope you don't have a job :)
     
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  20. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Obviously, you need to quit your job and just play tennis!
    :)
     
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  21. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Man, I'd be so good if I could just play 44 hours a week and work out 15 hrs a week. I'd be hurting, and just begging for my full-time job back and my nice daily routine.

    But I'd be pretty fit.

    And broke.
     
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  22. jigglypuff

    jigglypuff Rookie

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    All you need is HGH + anger mgmt CDs and you're ready for the big leagues. :)
     
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  23. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    4 hours a week is just not going to get the job done. Frankly, I am shocked he has risen to 4 stars with such a light training schedule. How can he possible be fit enough to play tough in the third set. You just cannot have the fitness level necessary to compete without more training. I don’t even want to think about how he is going to play the second match of the day after a hard first match.
     
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  24. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    If he's like normal athletic kids used to be (before video games) he's playing other sports in the sandlot or the asphalt, running around, swimming in the summer, maybe hiking, etc. and doesn't need organized sports or specific training to be able to play 3 sets of tennis without getting tired.
    I have no idea how many kids are like this these days.
     
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  25. Towerofpower205

    Towerofpower205 Rookie

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    Our academy has players doing 20 hours of on court as well as 5 hours of speed and strength training m-f and then 3 hours of match play on sat.
     
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  26. man_untd11

    man_untd11 Rookie

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    Me and my brother hit the courts for at least 3 hours a day when its not snowing/raining. This is recent, and we haven't played that much since we have other interests too and school of course. However like last summer and the one before that we use to play 6 to 7 hours a day. We had breakfast went to play, came home for lunch, went to play again then came home for dinner and relaxed :) so when we first started 3 years ago, 35+ hours now its more like 20 hours weather permitting of course
     
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  27. PhotoBlue

    PhotoBlue Professional

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    I play about 20 hrs a week
     
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  28. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Just curious - when you say "play" 5,6,7 hours a day, what does that mean? What intensity? What kind of plan? What kind of regard is taken for the body, etc. I know this would vary from an "Academy" vs kids playing on their own, but more than 2-3 hours per day on court seems like it wouldn't be focused, intense, or leave time for off-court training. Not a criticism, just curious.
     
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  29. Mitch Bridge

    Mitch Bridge Rookie

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    Hours of Play/Training for Optimal Junior Development

    My name is Mitch Bridge, and I have been coaching national-level juniors for over 20 years. If you are trying to train a future top level professional player, that player will need to be working on his game a minimum of 4 hours daily. The following areas of training need to be included in his/her regimen: one-on-one or two-on-one instruction, match or sets play, live ball training, strength training, speed and agility training, flexibility, massage/muscle work, serve/return, video/pro tennis viewing and analysis, and cardio training, with some relaxation exercises.

    With this vast amount of potential training, it is easy to fill up available time to perfect your game. When you play less than 4 hours you have to skip too many of these variables to develop well enough to be a top player. This game is extremely demanding, and great players are completely entrenched in it. Also, using Federer, the most gifted player of all, is never a good measure for us humans.

    Having said the above, every player has different demands on his/her time, and you need to do the best with the time and resources that you have. Some players can do a lot with 2 to 2 1/2 hours per day. With this schedule you can't take days off too often, and heavy monitored tournament play is a must.
     
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  30. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    Sure, but you obviously can't do 4 hours with a 8-year-old. Maybe a 15. So age matters.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
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  31. Mitch Bridge

    Mitch Bridge Rookie

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    Training Players 7-10 Years Old

    You can spend up to 3 hours actively in athletic training with this age group of players, and some of it should be in other sports. Soccer, baseball, and basketball are excellent developmental sports for tennis as well as martial arts, dance and football. one of these daily hours should be in a private or semi-private with a world-class coach.
     
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  32. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    one of these daily hours should be in a private or semi-private with a world-class coach.

    We know that the best coaches tend to be parents, as long as they know what they're doing.

    One anecdote, I grew up with Andrew Sznajder (46 in the world at one point); his dad was his unique coach. A mediocre player and not somebody who knew all that much about tennis. However, he would spend hours a day feeding Andrew tennis balls and establishing drills. What kids need is not tennis lessons but to hit lots of tennis balls (i.e., practice time and matches). It makes me sick to see parents spend a fortune on lessons by unethical, money-grubbing coaches.
     
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  33. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Hi Mitch,

    Welcome to the board.

    You provided lots of great information, thank you!

    Unfortunately, in the cold climate areas of the country,
    indoor court time is way too expensive, and also not available for a lot of what you are suggesting.

    Looking forward to more of your posts :)
     
    #33
  34. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I agree, but it is so important to develop technically sound strokes early on. If a parent knows what they are doing, then they should go for it.

    Otherwise, I would be scared of the parent reinforcing bad habits.

    And yes, there are lots of tennis coaches out there who are con artists. Who talk a great game but either do not really know what they are doing or really do not care to put the effort in for your kid.
     
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  35. jcc309

    jcc309 New User

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    Myself, I practice 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. 15 hours a week. This works well with tournaments on weekends and all the school work during the week. The key is to go all out at practice. I know kids that get more out of an hour of practice than a kid who practices for 3 hours. The intensity is what matters, not the time (to a certain extent, obviously you can't only practice an hour a day and be 5 star material).
     
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  36. Mitch Bridge

    Mitch Bridge Rookie

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    In response to money-grubbing coaches, you need to do your homework on any professional that your kid is going to do extensive work with, be it a doctor, tutor, or coach. Richard Williams did a phenomenal job with his girls, but without Rick Macci's experience, training and knowledge, they wouldn't be where they are today. Good parental help is fantastic, and if that parent is a world-class coach then that is a great asset.

    The work being put in needs to equal the goal. If you want to play D2, D3 or NAIA tennis, then being an after school player for 2-3 hours over several years will probably suffice with the right amount of tournament participation, coaching, etc. If you want a good D1 scholarship to a quality program you better jump in with both feet.
     
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  37. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    Yes, deliberate intense practice is very important.

    I do know one 5-star player who doesn't practice much at all. He is extremely extremely talented but his work ethic is very suspect.
     
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  38. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I agree with everything you said. Finding the right coach is so important.
     
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  39. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    What you're recommending is a recipe for a quick burnout and/or injuries. Completely unsustainable.
     
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  40. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    ............................
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
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  41. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    4-6 hours per day, everyday, does not sound accurate to me for any junior (or most pros) in any sport.

    3-4, I could buy.
     
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  42. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    ......................
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
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  43. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    I do not doubt that there are academy programs structured as you said.

    Some academy programs I am familiar with give a day off on Monday after a weekend tournament. I have also seen programs where the mid-week (Wed) pre-school session is skipped for a sleep-in.

    Now that I think of it, I cannot come up with another sport that routinely requires 4+ hours of daily practice for elite juniors..........or pros.
     
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  44. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    For an athletic girl 3-4 hours per week of one-on-one deliberate after school training plus tournaments on least half of the weekends and hitting around other weekends will easily deliver ranking inside TR 100. Could be 2x1hr with a coach and 2x1hr with a parent. This works for indoor people and should not completely break the bank.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
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  45. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    By his own accounts, Isner trained 3-4 times a week no more than 90 minutes per.

    ...but he spent at least twice that amount of time each week working on his height.:)
     
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  46. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    I trained with Greg Rusedski when he was 7-13 and we played 1 hour a day plus tournaments.
     
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  47. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    :)

    ...........
     
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  48. MANDRAK

    MANDRAK New User

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    Quality before quantity. It also have to do with the kid motivation. Some always ask for more, some dream away. The kid motivation is the best gauge for how much they need to train.
     
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  49. Mitch Bridge

    Mitch Bridge Rookie

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    The top junior in the world has a 12 hour day, 6 days per week. This includes meals, massage, mental work, tennis training 3x daily, fitness 2x daily, physical therapy, studying video. The goals need to match the work. References from 20 years ago or even 5 years are not relevant to today's players. It is a truly global sport with only 250 men and 150 women making a good living at it. The competition is absolutely fierce. Soccer stars, basketball stars, martial artists, golfers: its 24/7. They played all day to become amazing! Tennis players have to do the same. Rusedski had 150 mph serve. Isner is 6'9. These guys can break some of the laws that others had to live by. There are many paths to play by but really only one to the top: all day/every day.
     
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  50. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    That is all true and it is both epic, amazing, amazing and epic. I would love to work that hard and get massages every day. But, truth be known ... my family is not interested. Solid academics and college tennis it is, haha...hopefully.

    Nice, realistic goals with a balanced life, a well-rounded education and plenty of fallback options.
     
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